On the first Wednesday of every month, the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council meets at its hall in the Northeast, But this Wednesday was not business as usual.
Its leader, John J. Dougherty, was indicted on federal charges of embezzlement, bribery, and theft a week ago, and the 159-page indictment included transcripts of conversations between Dougherty and City Councilman Bobby Henon in which they discussed using legislation against the Plumbers and the Teamsters — both members of the Building Trades. And then there was the letter.
The anonymous note on Building Trades letterhead suggested the group should be concerned about Dougherty’s ability to lead the coalition of 50 unions.
Still, at the unusually well-attended meeting — run by Dougherty on Wednesday — the Building Trades agreed to stand behind him.
“Nobody, and I clearly want to say nobody, asked for John to leave the Building Trades,” said Pat Eiding, the secretary-treasurer of the Building Trades and president of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO.
Eiding said no one discussed the letter, which was sent to a few of the group’s officials, one of whom shared it with him.
It was put aside as a disgrace,” he said.