The best part about using other people’s money – or OPM, as former state senator and still felon Vincent Fumo used to call it – is never having to buy your own Q-Tips.
“Food, baby supplies, dog food, hair styling items and much more,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said at Wednesday’s news conference on charges brought against eight people, outlining a raft of routine goods that labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and his co-defendants allegedly bought with union credit cards.
While other high-profile embezzlement cases have focused on flashier items, Dougherty’s indictment is chock full of stuff you can grab at Target.
In fact, that’s exactly where they went, prosecutors allege.
“We gotta do an H2O and a wipe thing,” Dougherty told co-defendant Niko Rodriguez in June 2015.
These are not code words, according to prosecutors. Dougherty was actually instructing Rodriguez to go to Target and buy bottled water and baby wipes with the union’s American Express card, then drop them off at Dougherty’s house.
“Baby wipes” appears 21 times in the indictment, along with a baby walker, baby food, baby lotion, and sippy cups.
On their Target shopping sprees, the defendants used union credit cards for everything from Cap’n Crunch to Lucky Charms, Neutrogena to Noxzema, mouthwash to washcloths, tortilla wraps and tortilla chips. Processed cheese, shredded cheese, and mac and cheese. Unknown “meat products.” Rawhide dog bones.
And a Christmas tree, of course.
» GRAPHIC: Who’s indicted and what are the charges?
Beyond those memorable acquisitions, the indictment includes dialogue that could have come from The Sopranos ... or the Food Network:
“I’m going to f— them big time, just so you know. … I will be smart about it but there will be consequences.” —City Councilman Bobby Henon allegedly promising to get back at the Teamsters union for portraying Dougherty in a bad light in a political commercial.
“Should I water the tomatoes while I’m here?” — Niko Rodriguez texting Dougherty while Rodriguez and other Local 98 members were washing sidewalks out front of Dougherty’s house. Doc’s response: “Yes!!!”
“That $10 is going to cost their f—ing industry a bundle." — Dougherty complaining to Henon that a tow truck driver was unable to give him $10 in change. Henon then allegedly used his Council position to retaliate against the company.
“I don’t give a f— about anybody, all right, but f—ing you and us, and you know that." — Henon expressing his fondness for Dougherty.
″Del Frisco’s has a lemon cake (not a buttercake) that you can buy for $88. They need at least 48 hours notice. The Palm’s carrot cake is $88 and they need 48 hours notice as well," says an unnamed union employee describing cakes that could be purchased for Dougherty’s family’s Thanksgiving. “Order me 1 of each !!" Dougherty replied, then expensed one of the cakes to the union as "Meeting Re: State Policy Issues.”
» DOCUMENT: Read the full indictment
Staff writers Wendy Ruderman, Patricia Madej, Jessica Calefati, and Dylan Purcell contributed to this article.