There were two rules for working as Anthony Rumore’s handyman or chauffeur. The first was that you worked for free. The second was that you didn’t complain. Rumore, who served as president of the New York City area’s International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812 from 1988 until September 2004, was arrested on December 18 for extortion and embezzlement. For nearly his entire tenure in office, a two-count federal indictment noted, he had local officers, employees and business agents perform various domestic services under threat of discipline or even termination if they refused. Rumore pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court and was released on $250,000 bond.
Rumore, 63, had been a powerful figure in the Teamsters. In addition to heading Local 812, he also was president of Teamsters Joint Council 16, an umbrella group for some 100,000 New York City-area employees. The indictment accuses Rumore of violating the Hobbs Act, a 1946 federal law which outlaws the obstruction of commerce by robbery or extortion, and of “embezzling the assets of a labor organization.” Various members and associates of Teamsters Local 812, representing about 4,000 beverage-truck drivers, needle-trade and other workers, donated involuntary labor.
Much of the focus is on various activities at Rumore’s country home in Lakeview, Pa. Prosecutors claim that during the early to mid Nineties, union members were ordered to install a new roof, deck and skylight in the home, mow the lawn and clean gutters. Additionally, in the summer of 1999 he directed union members to put up a tent for a “social occasion” at his father’s house in Queens, N.Y. In 2000, Rumore had members await the delivery of a wall unit at a daughter’s apartment, transport it up an elevator, and install it. Union employees also had to play the role of chauffeur. He often would direct union employees to drive his wife and daughters from New York to medical appointments, and run errands for a daughter’s wedding in 2000. In 2001, he directed them to drive him and his family from New York to Baltimore to another wedding and to follow the lead car in a second vehicle to carry gowns. Later that year, he directed employees to deliver and set up a Christmas tree in a family apartment.
All this raised suspicions at the local, which led Rumore to commit perhaps his most serious offense. In 2003, the Teamsters brought him up on an internal disciplinary hearing. Rumore responded by directing local employees to collect $30,000 in contributions to his legal defense fund. He eventually stepped down the following year when similar accusations were leveled against him by the Teamsters’ federal oversight entity, the Independent Review Board. Anthony Rumore has learned the hard way that personal business and union business don’t mix. (New York Times, 12/19/07; Associated Press, 12/19/07).