Johnny Doc, Bobby Henon corruption trial: FBI wiretaps, power plays

Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon’s alleged corrupt advocacy on behalf of the political ambitions of union leader Johnny “Doc” Dougherty, his boss at Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was central to the second day of the two men’s federal corruption trial.

Assistant US Attorney Frank Costello played a series of FBI wiretaps in September 2015 tracing Dougherty’s successful efforts, with help from Henon and others, to win the election as head of the Building & Construction Trades Council, an umbrella group of more than 50 trade unions.

The position came with a salary of $147,714 in 2016, in addition to Local 98’s $254,731 Dougherty earned.

Over the course of a few hours on election day, the footage captures Henon and Dougherty discussing their vote-wrap strategy, and Henon calling others to discuss the Teamsters and Plumbers union’s opposition to Dougherty’s candidacy. . In one phone call, he said he would use his position in the city council to pressure the plumbers.

“The plumbers are acting like an idiot,” Henon told then-state representative William Keller at one time. “I’m going to call the shots here.” Speaking of a plumbers’ union leader, Henon said “I’m going to teach him a lesson” by enacting legislation to change the city’s sanitation code against the union’s wishes.

That legislation to modernize local sanitation regulations by abolishing rules that the union played a role in drafting and enforcing an international code that could affect demand for union workers plays a key role in the government’s case against Henon and Dougherty. The federal case hinges on evidence that Henon has taken official action, such as delaying sanitary code legislation based on orders from Dougherty.

The same day Henon told Keller he would teach the plumbers a lesson, Dougherty made a triumphant phone call to Local 98’s political director, Marita Crawford, with an update. The union leader told her that after tightly directing the councilor’s lobbying activities, he won the Trades election by a wide margin. Henon had done him a favour, he said.

“You know, I beat up Bobby Henon. He was f****** amazing,” Dougherty said. “He took his fucking hat off the ward leader, he took his fucking hat off the councilor… He was just fucking John’s little man.”

“All right,” Crawford replied.

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