A federal grand jury has indicted the owner of a Baltimore janitorial company and a former union trustee on charges of conspiring to cheat about 100 employees of health and pension benefits.
The 12-count indictment announced yesterday by the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges that William A. Zei, 47, of the 3700 block of Font Hill Drive, Ellicott City, paid off the union trustee to avoid paying the benefits.
Mr. Zei is president of Zenith Building Services Inc., which had a contract to provide janitorial services to the Social Security Administration complex in Woodlawn until last December.
Edward Glenn Jr., 50, of Washington was charged with accepting the money in exchange for using his influence to cover up the non-payment of benefits. He was a paid employee of the Laborer's International Union of North America, and was appointed trustee for Zenith employees.
Mr. Glenn has been fired by the union.
The men were charged with conspiring to violate labor laws. Mr. Zei also was charged with making false statements to federal authorities investigating the payments.
Mr. Zei faces a maximum penalty of 19 years in prison and a $1.1 million fine if convicted; Mr. Glenn could receive 14 years and a $900,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Semel said Mr. Zei cheated union members of about $120,000 by failing to make payments required under a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the indictment, Mr. Zei made six payments -- totaling $6,500 -- to Mr. Glenn between July 1991 and October 1991.
Federal authorities received complaints from employees and requested proof of the payments. The indictment charges that Mr. Zei showed investigators copies of the checks he had given to Mr. Glenn and lied by saying the money was for payment of the benefits.