Earlier this week, arrests were made and RICO charges filed against four Boston-area Teamsters for “committing multiple acts of extortion and racketeering among other crimes.” While news of a 30-count indictment always generates a fair amount of buzz, the fact is, regardless how much money the Teamsters spend on Democrat politicians, corruption is still alive and well within Hoffa’s union.
In 1988, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a suit
under the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, alleging that the nation’s most powerful union (at the time) was wholly controlled by organized crime. In order to avoid having the entire union disbanded, the Teamsters settled the suit
with the Department of Justice establishing an Independent Review Board
to “investigate and take appropriate action.”
In fact, despite then-candidate Barack Obama secretly promising to end federal oversight, the job of cleaning up the Teamsters is far from over.
Since then, according to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, “IRB actions have led to discipline (suspension, returned funds, and expulsions) of over 600 Teamsters.” These decisions are posted at here.
In this most recent case, according to the Boston Herald:
Four Teamsters charged yesterday in a 30-count federal extortion and racketeering indictment allegedly threatened to block an Oct. 23, 2009, event in the city, prosecutors said. State Democratic Party officials told the Herald a Patrick campaign fundraiser at the Westin Copley Place hotel where Obama spoke that night is part of the indictment.
Charged in the federal RICO case are Teamsters Local 82 secretary John Perry, 60, of Woburn; his alleged enforcer, Joseph “Jo Jo” Burhoe, 44, of Braintree; James “Jimmy the Bull” Deamicis, 49, of Quincy; and Thomas Flaherty, 49, of Braintree.
According to the indictment, “Perry’s Crew” of thugs shook down hotels, event planners, catering, drug and entertainment companies and even nonprofits “to generate money for themselves, their friends and family members.” Prosecutors also allege the crew roughed up rivals, violated union rules and scammed more than $40,000 in taxpayer-funded unemployment benefits.
Local 82 was shut down by the national Teamsters union in 2011 and folded into Local 25 in Charlestown.
As current-Teamster boss James Hoffa put Local 82 under Local 25’s control, the Teamsters for a Democratic Union noted:
Local 82 members braved goons, threats and even violent assault to blow the lid on embezzlement, sweetheart contracts, rigged contract votes, and elaborate schemes to steer jobs to friends and political allies of local officers and their enforcers.
Members documented and reported these violations to Hoffa but he refused to take any action. Finally, the Independent Review Board forced Hoffa’s hand and he put Local 82 into trusteeship.
For his part, Teamsters Local 25 boss Sean O’Brian defended his union:
“We work hard every day to make certain that our members who are employed at the BCEC are working under a system that gives every member a fair chance for employment opportunities,” Sean M. O’Brien, president and principal Officer of Local 25, said in a statement released today.
“The overwhelming acceptance of the referral system by our members and the lack of any complaints is proof positive that it’s working, Our members at the BCEC have every right to expect Local 25’s best efforts in representing them and I’ve promised them they’ll receive nothing less.”
You can cover a turd in frosting and call it a cupcake, but it’s still a turd.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com
Get LUR updates on Twitter.