Fmr. Philadelphia labor leader John Dougherty convicted of embezzling $650,000 from union

Dougherty is accused of having embezzled more than $650,000 from electrician's union IBEW Local 98.

Thursday, December 7, 2023
Fmr. Philadelphia labor leader John Dougherty convicted in embezzlement trial
Fmr. Philadelphia labor leader John Dougherty convicted in embezzlement trial

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Former Philadelphia labor leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty and a codefendant were convicted Thursday of using more than $650,000 in union funds for personal use.

Dougherty, 63, who led Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for nearly three decades, was convicted of conspiracy, embezzlement and dozens of other charges by a jury after a monthlong trial.

It's the second conviction federal prosecutors have secured against the long-powerful figure.

Prosecutors said he and codefendant Brian Burrows, Local 98's former president, used the money for items including home renovations, concerts, groceries and even a cookie tray for the christening of a relative's baby.

"Not only were they stealing from the members but the members had no way of knowing it," said Asst. U.S. Attorney Frank Costello.

Dougherty said he disagreed with the verdict as he left court. He faces federal time behind bars.

"We have a lot of things to consider, and we respect what happened, and we'll move forward," Dougherty said. "We always do."

One witness, Anthony Massa, reportedly testified that he oversaw thousands of dollars in improvements at the Philadelphia home of Dougherty's brother Kevin, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice.

A lawyer for the justice later called the witness "an admitted liar."

"It was a complicated case," Dougherty said after the verdict. "The jury elected to believe Tony Massa, and the case was over... everything else just fell in line."

Burrows' attorney, Mark Kasten, says he plans to appeal.

"He's doing well. He is upbeat. This was a possibility and it's on to the next, and we're definitely going to appeal," Kasten said.

Dougherty still faces an extortion trial early next year. His attorney, Greg Pagano, stopped short of saying he planned to appeal Thursday's verdict.

"There's a lot more fight to this litigation and we'll see where that takes us," said Pagano.

Sentencing for both Dougherty and Burrows on the bribery and embezzlement convictions is scheduled for March.

In 2021, Dougherty was convicted on bribery charges in a separate trial, along with former city councilmember Bobby Henon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.