Thursday, August 6, 2009
Bloomberg's union boss backer busted
The leader of a powerful labor union that recently endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his re-election campaign was charged Wednesday with taking bribes from contractors who were scheming to cut labor costs.
Michael Forde, executive secretary-treasurer of the New York City District Council of Carpenters and Joiners, surrendered to the FBI Wednesday to face racketeering, conspiracy and other charges.
Prosecutors said that in exchange for about $1 million in bribes, the union leadership let contractors pay workers with cash at below-union rate wages and employ nonunion and undocumented laborers. The defendants concealed the conspiracy by falsifying and destroying paperwork meant to keep the jobs honest, authorities said.
In June, the Bloomberg campaign announced it had received an endorsement from the 21,000-member carpenters' union, saying it "is known to have one of the best get-out-the-vote operations in organized labor, and on Election Day they will be putting their manpower to use on behalf of the mayor." A video posted on Bloomberg's campaign Web site shows Forde giving the mayor a hug after introducing him at a union rally.