Doc and Bobby face the music

The long-delayed trial of union leader John Dougherty and City Councilman and former Local 98 official Bobby Henon begins Monday, and we should withhold judgment until the jury rules.

Union leader John Dougherty (left), City Councilman Bobby Henon (Photo: Audacity)

An Inquirer story lays out the background of the bribery trial, and notes that Dougherty allegedly bought Henon’s allegiance through a series of bribes.

If that is all the feds have against Henon, it should be a tough sell.

It is indisputable that Dougherty and Henon were as tight as a squirrel’s sphincter. The notion that the man known as Johnny Doc would have to “buy” what he already owned is laughable. It would be like saying unions “bought” Bernie Sanders’ vote by making contributions to his campaign.

They already had Sanders’ allegiance and electricians local 98 already had Henon’s vote.

Did Dougherty send money and other support Henon’s way? 

Probably, the same way teachers’ unions grease Democrats. 

It is not a quid pro quo. It is a community of interest. If you can jail Henon for that, you’d have to lock up most of congress.

You may call it pay to play, you may call it graft, but it is the oil that lubricates the system, like it or not.

But we will learn more details as prosecutors lay out their case, and my mind can be changed.

As for Dougherty, the feds have been after him for 30 years, and his luck may have run out now.

Why do I say that, when I do not have all the facts?

Because former state Sen. Vince Fumo told me so in a 2019 interview.

Because the odds are stacked in favor of the prosecution, which has unlimited funds and the ability to flip witnesses, 96% of those charged take plea bargains. Of the 4% who don’t, 80% lose.

The last time I spoke with Johnny Doc, he said he would fight to the end and not take a plea deal.

While I think Henon can skate, Dougherty faces a much bleaker outcome.

11 thoughts on “Doc and Bobby face the music”

  1. “…If you can jail Henon for that, you’d have to lock up most of congress.” Exactly. Let’s lock up most of Congress !

    greed, graft and corruption. They have been around since Noah’s ark beached itself.
    The unions have always used ‘methods’ to keep their work. Nobody is better at it than the electricians. Nobody is better at it than Johnny Doc.
    To add fuel to the fire. Over the years, union organizers have been jailed. In more than one ‘accident’ here in Philly, some have been shot at, shot and killed.
    Rough business.
    We shall see who is going to ‘flip’ for the Feds. If successful, that will be the undoing of Local 98.

      1. Stu,
        In following your blog, I was trying to refer to 98 only.
        We can both supply names that have been abused, threatened, blackmailed, lied to and finally, jailed.
        We are talking about the Philadelphia Building Trades. In particular, Electrician’s Local 98. To some, unions are thugs and deadbeats. To others, they are a way of life. Me and my family. Generations of union construction. I am and always was against the dead wood associated with the union mentality. I most definitely am against the infamous ‘goon squad’.

  3. The old adage is one can count on “The Helpful Union Guy”, aka, THUG to make something happen or go away. Heenans roots are also deep in the building trades. Birds of a feather so to speak.

  4. It is called the ladder by the Federal Labor Unit which is simply catching someone at the lowest level like a driver or office gofer on the lowest rung then slowly moving up the ladder with threats and misdemeanor charges for information on the higher-ups. This was the case with Fumo and also in my case when they threatened members of my board with bogus charges in hopes that one would give up indictable activity based on a malicious newspaper story. In most cases, it is a fishing expedition or a shot in the dark that someone can help make a case. I suspect the defense already has a witness list of some employees who will testify under threat of indictment about some union activity that can be proven illegal. They did this to Fumo and the Roofers Union but with wiretaps. A comparison would be a reporter interviews many individuals for a good story while the Feds sit and listen to wiretaps for someone to admit they committed a crime.

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