The High Cost of Hoffa’s PR Men

The 2005 financial reports for Teamster affiliates, including the International, are finally public. These LM-2 reports reveal for the first time the astonishing high cost of Hoffa’s PR.

Three consultants alone were paid nearly two million in members’ dues money—not bad money for non-Teamsters who didn’t bargain a single contract, settle a single grievance, or organize a single member into our union.

Two of the richest PR fatcats are Greg Tarpinian and Richard Leebove. Tarpinian got $471,636 in members’ dues.

Leebove made off with $301,379. Both worked for numerous local unions as well as the International. As the LM-2 filings for more locals become available, these figures will likely rise even higher.

Tarpinian gets big money for writing Hoffa’s speeches and producing PR videos. Leebove is Hoffa’s long-time designated attack dog and media man. In 2005 he was paid big money to attack members who were organizing against pension and benefit cuts. He’s also on the payroll of—you guessed it—the Hoffa Campaign.

Tarpinian and Leebove have been on the Hoffa payroll for years. Their Teamster income is available for the first time because of changes in Department of Labor report filing requirements.

$1 Million for One Press Release

But as much dues skim as these guys get, Ed McDonald did them one better. McDonald took in a whopping $727,299. McDonald’s assignment? To attack Ed Stier, the former Teamster anti-corruption director.

Hoffa hired Stier for five years to run the RISE program—but then pulled the plug on Stier’s activities when he started to investigate organized crime influence in Hoffa’s Chicago power base. After Stier and the RISE staff resigned from their jobs in protest, McDonald was hired to do a job on Stier.

McDonald was also on the IBT payroll in 2004, but those consultant fees were never disclosed. He almost certainly made more than $1 million in all.

McDonald doesn’t just make money from members’ dues. His website lists his clients, including “…a member of the Saudi Royal family, the former chairman and deputy chairman of the Russian Securities Commission, the Mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., and many other businesses and individuals throughout the world. He has regularly represented one of the nation’s largest waste management companies [major Teamster employers!]”

So nearly $2 million in Teamster dues money went to these there non-Teamsters in just one year.

That $2 million a year would put 20 full-time organizers in the field working to organize UPS Freight and other threats to our union.

But then who would puff up Hoffa or run smear campaigns against members who are fighting pension cuts or investigators who blow the whistle on corruption in the Hoffa camp?

Click here: Hoffa Rep Gives Members' Money to Wal-Mart
Click here: Membership Declines

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