A Philadelphia electrical contractor pleaded guilty today in federal court to a plan to spare labor leader John Dougherty the full cost of thousands of dollars of renovations to Dougherty's home.
But the contractor, Donald "Gus Dougherty," a close friend of John Dougherty's but unrelated to him, has not agreed to cooperate in an ongoing federal probe of the union leader.
Thus, the impact of the guilty plea on the inquiry into John Dougherty, head of the electicians' Local 98, was not immediately clear.
After Gus Dougherty entered his plea, a spokesman for John Dougherty said today that "John Dougherty did nothing wrong and had no knowledge of Donald Dougherty's plans or activities."
If Gus Dougherty decided to give a freebie to the union leader, "this was Gus' plan and Gus' plan alone," said Frank Keel, the spokesman for the union leader.
"John never agreed or intended that he would get a deal or pay anything other than the fair market value of the job," Keel said.
Gus Dougherty, 42, has now pleaded guilty to 99 criminal counts involving his business, Dougherty Electric Inc. Earlier, he pleaded guilty to not making required payment to a Local 98 health and weflare fund and to tax charges.
Doughtery is to be sentenced Aug. 15; prosecutor say they will seek a prison term of about 3 1/2 years.
In the hearing, Asstistant U.S. Attorney Anita Eve said Gus Dougherty "did not intend to invoice" John Doughterty "for the full fair market value" of the work on the house and only did so after he learned he was under federal investigation. Gus Dougherty, standing before the judge, acknowledged that Eve had accurately described his crime.
Prosecutors have said that Dougherty did about $115,000 in renovations to the home.
Under federal labor law, it is illegal for contractors who hire union labor to give things of value to union leaders.
Earlier this year, Dougherty pleaded guilty to 98 charges, but said he would go to trial to face two charges that involved the residences of John Doughtery. With yesterday's plea deal, that plan is abandonedc.
John Dougherty has said he has engaged in no wrongdoing. He has not been criminally charged, but prosecutors have said in court that he is a subject of an investigation.
Under a plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to drop one other count against the contractor. They agreed to dismiss a charge claiming that he had sold a Shore house to John Dougherty at less than market value.