By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
"You could hear the desk drawer open and close as he put the envelopes inside," said an investigator who worked on the case. Gene Hanley was ultimately sentenced to a four-year term for taking bribes.
No specific allegations were ever lodged against the son, but William Hanley was made well aware that prosecutors were taking a hard look at him as well. Over the past year, federal prosecutors won indictments of two shop stewards with close ties to Hanley and who had been assigned to oversee a massive renovation of the old Met Life buildings on Madison Avenue. The stewards, both of whom were local officers, were charged with defrauding the union by submitting phony reports that omitted the names of dozens of union members.
One of the stewards, Frank Proscia, pled guilty in late October. The other, Michael "Mickey" Annucci, is due to go to trial next month. When Annucci was arrested last year, investigators suggested that he help himself by telling what he knew about corruption. Like what? asked Annucci. Like about Bill Hanley, the investigators answered, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
Carpenters are pretty well inured to these goings-on by now, but the members of Local 157 have been burning up their cell-phone minutes over the last month complaining about how they're kept in the dark. Although no official notice has gone out yet, a day-long hearing is expected to be held on December 18. It will be attended by top leaders of the national union in Washington, who can expect an earful from rank-and-file discontents.
One of the questions that members are likely to raise is why only Local 157's officers were scrutinized about their attendance records. While no one I spoke to could vouch for the whereabouts of the ousted officers all day long, several said they could always rely on finding Hanley and Kennedy at the local's offices before 6 a.m. every morning, handling inquiries and making calls to contractors. Asks one disgruntled nail-driver: "Did they check any other locals to see where their officers are all day?"
The probe also follows criticism by the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office that, prior to the Hanley probe, investigator Callahan had been largely ineffective in his role. Members have also protested that the investigator has focused more on Local 157 than Forde's home base, which covers Manhattan's West Side. Callahan's supporters, however, say he has just been following the evidence. The Hanley probe, they say, was spurred by an anonymous tip to his "corruption hotline." If so, carpenters' cell phones are likely to start humming.