Chesterton Tribune

Former Local 150 president pleads guilty

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The former president of Operating Engineers Local 150 has pleaded guilty, in an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, to a misdemeanor charge of violating federal labor law.

William E. Dugan, 76, of Hancock, Md., has pleaded guilty to demanding and accepting, in 2005, a pair of concrete buffalo feeders—valued in excess of $900—from “Company A,” which employs members of Local 150.

Dugan, formerly of Mt. Prospect, Ill., operates a buffalo farm in Maryland. He is the retired president and business manager of Local 150, which represents around 23,000 heavy equipment operators, some 4,100 of them in Northern Indiana.

It is expected that Dugan could receive a prison sentence, under federal guidelines, of 10 to 16 months in addition to any supervised release, fine, and restitution which may be ordered by the court, according to the plea agreement.

As stipulated by that agreement, Dugan ordered a Local 150 employee, in April 2005, to contact the vice-president of Company A in Elgin, Ill., and instruct the vice-president to have manufactured two “concrete open pipe-shaped devices” to be used as buffalo feeding troughs. Each weighed between three and four tons, and on their completion Dugan ordered another Local 150 employee to transport the feeders to Dugan’s buffalo farm in Hancock, Md.

Dugan did not pay for the buffalo feeders, the plea agreement states.

Then, in July 2005, Dugan had a second pair manufactured by Company A, again had a Local 150 employee transport the feeders to the farm, and again did not pay for them.

Other Matters

Dugan also admitted to the following violations of labor law, although he was not charged in connection with any of them, the agreement states:

•In October and November 2002, Company B—a firm located in Illinois and employing Local 150 members, with a facility in Pennsylvania—rented at Dugan’s direction a front-end loader for use on his farm. It cost Company B around $7,265, which Dugan did not reimburse.

•In January 2005, Dugan purchased a skid steer—a small four-wheel drive machine—from Company B for the “below-market price of $2,400.” The true market price was between $7,000 and $11,000, and although the skid steer was functional, Company B provided Dugan with a sale receipt which identified the machine as having “an inoperable engine and damaged lift arms” in order to “conceal and justify the below-market price.” A Local 150 member was ordered to transport the skid steer to Dugan’s farm.

•Each autumn in 2003, 2004, and 2005, a farmer who grew corn on property owned by Local 150 was ordered to supply Dugan with around two 400-bushel truckloads of feed-grade corn for use on his farm. Total estimated value of the corn: $4,800. A Local 150 member driving a Local 150 semi-tractor trailer delivered the corn to Dugan’s farm.

•In the spring of 2003 Dugan had a front-end loader belonging to Local 150 delivered to his farm and then, six weeks later, returned to the union’s Apprentice Skills Improvement Program (ASIP). The value of Dugan’s use of the loader: $2,100.

•From 2001 through 2006 Dugan converted to his own use a semi-tractor trailer belonging to ASIP for the transportation of items to his farm. The value of that use: no less than $15,000.

•In August 2005 Dugan filed a “materially false” form with the U.S. Department of Labor indicating that he had received only a $50 Christmas gift from an accounting firm which did business with Local 150, failing to disclose his receipt of the concrete buffalo feeders and the corn.

The Agreement

The plea agreement requires Dugan to make a total restitution of $10,800 to Local 150 and ASIP.

By entering into the agreement, Dugan waives his rights both to a trial and to appeal.

Posted 3/24/2010