Facebook posts don't prove carpenter's a racketeer, judge says

Pennsylvania Convention Center

U.S. District Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro on Tuesday dismissed Richard Washlick, a union carpenter, as a defendant in a racketeering lawsuit filed in May 2015 by the Pennsylvania Convention Center against the carpenters' union, its leaders and various union members. The suit accused the union of acting as a racketeering organization by interfering with the Center's business in retaliation for losing its jurisdiction to work in the building in May 2014. The suit accuses the carpenters of conspiring to disrupt and vandalize the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show. The union has denied all the charges.

In her opinion, Alejandro said Washlick's Facebook postings weren't enough to keep him in the case since the Convention Center could not establish that Washlick engaged in any "alleged violent or threatening acts." On Facebook, Washlick compared the Laborers union, which gained some of the carpenters' work, to the Bloods gang, called Laborers "scabs" and described its business manager as a "rat." He is also accused of advocating that the carpenters block the Center's doors, noting that he "could think of a few people that wouldn't miss much if they did some jail time as a result."

On Monday, Alejandro denied the carpenters' union's motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them.