Carpenters’ union umbrella to decide whether to take over scandal-ridden local

Meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17 for Local 926

A hearing will be held later this month to determine if a carpenters union should be taken over by its parent organization after the union’s president was accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the international umbrella organization for the New York City District Council of Carpenters, will host a hearing Sept. 17 to determine whether UBC should impose a trusteeship on Local 926. In the past, trusteeship — defined as suspending a labor organization’s autonomy — has led to the UBC replacing a local’s leadership or merging it with another union.

The UBC temporarily took over Local 926, which is based in Brooklyn and is one of nine that make up the NYC District Council, in June, after its president was arrested on conspiracy and fraud charges. President Salvatore Tagliaferro is accused of conspiring with an official from Local 157, John DeFalco, to accept tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for granting membership into Local 926. The two allegedly solicited cash bribes from individuals who weren’t eligible for union membership but secured them admission anyway. Through their attorneys, Tagliaferro and DeFalco have denied the allegations.

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In June, the UBC tapped William Waterkotte, vice president of the Pittsburgh-based Eastern District regional chapter, to supervise Local 926 until the hearing is held to determine whether or not UBC should fully take over the union. UBC President Douglas McCarron issued a letter on Aug. 22 announcing the date of the hearing and the appointment of a three-person committee that will oversee the proceedings. The three members are all leaders of carpenters’ union chapters outside New York: Dennis Donahou, vice president of UBC’s Southern District; Randy Thornhill, vice president of UBC’s Western District; and Jason Rowe, vice president of UBC’s Canadian District.

Representatives for Donahou, who will serve a committee chair, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The UBC has previously imposed trusteeships on both the NYC District Council and its local chapters. Back in 1995, the UBC placed the NYC District Council into trusteeship due to corruption issues that persisted after the union reached a deal with the federal government to install court-appointed supervision. The trusteeship lasted through 1999, but the District Council still has a court-appointed monitor. His term expires Sept. 16 but is likely going to be renewed.

The hearing will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Center, which was actually the center of a 1990s investigation that found that union carpenters hired to work at the convention center had ties to organized crime.

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