The current president of the local International Longshoremen’s Association was arrested for demanding and accepting bribes, federal prosecutors say.
Glenn Blicht, 57, and of Wilton, Connecticut, was arrested Friday morning and accused of honest services fraud and a violation of the Taft-Hartley Act for demanding and accepting at least $150,000 in bribe payments from an employer.
The International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO is the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 65,000 people, according to the union's website.
According to a complaint, Blicht, who served as a union officer since 2009, was tasked with acting in the best interests of the union and its members, including avoiding personal financial conflicts of interest. However, prosecutors say that Blicht demanded and received cash payments from an employer who employed a number of union members.
According to the complaint, in exchange for these bribes, Blicht declined to file arbitration claims on behalf of union members.
In total, Blicht is alleged to have received at least about $150,000 in bribes from the employer in the span of about 10 years.
In communications obtained by prosecutors, some which were recorded, Blicht repeatedly referred to the bribe payments as “tickets,” in which each ticket equaled a $1,000 bribe, according to the complaint.
Blicht was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bond. He was made to surrender his passport and is only allowed to travel within the tri-state, and must submit to drug testing. He is barred from having any contact with potential victims or witnesses.
If convicted of the honest serviced fraud, Blicht faces up to 20 years in prison. Additionally, he also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted of the demanding or receiving prohibited payments as a labor union official.
Attorney information for Blicht was not immediately known. The preliminary court hearing is scheduled for August 26.