Former President Of Labor Union Pleads Guilty To Demanding And Accepting Bribes
$150,000 in Bribes Demanded from an Employer in Exchange for Not Representing Union Members’ Interests
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that GLENN BLICHT, the former president of a labor union (the “Union”), pled guilty today to violating the Taft-Hartley Act by demanding and accepting approximately $150,000 in bribe payments from an employer (the “Employer”). In exchange for these bribes, BLICHT did not represent Union members’ interests. BLICHT pled guilty before United States District Judge Analisa Torres, to whom BLICHT’s case is assigned.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As the president of a labor union, Glenn Blicht’s duty was to fight for his union members. Instead, for many years, he demanded and accepted bribes – and in return, he sold out his union members. Our Office is committed to prosecuting those who abuse positions of trust for their own gain.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment to which BLICHT pled guilty, public court filings, and statements made in court:
From 2009 through the present, BLICHT served as an officer of the Union, including as its president for many years. In that role, BLICHT had a duty to act in the best interests of the Union and its members, including by avoiding personal financial conflicts of interest with the Union. Nevertheless, BLICHT demanded and received cash payments from the Employer, which employed a number of members of the Union. In exchange for these bribes, BLICHT declined to file arbitration claims on behalf of Union members. In total, BLICHT received approximately $150,000 in bribes from the Employer over approximately 10 years.
In communications, a number of which were recorded, BLICHT repeatedly referred to the bribe payments as “tickets,” in which each ticket equaled a $1,000 bribe. BLICHT instructed an official of the Employer (the “Official”) as to the number of “tickets” to pay BLICHT each time. Indeed, during the past year, the Official met with BLICHT several times and paid him bribes on approximately four occasions, at the direction of law enforcement. Each of these meetings was recorded. For instance, on July 26, 2019, BLICHT received a $10,000 cash bribe from the Official at a restaurant in New York, New York; BLICHT was arrested outside this restaurant, in possession of the $10,000 bribe.
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BLICHT, 57, of Wilton, Connecticut, pled guilty to one count of demanding or receiving prohibited payments as a labor union official, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Under the terms of his plea agreement, BLICHT has agreed to a 13-year ban, which generally prohibits him from, among other things, being employed by a labor union or employee benefit plan, pursuant to Title 29, United States Code, Sections 504 and 1111. BLICHT has also agreed to forfeit $150,000 and to pay restitution. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Sentencing before Judge Torres is scheduled for February 12, 2020, at 3:00 p.m.
Mr. Berman praised the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their outstanding work on the investigation. Mr. Berman also thanked the Department of Justice’s Labor-Management Racketeering Unit of the Organized Crime and Gang Section for their assistance in this case.
This matter is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Neff is in charge of the prosecution.