James P. Hoffa, president of the Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, said Aug. 18 that while the Dep't of Labor may choose to supervise IBT's 2001 general election, he believes the union is capable of conducting a free and fair election on its own. Under the 1989 Consent Decree settling federal racketeering charges against IBT, DOL has the option of supervising the next election. When asked whether DOL would add credibility to the election, Hoffa responded, "I don't necessarily believe that. When we conduct the election we're going to have it supervised by people of high integrity. We have in mind a group of people that are former government employees." This was the latest statement in Hoffa's battle to end the government's supervision over the corrupt union. [BNA 8/20/99]
Tom Leedham, the boss who lost the 1998 election for Teamsters president, is continuing his textbook example of electoral "sour grapes." On. Feb. 23, the court-appointed election appeals masters Kenneth Conboy affirmed James P. Hoffa's certification as Teamsters president, but Leedham, a Ron Carey-loyalist, was granted 14 days to appeal Conboy's ruling to U.S. Dist. Judge David N. Edelstein. Leedham and allies have successfully kept Hoffa from taking control of the union for nearly three months after his election. Hoffa canceled his Mar. 6 inaugural in Washington, as well as Mar. 7 in Chicago and Mar. 13 in L.A. [Detroit News 2/25/99]
James P. Hoffa's victory as Teamsters president was cleared for certification Jan. 28 by Michael G. Cherkasky, the court-appointed election monitor, after a delay due corruption charges against Hoffa slate members. But Cherkasky did bar Hoffa running mate J.D. Potter of Tex. from assuming his vice-president seat on the Teamsters board. Potter was charged with with lying about breaking donation limits. Union rules limited Potter to giving $5,000 to Hoffa's campaign, and he said that an additional $5,000 he gave came from other members. He also claimed that the original bills (U.S. dollars) they gave him were still in his car, and he produced $4,700 in cash from his trunk. But 13 of the bills were not in circulation at the time he claimed to have collected them. [A.P. 1/28/99]
National AFSCME president Gerald W. McEntee placed all of DC 37 (56 locals) under an administratorship Nov. 30 due to growing allegations of corruption. Top McEntee lieutenant, Lee Saunders, was made DC 37 administrator. DC 37 Exec. Director Stanley W. Hill, widely alleged to be part of the corruption, took a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence. Numerous other bosses have step-aside or resigned with some getting cushy compensation packages. All 56 locals will be audited. AFSCME intends to share any findings of corruption with Manhattan Dist. Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau who has had an on-going criminal investigation into DC 37 for several months. [N.Y. Times 11/30 & 12/8/98; BNA 12/1/98]
Election Officer Michael G. Cherkasky found Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer and acting-President Tom Sever committed "very serious" violations of union rules by retaliating against union officials opposed to Sever's continuation in office. Sever stripped duties from presidential candidate Tom Leedham and two others. Cherkasky ordered Sever and an aide to halt retaliatory actions, but he stopped short of barring Sever from reelection. [Detroit News 8/18/98]
Michael G. Cherkasky, the court-appointed Teamsters election monitor sent a strongly-worded letter to U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein on Jun. 24 threatening to end all federal supervision of the election unless the court can resolve a standoff over election funding. Cherkasky's threats come on the heals of a major setback for taxpayers in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit refused to reconsider its Mar. 30 ruling that forces taxpayers to fund the upcoming rerun election.