806 F.2d 535 (5th Cir. 1986), 85-4741, United States v. Carlock

Docket Nº:85-4741.
Citation:806 F.2d 535
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Willard S. CARLOCK, Sr., Mitchell J. Scimemi, Willard S. Carlock, Jr., and Columbus J. Laird, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:December 09, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 535

806 F.2d 535 (5th Cir. 1986)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Willard S. CARLOCK, Sr., Mitchell J. Scimemi, Willard S.

Carlock, Jr., and Columbus J. Laird, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 85-4741.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

December 9, 1986

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Oliver Schrumpf, Sulphur, La. (Court-appointed), for Carlock, Sr.

Alcide J. Gray, Lake Charles, La., for Scimemi.

John P. Navarre, Oakdale, La. (Court-appointed), for Laird.

Louis J. Cosenza, Leesville, La. (Court-appointed), for Carlock, Jr.

Sara Criscitelli, Washington, D.C., Joseph S. Cage, Jr., U.S. Atty., Shreveport, La., Larry J. Regan, Lake Charles, La., William S. Lynch, Peter C. Sprung, Crim. Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for the U.S.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Before CLARK, Chief Judge, WISDOM, and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges.

PATRICK E. HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judge:

This appeal attacks convictions of certain labor leaders and union members in a jury trial of a sixty count indictment charging violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Taft-Hartley Act, extortion and obstruction of justice. We first describe generally the charged conduct and, after describing the indictment, we treat the specific attacks of each defendant. Finally, we affirm on all counts.

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I

By the government's evidence, during the 1970's Southwestern Louisiana was an area of labor unrest characterized by violence and corruption. Two outbreaks, known today as the Ellender Bridge and the Jupiter Chemical incidents, occurred within a nine-month span in 1975 and 1976, and contributed significantly to an atmosphere of violence and fear for union contractors and employees. 1 Willard S. Carlock, Sr., the business agent for the Lake Charles district office of Local 406 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, and others were indicted and tried in state court for their alleged role in the Ellender Bridge incident. They were acquitted, but ironically, these convictions had their genesis in those acquittals.

The government's overarching theory revolved around Carlock, Sr.'s abuse of his union office. As business agent for the district office of Local 406, Carlock, Sr., assigned work orders or referrals to union members and permit workers--operators of heavy construction equipment for construction sites. Appointed by the state business manager for Local 406, Carlock, Sr., was not subject to election or recall by the members of his local district. That is, he was not directly accountable to the local union members.

Columbus J. Laird was his assistant, and, like Carlock, Sr., could assign work orders or referrals. Willard S. Carlock, Jr., Mitchell J. Scimemi, and Michael Greer were often appointed by Carlock, Sr., and Laird to be master mechanics 2 and thus positioned to affect work progress. All, the government says, were confederates of Carlock, Sr., in his corrupt work as the union business agent.

According to the government, Carlock, Sr., abused the office of business agent by accepting payments from local contractors employing members of Local 406 and by extorting payments from the contractors with threats of sabotage and general labor problems. He was also accused of extorting payments from local union workers by denying them job referrals if they failed to contribute to his defense fund, created to pay the debts generated by the state court trial.

  1. The Indictment

    After two refusals by the United States Attorney's Office to pursue this case, a grand jury was convened in Lake Charles at the instigation of a United States Senate Subcommittee. 3 On January 17, 1985, the grand jury returned the following sixty count indictment.

    Count 1 of the indictment charged Carlock, Sr., Laird, Carlock, Jr., Scimemi, Houston Byrd, Jr., 4 Monroe Brabham, and Greer with conspiring to racketeer in violation of RICO, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1962(d), through their control of the affairs of Local 406. This count charged that Carlock, Sr., and Laird abused their positions as business agent and as assistant business agent, as follows: (1) by assigning jobs to ensure allegiance from union members; (2) by instigating

