Newsday

(New York, NY)

 

 

 

Jailed Ex-Union Leader Faces Bribery Charges

 

By Robert E; Kessler; STAFF WRITER

March 22, 2001

 

Former Long Island union leader Michael LaBarbara Jr., who is serving a 9-year sentence after using union dues to build himself a posh Medford training complex, apparently was not satisfied with prison lifestyle, according to federal officials.

 

LaBarbara, the former head of Local 66 of the Laborer's International Union, has been charged with bribing a guard to help him smuggle food, toiletries, tattoo ink and a sperm kit into the federal prison in Allenwood, Pa., officials said. Sperm kits are smuggled into and out of prison by inmates who want to impregnate wives or girlfriends, said Wayne Samuelson, an assistant U.S. attorney in Williamsport, Pa.

 

Samuelson said LaBarbara, 64, of Holtsville, did not plan to use the kit but was smuggling it into the prison for an unnamed convict.

 

LaBarbara pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of conspiracy and bribery at an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Williamsport, Samuelson said.

 

LaBarbara's attorney, Robert Altchiler of Manhattan, could not be reached to comment yesterday, but he has said his client is innocent and has been falsely accused by a corrupt guard who was attempting to make a deal with the government.

 

If convicted, LaBarbara faces an additional sentence of 18 months to 2 years, said Samuelson, who declined to detail the items that allegedly were smuggled in. The items are considered contraband and are not allowed into the prison, Samuelson said.

 

According to court papers, LaBarbara paid an unnamed guard $1,600 between January 1998 and December 1999 to receive the items from an unnamed person on Long Island.

 

LaBarbara was sentenced in 1996 to 9 years in prison after being convicted of fraud and accepting kickbacks from contractors, following an investigation by the federal Office of Labor Racketeering of the U.S. Department of Labor. During LaBarbara's trial, federal officials said he had looted union dues to build an ostensible union training center in Medford that included a sauna and golf course. The center has been sold.


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