Disgraced former Ironworkers Local 401 boss Joseph Dougherty has been found guilty of corruption, arson and other related offenses.
The jury reached its decision late Tuesday afternoon.
Dougherty, 72, was the one–time financial secretary and business manager of the local union, and has been charged with a host of offenses.
According to published reports, Dougherty, business agents Ed Sweeney, Sean O’Donnell, Christopher Prophet, and William O’Donnell and five others charged with conspiracy, extortion, arson, destruction of property and assault.
Dougherty alone was charged with RICO conspiracy, three counts of arson, two counts of using a fire to commit a felony, and a sole count of conspiracy to commit arson.
Dougherty faces up to 130 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum 35 years.
United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent-in-Charge John Spratley with the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and Special Agent-in-Charge Sam Rabadi with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives worked in unison to bring the charges against Dougherty and his cronies last February.
According to the indictment, the defendants had a network of individuals, friendly to the local union, to help identify construction projects and job sites where work was being performed without using union members.
The indictment alleges that 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. It is alleged that the defendants created so-called “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.”
“While unions have the right to legally advocate on behalf of their members, my office will not tolerate the conduct of those who use violence to further union goals,” Memeger said when announcing the indictments. “Union officials and members who commit arson, destroy property, use threats of physical harm, and engage in other acts of violence to extort victims on behalf of their union need to be criminally prosecuted.”
In published statement, Memeger said the defendants used those goon squads to commit assaults, arsons, and other violent and destructive acts to make their point emphatically clear.
“And that point to any contractor or builder was,” Memeger said, “you’d better hire local ironworker union members or you will pay a heavy price.”
Federal law enforcement agents Federal prosecutors presented evidence concerning the Spring Garden Street construction site that involves a conversation between Dougherty and Sweeney that happened on or around July 13, 2013. The two men allegedly agreed to extort the contractor who at one time offered to hire one union worker and a second proposal to hire two. Dougherty allegedly said to Sweeney that even one piece of a job being handled by non-union workers was too much.
“But it’s ours,” Dougherty allegedly said. “One piece is too much.”
Dougherty went on discussing a crane that was to be put up and said; “If he puts it up and gets away with it we’re tearing it the f—k down in broad daylight, broad f—king daylight. I’ll rent the f---king crane from work reservations. So, we’re not losing in Center City, man. I ain’t s---ing you, we’ll take it right the f—k back down again. And then we’ll load it out, rent the truck and we’ll steal the iron.”