September 30, 2014

Officer of Middlesex Union Admits Accepting Bribes to Circumvent Collective Bargaining Agreement

NEWARK, NJ—A union officer for Local 594 of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) today admitting accepting $8,000 in bribes to allow a demolition contractor to use non-union workers on a New Jersey building project in violation of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA), U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John Adams, 58, of Bridgewater, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of accepting between $5,000 and $10,000 in bribes from an employer working on the New York Times building in Edison, New Jersey.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Adams is the business manager for Laborers Local 594 in Middlesex County, New Jersey. When the New York Times building in Edison was renovated in 2009, DAMICO Inc. was hired to do interior demolition work. DAMICO was obligated to use all union workers pursuant to a CBA with Local 594. A collective agreement regulates employee duties, employer responsibilities, and health care and pension benefits. Adams was responsible for making sure DAMICO followed the CBA.

During the 10-month period, ADAMS was paid on four occasions approximately $8,000 in total to permit DAMICO to use up to 18 non-union workers on a weekly basis. Consequently, DAMICO cost Local 594 union dues and benefit plan contributions.

As the project was concluding, LIUNA officials learned of the CBA violations by DAMICO and filed an arbitration claim against the company. In May 2013, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the union and charged DAMICO’s owners $500,000 in restitution for lost wages and benefit plan remittances. Adams is responsible, along with the DAMICO owners, for repaying $204,000 in losses to the union’s benefit plan.

The bribery charge to which Adams pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2015.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by V. Grady O’Malley, Senior Litigation Counsel of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.