The Teamsters’ Independent Review Board, (IRB) has decided to permanently bar ex-Houston local president Chuck Crawley from the union. That Sept. 9 decision will likely be reviewed by U.S. Dist. Judge Loretta Preska (S.D. NY, G.H.W. Bush) who has jurisdiction over the IRB, which in turn has the authority to take unilateral action against corrupt Teamster officials.
The 3-member IRB, a decade ago thanks to a nationwide racketeering lawsuit by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, found that Crawley pocketed $ 20,000 when Local 988 installed a new telephone system, and that he knowingly paid inflated prices for T-shirts and stickers handed out to celebrate the opening of the local’s new union hall so he could get a kickback. The local’s former Secy.-Treasurer Dennis Bankhead, who was also accused of misusing union funds, was exonerated. The panel said it didn’t have enough evidence to ban him. Nor did it have enough evidence against Marie Espinosa, a union employee, who was alleged to have inflated invoices for beer and soda for a three-day grand opening gala of the hall.
“What we did find was inexcusable sloppiness and supervision in the management of refreshments for the grand opening,” according to the panel’s decision. “That is not, however, an offense within the jurisdiction of the Independent Review Board.”
“The decision by the Independent Review Board barring former Local 988 President Chuck Crawley from the union ends a dark chapter in the history of Local 988 and also marks a new beginning for the members of this local union,” IBT pres. James P. Hoffa said in a prepared statement.
But when he resigned as the Teamsters’ internal ethics watchdog last April, Edwin Stier accused Hoffa of delaying the imposition of a trusteeship of a local union (reported to have been 988) until the IRB first got involved. [Houston Chronicle, 9/11/04]