Federal authorities will announce criminal charges Wednesday against powerful labor leader John J. Dougherty, Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon, and at least three other officers of their union, Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
The specific charges — and the total number of people facing prosecution — remained unclear. But the sources, who were briefed on the results of the probe but not authorized to publicly discuss it, said Tuesday night that all those facing indictment are expected to surrender to authorities within days.
Both Dougherty — widely known as “Johnny Doc” — and Henon, who holds a paid position with the union, have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Nonetheless, the case against them threatens to destabilize not only the leadership of one of the region’s most politically influential unions but also the futures of dozens of Local 98 allies in elected office and the landscape of organized labor in one of the last American cities in which unions remain a powerful force.
In his 25 years at the helm of Local 98, Dougherty has built the 4,700-member organization into a potent political force, placing numerous allies — mostly Democrats — in elected and appointed municipal positions and developing it into the biggest independent source of campaign money in the state.
Lawyers for both Dougherty, 58, and Henon, 50, declined to comment Tuesday. In a statement, Henon’s office said he had no plans to resign.