Warrants served in Philly, N.J. involve union boss, councilman

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The FBI and other law enforcement officers fanned out across the region on Friday, executing a number of search warrants involving a local union boss and a Philadelphia city councilman.

Agents were searching the home of Johnny "Doc" Dougherty, a bar called Doc's Union Pub, the headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and Councilman Bobby Henon's offices.

Another raid was conducted across the river in New Jersey, which the FBI says was connected to the raids in Philadelphia. Authorities removed five rifles and dozens of boxes containing evidence from a building belonging to MJK Electrical, located on the 100 block of 115 Cross Keys Road in Berlin.

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Authorities removed several firearms and dozens of boxes containing evidence from a building in Berlin.

Back in South Philadelphia, federal agents and state police could be seen at both Dougherty's home, and the next-door home of his sister, in the 1900 block of Moyamensing Avenue.

Dougherty was standing outside his home, looking over documents and talking with friends and family. A number of people with Local 98 shirts were seen around him while agents worked.

"Nothing in my house has changed in 10 years, OK? I'm the most vetted guy in Philadelphia - you know that," said Dougherty. "I've been under scrutiny my whole life, I don't understand why. Maybe it's because I win too much."

Boxes of evidence were carried out of both residences.

Law enforcement sources tell us about a dozen search warrants were executed involving the local electrical union boss.

Sources also confirm that warrants were executed at the offices of City Councilman Bobby Henon. That includes both his City Hall and Torresdale Avenue locations.

Before serving on City Council, Henon was the political director for Local 98 and went through the union's apprenticeship program.

Frank Keel, a union representative, spoke outside Dougherty's home, saying, "The allegations of financial impropriety is somewhat puzzling because IBEW Local 98 is subject to multiple audits throughout the year, and multiple levels of scrutiny."

Specifics about the case have not been released. Sources would only say it involves a "broad scope of alleged activity."

Dougherty and Local 98 say they are cooperating fully with this latest investigation.

"The government has a job to do, let them do their jobs, OK? I'm very comfortable with where we're at right now," said Dougherty. "Once we get this ugly scenario by, everything will be fine. I'm comfortable with where we're at, that's it."

Johnny Dougherty is a Philadelphia political powerhouse.

Dougherty has been the head of the Local 98 since 1993, and last year he took over the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, which has more than 40,000 members.

Through the years he has made substantial contributions on behalf of the union to a number of politicians, including the 2015 campaign of Mayor Jim Kenney.

On Friday, the mayor said he knows nothing about the raids on Henon and Dougherty.

Kenney said, "I know basically what you know, and as it plays out we will see what happens. But I don't have any other information, and you can ask the question 20 different ways, but there won't be any comment because I don't have any information."

Just recently, Action News has learned Local 98 dropped upward of $80,000 on lavish parties and events for honchos and lobbyists at the Democratic National Convention.

Former federal prosecutor George Parry talked about Friday's raid in which a number of warrants were served.

"It would be fair to say that they're not fooling around. They have reason to believe that crimes are being committed and they have reason to believe that these searches that they're conducting will produce evidence of those crimes," said Parry.

Dougherty was also in the news earlier this year when he allegedly scuffled with a nonunion electrician outside a construction site.

The accuser said that Dougherty broke his nose. No charges have been filed.

A decade ago, the FBI investigated Dougherty in an apparent tax fraud case. Documents later unsealed in court suggested the investigation involved renovations to his home that were not reported as income.

If you have any information that could be helpful in this investigation, you're asked to call the FBI at (215) 418-4000.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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