A Manhattan judge found two prominent local labor leaders guilty Wednesday on multiple counts of embezzlement and corruption charges.
Troy Thomas, the former president of the Hotel Trades Council, faces up to 30 years in prison for stealing $1.7 million from the union.
“This was criminal behavior in the worst sense of the word,” Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro said.
Thomas is one of three former co-defendants in the corruption trial. The two other workers were former City Council members, Daniel Halloran (R-Queens) and Michael G. Nelson, who both pleaded guilty to pay-to-play and conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors charged that Thomas, Halloran and Nelson would raid a charity controlled by the union in order to fund their own vacations, sky-high meals and expensive cribs for their own children.
Investigators found thousands of hotel rooms had been booked on pricey resorts for the defendants and their family members and friends. City Campaign Finance Board records show the three men and their campaign allies spent $280,000 on so-called luxury spa breaks and other personal expenses.
Halloran and Nelson — after initially pleading not guilty — pleaded guilty to first-degree conspiracy and paid $20,000 each to the city.
Earlier Wednesday, jurors began deliberating on Tuesday.
Thomas testified that he was a victim of a conspiracy to paint him as a snitch, and compared his former bosses, council members, as “crooks.”
But Carro said Thomas was a liar who enriched himself with stolen money that was meant for organizing city workers.
“He was just a master at embezzlement,” the judge said.
Thomas, 51, accused of conspiring with his former co-defendants to steal $1.7 million from the Hotel Trades Council, is being tried in Queens Supreme Court.
While running the union, Thomas took over a charity that raises money for the city’s public schools.
Prosecutors said that Thomas used the group to funnel his colleagues’ and his family’s greed and exploit the City Council system to enrich himself and family members.
The scheme came to light when two government cooperating witnesses, who were soliciting cash for a crime family, tipped authorities off to bogus spending requests, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said.
“This corruption scheme ruined an organization that was dedicated to helping needy New Yorkers,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.
Halloran and Nelson, who served on the City Council together, settled their cases with the U.S. Department of Justice.