In what seemingly appears to be a monthly occurrence, another representative of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has been indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges.
Michael Townsend, 64, of Dearborn Heights, a business agent and trustee of Teamsters Local 337, was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury in Detroit and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
According to the government, the unelected Townsend took bribes from a produce company, LaGrasso Brothers Produce Inc., in exchange for his participation in a scheme that made it appear that the company's workers were unionized, when in fact they were not.
“This defendant was a union official who was entrusted to help working people organize,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in aJune 14 statement announcing the indictment. “He betrayed workers for his own profit. We are seeking to hold him and the company accountable for their conduct.”
Townsend and his co-conspirators, the indictment said, would use LaGrasso family members and managers of LaGrasso Brothers Produce to pose as employees of Sam LaGrasso Produce and enroll them as union members of Teamsters Local 337. Then, they entered into collective bargaining agreements between Local 337 and Sam LaGrasso Produce to make it look like the employees at LaGrasso Brothers Produce were unionized.
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