Frank J. Christensen

Frank J. Christensen (April 17, 1961) is an American labor leader. He is the long-serving Business Manager of Elevator Constructors Local 2, a Vice President of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, and Chairman of the Illinois Elevator Safety Board.

Union Political Career

A native Chicagoan, Christensen was President of Local 2 from 1999 to 2001. He became Business Manager in September 2001 and was re-elected in 2002 and 2006. He is the longest-serving Business Manager of Elevator Constructors Local 2 since the 1920s. In July 2003, he was named Chairman of the Illinois Elevator Safety Board by Governor Rod Blagojevich. In October 2003, he was appointed International Vice President by Elevator Constructors General President Dana Brigham. In 2005, Frank Christensen was selected as the Illinois Maritime Labor Man of the Year.

Illinois Elevator Safety Board, Tony Rezko and Governor Blagojevich

The Associated Press broke a story on March 3, 2008, that union officers from the Elevator Constructors received three appointments to the Illinois Elevator Safety Board in the same month the Elevator Constructors Local 2 PAC Fund donated $10,000 to Governor Blagojevich's campaign in July 2003. [ [ Illinois State Board of Elections ] ] [ The Times ] ] The report was part of a broader series of corruption scandals involving the governor and fund-raiser Tony Rezko, who was convicted of 16 of 24 Federal Counts of the indictment.

The AP reported that Christensen was technically not eligible for the Board position because his village (Tinley Park, Illinois) had a population in excess of 53,000 in 2003 and that Christensen was appointed to represent a municipality with a population between 25,000 and 50,000. Christensen responded that the appointments to the State Board had nothing to do with the Local 2 PAC Fund campaign contribution on July 23, 2003, and he was not aware of the population of his village at the time of his appointment. In 2007, he was reappointed Chairman by Governor Blagojevich to represent a municipality with a population between 25,000 and 50,000. Tinley Park's population was in excess of 58,000 in 2007. [ [ WGN Radio - Report Raises Possible Link between State Appointments and Political Donation {audio} ] ] [ [ WTHI TV 10 - Terre Haute Weather and News |AP Exclusive: Blagojevich donor not eligible for board ] ]

CBS 2 Chicago reported on March 4, 2008, that among the issues expected to come up at the Rezko federal corruption trial is Blagojevich's 2003 appointment of Christensen to the state safety board. [] On March 8, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice released additional court documents showing Rezko's involvement with Blagojevich political fund-raising. Included in the document is a $10,000 Elevator Constructors Local 2 PAC fund contribution dated July 23, 2003, that went through Tony Rezko and was deposited into the Blagojevich campaign accounts two days later. Elevator Constructors Local 2's President John Valone was named in the document. Elevator Constructors Local 2 Political Fund was the only union PAC fund to donate money to Rezko from June 2001 to August 2004. [ [ USDOJ Search:valone inurl:/usao/iln/ ] ] [ [ - Jury Selection Resumes In Rezko Trial ] ] []

International Union of Elevator Constructors Regional Director Ed Christensen was on the Tony Rezko Clout List. Ed Christensen is the older brother of Frank J. Christensen. The list was released in federal court documents in the Rezko federal corruption trial. Ed Christensen received re-appointment to the Building Commission of the Illinois Capital Development Board in 2003 by Governor Blagojevich. [] [ [ Illinois Building Commission - About ] ]

Chao v Elevator Constructors Local 2 - Case #1:08-cv-01595

The United States Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Elevator Constructors Local 2 in Illinois Northern Federal District Court for other statues and micellaneous reasons on March 18, 2008. [ Chao v. International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2 - 1:2008cv01595 - Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets ] ] The case is being heard by the Honorable John F. Grady, a former Chief Judge. The lawsuit was filed by United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on behalf of the United States Department of Labor asking the Court to have Elevator Constructors Local 2 comply with the DOL subpoena filed on April 24, 2007 for various records, books, papers and documents.

The Department of Labor is asking the Court enter an order directing Local 2 to show cause why they should not comply with and obey the subpoena.

