by David Robb
March 16, 2018 1:15pm
EXCLUSIVE: A near-fatal crash of a craft services truck in 2015 that left a woman with disabling and disfiguring injuries is reviving conflict of interest questions that have swirled for years about Jon Hendry, the embattled boss of IATSE Local 480 in Santa Fe. Hendry, who was ousted as president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor AFL-CIO earlier this week amid allegations of sexual harassment, could see his days as leader of Local 480 be numbered as well, as he was sidelined earlier this week ahead of a planned weekend vote that could see him ousted.
Monique Silva was nearly killed that day in Santa Fe when the taco truck she was driving for the Netflix movie The Ridiculous 6 missed a turn, rolled over and flipped four times, ejecting her and sending her to the hospital with a brain injury. She also suffered a broken jaw, a fractured pelvis, a broken collar bone, 14 broken ribs and a deep gash across her face.
She wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and when she was thrown from the truck, “She went out the door and something grabbed her cheek and tore it open, from her lip halfway to her ear,” her father, George Woodard, told Deadline. “She had a Frankenstein-type scar. It was horrible.” She stopped breathing for five minutes, and had to be “paddled” back to life. “She’s not the same person anymore,” her father said.
The truck she was driving was owned by a company formed by Hendry and his longtime business partner, Lisa Van Allen. According to a Santa Fe Police Department report on the accident, the registered owner of the truck was the Duke City Gourmet Company. Business records filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State show that Hendry and Van Allen were “organizers” of the company, which they formed in 1997.
Federal labor law states that “A union officer or employee may not have any monetary or personal interest or engage in any business or financial transaction that would conflict with his or her fiduciary obligation to the union.”
Union dissidents say that Hendry controls the craft service industry in Santa Fe, deciding who gets to work and who doesn’t, and that he “blackballs” political rivals and members who dare to buy their own craft service trucks to compete against his. They say he registers his vehicles Van Allen’s name to skirt federal conflict of interest laws.
Union officials who have even the appearance of a conflict of interest must file a report with the Department of Labor, which says that “Every officer and every employee, other than an employee performing exclusively clerical or custodial services, of a labor organization must file an Officer & Employee Report, Form LM-30, if he, or his spouse or minor child, directly or indirectly, had certain economic interests during the past fiscal year.”
Usually these disclosures involve relatively small sums of money – lunches and dinners and gift baskets paid for by companies or law firms with which the union does business. Sometimes a wife or husband is employed by a company the union does business with, and that has to be reported too.
In 2005, Matt Loeb, now the president of IATSE, reported that the union’s law firm bought him a dinner that he valued at $65, and that another firm that represented the union’s benefit funds paid his entrance fee to a celebrity golf tournament, which he also valued at $65.
That same year, Loeb’s predecessor, Tommy Short, disclosed that Universal Pictures paid for his lunch with Jeffrey Katzenberg – valued at $25. Paramount Pictures also bought him a $25 lunch, and there were another couple hundred dollars in dinners and golf tournaments paid for by lawyers or companies the union did business with.
The year before, Bruce Doering, then-executive director of IATSE Cinematographers Guild Local 600, disclosed that the local’s law firm “treated my wife and I to an evening at the Hollywood Bowl. Price of the two tickets was $184. Dinner for two cost $70, for a total of $254.” That same year, the law firm gave him several tickets to Dodgers and Lakers games, but he wrote that “the approximate value is not reasonably determinable because I gave away almost all the tickets to members or employees of Local 600.”
That same year, Ron Kutak, then-executive director of the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, reported that his wife, an employment attorney, “provided discrimination and sexual harassment training through her freelance practice” to Sony Pictures Entertainment, for which she received $10,100.”
U.S. Department of Labor
These are the types of potential conflicts and gifts that must be reported, but DOL records show that Hendry, who has served as the head of Local 480 for 17 years, has never filed such a report, despite widespread allegations he has rewarded family members and girlfriends with craft service jobs in the industry and salaried positions at the union.
