UA appoints William Hite as general president.

Martin Maddaloni, president of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters, and Thomas Patchell, the UA's secretary-treasurer, resigned amid an internal investigation regarding the union's financial management.

The Associated Press reported that Maddaloni and Patchell were each bought out of their contracts, including salary and pension credits, in a deal approved by the executive board. Both men's terms would have expired in 2006.

Last October, the union's general executive board began investigating investments made from the UA's general fund following a letter written to the board from two top former union chiefs.

The Engineering News-Record reported that the Oct. 8 letter written by an attorney on behalf of former UA President Marvin J. Boede and former Assistant General President C. Randal Gardner claimed the union's financial condition has deteriorated to such an extent that "its ability to pay for the 2006 convention has also become an issue."

The letter also contained assertions by the two former officers that Maddaloni and Patchell have "mismanaged the UA's assets, used the UA's assets for purposes other than solely for the benefit of the UA and its members, invested and spent the UA's money in violation of the UA's constitution, dealt with the UA as an adverse party, acquired interests that conflict with the UA's, and failed to account fully to the UA and its members with regard to significant financial transactions."

The letter raised further specific questions concerning tens of millions of dollars lost to failed investments in a Florida country club, online retailers and a high-tech startup.

Allegations of financial mismanagement have dogged Maddaloni and Patchell for the past few years. Much of this stems from continued fallout from refurbishing and constructing the Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood, Fla., a resort and convention center that ended up costing the union more than $800 million - 100 percent over budget and 18 months behind schedule.

Just last August the Department of Labor settled a lawsuit forcing the removal of Maddaloni, Patchell and two other board trustees from the UA's pension committee as a result of mismanaging the fund's investment in the Diplomat. The deal also required the four former members to pay nearly $11 million in restitution and civil penalties.

Following the resignation of Maddaloni and Patchell, the UA's general executive board in December appointed William P. Hite as general president. Patrick R. Perno was named general secretary-treasurer and Stephen F. Kelly was asked to serve as assistant general president.