A public fight between carpenters' union President Douglas J. McCarron and his younger brother, Southwest regional council chief Mike McCarron, spilled into federal court in Los Angeles on Oct. 4.

In the lawsuit, Mike McCarron claimed the international carpenters' union, Douglas McCarron and other union leaders improperly placed the six-state, 31-local council under emergency trusteeship.

The trusteeship violates union and federal laws, the lawsuit claims, and was part of a "family feud" between the brothers precipitated by a fight over the $2-million estate left by their mother, who died in May.

The lawsuit brings up another sensitive matter related to Douglas McCarron's role as a board member of the Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO). In the lawsuit, Mike McCarron says he confronted his older brother over investment losses sustained with their mother's savings.

In 2002, Federal investigators accused Douglas McCarron of insider dealing and stock-price manipulation in his role at ULLICO; he returned $200,000 in stock profits before leaving the board in 2003.

The regional council and Mike McCarron seek unspecified damages from Douglas McCarron and the international union. A federal court rejected on Oct. 10 the regional council's request to lift the international's trusteeship of the regional council.

The council-vs.-international, brother-vs.-brother conflict already had been heard by a union court on Sept. 9-13 in Las Vegas. That tribunal found Mike McCarron guilty of financial mismanagement of funds held in trust for members. The mismanagement included spending $2,300 monthly for flowers and, from 2008 to 2012, overcharging the training fund $4.48 million to lease real estate throughout Southern California, Arizona and Utah. The Southwest council later repaid $4.7 million, the full amount owed plus interest. Mike McCarron was the only trustee charged.