Hendry declined to comment, and Van Allen told Deadline in a phone conversation they had been partners in Duke City Gourmet “at one time,” but that “it’s since been suspended.” She then said “Thank you” and hung up the phone. New Mexico Secretary of State records, however, show the company is “active” and in “good standing.”
Hendry and Van Allen also run the Santa Fe Bar & Grill at the airport, and after hours-calls to the phone number listed on Duke City’s website gets an answering machine that says: “For the Santa Fe Grill, press one. For Jon Hendry and the IATSE, press 2. For Lisa Van Allen, press 3.”
Hendry, who has been one of the most politically connected union leaders in the state, is widely credited with playing a key role in ushering in the state’s film incentives program during the governorship of his close friend and ally, then-Gov. Bill Richardson. In a brief telephone interview before he stopped talking, Hendry said that Richardson “would have made a great president.”
Another longtime friend and ally, New Mexico Democratic Party chairman Richard Ellenberg, resigned Tuesday after expressing doubts about the validity of sexual harassment claims filed against Hendry. “I regret the way in which I have managed complaints of survivors who have come forward about sexual harassment, and take full responsibility to continue to learn and grow so that I can be an advocate and ally in the future,” Ellenberg wrote in his letter of resignation.
Calls for Hendry to resign as business agent of Local 480 are mounting as well. “He has to go,” said a member of the local.
Hendry has faced a firestorm of criticism – and calls for his ouster – ever since Christa Valdez, the local’s former outside public relations rep, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him last week. She claims he sent her a text in 2016 that said, “Could you send me a pic of your naked, sweaty, skinny body? At least one of us will feel much better.” The suit also claims he “continually harassed and intimidated (her) with sexual propositions and inappropriate conditions to maintain employment,” and that he grabbed her and other female staffers by the buttocks and showed her and others “naked photos on his phone.”
Valdez’s suit also accused Hendry of “bragging frequently about how he ruined careers of people in the industry who crossed him,” and alleges that’s just what he did to her when she complained: firing her and then, when she got a new job at a local casting company, got her fired there, too.
A second woman, 29-year-old Madeleine Lauve, joined Valdez in her lawsuit yesterday. In an amended complaint, they are suing Hendry, Local 480 and its parent union — the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — claiming they engaged in “a pattern of racketeering activity” to keep the alleged victims silent and allow Hendry to remain in a position of power and continue harassing women.
Lauve’s complaint states she was an employee of the local from 2013 to 2014 and that she was also attempting to establish membership. “During this period, Hendry subjected Ms. Lauve to discriminatory conditions, including an explicit quid pro quo for sex, to maintain and to improve her employment and to qualify for and be admitted as a labor organization member of IATSE.”
Her suit says he fired her after she refused to have sex with him anymore. “The work and labor organization environment became hostile and aggressive, and Ms. Lauve was eventually terminated from IATSE Local 480, as well as undermined on a Local 480 craft services assignment, on or about March 21, 2014, as a result of Ms. Lauve having ceased to consent to and begun to oppose Hendry’s quid pro quo.”
Since Valdez stepped forward, a grassroots effort called “480 Time for Change” has been formed to oust Hendry from the local. “Stories are told about abuse of power, discrimination, sexual abuse, harassment, verbal abuse, bulling, unresolved grievances, job loss due to whistle-blowing, etc. in the workplace,” the organization said inEarlier this week, the Local 480 president Doug Acton announced that Hendry will not be running the union’s day-to-day operations while the allegations of sexual harassment are being looked into, and the local will hold a general membership meeting on Sunday to decide whether or not he should be removed from office. a statement signed by six members of the local. “Fear of reprisal prevents many people from sharing these stories.”
“He has run this local like a Mafioso,” said Robert Seymour, a former vice president. “It’s a fiefdom. I was part of the inner circle for years, and everyone in the union knows about it. He has literally run people out of town who opposed him.”
Earlier this week, Local 480 president Doug Acton said Hendry would not be running the union’s day-to-day operations while the allegations of sexual harassment are being looked into, and the local will hold a general membership meeting Sunday to decide whether he should be removed from office.
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One word comes to mind as I surmise the above. Crafty!
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