Corruption Report Slams Ohio Conference

The Independent Review Board (IRB) has issued a report charging that the Ohio Conference of Teamsters exists to pay extra salaries to officers, along with Christmas bonuses, golf clubs and other perks.


The 59-page report calls on James Hoffa to take action to place the Conference, headed by Bill Lichtenwald, into trusteeship and all-but calls for it to be abolished as a waste of members’ dues money.

The report reads like a manual on how to abuse the trust and money of Teamster members.

The report states (page 12) that one Conference official told the IRB that “the conference’s major purpose was to supplement the salaries of officials in less prosperous locals.” That’s an honest assessment, since over half of the $747,000 income goes straight to compensation of various officers who already receive full-time salaries.

Any legitimate union function of the Conference could be done by Joint Council 41, which includes approximately 90% of Ohio Teamsters, and Joint Council 26 in Cincinnati.

A detailed review of the minutes of Conference board meetings shows very little done to benefit members, with most meetings approving Christmas bonuses or extra per diem payments for officers, parties, golf clubs, a free trip to the Las Vegas Teamster Convention for an ex-officer, and other perks.

The report also noted that Conference President Bill Lichtenwald (pictured above)—who is also a trustee of the Central States Pension Plan—never even saw the checks issued over his name. The Conference staffer has a stamp to sign his name, as well as one for the secretary-treasurer. When Lichtenwald was asked at his deposition if the Conference had an attorney on retainer, he replied he didn’t know. But his name was on $10,000 monthly checks to the law firm. No retainer agreement with the firm exists. The report details a complete lack of financial controls; the three trustees admitted they don’t review any financial records.

The question that anyone who reads this report will ask is how could this abuse have been allowed to go on so long? Why didn’t the Hoffa administration listen to members and officers who have been saying this for years?

The answer is that too many Hoffa administration officials see no problem with a union structure existing for the primary purpose of extra salaries and perks, rather than building Teamster power.

That has to change.

Showing 15 reactions

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  • Stephanie McAllister
    followed this page 2016-10-12 09:54:15 -0400
  • Dennis Hipple
    commented 2016-02-03 21:11:29 -0500
    Back in September we filed a motion of no confidence in local 114,the local president,and our stewards, who he has kept in place.We hear back from the IBT that our allegations are groundless,and they take all accusations serious.The following week it hit Cincinnati news of the rampant corruption in 114 and the joint council.Last friday the 114 president posted an election for union stewards at our shop,today he took it down and stated he was keeping the present stewards in power.So why do we need to stay in 114,why do we need to stay in the IBT?Keith Augsbach has it right,we have tried to leave 114,but the joint council refuses to intercede,because they need us to continue to pay for Al Jones and Kim Bales.
  • Tom Dolyniuk
    commented 2015-12-14 14:03:58 -0500
    There are 100’s more corrupt people just like him!! 100% of their compensation comes from our union dues. It is too bad that corporate greed caused employees create the “middle man” called the Union. Their purpose was to collectively help employees have better working conditions. Instead , it has been used by some (not all) as a means to lavishly compensate themselves!! Does this sound familiar? Does Central States Pension Fund ring a bell? They were a “middleman” created to help save money for retirement. I guess some people don’t have the discipline to take care of their own finances. Unfortunately, most middlemen serve little or NO purpose other than to take money from the hard working people, to compensate themselves!!
  • Keith Augsbach
    commented 2015-12-09 19:32:52 -0500
    I’ve sat by for a long time reading and watching the goings on. I have worked with a lot of these people mentioned in the 59 page report before retireing from local 114 I was an official for 22 years worked with many fine people,then they started retieiring they knew all this crap was going down hostess ibc pension fund I don’t think we need to know roger insprucker got a free drink when a lot of us got upward of a 40% cut in our pension after 35 years of work get your prioritys right .yes most union officals are way overpayed ie kim bales for many years I could go on for ever most ibc workers have been cut for years we don’t need another that pension fund needs to be dissolved and our money divided abd payed out then trim all these locals and committees where they make multiple checks and combine the locals and save a load of money . they you can take the money and put it toward organizing wher it should of been going .like most large organations there is a large amount of fat.first I would sell local 1oo and 114 and put them in a strip mall use them as an example ever see the taj.mahall in Chicago where the pension fund operates out of, another large drain the teamsters need to change drasticly .When I started working for local 114 we had 2000 members now 800. does that need 2 people making in excess of a 150,000 dollars, I think not we basically are there to keep funding these people’s job’s that goes for the pension fund also I would love to see the salaries up there . in signing off it sure is nice not being an indentured servant
  • Michael Cummings
    commented 2015-10-26 12:53:51 -0400
    This Bill Lichtenwald should have been thrown out of the Teamster’s Union in 1994. He ordered a Local in Middletown, Ohio too fabricated over 600 votes to make an Employer proposed contract pass.

