As the fortunes of Chicago-area former Teamster leader John T. Coli Sr. continue to crumble, an overlapping story has emerged. On August 2, Illinois State Senator Tom Cullerton was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with 40 counts of embezzlement and one count of making a false statement following an indictment by a grand jury. For three years, Cullerton, while working as an organizer for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 734, allegedly received nearly $275,000 in salary and benefits from the Chicago union for doing “little or no work.” Teamsters Joint Council 25, then headed by Coli, had approved the job assignment back in 2013. On August 16, Cullerton pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The indictment of Tom Cullerton (in photo) is an outgrowth of charges against John Coli Sr., who for 25 years was the dominant Teamster official in the Chicago area. Coli … Read More ➡
John T. Coli Sr. has a saying: “Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.” He’s kind of feeling like a hog now. On July 30, Coli (in photo, on right), for years the most powerful Teamster in the Chicago area, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count each of receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return. The first charge refers to acts of extortion totaling $325,000 from an area employer in order to ensure “labor peace.” He had been slapped with a 13-count superseding indictment in September 2017 after being indicted on six counts that July. Coli resigned as head of Teamsters Local 727 on the day of the initial indictment, clearing the way for his son, John T. Coli Jr., to take over. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the Labor Department’s Office … Read More ➡
John Matassa Jr. says he’s being sentenced for his reputation, not his deeds. Evidence points toward the latter. Last Monday, July 22, Matassa, former secretary-treasurer of Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to six months in prison plus six months of home confinement for embezzling funds from the Chicago-area union related to putting his wife on the union payroll for a no-show job. He had been indicted in May 2017 on 10 counts of embezzlement, fraud and other offenses, pleading guilty to a reduced embezzlement charge this February. The actions follow a probe by the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
As Union Corruption Update has reported more than once (for example, here and here), John “Pudgy” Matassa, now in his late-60s, a resident of Arlington … Read More ➡
John Matassa Jr.’s biggest mistake was trying to qualify for an early retirement. He now is qualified for prison. On February 26, Matassa, former secretary-treasurer of Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of embezzling $738 in union funds, far below what he actually had stolen from the union and the government. He had been indicted in May 2017 on 10 counts related to his creating a no-show union job for his wife and collecting Social Security benefits for himself. Matassa for decades has been a reputed “made man” in the Chicago mob. The plea deal calls for 15 to 21 months in prison, plus $66,500 in restitution. The actions follow a probe by the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
John “Pudgy” Matassa Jr., … Read More ➡
The Central American human caravan, at this writing somewhere in Mexico, still has a long way to go before it (illegally) reaches our southern border. The distance from its country of origin, Honduras, to the nearest U.S. city, McAllen, Tex., is more than a thousand miles. That’s quite a haul. The Bataan Death March of April 1942, an atrocity conducted at Japanese gunpoint, was only 65 miles long. Given the physical risks, there can be no doubt that the caravan’s march, under cover of humanitarian impulses, is being enabled from above. There is no other way these people could have traveled as far as they have. It thus should come as no shock that this project is the handiwork of a tight network of radical activists in America.
By various accounts, the center of gravity for this campaign is a Chicago organization called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which translated from … Read More ➡
Last week comedienne-actress Roseanne Barr managed to get herself fired by ABC from her rebooted TV sitcom following her highly unflattering tweet about the facial features of Valerie Jarrett (in photo), longtime political consigliere to Barack Obama. Roseanne’s words were clearly over the line. But despite issuing a profuse apology, she’s now eternally marked as a “racist.” The saddest thing about all this was that Jarrett was portrayed to be a victim.
Roseanne Barr, now 65, a native of Salt Lake City, made her initial reputation during the Eighties as a stand-up comedienne. Her schtick suggested manic depression with a dose of laughing gas. In 1988 she snagged a television deal with ABC in which she would star in her own situation comedy as a “working-class domestic goddess.” The show, Roseanne, instantly caught fire. She would win an Emmy, a Golden Globe and other awards during its nine-year … Read More ➡
When it comes to ethically compromised congressmen, Chicago seems to produce a bumper crop. Last Thursday, March 22, the House Ethics Committee released separate reports admonishing Reps. Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez, both Democrats from Chicago districts, for violating House rules concerning outside financial activities of members. The committee ordered Rush (in photo, on left) and Gutierrez (in photo, on right) to pay respective sums of $13,310 and $9,700 to the U.S. Treasury. The investigations were triggered by a probe by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Given the facts, the sanctions appear to be slaps on the wrist. The case of Gutierrez, who is retiring after the current term, is especially disturbing in the context of other conflicts of interest.
Bobby Rush, now in his 13th term, represents the 1st District of Illinois, which covers a large portion of Chicago’s South Side. To many, he is best-known … Read More ➡