Friday, April 01, 2011

Two more (Atlantic Yards-supporting) Carpenters Union officials step down, as they avoid signing declarations regarding organized crime

In January, I reported that two Carpenters Union cheerleaders for the Atlantic Yards project have come into severe criticism and sanction for suspected and confirmed improprieties, according to a report by a court-appointed monitor.

Now there's more, as additional Atlantic Yards supporters have found themselves under a cloud as they've avoided statements about mafia ties, including Anthony Pugliese, left in photo, with Sal Zarzana, center.

(At right in the photo, from the 7/22/09 informational meeting organized by the Empire State Development Corporation, is Atlantic Yards opponent Robert Puca. Photo by Adrian Kinloch.)

The earlier report

The January report by Dennis M. Walsh was filed in federal court, and noted more than "$30,000 of inappropriate expenditures made by Salvester Zarzana, the business manager of Local 926 [in Brooklyn]."

Also, Walsh concluded that Local 926 business representative John Holt knowingly violated Job Referral Rules, obstructed an investigation, and gave false answers to an investigator. Walsh thus vetoed Holt's employment as a business representative.

The latest: mob influence?

Local 157's John Musumeci, whose blog offers a forum for regular union members to learn what's going on and to push for reforms, reported 3/16/11:
Local 157 Vice President/Representative Anthony Pugliese was pushed into retirement because he refused to cooperate and sign a declaration under penalty of perjury pertaining to mob influence over the affairs of the District Council, an informed source said.

Pugliese 57, a 35-year UBC member, and for the past 12 years, a Council Representative reportedly making $158,069 and collecting a tools pension, before he unexpectedly retired last week amid a zealous investigation by Review Officer Dennis Walsh, pertaining to organized crime influence over the affairs of the District Council, its affiliated local unions and members.
As Musumeci reports, District Council employees are supposed to sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they they have no information beyond that already publicized regarding mob ties:
Pugliese invoked his privilege against self-incrimination and decided to retire instead of sign the declaration an informed source said.
Note that these are anonymous sources, but no one has posted a response accusing Musumeci of inaccurate information.

He also wrote 8/24/10 that, on the night before the leader of the New York City District Council of Carpenters pleaded guilty to taking bribes from contractors, Pugliese declared that the leader, Michael Forde, was innocent.

Brugueras also resigns

Another Local Union 926 official, Ray Brugueras, "also suddenly resigned last week," Musumeci reported 3/12/11, again using anonymous sources.

Brugueras testified several times in favor of Atlantic Yards. The testimony below, offered to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Finance Committee on 6/22/09 in support of the developer's effort to sweeten its deal with the MTA, is a bit poignant, given Forest City Ratner would cut on-site construction jobs severely if it proceeds with a modular construction plan:
If there's any contractor that can basically get through these economic bad times, its Forest City Ratner. He has the monies available, he has the knowledgeable people, and he has the reputation... He definitely would put a lot more people to work and generate a lot more income for Brooklyn.

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