In a lawsuit filed early this week, Philadelphian Joshua Keesee, who owns and runs a small, union-free electrical contracting business, charges that union bigwig John Dougherty sucker punched him and broke his nose in January. When that failed to cow Keesee to Dougherty’s satisfaction, the business manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union and three of his henchmen proceeded to subject Keesee to a “barrage of additional blows to the head and torso . . . .”
Keesee further charges that the assault by Dougherty and his militant union followers, which left him with “several lumps on his head” and “concussion-like symptoms” as well as a broken nose, was part of a Big Labor “campaign of intimidation, threats and coercion” against independent-minded hardhats working on a townhouse development project in the Pennsport section of South Philadelphia and the developer in charge of the project, Barry Sable.
(See the link below to read a news story regarding Keesee’s lawsuit that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.)
The day after he was beaten up by “Johnny Doc,” as Dougherty is commonly called, and other union thugs, Keesee dragged himself back to work despite his “bodily injury, physical pain and apprehension about continued violence against him . . . .” But when he got to his work site, roughly 15 IBEW Local 98 toughs were already there. As soon as he arrived, they began staring at him “with menacing, confrontational looks.”
Concerned about “his own well-being and weighing his obligations to his children,” Keesee concluded he and his business had no choice but to abandon the Pennsport project. Subsequently, he alleges, an IBEW agent tried to persuade him to “forget about” the intimidation, assault, and battery in exchange for potentially getting reimbursed for the lost work. After Keesee refused to be bought, according to the lawsuit, he found he had been blackballed by developers and property owners who clearly feared retaliation by the Local 98 hierarchy if they contracted with Keesee’s firm.
Allegations of extortionate tactics and other illegalities are nothing new for Johnny Doc. A number of years ago, contractor Gus Dougherty (no relation) actually entered a guilty plea and served a prison sentence for paying off Johnny Doc with costly personal favors while collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in Local 98 “job recovery” money, siphoned off from workers’ forced dues and fees. But Johnny Doc himself got off scot-free.
In fact, despite his shady reputation and an ongoing federal criminal investigation regarding alleged racketeering and extortionate violence, Johnny Doc continues to be courted by politicians who are eager to have his forced dues-funded political machine deployed on their behalf. Just this April, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton paid him a personal visit just before her Pennsylvania primary showdown with her then-rival, Bernie Sanders.