Teamsters Files Lawsuit Against Former President

July 7, 2008 - 8:25 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union has filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York City against ten individuals and groups for racketeering, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duties and legal malpractice in connection with the 1996 re-election campaign of former union President Ron Carey.

IBT Secretary-Treasurer C. Thomas Keegel said in filing the lawsuit, "the defendants participated in a wide-ranging plot to loot the union treasury in order to bolster the 1996 re-election campaign of disgraced former Teamster General (union) President Ron Carey. If successful, the IBT stands to recover more than $9 million."

The lawsuit includes counts filed under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act.

Named in the lawsuit are Ron Carey, former IBT Government Affairs Director William Hamilton, and Carey campaign consultants Martin Davis, Jere Nash and Michael Ansara. Also named are Barbara Arnold (Ansara's wife), fundraiser Charles Blitz, Citizen Action (a group which participated in the Carey campaign) and two of Citizen Action's officers, Ira Arlook and Rochelle Davis.

Also named in the lawsuit were the law firm of Cohen, Weiss and Simon and its former associate, Nathaniel Charney.

A Teamster spokesman told CNSNews.com those named in the lawsuit have to be held accountable for their past actions.

"It was essentially a political dues swap scheme in 1996 that took nearly $900,000 of union money and funneled it from the Teamsters bank account and into the campaign bank account of Ron Carey. This is our effort to hold them accountable," Teamster spokesman Brent Caldwell told CNSNews.com.

Caldwell went on to say, "It's not only the $900,000, it is the cost of the election that had to be held subsequently which cost $2.2 million to the union and several million than that to the government. We're trying to recoup that and believe that this was a conspiracy and believe that there is truth that [will show it] is a conspiracy and therefore they should be held responsible under RICO statutes."

Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee has been keeping close tabs on the Teamsters operation especially under their new President James R Hoffa. A spokesman for Hoekstra told CNSNews.com he had no comment on the lawsuit.

However, the National Legal and Policy Center thinks the Teamsters lawsuit is "long overdue."

"This is long overdue. The Teamsters are trying to recoup the $885,000 and more that it costs the Teamsters because of the illegal money laundering scheme that was used to re-elect Ron Carey," Ken Boehm of the National Legal and Policy Center told CNSNews.com.

Boehm also had harsh criticism for those who were named in the lawsuit.

"The people involved in this whole scheme are big time crooks and I think the RICO racketeering to recoup the money is perfectly appropriate. These people are not just crooks that stole money that belonged to the Teamsters but they also stole an election," said Boehm.

Attempts to reach attorneys for Ron Carey and some of the other defendants named in the lawsuit were unsuccessful Tuesday.