Philadelphia Union Leader Arrested by Federal Agents, Accused of Extortion

In this Feb. 1, 2019 file photo John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, Local 98 leader, speaks to the media as he departs the federal courthouse, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File

A high-ranking Philadelphia union leader was arrested by federal agents Wednesday morning and is being accused of extortion.

IBEW Local 98 union leader John Dougherty was arrested at his home in Center City and was taken into custody at the FBI’s Philadelphia offices, CBS Philadelphia reported.

In January 2019, Dougherty, City Councilman Bobby Henon, and six others were initially charged in a 116-count indictment in which they were accused of embezzling more than $600,000.

This latest wave of charges is separate from the 2019 indictment and alleges that Dougherty and another IBEW employee, Dougherty’s nephew Gregory Fiocca, used “force and violence, and threats of violence and economic harm against a contractor who employed Fiocca for services he alleged failed to perform.”

Dougherty has maintained his innocence.

“Today, after John just returned home after spending 12 days at his seriously ill wife Ceilie’s bedside in the Intensive Care Unit of Jefferson Hospital, they descended again upon John and Ceilie’s home and arrested him again. This isn’t a prosecution, it’s a persecution,” according to a statement from Dougherty’s spokesman Frank Keel.

NBC 10 Philadelphia reported that Dougherty is free on pre-trial release as of Wednesday afternoon and was ordered not to have any contact with the co-defendants. The 2019 case is scheduled for trial in May.

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