Dougherty-Henon bribery trial: Streets commissioner claims union boss threatened his job

The trial is expected to last five more weeks.

Annie McCormick Image
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Bribery trial: Streets commissioner says union boss threatened his job
"He said to me he (Dougherty) could have me replaced," Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams testified. "I took it as a ... threat."

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Tuesday marked day five of the federal bribery trial of IBEW Local 98 Union leader John Dougherty and Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon.

The trial continued with testimony from Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams.

Williams previously led the Department of Licenses and Inspections from 2012-2015 under Mayor Michael Nutter before becoming the Commissioner of the Streets Department under Mayor Jim Kenney.

Williams testified that Henon regularly called him with requests to inspect work sites for potential violations, often though, many of those requests would prove unfounded.

Williams testified that Henon reached out to his office about violations at a job site at 12 and Wood streets in 2015. Williams agreed to a meeting at Henon's city office and was surprised when Dougherty was there.

Williams alleges during that meeting Dougherty referenced the 2013 Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd and Market streets and implied L&I was responsible.

"He said to me he (Dougherty) could have me replaced," Williams testified. "I took it as a ... threat."

SEE ALSO: Bribery trial opens for Philadelphia union boss Johnny "Doc" Dougherty and city leader Bobby Henon

Three years since their indictment, the trial begins for labor leader John Dougherty and City Councilmember Bobby Henon.

The prosecution called Williams to the stand, hoping to show Henon strong-armed L&I at Dougherty's request on numerous job sites, including the installation of an MRI machine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

In 2015 Henon contacted L&I over unlicensed workers at the CHOP site. Williams testified they issued a stop-work order after an inspector went to the site.

Last week another L&I staffer testified he did not think a stop-work order was necessary.

Henon's attorney, Brian McMonagle, on cross-examination of Williams, showed that regardless of how many times Henon contacted L&I, the department did not err on the side of the union in most cases.

McMonagle pointed out that numerous other elected officials in the city also contact the department directly.

Later in the afternoon, former Henon staffer Christopher Creelman testified that following an FBI raid on Henon's office, the councilman questioned which staff members were speaking to the FBI.

Creelman also told the court Henon told them to use private emails instead of the emails provided by the city for staff. But when asked how often Dougherty was in the office, Creelman said only about five times over five years. A Local 98 staffer, however, did use Henon's office to type up notes following some session days at City Hall.

The prosecution alleges that Dougherty controlled Henon's City Council office by keeping Henon on a $70,000 a year Local 98 salary with benefits.

McMonagle maintains numerous City Council members and elected officials across the state have outside jobs, and it's not illegal.

Both defendants maintain their innocence. Dougherty said outside court Tuesday that he never threatened Williams' job.

The trial is expected to last five more weeks.