Hoffa's man in Chicago, John Coli was hit with a federal indictment today, charged with taking payoffs of $100,000 from a Chicago employer and using the power of the Teamsters Union to line his own millionaire pockets.
The indictment comes the exact same day that Coli's resignation was officially announced. The cover story, distributed on Joint Council 25 letterhead, is that Coli is resigning to spend more time with his family.
Since Coli has multiple family members on the union payroll, he’ll actually be spending less time with them, especially if he is convicted.
Coli’s hand-picked successor to head Joint Council 25, his good friend Becky Strzechowski stated she has “big shoes to fill . . . I pledge to carry John’s torch.”
But Chicago Teamsters want change, not more of the same.
End of Presidential Ambitions
Coli has long aspired to be Teamster General President. But that dream was shattered, first by Teamsters United, and now, by the federal indictment.
Coli was defeated for reelection as International Union Vice President last November when four Teamsters United candidates swept the Central Region VP positions, defeating Coli and three other Hoffa-candidates.
Coli will leave with plenty of cash. Coli hauled in $332,024 in Teamster salaries and expenses in 2016, as reported to the Department of Labor on LM-2 financial reports. If the indictment proves to be accurate, he got another $100,000 in the past year, and there could be more where that came from.
He will take multiple pensions, including the lucrative Family Plan, which covers only International officers and staff.
Coli Teamster Family Business
Coli will hand over Local 727 to his son, John Coli Jr, making it a three-generation Coli family operation.
John Coli inherited the reins of Local 727 in 1992 after his father stepped down and his brother was removed by the IRB.
Another Coli son, Joseph Coli, the baby-faced attorney who scored millions of dollars in union business fresh out of law school, may also be under investigation by the feds.
John Coli will turn the reins of Illinois Joint Council 25 (101,000 members) to his good friend, Becky Strzechowski, who heads Local 700 and got her start working in the office at Local 727. The Joint Council executive board chose her over Terry Hancock of Local 731. Like Coli, Strzechowski was defeated as an International VP last November.
Hoffa Covered Up Coli Corruption
Hoffa came into office 17 years ago promising to run a clean union. But time and again, Hoffa has covered for corruption in his own ranks.
When he was first elected, Hoffa hired an anti-corruption czar: Edwin Stier, a respected former federal prosecutor.
But when Stier’s inquiries into corruption and organized crime influence got too close to Coli, Hoffa shut down the corruption investigation. Stier resigned in disgust and Coli stayed in office and delivered Chicago Teamster votes to Hoffa for 13 more years.
Hoffa Corruption Continues
Hoffa’s Chicago power broker will soon be gone in weeks. Hoffa’s main man in the West, Rome Aloise, is awaiting a decision on corruption charges from Independent Review Officer Barbara Jones.
Coli and Aloise have long been exposed for their corruption.
But Hoffa will never act against corruption when it implicates one of the power brokers that keeps him in office.
It’s up to Teamster members to clean up and take back our union. TDU is backing Teamsters United to build a movement to do just that.