Last week’s conviction of John Dougherty, former business manager of a Philadelphia electrical workers' union local, was his second corruption guilty verdict. This time, another federal jury found the one-time business manager of union Local 98 and its former president, Robert Henon, guilty of conspiracy and honest services wire fraud. Dougherty allegedly spent union member funds on personal expenses including a birthday dinner, an entertainment system in a pub he owned and a trip for a niece and her classmate to a basketball tournament in Costa Rica.

Local 98 is one of the oldest in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and has roughly 4,700 members and a staff of about 80. Dougherty and others were charged with spending $650,000 of union funds as if it were their own money.

In 2021 a federal jury convicted Dougherty and a former city council member of bribery. Four other people indicted had previously pleaded guilty to related charges.

With the two convictions, Dougherty faces a total of up to 901 years in prison.

“After decades at the top, John Dougherty grew to believe he was Local 98—and completely entitled to misuse its money as his own,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division, in a statement after the trial.

After the verdict, in comments to reporters outside the courthouse, Dougherty said he was innocent of the charges and had been unfairly targeted. His attorney had argued that the former official's spending was “negligence, not fraud,” according a news report on the trial, and that his client worked around the clock for the union.

From 2010 to 2016, the union local paid Dougherty about $230,o00 a year in salary. The alleged crimes often involved misuse of Local 98 credit cards by Dougherty and "family members and favored associates," according to court documents. The business manager allegedly had the union hire these people who often received pay increases or were compensated for hours not worked.

The charges against Dougherty claim his acts of generosity sometimes were carried out by others. Prosecutors alleged that in 2015, Dougherty authorized one of the other case defendants to make a payment of $3,995 from Local 98's Job Recovery Fund for Dougherty's niece, also a Local 98 employee, and a classmate to attend the Costa Rica basketball tournament. While there, the niece continued to earn a Local 98 salary.

The prosecutors also alleged that Dougherty accepted labor bribes from a signatory contractor that installed a $29,000 security system and LED display at Doc's Union Pub, which Dougherty owned at the time but has since been sold.

In the case of the 2015 birthday dinner for Dougherty, his associate and co-defendant who paid the bill allegedly reported the $3,900 cost at a restaurant in Atlantic City as a "political campaign meeting hosted by John Dougherty."