Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Union Executive with Extortion and Illegal Labor Payments
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 25, 2010|
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, MARJORIE FRANZMAN, the Special Agent-in-Charge for the New York Regional Office of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General ("DOLOIG"), and RALPH GERCHAK, District Director of the New York Office of the Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, announced that WARREN JOSEPH ANNUNZIATA, an executive of Local 91 of the United Craft and Industrial Workers' Union ("Local 91"), was arrested today on an Indictment charging him with extortion and receiving unlawful labor payments in violation of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibits payments from regulated industries to union officials. ANNUNZIATA, 75, of Roslyn Heights, New York was arrested this morning at his residence by DOL agents. He is expected to be arraigned on the Indictment this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge THEODORE H. KATZ in Manhattan federal court.
According to the Indictment unsealed today:
Local 91 is a union that represents approximately 2,000 individuals, including bus drivers and bus escorts who work for companies that contract with the New York City Department of Education to provide students with school bus transportation to public schools throughout New York City. ANNUNZIATA was previously the President and Executive Director of Local 91, and is currently the union's Pension Fund Administrator, in which capacity he oversees pension and benefit funds holding over $85 million in assets.
From approximately 1992 through 2009, ANNUNZIATA used his position as a high-ranking Local 91 official to solicit and collect cash payments totaling over $500,000 from various bus company owners whose employees were members of Local 91. If convicted of the two counts alleged in the Indictment, ANNUNZIATA faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the extortion charge and a maximum of five years in prison on the unlawful labor payments charge. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
The case has been assigned to United States District Judge COLEEN McMAHON.
Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the DOL in the investigation of this case. He also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its role. Mr. BHARARA said that the investigation is continuing.
This case is being handled by the Office's Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorney ELIE HONIG is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.