Former NYC Labor Leader Arrested on 15 Counts

hector lopez home Former NYC Labor Leader Arrested on 15 Counts

Hector Lopez’s home, allegedly secured via  illegal acts. (Photo: NYdailynews.com)

Another day in New York yields another federal indictment. Today it was Hector Lopez, the former president of the Metal Polishers Union (Local 8A-28A) and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Local 8A-28A welfare fund. Mr. Lopez is accused of using his union’s welfare fund as his “personal piggy bank,” charges that might not be surprising considering past reports on his free-spending ways.

“Hector Lopez has an unusual living arrangement – the lavish suburban mansion he calls home is owned by a company he bargains with,” the Daily News reported a couple years ago, for example. “The Cadillac Escalade he drives appears to have been bought with help from the union’s strike fund and he collects a salary that’s $40,000 a year over what’s allowed. All of this for a union that’s swimming in red ink with cash on hand to cover only a week of operations.”

Well, if the prosecutors succeed in their efforts, Mr. Lopez’s life might be a little less lavish going forward. Among other things, he is accused of absorbing hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickback schemes:

“(1) accepting over $740,000 in kickbacks from the third-party administrator of the welfare fund in exchange for ensuring the continued retention of that administrator,
(2) accepting kickbacks from an employer trustee of the local’s welfare fund (“the employer trustee”) in exchange for authorizing the welfare fund to pay fraudulent invoices for a union hall renovation performed by a company owned by the
employer trustee, and
(3) accepting a kickback from the employer trustee in exchange for rigging the bidding process to ensure that a sprinkler installation job was awarded to a company controlled by the employer trustee.”

“As detailed in the indictment, HectorLopez was entrusted with ensuring the sound management of the welfare fund for the benefit ofunion members,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Instead, he turned the fund into a personal piggy bank, lining his pockets withthe fruits of their labors. In doing so, he betrayed the trust of the union members who hadelected him and abused his power for personal profit. His illicit gain was the union member’sloss. The defendant will now be held to account for his actions.”

View the full indictment below: