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Belleville Man Sentenced to Six Months for Bribe-Taking

Kearney charged with selling labor union 'books'

A Belleville man was sentenced Thursday to six months in custody for taking a bribe while he worked for a Jersey City labor union, the US Attorney’s Office announced.

James Kearney Sr., 76, was the business manager of Local 45 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers on Aug. 1, 2011, when he met with a cooperating witness who worked for a construction company. The witness asked about using non-union workers at a Hudson County construction project.

The witness gave Kearney $3,000 in cash as a good-faith payment for “union books,” documentation certifying a worker’s membership in a union. Kearney said he would be willing to provide books issued by a different local.

Eleven days later the witness again met with Kearney, this time at a Jersey City coffee shop, where Kearney told the witness he could obtain books at a cost of $5,000 each plus a $728-per-worker payment for initiation fees. Kearney also requested personal information about each worker receiving a book, including birth dates and Social Security numbers.

The witness met with Kearney again that month, where he provided Kearney with information for two workers who were actually undercover federal agents. Kearney then accepted a $10,000 cash payment for the books. A few days later, on Sept. 2, 2011, a South Jersey local sent one of the undercover agents a receipt for $728 to cover the initiation fee. 

In addition to the six months in prison or a halfway house, Kearney was also sentenced to six months of home confinement, two years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine. He was also ordered to pay $13,000 in restitution.

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