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FBI document details alleged misdeeds of Philly union boss

By   /   April 30, 2014  /   No Comments

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A state judge this week unsealed documents from a 2006 FBI investigation into infamous Philadelphia union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty.

The document is a sworn affidavit by FBI Special Agent Kathleen O’Hanlon, who said she had probable cause to believe Dougherty broke federal laws. The agent believed Dougherty unlawfully received free labor at his house and a condo in Wildwood, N.J., and he lied about his income and evaded taxes.

DOUGHERTY: The business manager of IBEW Local 98 and one of the most powerful labor union leaders in Philadelphia was under scrutiny from the FBI, but was never charged with a crime.

At the time, the FBI was seeking a warrant to search Doughtery’s south Philadelphia home. Dougherty was never charged with a crime.

Dougherty was and still is the business manager of the Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

In the affidavit, O’Hanlon claimed Dougherty received $300,000 in free renovations to his home, provided by members of the union, including the installation of “multiple plasma televisions,” a security system, other electrical work and general renovations.

Dougherty told investigators his parents were paying for the renovations, but O’Hanlon said in the affidavit that there was no evidence payment was made.

The FBI agent testified Dougherty and his wife, Cecilia, made frequent deposits and withdrawals of large sums of cash in “what appears to be an effort to conceal financial dealings.”

She suspected Dougherty and his wife of underreporting their income on tax forms filed between 2002 and 2005, as part of an effort to disguise more than $106,000 in “cash deposits they received from an, as yet, unknown and untaxed source of income.”

O’Hanlon theorized Dougherty may have made his additional income from organizations and charities “overpaying for functions” at a south Philadelphia pub partially owned by the union boss. Dougherty also had access to political funds due to his role as business manager of the union and “made significant withdrawals from these funds without supporting documentation,” according to the affidavit.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge Lisa Rau, who also dismissed a 2009 libel lawsuit filed by Dougherty against the Philadelphia Inquirer, disclosed the documents this week.

Dougherty took issue with editorials published by the Inquirer during his 2008 run for state Senate. He was defeated in a bitter primary battle against state Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, who was backed by former state Sen. Vince Fumo, Dougherty’s long-time political rival.

Dougherty’s lawyers characterized the release of the documents as an effort by the paper to retaliate against Dougherty for bringing the lawsuit.

They reminded everyone that the federal investigation is “long over with no charges having ever been filed against John Dougherty.”

Boehm can be reached at Eric@PAIndependent.com and follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.

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Eric is a reporter for Watchdog.org and former bureau chief for Pennsylvania Independent. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he enjoys great weather and low taxes while writing about state governments, pensions, labor issues and economic/civil liberty. Previously, he worked for more than three years in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, covering Pennsylvania state politics and occasionally sneaking across the border to Delaware to buy six-packs of beer. He has also lived (in order of desirability) in Brussels, Belgium, Pennsburg, Pa., Fairfield, Conn., and Rochester, N.Y. His work has appeared in Reason Magazine, National Review Online, The Freeman Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Examiner and elsewhere. He received a bachelor's degree from Fairfield University in 2009, but he refuses to hang on his wall until his student loans are fully paid off sometime in the mid-2020s. When he steps away from the computer, he enjoys drinking craft beers in classy bars, cheering for an eclectic mix of favorite sports teams (mostly based in Philadelphia) and traveling to new places.

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