As part of a court settlement, the Teamster anti-corruption panel known as the Independent Review Board (IRB) will begin a transition period on February 17. But, in reality, very little will change from how the IRB functions.
Hoffa has sought for years to hamstring or eliminate the IRB and its corruption investigations, which have snared many of his top associates. Just days ago, the IRB brought charges against International vice president Rome Aloise, the most powerful Teamster official in the west.
In October, the IRB issued a report calling for trusteeship because of extensive corruption in the Ohio Conference by another top Hoffa advisor, Bill Lichtenwald. IRB charges against Hoffa’s point man in New England Sean O’Brien resulted in a suspension from office for illegally threatening members.
Last year, a federal judge approved a settlement to phase out government oversight and a 25-year consent decree to combat mob influence and corruption in our union. On February 17, the transition period for the IRB will begin.
Under the transition, the IRB will cease to exist as a three person board, but its essential functions will remain the same.
One of the three members of the IRB, Joseph di Genova, will become the Independent Investigations Officer. Another member of the IRB, Benjamin Civiletti, will become the Independent Review Officer. The third member of the IRB, William Webster, will no longer be involved.
The present Chief Investigator, Charles Carberry will stay in place, along with his entire staff of investigators. Carberry will now report to di Genova, instead of the three-person board and Civiletti will now be the hearing officer, instead of the three-person board.
These appointments have been approved by Judge Loretta Preska, who oversees the permanent court order in this matter.
The Independent Review Board (IRB) has functioned for 24 years to root out corrupt Teamster officials.
All pending cases (such as the charges against Aloise) will go forward on the same schedule as before, and all pending investigations will continue with the same investigations staff. Reports to Teamster members will continue to be issued. The independent officers will continue to have subpoena power and can request court enforcement by Judge Preska if needed.
These appointments are protected for a five-year term, until 2021. After five years, the IBT leadership will have the power to make the appointments of the Independent Investigations Officer and the Independent Review Officer, and they will no longer have subpoena power.