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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 21, 2010

Subpoenas to union upheld

Advertiser Staff

A federal judge yesterday upheld subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Labor seeking financial records from the Hawai'i Laborers' union.

But U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren also ordered the Labor Department to hold off on its requests to obtain a membership roster and phone list from the 3,500-member Laborers' International Union Local 368 until after it reviews the union's financial records.

"I believe this is a legitimate investigation," Kurren said.

The Labor Department is investigating whether union officials improperly used members' funds to help candidates during its election of officers in July.

The Labor Department has subpoenaed more than 4,000 pages of documents from the union, including timekeeping records, travel expense documents and vehicle use records.

Lawyers for the union have asked Kurren to quash the subpoenas, saying the request for members' phone records violates their right to privacy.