No-work vs no-show corrupt jobs

On the Sopranos, Tony bargained with other 'hoods for no-show and no-work jobs on corrupt contracts.

They had many scenes of goombas sitting around construction sites chewing the fat, while doing nothing of value.

But since it’s corrupt anyway, why bother having ‘no-work’ positions at all? Why not just make them all no-shows? It would seem more incriminating to have fat mobbed-up looking guys drinking beer while sitting in a circle all day than to just pad the number of workers.

Various flavors of inspectors and such. Not their problem if the guys don’t get much work done, but they are present at the site if someone bothers to ask for them.

Would also mean that you would have enforcers already on the site should anything else come up.

No-Work “jobs” have been a corrupt union staple for years. Remember Johnny Friendly in “On The Water”? A “no show” job enables a union to kick back money to the union goons…and all of it is legal (taxes are deducted and paid by the phantom “worker”). It happens a lot in union construction jobs, on PW projects. A good way of paying bribes…legally.

My (very limited) understand was that the “no show” jobs were reserved for your best of best friends in industries where there were unlikely to be state inspectors. The “no work” jobs were reserved for the next tier down of friends and actually being there served two purposes:

  1. Those jobs usually had state inspectors around and could satisfy them that a certain amount of work was being performed and:

  2. You knew where these guys were so if you needed something done, you could summon them to do other dirty business.

I’ve never seen any evidence of this in anything reality based. Do you have a cite that this happens “a lot” as you say?

Sure-here in Boston, Teamsters Local 172 has been extorting money from movie production companies for years. How it works: when a movie company wants to film on the Teamster’s “turf”, they must hire union members to handle the lights, sound equipment, etc… Say you need 10 workers-the union will demand 15-and five of these will be “no show” jobs. The checks will be issued, and the union will cash them. All legal, and all in keeping with union “work” rules.

It’s an interesting anecdote, but not a cite and once does not count as “a lot”. I have no doubt there are corrupt unions, but unions have lost so much leverage that I don’t think the characterization you give is anything but a right wing fantasy.

A sidebar to this, not exactly the same thing - a friend of mine was an accountant and related that one trick to giving the kids money, and reducing the tax burden on the owner of the business, was for the owner to pay the wife and kids for jobs that they did not really do. (Income splitting)

If the tax people investigate and the fellow did not show up or got more than what was considered a fair market wage for the work done, i.e. $100,000 for bookkeeping but he only showed up on Fridays and someone else did the bookkeeping - then the income was attributed back to the parent/owner at a higher rate… plus fine.

Generally though, if there was no personal relationship between the employee and the owner it did not set off alarm bells.

From that well known right-wing fantasy rag, the New York Times:

Did he seriously say that with a straight face? Wow. Everyone in the room must have been able to smell the shit he’s full of.

My brother had a “work study” job during college (late 80s?). He sat for 4 hours a day, making sure nobody went through a set of doors. The doors were chained shut, with a big lock. Nobody ever approached the doors. If anyone would have, he had no instructions as to what he should do. He never found out what was on the other side.

I doubt that that was actually a mob-controlled job.:wink: I think that qualifies more as “make work,” when you employ someone you actually have no work for, rather than the kind of job being asked about in the OP.

Had a similar case some years ago, involving public campaign financing.

A local perennial candidate filed to run against a well-liked, many-term incumbent, in a very safe Democratic district. This guy was the only person to file as a Republican, so he was on the ballot. Thus he got the Republican share of the public financing. About $30,000, as I recall. He spent a very small amount to print literature, and used the rest to hire his wife as campaign manager, and his teenage kids as campaign workers. On election day, he lost by over 80%. But all that money had gone into his family’s income. And all perfectly legal.

Well, it was Gannon University. A Catholic school. . .:dubious:


As long as they did those legitimate jobs. Revenue Canada doesn’t care if you pay your secretary $50,000 as long as she actually sits there and answers the phone like the job says. They will object if you pay her full salary when she rarely shows up, or if you pay her $200,000 (well above the market rate) and it turns out she’s your wife or kid so you are reducing taxes on household income.

I assume the same legitimacy issues apply to the candidate you mention. he hired the only people he could find who supported him; as long as they did the work they were hired for, and the salaries were not outrageous and not actually pay for other services that were not legit (thinking John Edwards), any complaints are for the voters and the parties to worry about.

I worked one place where the boss was pulling this. Also his car, his wife’s car, and his kid’s car were all “company” cars. We use to joke that he was paying a salary to his dog, and leasing company space in the doghouse. The building we worked in was owned by a separate corporation with the same shareholders, allowing one company to declare the rent as an expense, and transfer the funds to the other corporation. I have no idea the exact advantage of this.

A few years after I quit I got a check for several hundred dollars. It came from some sort of an “Employee stock ownership program” that one owner was using to avoid tax liability. When the company was sold the assets had to be disposed of, and we all got our share. One of the assets was the bosses boat, and I think there was also a rental duplex involved. Bizarre.

A buddy of mine worked for the Teamsters at McCormic place in Chicago.
Every year after the electronics show his bsement would be packed floor to ceiling with TVs, sterios, and VCRs that “fell off the truck” :dubious: