Local 237 launched an internal probe after Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) brought the improper payments to light.
As part of our preparations of the $150,000 Club, our annual report on Teamster salaries, TDU uncovered that Haynes received a $54,500 "stipend" in 2006 from the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP). Further investigation has revealed that Haynes received more than $106,000 in payments from HIP and Emblem Health since 2005—not including payments he received in 2007.
Following an investigation by outside counsel hired by Local 237, Haynes will return the payments. The final amount is still being determined.
"Did Local 237 officials really need to pay for an outside investigation to realize that it's wrong for our President to take $100,000 in payoffs from a health insurance company? That just shows how out of touch they are with the members," said Bernadette Bradley, a Local 237 member and leader of the reform group, Members for Change. "Thankfully, we've got TDU to be a watchdog for us."
It remains to be seen what, if any, action our International Union will take on the matter. This is the second time that TDU has caught Haynes taking improper payments. In 2003, Haynes was forced to pay back thousands of dollars after he took total salaries in 2001 in excess of the General President's salary—a violation of the Teamster Constitution.
"Making a millionaire pay back the money he was caught taking is not much of a deterrent," TDU Organizer David Levin told The Chief, a weekly newspaper for New York public employees. "What happens to him is going to send a message to other Teamster officials. Will Hoffa's message be, 'You will be held accountable,' or 'Go ahead, take your shot at the cookie jar because nothing really bad happens if you get caught'?"
Click here for The Chief's report "Ex-Local 237 Head Got Improper Fees"