    Go to Columbus Dispatch News Story, “Teamster’s Saddled With Un Wanted Contract” Jan 1st 1995
  • Paul Dillon
    commented 2015-10-17 08:19:15 -0400
    I agree with Rhonda, multiply this by 50 states? The Teamsters know when and where we are working, shouldn’t we be entitled to know where and when our officials are working? What exactly are they hiding?

    Stories like this certainly don’t make organizing any easier? but milking a cash cow might be more important than organizing to a lot of our officials? If the corruption was gone from the union along with bloated officers pay and perks it might make organizing easier.
  • Bernie Gokey
    commented 2015-10-14 03:07:28 -0400
    And they have the temerity to talk about the political class and the business class. To be sure there are corrupt individuals in both business and politics but our “leaders” rant, rave and get some to follow their way of thinking and convince the sheeple that they are beholden to IBT all the while all of us are being fleeced.

    Bad news may be that they’ll escape any real penalty (notice that one individual is already pleading ignorance) and worse, money – like Elvis – has left the building.
  • kathy maynor
    commented 2015-10-13 18:31:14 -0400
    If the go to prison, they deserve it, looks like some heads should roll.
  • Michael Schaffer
    commented 2015-10-13 17:31:24 -0400
    This pay for BA salary went on in 377 Youngstown…Jim Bain called organizer half his pay from Ohio conference. All officers are appointed to conference get perks keep mouth shut play along nice…First have to be elected by rank & file members to their local elections to be appointed Ohio conferenc and election after election voted back in office…Wake up Teamster pay attention vote them out…same goes for union officers on your Pensio fund…Make your voice heard ! see yinz at next local general membership meeting.
  • Melvin Coffey
    commented 2015-10-12 13:49:16 -0400
    I want to be on their CHRISTMAS list!!! I could use a new set of clubs, so I could use them to beat them over the head!! Thanks Bob for the addresses, already made calls hope it helps. Sue Cole is getting a meeting together in st. louis in the very near future. Her husband worked out of local 604 . We will be sending letters out to legislatures and treasury. Everyone in the area call your brothers to get involved. Sue Coles number is 314-550-6179
  • Jerry Marshall
    commented 2015-10-11 12:32:37 -0400
    I haven’t seen any great results from TDU either. All of these hi-paying jobs need to have their pay cut in half too. No officer with Teamsters should be paid $100,000 per year.
  • Tom Saunders
    commented 2015-10-11 06:29:47 -0400
    Just read that report I am no lawyer, but some of these folk need to be behind bars as soon as a cell opens up .
  • Rhonda Welk
    commented 2015-10-11 04:32:58 -0400
    I bet if you would to the same investigations into all the teamster local unions you will find this! Just like central states fund needs to be checked out. Cutting pension funds with all the abuse of the money going on just in these Ohio locals alone wow! All the officials and teamsters big wigs and officers were pretty much all saying we get free reign with the money but all the rest of you we are going to get this money back first of all by cutting all your pensions in half or more. Ya know they want to go after the workers and retirees like that well you opened a can of worms and there will definitely more of this to come. Just as I have been saying fiduciaries of teamsters money are suppose to be prudent when it comes to spending the money but pretty much it is all about themselves first. Wow! Love it that they are being called out on it finally, and i am sure a lot more of these same stories with be coming out into the open!!!!!
  • bob krouse
    commented 2015-10-11 01:23:45 -0400
    WOW !!!
    I wonder if that lawyer in DC, is aware of this???!!!
  • Jimmy deere
    commented 2015-10-10 15:34:37 -0400
    not surprised he has something to do with the Central States Pension Fund.. How can you trust anything they say about the Fund… And they want to screw all of us..WOW
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