A former union head of the Port Authority pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $300,000 in member dues to spend on prostitutes and gambling.
The 49-year-old Hughes was president of the local Port Authority Field Association. Its members do roadway work at the agency's area airports, bridges and tunnels.
The stolen member dues were allegedly funneled to dates with prostitutes. According to the Daily News Hughes paid for the prostitutes using a union credit card and made withdrawals from the hotel ATMs with union banking cards, prosecutors said.
They were $400 to $500 [per date]," Port Authority Deputy Inspector General Michael Nestor told the News about the union-subsidized outings.
Hughes also used the union's ATM card to access a Web site that advertises personal ads placed by transsexuals, although the gender of his hookers was not immediately clear, the New York Post reported.
Nestor said Hughes used the funds "as his own personal piggy bank."
Prosecutors charged Hughes also spent union members' dues on a pair of gambling outings at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.
During his court appearance, Hughes said he defendant said suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and that he had been hospitalized for depression. He also said he underwent surgery for weight reduction, though the News puts his weight at some 400 pounds.
He faces up to 57 months in prison at his sentencing.