For immediate release
July 16, 2009
Pilar Weiss, [email protected]
New York – SEIU VP Bruce Raynor may need to find a new legal team after today’s hearing before Judge George Daniels in the Federal District Court of Manhattan. Tom Kennedy, Raynor’s chief legal architect behind the secession plan, was actually billing UNITE HERE for his work, while advising Raynor and SEIU how to secede from the union and remove the union’s assets.
After a round of withering questions from Judge Daniels aimed at Kennedy’s clear conflict of interest, Kennedy was given 20 days to convince Judge Daniels why he should not be removed from the case.
In another significant boost for UNITE HERE, the court ordered Raynor and his SEIU staff to "stop interfering" with the management of UNITE HERE’s New York building, a UNITE HERE asset which Raynor and his allies have attempted to seize and disrupt. While plotting with SEIU to secede from UNITE HERE, Raynor last December unlawfully altered the governance structure of the union’s property in Manhattan, attempting to remove it from UNITE HERE’s control. Since that time, Raynor and his cohorts have attempted to block UNITE HERE from managing the building’s operations, including leases and building repairs. They have also attempted to block access to the building’s income.
Today’s proceedings were part of the Gillis vs. Wilhelm case, which was filed in relation to Bruce Raynor’s attempt to conspire against UNITE HERE to disrupt its organizing and function, promote secession of union affiliates, and remove hundreds of millions of dollars in union funds and assets. Today’s actions were a status check in the ongoing litigation but the evidence and testimony provided began to paint a clear picture of the Raynor-led scheme to hijack UNITE HERE’s resources.
UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm noted, "Raynor’s scheme to destroy our union is finally coming to light. Raynor and his SEIU staff have continued to wage a campaign of division and raiding upon our members across North America. We are committed to ensuring that assets that have been built by generations of hard-working members remain in the hands of our members and are not subject to the takeover scheme of any individual or group."