Tax evasion? For hiring workers
off the books? Really? That’s all the feds could come up with?
I’m talking about Mark Piche and
Kevin Rogers who were vilified in the press for misappropriating SEARCO union
funds, beating inmates, recruiting inmates into the Conservative Party to vote
in the primary, fixing parking tickets and other illegal and/or unethical
The deal on the table right now is
for Piche to plead guilty to tax evasion – for hiring workers off the books at the
Red Front, his family restaurant – and if called on to testify against Rogers
he will do so truthfully. I’m not sure how else you are supposed to testify
under oath but I’m guessing the feds need Piche, in his former capacity of the
union’s president, to tell them he didn’t know Rogers, as vice president of the
union, inappropriately spent union money and that he didn’t know anything about
it. I understand the two used to be pretty good friends. I’m guessing that’s no
longer the case.
Piche will see no jail time for
the tax evasion charge and none of his family members will face any charges. Roger’s
fate is yet to be determined. The former resigned after 22 years as a CO while
it takes 25 to collect a full pension while the latter has been on paid
It’s some story though. Rogers and
Piche have headed up the union for years and everything were rolling along
pretty smooth and as near as I can tell from reading the stories their union brethren
didn’t care too much – there wasn’t any organizational structure to speak of,
they didn’t hold regular meetings and didn’t have formal elections when called
for in the bylaws.
All that changed when Piche and
Rogers decided to buck Sheriff Jack Mahar and throw their support behind Gary
Gordon, an investigator with the DA’s Office who took on the sheriff last year.
Mahar, obviously, didn’t like it when members of his own staff tried to oust
him but who can blame him for retaliating and bringing some of the above
mentioned stuff to light. On the flip side of that retribution against an
underling for political activities is against the law. On the flip side of
that, what the Mahar faction exposed was certainly unethical and evidently
illegal, at least in Piche’s case. We’ll have to see what happens with Rogers
should he get charged with spending union dues on stuff he should not have. I'm hearing even with Piche's testimony, the Feds are going to have a tough time proving anything.
(As an aside, Gordon got dirtied
up too when he was recorded talking to some of the corrections officers about
fixing tickets but the state Attorney General’s Office concluded its
investigation without bringing charges or any other type or reprimand.”
I say it’s illegal and it is
according to the letter of the law but I’m just guessing that if you take a
walk around downtown Troy or any other city or town in the entire country, you
can find small businesses on every block who hire part timers off the books.
Given the cost of unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, withholding and
federal and state taxes, it could cost an employer more than what the employee
is actually getting paid. It’s particularly expensive in this state, but that’s
This story – which had all the
ingredients including politics, unions, corruption, revenge, prison guards,
inmates, friends turning on friends, wire taps, and more intrigue than a
dime-store novel - is nearing a conclusion with more of a poof than a loud explosion.
Labels: Gordon, Mahar, Piche, Rogers