|Jan 26 2000
Teamster Dilema: The I.S.' Gangster, or the Gangster?
from the WASHINGTON POST:
Former Teamsters Head Indicted
Carey Accused of Perjury in Probe of Misuse of Union
By Frank Swoboda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 26, 2001; Page A16
Former Teamster president Ronald Carey was indicted by a federal
grand jury yesterday for lying about his role in the campaign finance scandal
that led to his ouster from the union nearly five years ago.
Federal prosecutors indicated they may also be looking at other
labor leaders outside the Teamsters in their continuing investigation of
an illegal money laundering scheme by the Carey campaign during his 1996
reelection bid. Carey narrowly defeated James P. Hoffa, but the election
was overturned and Hoffa won the new election, taking over as president
Carey attorney Mark Hulkower said the former union leader was "absolutely
innocent of any wrongdoing."
Hoffa, in a statement issued by the Teamsters, said he supports
the perjury charges against Carey. "The members of the Teamsters union
have paid a terrible price for the misdeeds of Mr. Carey," Hoffa
The Teamsters union has sued to recover nearly $1 million it claims
was illegally siphoned from the union to support the 1996 Carey campaign.
In a statement announcing the indictments, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo
White of the Southern District of New York said "Carey made 39 false declarations
and committed perjury before the grand jury."
The indictments are the latest chapter in a legal drama that began
in 1989, when the Justice Department filed a racketeering suit against
the Teamsters, accusing the nation's second-largest union of being little
more than a wholly owned subsidiary of organized crime. The union, the
government charged in its suit, had made a "devil's pact" with the mob.
The suit was eventually settled after the union leadership agreed
to government supervision and the first direct election of national union
officers in Teamster history. The union remains under federal court supervision
today as a result of the consent decree signed by the old guard union leadership.
Carey, a little-known leader of a United Parcel Service local in
Queens, N.Y., ran as the reform candidate and won the Teamster presidency
in a three-way race.
In the seven-count indictment issued yesterday, Carey was charged
with lying about his knowledge of the financial scandals involving his
reelection campaign to both the grand jury and the union's Independent
Review Board. Carey could be sentenced to five years in prison on each
So far, only one other Teamster official has been indicted. Former
political director William Hamilton was convicted of participating in the
financial kickback scheme in which officials in the Carey campaign were
charged with making political contributions from the union to groups active
in the 1996 elections and then arranging for those groups to kick back
some of the money to the Carey campaign. It is illegal under federal labor
law for union candidates to spend union money on their campaigns.
Hamilton was sentenced last year to three years in prison; he has
appealed the conviction.
Labor sources said that rumors of a Carey indictment had begun to
circulate nearly five months ago.
There was concern within the labor movement last night that White
may be trying to target AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, but
not for any role he might have played in a controversial Teamster contribution
to the AFL-CIO that was passed on to a nonprofit activist group in the
general elections. Some union officials last night said there were some
indications White might be looking at Trumka's possible role in soliciting
financial donations from union leaders outside the Teamsters to help Carey.
Such an act would not violate federal law, but it would have violated
the Teamster constitution's ban on such donations from outside the union.
Trumka was unavailable for comment last night.