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Thursday, July 23, 2015
Philadelphia Ironworkers Business Manager Sentenced To 230 Months For Racketeering Conspiracy
The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
PHILADELPHIA—Joseph Dougherty, 73, of Philadelphia, former Business Manager/Financial Secretary/Treasurer of Ironworkers Local 401, was sentenced today to 230 months in prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy involving a dozen members of Ironworkers Local 401, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Dougherty was found guilty, on January 20, 2015, of RICO conspiracy, malicious damage to property by means of fire, use of fire to commit a felony, attempted malicious damage to property by means of fire, and conspiracy to damage to property by means of fire. His 11 co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Baylson ordered three years of supervised release, $558,041.66 in restitution, and a $600 special assessment.
Dougherty and his co-defendants engaged in a systemic pattern of extortions, arsons, and assaults in an attempt to force non-union companies to hire union ironworkers. The union’s business agents would approach construction foremen at those work sites and imply or explicitly threaten violence, destruction of property, or other criminal acts unless union members were hired. The defendants relied on a reputation for violence and sabotage, which had been built up in the community over many years, in order to force contractors to hire union members. The defendants created “goon” squads, composed of union members and associates, to commit assaults, arsons, and destruction of property. One such squad referred to itself as the “The Helpful Union Guys,” “T.H.U.G’s.”
The jury convicted Dougherty for his participation in the 25 charged acts of arson and extortion in the racketeering conspiracy. Among the charged incidents included an arson at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Philadelphia, an arson at a warehouse under construction on Grays Avenue in Philadelphia, and an attempted arson of a commercial complex under construction in Malvern. Dougherty personally handed co-defendant James Walsh an acetylene torch to commit the Grays Avenue arson. On October 12, 2012, when co-defendants James Walsh and William Gillin arrived at the Malvern construction site with an acetylene torch which they intended to use to damage the site, FBI and local law enforcement officers arrested Walsh and Gillin before they could light the torch. Prior to their arrest, on October 9, 2012, Dougherty gave the greenlight for Walsh and Gillin to proceed with the arson by stating “that’s good. Alright. He [Walsh] just got to be careful.”
“The sentence in this case serves as a reminder that corrupt union practices and bullying tactics, like those employed in this case, will be met with severe consequences,” said Memeger. “Fear, intimidation and violence should not be a part of any union’s operational handbook and will not be tolerated in this district.”
During the extortion of a contractor working on an apartment building near the intersection of 31st and Spring Garden in Philadelphia, Dougherty told union business agent Edward Sweeeny that if the non-union contractor erected the building “and gets away with it, we’re tearing it the [expletive] down in broad, in broad daylight, broad [expletive] daylight. I’ll rent the [expletive] crane from work reservations. So, we’re not losing in center city, man. . . . We’ll take it right the [expletive] back down again. And then we’ll load it out, rent the truck, and we’ll steal the iron.”
During a July 8, 2013 phone call, Dougherty summarized his motivation for committing these crimes by describing the financial condition of the union: “I look at the general fund, ah the health fund. It’s (expletive) hurting. And we’re hurting it every hour that the carpenter steals from us hurts. Every hour non-union steals from us hurts it, and we keep pumping more money into it, and that keeps us from getting jobs.”
The case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, with assistance provided by the Philadelphia Police Department Corruption Task Force, East Whiteland Township Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Employee Benefit Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Livermore with legal assistance from Gerald Toner, Acting Deputy Chief for Labor-Management Racketeering, Organized Crime and Gang Section at the Department of Justice.
Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime. He has written extensively about organized crime, cybercrime, street crime, white collar crime, crime fiction, crime prevention, espionage and terrorism. His 'On Crime' column appears in the Washington Times and his 'Crime Beat' column appears here. He is also a regular contributor to Counterterrorism magazine and writes their online 'Threatcon' column. Paul Davis' crime fiction appears in American Crime Magazine. His work has also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Weekly and other publications. As a writer, he has attended police academy training, gone out on patrol with police officers, accompanied detectives as they worked cases, accompanied narcotics officers on drug raids, observed criminal court proceedings, visited jails and prisons, and covered street riots, mob wars and murder investigations. He has interviewed police commissioners and chiefs, FBI, DEA, HSI and other federal special agents, prosecutors, public officials, WWII UDT frogmen, Navy SEALs, Army Delta operators, Israeli commandos, military intelligence officers, Scotland Yard detectives, CIA officers, former KGB officers, film and TV actors, writers and producers, journalists, novelists and true crime authors, gamblers, outlaw bikers, and Cosa Nostra organized crime bosses. Paul Davis has been a student of crime since he was a 12-year-old aspiring writer growing up in South Philadelphia. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17 in 1970. He served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War and he later served two years aboard the Navy harbor tugboat U.S.S. Saugus at the U.S. floating nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. He went on to do security work as a Defense Department civilian while working part-time as a freelance writer. From 1991 to 2005 he was a producer and on-air host of "Inside Government," a public affairs interview radio program that aired Sundays on WPEN AM and WMGK FM in the Philadelphia area. You can read Paul Davis' crime columns, crime fiction, book reviews and news and feature articles on this website. You can read his full bio by clicking on the above photo. And you can contact Paul Davis at email@example.com