December 11, 2007: Charged with embezzling $58,000 in members’ money, BLET president Don Hahs has made a settlement with the International Union for a six-month suspension. This deal, however, has not yet been finally approved.
In September, the Independent Review Board (IRB) charged Hahs, the president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, with embezzling union funds.
Hahs admits that he spent the money on everything from Cleveland Cavalier season tickets to a fishing expedition to Alaska. His excuse—former BLET presidents have done the same for years.
On Nov. 28, Hahs signed a deal with Hoffa to take a six-month suspension from his office, and to repay all the embezzled funds. Hahs was supposed to have his case heard by a Teamster panel on Dec. 3.
The case is not closed yet. The IRB still has to approve or reject Hahs’ deal. The IRB can send the deal back to the Teamsters for a harsher sentence.
From 2004 to 2006, the IRB Chief Investigator charged that Hahs spent $47,880 on tickets to Cleveland Cavs basketball games. Hahs kept the tickets in his desk, and he only gave them out to other BLET employees “at the last minute when he could not use the tickets himself,” according to the IRB.
The IRB charges also include:
- A three-day fishing trip in Alaska. Hahs was in Alaska for one day for a meeting then cut out for a fishing trip.
- Taking his wife on union trips. Since 2004, Hahs charged the union $7,951.97 for his wife’s tickets and meals.
- A week-long trip to Las Vegas with his wife that cost $1,677.77. Hahs and the union have no record of the reason for his trip.
- $923 in hotel room movies. Hahs says his grandson enjoyed them; Hahs often brought his grandson along at union expense.
Whatever the final outcome, it appears that Hahs has a problem with misusing the members’ money.
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