San Diego: IRB Charges International Rep

January 28, 2014: Teamster officials in San Diego, including a Hoffa appointee, face embezzlement charges from the Independent Review Board (IRB). 

The Independent Review Board (IRB) has charged the current and past officials of San Diego Local 36 with embezzlement of union funds, and recommended trusteeship of the local.

The charged officials include Art Cantu, a long-time Hoffa International Representative, who resigned last March after a member blew the whistle on the embezzlement scheme.

Hoffa complied with the IRB directive by placing Local 36 in trusteeship. Reportedly the local will be dissolved and members transferred to Local 542 and other locals.

The charges reveal that the local was run for the benefit of principal officer Art Cantu, office manager Marilyn Rawlins, and business agent Michael Witek.

The IRB charges include: 

  • Cantu totaled the union car while drunk, crashing into six parked cars and two light poles. The next day, he and Witek purchased a new union car for Cantu with union funds, covered up the crash, and lied about polling the executive board for approval.
  • Cantu and his assistant, Marilyn Rawlins, put personal meals on the union tab over a period of years, falsely claiming the meals were for union business.
  • Assorted scams for airline tickets, gasoline charges, and gift cards all paid for with members’ dues.
  • Shredding union documents to try to foil the IRB investigation.

You can read the IRB charges and the IRB trusteeship report.

These embezzlement schemes went on for years while Cantu made $130,000 per year from Local 36, Southern California Joint Council 42 and the International Union as a Hoffa appointee. Cantu “inherited” his union posts from his father-in-law, Arkie Spoon.

The Teamsters Union needs to have a mechanism to clean up our own house, and ensure our great union operates with integrity and pride. That is not happening under Hoffa and Hall.


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