Probe Clears Teamster Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, but Issues Linger

Ken Hall is breathing easier.  But his union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, isn’t quite out of the woods yet.  On February 17, former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova, the union’s special independent investigator, withdrew obstruction charges against Hall, the IBT’s general secretary-treasurer and number two man behind General President James P. Hoffa.  In a letter to the union general counsel, diGenova wrote that Hall “did not play a personal role” in withholding over 32,000 documents, including emails, related to corruption probes.  The Teamsters, which had finalized a settlement with the Justice Department in January 2015 to phase out over two decades of tight federal supervision, remains under scrutiny.  That’s not good news for Northern California Teamster leader Rome Aloise.

Union Corruption Update examined this issue in detail last November.  The Teamsters for many years had been trying to extricate themselves from the terms of a March 1989 civil …

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Benefit scams, especially involving health plans, grabbed the lion’s share of union corruption stories in 2016.  Scammers came from outside as well as from inside the unions, a fact highlighting the need for trustees to exercise greater due diligence in choosing outside parties.  There were also the usual cases of six-figure (or more) embezzlement and fraud against union general funds.  Labor officials, meanwhile, expanded their misguided campaign to enact a $15 an hour minimum wage.  They also tried to undo Right to Work laws in three states, temporarily achieving success in two by way of court action.  And a deadlocked Supreme Court enabled state and local public-sector union bosses to retain their authority to coerce dues payments from unwilling workers.  In other words, there was plenty to write about.  Here were the ten stories that mattered most:

10)  Hawaii contractor pleads guilty; sentenced for scamming Painters union, benefit fund, IRS

Probe Recommends Charges against Top Teamsters Official

ken-hall-and-james-hoffaHillary Clinton isn’t the only person these days accused of hiding emails to conceal crimes.  In a 42-page letter dated October 31, court-approved investigator Joseph diGenova appealed to International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa (r) to take action against IBT General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall (l).  According to diGenova, Hall hid over 17,000 email transmissions and other documents that could shed light on acts of embezzlement, bid-rigging and other acts of corruption.  For over six months, Hall, aided by Hoffa’s legal team, allegedly stonewalled investigators.  The IBT calls the charges “baseless.”  But the accusations may delay the union’s ongoing exit from federal control established by a 1989 racketeering settlement.  To complicate matters, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last Thursday filed suit against the union, citing “unprecedented and dangerous” activity.

James Hoffa has headed the Washington, D.C.-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters since 1999.  The union, with a current estimated 1.4 …