The Department of Labor is asking the Court enter an order directing Local 2 to obey the subpoena by ordering the production of the documents called for by the terms of the subpoena before an officer of the Department of Labor and by ordering the respondent to appear for the purpose of producing information regarding the documents.

The Department of Labor is conducting an investigation into the financial operations of the union to determine wheter Local 2, or any person associated with Local 2 has violated or is about to violate Title II or Title V of the LMRDA of 1959 29 U.S.C. 401.

On July 30, 2008 In Federal District Court in Chicago, Elevator Constructors Local 2 decided to capitulate to the demands of the US Department of Labor subpoena and will transfer the requested documents and computer files by October 29, 2008. []

Response to Subpoena's Existence

On IUEC Local 2's Website the letter from the Union Attorney is prefaced as the firm represents "all the Members of IUEC Local 2" and that the letter responding to false allegations presented by a member of the Executive Board at a meeting. [ [ International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2 ] ]

In a letter dated May 19, 2008 by the Union Attorney and released on IUEC Local 2's website on June 18, 2008, claims the subpoena request was contrary to the Department of Labor's long-standing policy of auditing Local Unions in the office of the Union in order to avoid unwarranted intrusion in the affairs of the local and that the Department of Labor took their actions solely as a means of harassing Local 2 and interfering with its operations. [ [ International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2 ] ]

The Department of Labor wanted to compel Local 2 to produce originals of all its records at the Department of Labor's Office in May 2007. According to the Union Attorney, the Department of Labor never responded to Local 2's offer to comply with the Local's request to review the records at the Local's Office. In the Union Attorney's statement in the letter, "with the passage of time, coupled with the utter silence of the DOL, can only lead to the logical conclusion that the DOL has abandoned the subpoena."" []

However, the Union Attorney's letter to the Members of Local 2, fails to address or mention the Federal Lawsuit (Chao v Elevator Constructors Local 2) filed on March 18, 2008 (1:08-cv-01595) by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on behalf of the Department of Labor and according to Federal Court documents, Local 2 has yet to respond to the Lawsuit as of June 18, 2008.

On July 30, 2008 Local 2 reversed its course and decided to comply with the United States Department of Labor Subpoena. The Local agreed that the Department of Labor subpoena was proper and will complete the transfering of files by the next Court Date on October 29, 2008 at 11:00 in the Federal District Court in Chicago. []

References and Footnotes

External links

* - CBS 2 News Report on Illinois Elevator Board Appointment
* "DOL Lawsuit against Elevator Constructors Local 2"
* " $10,000 Contribution to Friends of Blagojevich on July 23, 2003 - look at D-2 Semiannual Report 7/1/2003 to 12/31/2003"
* "listen to WGN Radio report"
* "Department of Justice Website for $10,000 Campaign through Rezko"
* "Note the bottom of Page 2"
* "Rezko Clout List note the top of Page 8"
* "elevator show podcast - March 5, 2008"
* "Union Democracy Review - March-April 2006 - Issue #161"
* " Thompson v Elevator Constructors - dispute of Illinois Elevator Safety Board Rules with the Chairman."
* "Maalik v Elevator Constructors Local 2 - Discrimination lawsuit"
* "Maalik v Elevator Constructors Local 2"
* "Burger v Elevator Constructors Local 2 - Discrimination, Duty of Fair Representation and Retaliation Lawsuit"
* "Burger v Elevator Constructors Local 2 - Click on Case Style Link to read verdict and judgement awards"
* "Ironworkers Local 63 v Elevator Constructors Local 2"
* "Stewart v Elevator Constructors Local 2"
* "Photographs on page 5 and 7"
* "Frank Christensen's Letter to Membership"
* "Local 2 Labor Attorneys Respond to False Allegations presented by a member of the Executive Board at a meeting."
* "pdf of letter by Whitfield & McGann to Members of Local 2"
* "Union Elevator Safety Board positions by State"
* "Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund - Model Code Law"
* "Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund Website"

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