Codefendant, A Former Philadelphia Union Boss, Was Found Guilty Of Embezzling More Than $650K

John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, a former labour leader in Philadelphia, and a codefendant were found guilty on Thursday of misusing over $650,000 in union funds for personal use. This is the second conviction that federal prosecutors have obtained against the influential figure since a broad indictment in 2019.

Codefendant, A Former Philadelphia Union Boss, Was Found Guilty Of Embezzling More Than $650K

After a month-long trial, a jury found Dougherty, who oversaw Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for almost thirty years, guilty of conspiracy, embezzlement, and numerous other crimes. Prosecutors stated that he and codefendant Brian Burrows, the former president of Local 98, spent the money on food, concerts, house remodelling, and even a cookie tray for a relative’s baby’s christening.

“This was a case where all the members who paid these people’s salaries had their pockets picked by them, and we’re glad we can finally hold them accountable,” U.S. Attorney Frank Costell was quoted as saying by The Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported the verdict.

Following the presentation of evidence that included recordings from government wiretaps, the jury debated for several days. According to reports, one witness, Anthony Massa, stated in court that he managed thousands of dollars worth of upgrades at Dougherty’s brother Kevin, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice,’s Philadelphia residence. Later on, a justice’s attorney referred to the witness as “an admitted liar.”

“It was a complicated case,” Dougherty said after the verdict. “The jury elected to believe Tony Massa, and the case was over … Everything else just fell in line.”

To maintain a firm hold on construction jobs, Dougherty, 63, was found guilty of bribery in the past for maintaining a member of the city council on the union payroll. Bobby Henon, the ex-council member, is incarcerated for three and a half years.

Gregory Pagano, the defence attorney, said Dougherty, a longtime influential figure in Pennsylvania politics, felt that “you have to spend money to make money” and ascribed the expenditure to “negligence, not fraud.”

He claimed that his client was a 24-hour employee of the union.

Following the decision on Thursday, prosecutors requested that Dougherty be placed under arrest; however, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl turned down their request. In two of Dougherty’s cases, he set a sentencing date of March 20. That same month, he is expected to go on trial in a third case involving an extortion charge.

Burrows and Dougherty were both found not guilty on three charges.

Burrows’ sentencing is scheduled for March 21.

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