A special independent panel of three retired union officers last month found Maddaloni and Patchell guilty of violating provisions in the union’s constitution. In addition to the permanent expulsion, Maddaloni was fined $700,000 and Patchell $500,000. The union’s general executive board appointed the panel to hear charges filed by individual union members, locals and state associations.

"I know that you will find the facts in this report extremely disturbing, as I do," plumbers’ President William P. Hite wrote in the July issue of the union’s magazine, UA Journal.

The board first launched an investigation into allegations of questionable investments from the union’s general fund in October 2004. The two officials resigned their posts in November. Earlier in 2004, Maddaloni and Patchell reached a settlement with the Dept. of Labor over charges of mismanagement of the union’s pension fund, chiefly through questionable real estate deals involving the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. (ENR 11/8/04 p.10).

In the most recent findings, the pan-el said "the conduct of the two former officials was fraudulent," and resulted "in the loss of massive amounts of [union] monies," estimated in the millions of dollars, according to a summary of the decision. The investigation found that Maddaloni had used union funds to guarantee a $20-million loan for friends seeking to purchase the Clarion Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. According to the decision, Maddaloni never told the board about the guarantee and "repeatedly lied" to the Labor Dept. when agency officials asked if the union was involved with the Clarion Hotel. Maddaloni did not return a call for comment. Patchell could not be reached for comment.

"We’re cooperating fully in [the Labor Dept] investigation," Hite says. An official with the Labor Dept. would not confirm or deny the investigation.

(Photo courtesy of Desimone Consulting Engineers)

ederal investigators have subpoenaed documents from the plumbers’ union following an internal inquiry that has led to the expulsion of former plumbers’ President Martin J. Maddaloni and former General Secretary-Treasurer Thomas H. Patchell. Union investigators say "fraudulent" activities led to the loss of millions of dollars in union funds.