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 …

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 …

Michigan Teamster Local Probed; Placed Under Trusteeship

teamsters-logoAl Sprague collected two incomes. Unfortunately, one of them may have been under false pretenses. Late in January the International Brotherhood of Teamsters determined that Sprague, president-business agent of Teamsters Local 164, received unemployment benefits while drawing an income from the Jackson, Mich. union. Apparently, he’s not the only official at the local with ethical problems. To safeguard assets, Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa put the local under trusteeship. “Following the assignment of a Personal Representative to investigate allegations of impropriety regarding the financial administration of Local 164, I have received a report that confirms the Local Union is not being operated in a manner consistent with the requirements of the International Constitution and federal law,” Hoffa wrote in a letter to local officers and members.

Teamsters Local 164, which represents several dozen workers at three scrap metal operations in Michigan, has leadership issues. Its president and business …

Locomotive Workers Union President Announces Retirement

Locomotive train The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is about to get its fourth national president in less than three years. Paul Sorrow, head of the Teamsters-affiliated railroad employees union since last November, announced in a letter a few weeks ago that he would be retiring on July 1, making way for current First Vice President Dennis Pierce to take over. Unlike his two predecessors, Sorrow’s departure is unrelated to corruption. Sorrow, 63, cited health problems as the reason for departure. 

Late in 2007, then-BLET President Don Hahs stepped aside from the top post of the Cleveland-based labor organization, now with nearly 60,000 members, following charges that during 2004-06 he’d embezzled about $58,000 in union funds to cover personal expenses, especially Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games and family travel. Though not prosecuted, he was removed from office by International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa in March 2008 after a full …