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SEIU Local 32BJ Officials to Face Civil Racketeering, Conspiracy, Fraud Charges Under RICO Act

NEW YORK, April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Allied International Union has filed a civil complaint under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which charges Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ and others with racketeering, extortion, fraud and other illegal activities. Unlike a number of recent employer-initiated RICO cases against SEIU, this lawsuit is brought by a labor union to end unlawful SEIU conduct.

Filed in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, the lawsuit calls for a jury to hear charges that for more than two years, SEIU officials at the local and international level have engaged in and continue to engage in an illegal conspiracy to destroy the Allied International Union (AIU) and to illegally manipulate its 6,800 members as part of an attempt by SEIU to raid AIU's membership. The AIU represents security professionals in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and California.

"The RICO Act contains specific legal remedies for private parties that have been harmed by illegal racketeering," said Dennis Devaney, attorney for the AIU. In its complaint the AIU asserts that the SEIU has knowingly and repeatedly violated federal racketeering laws in a long campaign to drive the Allied International Union out of existence.

The AIU complaint charges that SEIU and related parties are extorting AIU and its members by, among other things, using SEIU member dues to conduct smear campaigns against AIU officers, paying for puppet candidates to run in AIU elections, and coercing agencies that hire AIU members to take damaging economic actions against AIU.

The consequences of a civil RICO claim are severe. Plaintiffs can recover attorney fees and treble damages for injuries proved to have been caused by the defendants. In addition to SEIU Local 32BJ, the suit also names SEIU Local 1877 (Los Angeles) and SEIU International as defendants, along with SEIU officials Michael Fishman, Neil Diaz and Andrew Friedman.

The case number for the complaint is 08-cv-3357, and the lawsuit is before U.S. District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

The Allied International Union is dedicated to serving its members who protect the public, building owners, universities, state and municipal agencies, and airports in the New York City metropolitan area, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California. The union represents only security professionals. With more than 6,800 members in numerous states, the Allied International Union has worked for more than 35 years to represent its members effectively on wages, benefits, safety and health issues, and job security.

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