A Fairfield County man who was the former president of the local International Longshoremen’s Association has admitted to accepting $150,000 in bribes in exchange for not representing union members’ interests in New York.
Glenn Blicht, 57, of Wilton, pleaded guilty to violating the Taft-Hartley Act by demanding and accepting bribes from an employer.
From 2009 through the present, Blicht served as an officer of the union, including as its president for many years. In that role, he had a duty to act in the best interests of the union and its members, including by avoiding personal financial conflicts of interest with the union, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said.
Instead, Blicht demanded and received cash payments from the employer of a number of members of the union. In exchange for these bribes, Blicht declined to file arbitration claims on behalf of union members. In total, Blicht received at least approximately $150,000 in bribes from the employer over approximately 10 years.
In communications, a number of which were recorded, Blicht repeatedly referred to the bribe payments as “tickets,” in which each ticket equaled a $1,000 bribe.
Blicht instructed an official of the employer as to the number of “tickets” to pay Blicht each time. Indeed, during the past year, the official met with Blicht several times and paid him bribes on approximately three occasions, at the direction of law enforcement. Each of these meetings was recorded, Berman noted.
“As the president of a labor union, Glenn Blicht’s duty was to fight for his union members,” Berman said. “Instead, for many years, he demanded and accepted bribes – and in return, he sold out his union members. Our Office is committed to prosecuting those who abuse positions of trust for their own gain.”
Blicht pleaded guilty to one count of demanding or receiving prohibited payments as a labor union official. He also agreed to a 13-year ban which will prohibit him from being employed by a labor union or employee benefit plan. Blicht has also agreed to forfeit $150,000 and to pay restitution.
When he is sentenced, Blicht faces up to five years in prison.
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