Laborers’ “In House Prosecutor” Tapped to “Help” Teamsters’ Clean Up

The Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters has hired the “in house prosecutor” for the Laborers’ Intl. Union of N. Amer. (LIUNA) to set up its own system of fighting corruption.  By hiring the ethically-challenged Robert Luskin, who helped forestall a federal govt. takeover of LIUNA in the 1990s, it is reported that the Teamsters hope they will persuade federal prosecutors to end their 14-yr. supervision of the IBT.

 

In 1995, the Clinton Dept. of Justice dropped a nationwide racketeering suit against LIUNA.  Instead of supervision by a federal court, LIUNA was allowed to establish an “internal reform effort” to be monitored only by the DOJ of Clinton Attny. General Janet Reno.  Luskin, who was representing LIUNA, was hired by the LIUNA Gen. Exec. Bd. to investigate and remove corrupt officials from the union.  Luskin’s salary and expenses, as well as those of others hired for the reform, are paid entirely by the union.

 

In 1999, LIUNA president Arthur Coia — repeatedly accused of ties to organized crime by DOJ — agreed to resign from the union, but only after an internal union trial dubiously cleared him of mob ties and found him guilty only of tax evasion.  Coia was slapped with a $100,000 fine, but was given the title of “general president emeritus” and allowed to draw the equivalent of his $335,516 yearly salary for life.  More recently, Luskin agreed to drop his investigation of Richard S. Caravetta’s “possible association with organized crime” in exchange for his resignation from all leadership and employment positions with Local 2 in Chicago.  But just days after his Feb. 19, 2002 resignation, Caravetta’s signature appeared on letters to thousands of Local 2 members urging them to support Democrat Lisa Madigan for Ill. Attny. General.

 

NLPC’s report on the LIUNA “internal reform,” and Luskin’s problematical role can be accessed on our web site at http://www.nlpc.org/olap/liuna/failure/failure.htm.  As the Teamsters negotiate with the fed. govt. to end their supervision, union attny. Patrick Szymanski said that Luskin will be “purely a consultant” and will not be involved in the negotiations. [Detroit News, 10/30/03]