Why Hoffa Won't Take On Corruption, IRB Hits Corruption in Local 120

November 21, 2012: Skimming union money. Sham contracts. Non-union contractors. Misusing credit cards. The whole ugly story is in a 139-page report issued on November 9 by the Independent Review Board (IRB). Click here to download it.

The deals have been going on in the 11,000-member Local 120 for years, but the Hoffa administration either couldn't find it or didn't want to.

The IRB report details a series of long-running schemes to divert union funds to Brad Slawson Sr., Brad Slawson Jr., and their family and friends, who ran Local 120, at the expense of Local 120 members in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa.

The report calls for a trusteeship of Local 120. Upon receipt of the IRB report, James Hoffa imposed a trusteeship, ousting the Slawsons and the executive board, and sending in a trustee to run the local temporarily.

The schemes and scams found by the IRB include: skimming money from construction of a new union hall; turning a union-owned bar and gambling hall into Slawson's own family cash machine; fabricating a sham labor contract for personal gain; and diverting union funds to pay off personal debts, pay bar bills, and buying tickets to professional sports events. The sums of money involved are staggering.

Click here for a good summary as well as the entire 139-page corruption report produced by TDU.

Hoffa: Tolerates and benefits from corruption

The IBT couldn't find the problem here, when it was about as hard as finding a whale in a bathtub. The IRB found it–perhaps that is why Hoffa wants to abolish the IRB.

The Hoffa administration has a record of tolerating corruption in our union. That's why Ed Stier, who was hired by Hoffa to set up Project RISE to replace the IRB, quit in 2004 and stated, "The problem is Hoffa," because Hoffa's office was blocking his investigations.

That wiped out Hoffa's chance to end the IRB, because he refused to set up an effective, independent structure to deal with corrupt practices and individuals within our great union.

Hoffa protects corrupt Teamster officials because he depends on their political support.

The report called on Hoffa to put Local 120 into trusteeship, so Hoffa appointed Bill Moore, of Topeka, Kansas to run Local 120. Moore was removed from office by the IRB in a one-year suspension during 2009 for lying under oath about his association with Dane Passo, who was banned from the union for making sweetheart deals.

That is Hoffa's idea of the right man to clean up corruption.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union is working to not just clean up the bad spots in our union, but to create a new culture of zero tolerance of misuse of the members' trust.

"For years, we've heard reports about stuff going on at the hall. It's about time something's finally being done. But a trusteeship will not change much if we can't find ways for working Teamsters to get more involved in our union. Members need to make that happen."

Eric Buchloz, Local 120
Super Valu, Minneapolis

Comments

This has been a real eye-opener for me.  I'm an active member and steward who's over 250 miles away from the Cities and stays involved as much as I can.  However the situation at our local turns out it will still be OUR local, and we must each pay closer attention to what goes on in our local union and with our officers.  Know your contracts, constitution and bylaws. 

Stay informed and stay involved!