On February 28, the Independent Investigations Officer (IIO) of the Teamsters delivered to IBT President Sean O’Brien a comprehensive set of charges against Dennis Hart, the former head of Oakland, California, Local 853. Hart served as the place-holder and puppet for Rome Aloise when Aloise was suspended from office for two years (2018-2020) for corruption, employer pay-offs and rigging a Teamster election.
Aloise was subsequently expelled from the Teamsters in December 2021, and now it appears that Hart will follow in his mentor’s footsteps.
The charges against Hart include 1) disregarding the suspension of former International Vice President Rome Aloise by following Aloise’s secret orders on all union issues, 2) providing false testimony in sworn depositions and at a hearing to cover-up the misdeeds, and 3) permitting expenditures of Local 853 funds totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars without proper authorization and without a union purpose.
The IIO presented the recommended charges to General President Sean O’Brien on February 28. The next step would normally be to schedule an IBT hearing on the charges; the final power rests with the Independent Review Officer (IRO), Judge Barbara Jones.
The IIO, Robert Luskin, and the IRO, Judge Barbara Jones, are the two officers in place to keep corruption out of the Teamsters. Their independent status is guaranteed by the Final Agreement and Order signed by the IBT and the Department of Justice, and by Article 19 of the IBT Constitution.
Hart was voted out of office in Local 853 last December, and is now retired. It is possible that he could cop a plea to avoid the hearing. Meanwhile, the IIO continues to investigate additional possible charges in Northern California involving other associates of Aloise.