Street fight sparks federal lawsuit against union boss, 3 other members

A street fight involving a non-union contractor and the head of the city's powerful electrical workers' union is behind a federal lawsuit.

Some of the battle is on video FOX 29 Investigates showed you earlier this year.

Joshua Keesee's company MCON Electric was working in January on a South Philly townhouse project at Third and Reed streets.

That's where he says union boss John Dougherty - wearing sunglasses in the video - and three other IBEW Local 98 members confronted him. An argument turned into a fist-fight.

Police investigated. But the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office forwarded the matter to the Pennsylvania Attorney General. And the A.G.'s office hasn't filed any charges.

Keesee's lawyers say this was part of a campaign of threats and coercion against a townhouse developer using non-union workers. They've filed a racketeering lawsuit.

"Johnny Doc hit him in the nose, broke his nose," said Robert Mozenter, one of Keesee's attorneys, said. "He's had difficulty, he's lost jobs as a result of this altercation."

Clifford Haines, the contractor's other attorney, said, "All of this was an escalating intimidation to get him to join the union or get out of town."

A union spokesman denied Dougherty was the aggressor and says he cannot comment on a lawsuit he hasn't seen, adding, "all you need to know about the motive … is that the press received it before we did."

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