PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The case two years in the making charges Ray Ventrone, former business manager of the Boilermakers Local 154, with the theft of $1.5 million in union funds.
He allegedly lavished that cash on himself while engaging in a five-year buying spree of luxury items for friends and family.
Ventrone resigned from union in the spring of 2015 after federal investigators began looking into those purchases, and about a quarter of million dollars’ worth are now on display in a Swissvale auction house.
“I’ve seen people who bought a lot of stuff. But never anything like this,” said Marty Davis of M. Davis Auctions said.
The FBI, The IRS and the Department of Labor have also questioned other purchases by the union leadership, which under Ventrone spared no expense, dropping more than $31,000 in 2014 at the Double Tree Ocean Point in Miami Beach and $34,000 at the Hilton Marco Island Resort.
Records show they also spent $11,400 for tickets at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and more than $20,000 for Penguins tickets here in Pittsburgh. Not to mention more than $70,000 for catering and tabs at local restaurants, $5,600 of that in just one night at Morton’s Steakhouse downtown.
There was no comment from union headquarters, but under the guidelines Ventrone could face 30 years in jail and a $1.5 million fine. With auction and some restitution, Ventrone will be asking the judge for leniency. Still, hard-working union people are going to be out an awful lot of cash.