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January 12, 2011

Review officer slams Carpenters Union; AY cheerleaders from Brooklyn Local 926 cited for improper spending, obstructing investigation

Atlantic Yards Report

Here's a look at some of the fine company Bruce Ratner keeps.

A couple of Carpenters Union cheerleaders for the Atlantic Yards project have come into severe criticism and sanction for suspected and confirmed improprieties, according to a new report by a court-appointed monitor.

The Times on January 10 offered an overview, headlined Review of Carpenters’ Union Shows Corruption Persists:

More than a year after its parent union placed the New York City District Council of Carpenters under supervision because its leader was charged with racketeering, the council remains influenced by the mob and is still a source of cash and illicit benefits for a select few, according to a recent assessment.

The assessment, filed last month by a court-appointed review officer, shows some progress in cleaning up the district council and its constituent locals, and proposes a number of substantive reforms.

But it also presents a troubling picture of a deeply ingrained culture of corruption, and some aspects of the assessment raise questions about with the stewardship of the supervisor appointed by the parent union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

The First Interim Report of the Review Officer, Dennis M. Walsh, was filed in federal court in Manhattan, and posted (embedded below) by 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.

AY angle: Sal Zarzana

According to p. 15 of the report, Walsh writes:

Shortly after I was appointed, I received notice of over $30,000 of inappropriate expenditures made by Salvester Zarzana, the business manager of Local 926 [in Brooklyn]... The trustees in place ... during the time of such expenditures did not do their duty and in some cases, knew about the improper expenditures. All of these trustees will soon be held to account when time allows for charges to be prepared by my office...
...

Zarzana has testified at Atlantic Yards hearings and spoken at rallies. As I wrote 6/6/08, covering the "Brooklyn Day" rally, Zarzana (right) offered a familiar trope, accusing the opposition of not saving Brooklyn. “Where were you 40 years ago, when Downtown Brooklyn looked like a war zone?” he asked. “But we were here.”

(Photo by Adrian Kinloch)

Zarzana was the only speaker to target elected officials who are opponents or critics of the project. “There’s a bunch of politicians we need to straighten out, like [City Council Member] Tish James,” he said.

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Posted by eric at January 12, 2011 11:01 AM