February 19, 2009: Less than six weeks after taking office, the new principal officer of Local 179 has resigned in the wake of a corruption scandal.
Jim Kenney was elected president of Local 179 in September and took office in January. Apparently, he was a fast learner in the ways of misusing members’ dues dollars.
Union officials refused to disclose to members or the press what impropriety occurred. Hoffa PR-man Bret Caldwell told the press that, “There’s nothing dramatic that occurred there.”
That may depend on your idea of drama.
Now, ex-President Kenney was reportedly having an affair with an employee of the Suburban Teamster Pension Fund. That’s his business. But he used the union credit card to pay for romantic getaways at a luxury hotel located near the Fund. That’s the union’s business.
Kenney also charged close to a thousand dollars in personal Christmas presents to the union credit card.
Not all of Kenney’s alleged improprieties involve abusing the union credit card. Sometimes, Kenney cut out the middle man and just pocketed members’ money directly. Kenney reportedly made off with dues that members had paid in cash at the local union.
When the missing dues were reported, Kenney tried to cover them with a personal check. It bounced.
Local 179 officials investigated the issue. Kenney resigned. Rich Gierut has taken his place as the new local president.
Click here to read a press account: "Local Teamster Official Steps Down."