Another Teamsters Scandal Figure Sentenced

U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas P. Griesa sentenced Nathaniel Charny, a lawyer with labor law firm of Cohen, Weiss & Simon, who vetted contributions for the Carey campaign, was sentenced to “serve time” and a $500 fine for conspiring to make false statements to a court-appointed election officer investigating the fund-raising activity. He pled guilty in Oct. 1998. [BNA 4/10/00]

No DOJ Oversight of 2001 Election
For the first time since settling federal racketeering charges in 1989, the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters will conduct leadership elections free of government supervision. Campaigns for union posts in the historically-corrupt union begin this year with the selection of local delegates and conclude next fall with the election of a general president.   Each of the past three Teamsters ballots — including the scandal-ridden vote in 1996 in which Ron Carey’s campaign stole the election with union funds — have been conducted under the Dep’t of Justice’s oversight.

IBT boss James P. Hoffa has been lobbying to end the oversight, and the DOJ’s has agreed .  The stage was set for the new elections when the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan agreed in principle to a set of election rules and procedures proposed by the union.  Hoffa described the rules, which call for secret ballots and strict accounting of all campaign contributions and expenditures, as “tougher” than those imposed by the government in 1991, 1996 and 1998 when it supervised union elections.

Money may have played a key role in DOJ’s decision to end its supervision of IBT elections. It cost the government more than $22 million to supervise the 1996 election and 1998 rerun. Congress only reluctantly agreed to pay for the 1998 rerun election, and coming up with taxpayer money to pay for another election may have been even more difficult.  The union will pay the cost of the upcoming contest, estimated at more than $10 million.

The new rules provide for the election of delegates to the union’s national convention in Las Vegas in June 2001. Delegates will nominate candidates for the union’s top offices at the convention. Ballots will be mailed to the union’s 1.4 million members in October of next year and the tallying of the votes will be in November. It further provides that William Wertheimer, a Southfield, Mich. labor lawyer, will serve as election administrator. Ex-U.S. Dist. Judge Kenneth Conboy will again serve as election appeals master as he has done in previous elections.  It was Conboy who disqualified Carey in Nov. 1997.

Corrupt Long Island Local Gets Election Go-Ahead
The historically corrupt Long Island local has been deemed free enough of organized-crime influence to its first member election in years. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 813 agreed to be supervised by court-appointed monitors in 1993 as part of a settlement of a civil racketeering case brought by the Dep’t of Justice prosecutors. The racketeering suit alleged the local was controlled by organized-crime figures as part of a conspiracy to prevent competition and extort kickbacks in the garbage collection industry.

On April 14, U.S. Atty. Loretta Lynch announced that an agreement had been reached between the DOJ and the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters to allow union members to hold an election, and the agreement had been approved by U.S. Dist. Judge I. Leo Glasser overseeing the racketeering case.

“This is a significant step forward to returning union democracy to Local 813, which historically has been one of the locals dominated by organized crime,” said Lynch. The election is expected to take place sometime this summer, according to Asst. U.S. Atty. Stephen Riegel. [Newsday 4/15/00]