Elizabeth Warren accepting $$ from dubious folks including a felon who stole union funds

Massachusetts Democratic candidate for US Senate Elizabeth Warren has accepted campaign funds from Michael Ansara of Carlisle, MA. Ansara’s name was politically toxic in 2000 as a result of his helping to steal union funds and steer the money toward particular candidates in union elections. The crime basically stole the will of AFL CIO union members.

ABC News reported:


The Democratic Party abruptly ended its relationship Wednesday with a telephone fund-raising firm after learning that the company founder (Michael Ansara) continued to work there even after his conviction in the Teamsters union scandal.

Records show the company, The Share Group Inc., was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Democratic National Committee and Vice President Gore’s election campaign in 1999 and 2000.

The action, on the third day of the Democratic convention, was taken after ABCNEWS told the party that founder Michael Ansara continued to work at the company as a contract employee and that his wife still owns half the company.

“We have verified the information that he is a contract employee and based on that information we plan to terminate any future business with Share Group,” DNC spokesman Jenny Backus said.

Democratic Party officials said they had ascertained before they hired the firm in late 1997 that Ansara wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations.

Pleaded Guilty to Conspiracy

At the same time, correspondence shows they were informed that Ansara still owned more than half the firm and had pleaded guilty to conspiring with other Teamsters to misuse union dues for the union’s 1996 election.

“While Michael Ansara no longer has any operational control of Share Group, he continues to own approximately 56 percent of the company,” the company wrote the DNC in fall 1997.

A few months later, Ansara shifted the stock to his wife, who remains on the company board. The company said Ansara was removed as chief executive in 1997 but has been hired back as a contract employee.

“I think his decisions and his actions were regrettable and he has asked for our forgiveness a multitude of times,” Share Group’s current president, Dennis McCarthy, said in an interview Wednesday.

“We value Michael’s guidance and insight. He is a damn hard worker,” McCarthy said, adding Ansara does not work on any of the Democratic or Gore business.

Another politically active Democratic married couple Warren has accepted money from is particularly curious.

Gerald and Elaine Schuster. .

They are union busting employers and the AFL CIO union has made it known that where ever and when ever the Schusters are involved, they will not participate.

Gerald Schuster is the Chairman of Continental Wingate, Inc. a company that does real estate investment, particularly in government subsidized, low income residential housing. Some may characterize the Schusters as “slum lords”. Gerald Schuster was caught pocketing $1.4M federal dollars meant to repair and upgrade the poor conditions of their tenements which went to ruin due to their neglect at the expense of their desperate low-income tenants.

According to a 2011 New York Daily News article:

They stood up to a slumlord, ruthless gangsters, predatory investors and the federal government. Now tenants at the Diego Beekman Houses are standing up to be recognized.

They took over the sprawling Mott Haven complex in 2003, had it renovated and are working with a new management company to make the complex safer and cleaner.

“Before we were at the mercy of the government, the drug dealers and the property owner,” said Carmen Santos, 68.

“Now we have a say-so in what happens here. We can accomplish what we want.”

The 38-building complex scattered near Beekman Ave. opened in 1974. Owned and managed by Boston-based Continental Wingate, rents were subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But Wingate allowed the complex to deteriorate and crime there spiraled out of control.

By the time crack cocaine hit the Bronx in the early ’80s, Diego Beekman was ruled by The Cowboys, a vicious gang that laid murder victims in rows on the street.

“It was jungle habitat,” said Johnnie Johnson, 46, who rarely left her apartment out of fear. “There were holes in the walls. … I was always scared.”

“We had more drugs than the pharmacy and more guns than the precinct,” Santos said. “So much killing. …It was mayhem.”

Fed up, Santos and Johnson’s mother, Wilma, formed a tenant patrol and put pressure on HUD to clean up the complex.

“Law enforcement knew what was going on, but turned a blind eye,” said Arline Parks, 51, another tenant leader. “People were making millions here.”

It took years and the tenant leaders were intimidated – even mugged for circulating petitions seeking better conditions – but when the feds finally investigated Wingate, they uncovered neglect and fraud. HUD took control, renovating every Diego Beekman unit and arranging for an FBI raid that crippled The Cowboys.

The entire article can be found online http://articles.nydailynews.co…

According to the NY Times, the Schuster’s company has also “been accused by Federal officials of misappropriating $1.4 million” of federal funds.

A real estate developer who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for President Clinton and the Democratic Party has been accused by Federal officials of misappropriating $1.4 million from a troubled housing complex in the South Bronx even as the tenements fell apart.

At the same time, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, which holds the mortgages for the Jose DeDiego Beekman Houses, is moving to seize the complex of 38 buildings and 1,238 apartments in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.

For the last 25 years, the complex has been owned by Gerald Schuster, general partner of the Continental Wingate Company, a real estate company in Needham, Mass., that has rehabilitated dilapidated buildings in New York and Massachusetts with Federal subsidies, tax breaks and low-interest loans.

According to an audit by the Inspector General’s Office at HUD, Mr. Schuster and his companies siphoned $1.4 million in funds from the complex to pay company employees and to repay loans to his own companies. Some of the funds were also diverted to other investments.

The findings of the audit were referred to the United States Attorney’s Office, which notified Mr. Schuster in a March 25 letter that it was considering civil action in connection with the allegations. The United States Attorney has not filed a lawsuit.

The entire NY Times article “Owner of Bronx Tenements Misused Funds, Audit Finds” is available on line here http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03…

An informative article on the Schuster’s was written by the left leaning Village Voice of New York in 1999 at the height of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the US Senate.  The VV wrote:

On December 1, the nipped-and-tucked, professedly progressive pretender to New York’s open Senate seat-recently certified as a Friend of Labor by none other than James P. Hoffa himself-strode into Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel for a $500,000 fundraiser. That the party was given by Elaine Schuster-wife of Continental Wingate real estate tycoon Gerald Schuster, a man held in such low regard by Massachusetts organized labor that the state’s AFL-CIO recently passed a resolution boycotting any fundraiser that boasts his presence-elicited virtually no hue and cry.

The VV wrote of their labor troubles:

According to SEIU officials, earlier this year, employees at the Schusters’ Wilbraham Nursing Home voted to unionize after a long series of conflicts with management over staffing inadequacies and fair treatement of workers. (This isn’t the first time the Schusters have had labor troubles. In 1993, 150 protesters, including Boston City Council members, demonstrated in front of Continental Wingate’s headquarters after its subsidiary, Wingate Health Management, replaced a construction company because it decided the previously agreed-upon use of union labor was too expensive.)

This 1999 Village Voice article can be found at http://www.villagevoice.com/19…

To the Warren sign holding union members committing long hours away from their families and sacrificing personal time for Elizabeth Warren…are you sure?

About Ken Pittman