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    violent confrontation with local contractors, such as the Ellender Bridge and Jupiter Chemical incidents, so as to create a climate of violence and fear among union contractors and employees; (3) by demanding money from employers of Local 406 members in violation of the Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186; (4) by extorting the rental of unwanted and unnecessary equipment from Willard S. Carlock, Jr., Equipment Rentals, Inc., Cat-Low, Inc., Dana-K, Inc., and Tri-Coast, Inc., in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951; (5) by making job assignments to ensure "kickbacks" from the individual members of Local 406 to Carlock, Sr.'s "defense fund"; and (6) by manipulating job assignments to exact sexual favors from female union members. Count 1 also charged Carlock, Jr., Scimemi, Byrd, Greer, and Brabham with abusing their power as appointed master mechanics by exacting kickbacks from union members, by assisting Carlock, Sr., in the extortion of equipment rentals from employers of Local 406 workers, and by demanding wage payments to Local 406 members for work not performed. Underlying this count were thirty-four charged racketeering acts. Count 2 charged the defendants with conducting and participating, directly and indirectly, in the affairs of Local 406 through a pattern of racketeering, consisting of the same thirty-four racketeering acts set forth in Count 1.

    Count 3 charged Carlock, Sr., and Carlock, Jr., with investing income received through racketeering activity in enterprises, the activities of which affected interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1962(a). According to this count, Carlock, Sr., and Carlock, Jr., received equipment rental income from local contractors in violation of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186, and passed it to Willard S. Carlock, Jr., Equipment Rental, Inc. and Cat-Low. Four racketeering acts supported this count.

    Counts 4-6 charged that Carlock, Sr., and Carlock, Jr., demanded and received equipment rentals from R.L. Abshire Construction, Inc., which employed members of Local 406, in violation of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186. Similarly, Counts 7-11 charged that Carlock, Sr., Carlock, Jr., and Brabham demanded and received equipment rentals from Pullman-Torkelson, Inc., which also employed members of Local 406.

    Count 12 charged that Carlock, Sr., Carlock, Jr., and Brabham forced Pullman-Torkelson to pay for the repair of a bulldozer owned by Cat-Low in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951. According to this count, the confederates threatened Pullman-Torkelson with work slowdowns, stoppages, and physical harm unless Pullman-Torkelson repaired the bulldozer.

    Counts 13-20 charged Carlock, Sr., and Scimemi with demanding and receiving equipment rentals from Union Engineering and Construction Co., which employed Local 406 members, in violation of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186. According to these counts, Carlock, Sr., and Scimemi forced Union Engineering to rent a 225 Cathoe from Dana-K. The separate counts are drawn from individual payments made by Union Engineering to Dana-K.

    Count 21 charged Carlock, Sr., with extortion of DuPont & Associates. According to this count, Carlock, Sr., threatened DuPont with work slowdowns, stoppages, and physical harm unless it paid him approximately $2000. Similarly, Counts 22-27 charged Carlock, Sr., with extorting equipment rentals from DuPont on behalf of Dana-K. Each count charged a separate payment by DuPont to Dana-K. Count 28 charged Carlock, Sr., with demanding and receiving a cash payment from DuPont in violation of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186.

    Count 29 charged Carlock, Sr., Scimemi, and Laird with extorting the rental of Scimemi's truck by Mar-Len of Louisiana, Inc., in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951. Similarly, Counts 30-34 charged these three men with extorting payments from Mar-Len for the road-boring services of CAFI. Each count is drawn from a separate payment by Mar-Len to CAFI.

    Counts 35-41 charged Carlock, Sr., and Scimemi with extorting equipment rentals by Mar-Len on behalf of Tri-Coast by threatening work slowdowns, stoppages,

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    and physical harm in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951. Each count is drawn from a separate payment by Mar-Len to Tri-Coast.

    Count 42 charged Carlock, Sr., with demanding and receiving items of value from Dunham-Price, Inc., in violation of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186. According to this count, Carlock, Sr., demanded and received three diesel engines from Ray Campbell of Dunham-Price. Similarly, Counts 43-55 charged Carlock, Sr., with demanding and receiving payments from Tri-Coast.

    Count 56 alleged that Carlock, Sr., and Carlock, Jr., extorted $11,000.00 from Tri-Coast by threatening work slowdowns, stoppages, and physical harm in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951. In Count 57, Carlock, Sr., was alleged to have demanded and received cash payments from Garland Davidson in exchange for three work referral slips, signed in blank, in violation of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 186.

    Count 59 charged that Laird and Greer obstructed justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1503. According to this count, Laird and Greer attempted to influence Jerry Wade French to lie to a federal grand jury that was investigating the racketeering activities ultimately charged in this indictment. Similarly, Count 60 charged Byrd with lying to a federal grand jury in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1503.

  2. The Trial and Conviction

    Trial began in Lake Charles, but was...

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