Cherkasky Puts Hoffa on Hold

U.S. Dist. Court-appointed Election Officer Michael Cherkasky has delayed certifying James P. Hoffa’s Teamsters presidency due to a protest filed by his opponent Tom Leedham. Leedham contends Hoffa and four vice-presidents elected are guilty of violating the union’s rules and should be barred from office. J.D. Potter of Tex. was charged by the union’s Independent Review Board with lying about contributions to Hoffa’s campaign. James Santangelo of Cal. was accused of wrongly receiving money from a union severance fund. Donato DeSanti of N.J. was accused of associating with a barred member. Thomas O’Donnell of N.Y. was charged with filing a false campaign report concealing a convicted felon on the payroll. The delay means bosses loyal to the corrupt ex-president Ron Carey remain entrenched in the union’s “Marble Palace” in D.C. The D.C. monthly payroll is over $2 million. [Detroit News 1/12/99]

Indicted Kentucky Boss Retires
Lon Fields, Sr., retired … Read More ➡

Probe of Florida Boss Revisited

Betty Jo Bryon, a staffer at the Tampa local of the Int’l Longshoremen’s Ass’n appeared Jan. 12 before a federal grand jury investigating union corruption. Byron’s boss, Perry Harvey, was charged in 1991 with embezzling $225,000 from the union but was acquitted. Prosecutors didn’t comment on Bryon’s subpoena. But Harvey’s attorney said they are looking at how the union’s credit union handled some loans. Byron doubles as an official with the credit union. The union and its credit union are in the same office. [St. Petersburg Times 1/13/99]

Iowa Embezzler Gets 16 Months
On Jan. 8, Jeanette M. Everhart, an APWU member in Des Moines, was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for mail embezzlement. She was ordered to pay $104,680 in restitution. The U.S. Atty.’s Office said she stole food stamps and cash for drug and gambling addictions.… Read More ➡

Tainted New York Election Overturned

U.S. Dist. Judge Constance B. Motley held Dec. 31 that the N.Y. Metro Area Postal Union, a local of the Am. Postal Workers Union, violated election rules of the Labor-Management Reporting & Disclosure Act by “unreasonably” disqualifying seven “dissident” candidates for failing to file required information by an “unnecessarily strict and undisclosed deadline.” The local’s Jan. 1997 newsletter announced the nomination and election dates but failed to mention candidate and election requirements. At the nomination meeting, 32 members of the incumbent bosses’ slate and seven members of a dissident slate were nominated. None of the dissident candidates were informed of the candidate filing requirements. Before the elections, the incumbents’ slate challenged the dissident nominees for failing to submit the required information to the union. The union election committee disqualified all dissident nominees. The court voided the Mar. 3, 1997 election and ordered a rerun under the U.S. Dep’t of Labor’s … Read More ➡

Local and National Bosses Battle in New York

 Over 6,000 members of Utility Workers Union of Am. Local 1-2 in N.Y.C., have signed a petition protesting their ousted leader, Joseph Flaherty, and imposition of trusteeship by UWUA’s parent in D.C.. Flaherty’s supporters, claim that Donald E. Wightman, president of the national UWUA engineered a crude power play to push aside an outspoken critic and potential challenger for the presidency. Flaherty intends to renew efforts for a U.S. Dist. Judge to end the trusteeship this month.

Wightman said UWUA took over Local 1-2 and removed Flaherty to rescue it from insolvency and from a leader who was stifling dissent and democracy. Wightman also alleged Flaherty wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees and inflated payroll. According to Wightman, Flaherty paid a $4,000 weekly retainer to the local’s general counsel, more than $2 million a year for wages and benefits for the local’s 20 full-time officers and … Read More ➡

Texas Bosses Snub Members’ Freedom

Top Texas AFL-CIO bosses blasted a bill introduced in the Tex. legislature to hold unions more accountable to members and increase member’s freedom in choosing how their dues are spent. State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran’s (R) bill would require unions to obtain annual written permission from every member to use their dues for political purposes. The measure would create a simple membership renewal card that would allow members to indicate their desire to have dues used for political purposes. The best excuse Texas AFL-CIO boss Ed Sills could come up with to justify his anti-freedom position is that the postcards would be a “giant, new administrative burden.” If the bill passes, violating the law would be a misdemeanor and bosses would be liable up to $1,000 per violation. [Houston Chronicle 1/6/99]… Read More ➡

