Union leader convicted on corruption charges

Mar 7, 2014

A union leader in Buffalo was convicted Friday on federal corruption charges.

Mark Kirsch, who headed up Local 17, Operating Engineers, was found guilty of running the union as a criminal enterprise.  He was convicted of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion.

Kirsch faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. 

“Today’s verdict confirms that for over 10 years, Local 17 President and Business Manager Mark Kirsch operated a criminal enterprise," said Cheryl Garcia, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.   "He conspired to extort employers and employees of Western New York of jobs, wages, and benefits through the use of physical violence and the destruction of property. " 

Four other defendants were acquitted of all charges.