Longshoreman Pleads Guilty to Labor Violation
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The former president of the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) Local 1544 has been convicted of failing to maintain labor union records, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Roberto Gracia Jr., 63, of Brownsville, entered a guilty plea today.
The Local 1544 is a labor organization representing clerks and checkers at the Port of Brownsville. ILAs are required to report spending of union funds in order to maintain transparency within the organization. During Gracia’s tenure as president of Local 1544, he failed to keep records detailing the use of the union funds, causing unaccounted for union monies totaling $3,478.30.
Gracia was president of Local 1544 in 2012 and 2013. In that role, he was required to maintain the financial records of Local 1544 as required by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The requirements include keeping all the receipts for expenditures to account for all funds and their disbursement for the business purposes of Local 1544. However, in the Labor Organization Annual Financial Report (LM-4) Gracia signed and filed on July 1, 2013, he failed to maintain the required records. This lack of records keeping lead to the loss of $3,478.30 to Local 1544.
As part of the plea today, the court also heard that Gracia had also been president of ILA’s Local 1395 from 2006-2007. During that tenure, he also failed to maintain the required union records with a loss to the Union of $26,354.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan accepted the plea today and ordered Gracia serve five years of probation. He has also paid full restitution to both Local 1544 and Local 1395.
As a result of the conviction, Gracia will be unable to hold any ILA office position.
The DOL's Office of Labor-Management Standards’ Dallas-New Orleans District Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Betancourt prosecuted the case.