DOJ Extends, Weakens, Controversial Agreement

On Jan. 8, the U.S. Dep’t of Justice and the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am. announced the second one-year extension of the controversial 1995 Operating Agreement that resulted from DOJ’s 1994 draft RICO complaint. The Agreement is now scheduled to terminate Jan. 31, 2000. The National Legal and Policy Center, a union corruption watchdog, reiterated its previous demands that DOJ: 1) remove Arthur A. Coia as LIUNA General President, 2) replace Robert D. Luskin as LIUNA’s “in-house prosecutor,” and 3) impose the full terms of the pending Consent Decree thereby allowing court-appointed officials to clean up LIUNA and stopping LIUNA from “cleaning up itself.”

“The so-called LIUNA ‘internal reform effort’ is a failure. DOJ has placed a great deal of trust in the independence and effectiveness of the ‘internal reform effort,’ but the fact is Luskin and the ‘reform’ team are not independent and are not as effective as … Read More ➡

3 Hoffa Slate Members in Trouble

Teamsters president-elect James P. Hoffa is already under fire amid corruption allegations. The Teamsters’ court-appointed Independent Review Board filed charges Dec. 14 against J.D. Potter, Texas Teamsters boss and a vice-president on Hoffa’s slate, for lying to the election officer about funds he contributed to the Hoffa campaign. Potter allegedly falsely claimed that a $5,000 check to Hoffa’s campaign came from members of his local. This follows IRB charges of Dec. 3 against another Hoffa vice-presidential candidate, Thomas R. O’Donnell, president of Local 817 in Lake Success, N.Y., for filing false reports on campaign expenditures. O’Donnell failed to disclose payments to a campaign aide who is a convicted felon. On Dec. 10, IRB also charged a 1996 Hoffa vice-presidential candidate, Thomas Ryan, ex-president Local 107 in Philadelphia who was suspended in 1996 for embezzlement. The IRB alleges Ryan has ignored the terms of his suspension barring him from union involvement. … Read More ➡

DOL Forces Return of $20 Million to Pension Plan

Teamsters’ Local 705 in Chicago agreed Dec. 14 to restore $20 million to the union’s pension plan under a U.S. Dist. Court consent order and judgment won by the U.S. Dep’t of Labor. Trustees improperly transferred pension funds to a welfare benefit plan from 1991-95. Trustees claimed the transfers were to help support to the welfare plan. DOL charged that many individuals who paid into the pension plan were not covered by the welfare plan, and thus, were harmed by the transfers. The pension plan was worth $780 million in Jan. 1996. [BNA 12/16/98]… Read More ➡

Boss Coia Under Investigation in Canada

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario, not Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am.’s “internal reform effort,” has opened a fraud investigation into the “finances and dealings” of the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central & Eastern Canada. LIUNA president Arthur A. Coia is one of the Fund’s 5 trustees being probed. Coia is also the Fund’s chairman. Investigators are probing a tainted 1989 land deal that the Fund paid $23.7 million for a parcel of land that is now allegedly worth $5 million. But the Fund’s books  value the at $28 million. The property is in Stoney Creek, Ontario. There were purportedly plans to have condos built, but there has be no development on the land. The parcel is owned by a company that is wholly controlled by the Fund. Ontario law and LIUNA’s own conflict-of-interest rules stated that the Fund’s assets cannot be invested in a “corporation wholly owned or … Read More ➡


The controversial 1995 Operating Agreement between LIUNA and the U.S. Dep’t of Justice that averted a RICO suit and a government takeover of LIUNA expires Jan. 31. The Agreement gives DOJ court-approved power to take over LIUNA if DOJ isn’t satisfied with the union’s “internal reform effort.” The Agreement is the only glimmer of hope for justice to prevail in LIUNA. Don’t be surprised if LIUNA bosses and their slick legal team led by “in-house prosecutor” Robert D. Luskin and general counsel Michael S. Bearse weasel out of the Agreement. Next week, NLPC will issue a report on the failure of the LIUNA “internal reform effort” and recommend that DOJ, at the very minimum, extend the current Agreement for several years or, preferably, take over LIUNA immediately.… Read More ➡