Mr. Robert D. Luskin, GEB Attorney
2828 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007-3763
Corruption won another victory in California
yesterday. At the regular Hod Carriers Health and Welfare Trust
Fund meeting, Ramon Duran (found guilty of barred conduct) appointed
Ken Casarez to Hod Carriers Local #36 Trust Fund. When I called
Douglas Gow for clarification, I was told by William Rice of the
Inspector General's office they had nothing to do with trust fund
matters and that if Supervisor Max Warren approved this, it was
all right. After $40 million dollars went missing from the Mason
Tenders in New York, why didn't the U.S. Justice Department and
your office negotiate a formula for ending corruption at
the trust fund level?
I returned to the meeting where the regular
order of business was conducted. When we came to new business,
a motion was put on the floor by Ryan O'Brien, Secretary of the
California Conference of the Mason Contractors Association (CCMCA),
to merge the San Jose Hod Carriers Trust Fund with that of the
Northern California District Council of Laborers. O'Brien, Casarez
and Duran voted to leave our joint fund and, after a discussion,
we all agreed it would be best for everybody if they do leave.
The Administrator will find out who is entitled to what and work
out a settlement.
We look at this as a positive development: we will be getting rid of Ray Duran, who was found guilty of barred conduct and left in office by first International Vice President Mason Warren, and Ryan O'Brien, who has represented non-union contractors as well as union contractors all his life.
I feel sorry for the Hod Carriers in San
Jose, as they will now belong to a trust fund whose trustees have
sided in the past with contractors who didn't pay the members
the required benefits and threatened Hod Carriers Local #36 with
legal action for collecting what the men were due. This brings
me to my next question: Who is going to get the $1.85 per hour
that will no longer be collected by our joint fund on behalf of
the members? Is the CCMCA going to develop another useless promotional
slush fund for the Hod Carriers to pay into? Or will a miracle
be seen in California, will the members actually benefit by a
Mason Warren maneuver?
It's like I said - this is not reform, it
is a retreat until the government is out the way. I am considering
writing the Justice Department and urging them to end the agreement.
As far as I am concerned, any member who talks to the GEB Attorney
or the Inspector General is risking their life. It has become
apparent the rules are not going to be applied equally: If you
supported Arthur Coia at the convention, you can get away with
anything. Max Warren, Archie Thomas and Charlie LeConche are prime
When it comes to the LIUNA-Justice Department agreement, retreat is the watchword, not reform.