DYER, IN. (ECWd) –
On Thursday August 16, 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced the indictment of two union officials. Jeffrey Veach, the current President of Local 395 Iron Workers Union and Thomas Williamson Sr., former Business Agent of Local 395 Iron Workers Union were indicted on multiple counts of Hobbs Act Extortion, Conspiracy and Attempted Hobbs Act extortion.
The federal civil lawsuit, now pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, was filed on behalf of D5 Iron Works, Inc., and several of its employees.
According to the Justice Department press release, the charges arose from conduct taking place on January 7, 2016 with an unnamed company in the press release. (The ECWds have since learned it was D5 Iron Works, Inc.) The union’s efforts to obtain a contract with D5 Iron Works failed. The lawsuit alleges Williamson Sr. decided that the union would take it “old school”. Several hours later near the Plum Creek Christian Academy that was letting out, several members of Local 395, including its president and business agent, physically attacked employees of D5 Iron Works, Inc. Scott Kundingo, a D5 employee, was thrown to the ground and repeatedly punched, clubbed, and kicked in the face with steel toe boots. The lawsuit detailed Kundingo’s injuries including a shattered jaw and multiple fractures.
Both Veach and Williamson answered the lawsuit by exercising their 5th Amendment Privilege to not self-incriminate.
The case is being investigated by the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the FBI with the assistance of the Dyer Indiana Police Department. The government is represented by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana and two attorneys from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit, Conor Mulroe and Robert Tully.
Robert T. Hanlon of Woodstock, Illinois and Michael Avakian formerly with Wimberly Lawson and Avakian (Washington D.C.) filed the suit on behalf of D5 and its employees. Attorney Hanlon was unavailable for comment. Michael Avakian since withdrew from representing Plaintiffs to accept a position as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor.