April 25, 2005: While Hoffa prepares to release a report justifying his shutdown of RISE investigations into organized crime, government investigators and the press are pursuing the leads Hoffa claims are a dead end:
- Joint Council 25 President John Coli is under investigation by the FBI based on the leads Hoffa chose not to pursue including allegations of organized crime influence and benefit fund scams in Local 727.
- The Independent Review Board is investigating Local 714, the 10,000-member local long run by the Hogan family. At least ten people have been summoned to testify as part of the investigation.
The Independent Review Board (IRB) has already acted on other investigations shut down by Hoffa. Joseph Bernstein, a Hoffa ally and Joint Council 25 Vice President, has been barred from the Teamsters.
In another breaking story, The Chicago Sun-Times has linked former Local 726 president Daniel Stefanski with organized crime figures including “mob bookie Nick ‘the Stick’ LoCoco” who is suspected of taking bribes from working Teamsters who wanted full-time jobs or overtime opportunities.
Stefanski is also alleged to have offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who could provide the address of a mob informant that the Chicago Outfit wants dead.
The Sun-Times revealed that Hoffa knew of these allegations but chose not to pursue them for “political reasons.” Stefanski is a boyhood friend of the Illinois Governor and is now on the state’s payroll.
The collapse of Project RISE last year was a public relations nightmare for the Hoffa administration. With headlines screaming, “Mob stigma again haunts Teamsters,” Hoffa hand-picked corporate attorney Edward McDonald to issue a report and save his image.
One year later, McDonald will finally issue his long-anticipated whitewash.
Incredibly, McDonald’s report barely explores the organized crime allegations, according to the Sun Times, which got access to a leaked copy from the Hoffa administration. Instead, McDonald’s whitewash focuses on personally attacking Stier.
The IBT may not be interested in Stier’s findings. But the feds and the IRB are. TDU will continue to inform members on these breaking stories.