Married to the Mob?

April 5, 2005: “My problem is with one man: Jim Hoffa.” That’s what Ed Stier said when he resigned last year as the head of Project RISE, the internal Teamster anti-corruption program. Now we know why.

TDU has obtained a confidential report that Stier issued to Hoffa. It warned of intelligence reports that Chicago mafia figures were exerting influence in the General President’s office to block investigations into their organized crime interests.

The report charges Hoffa with personally derailing investigations into organized crime influence in multiple Chicago locals.

The General President’s office ordered a shutdown of all investigations into corruption and organized crime in Chicago in February, 2004.
In the report, Stier called on Hoffa to reverse course and enable RISE to investigate organized crime influence in Chicago locals and in the General President’s office itself. Hoffa refused and Stier resigned in April 2004, along with his entire staff of investigators.

At the time of Stier’s resignation, speculation centered on the role played by Hoffa’s-then Executive Assistant Carlow Scalf in blocking investigations into organized crime in the Chicago Teamsters, reportedly at the behest of Chicago mob officials.

But the full text of Stier’s 302-page report reveals that Hoffa himself repeatedly derailed investigations into organized crime and protected officials accused of organized crime ties. Included were Teamster power brokers who backed Hoffa in his rise to the General Presidency.

Hoffa Protects Power Brokers

Hoffa balked when Project RISE recommended that the IBT launch a formal investigation of Local 714, the home local of Billy Hogan Jr., a key Hoffa ally and former running mate. Hogan was barred for life from the union in 2002 for a scheme to steal Teamster trade show jobs in Las Vegas and give the work to a Chicago-based temp agency with ties to Hogan’s relatives.

RISE investigators received information that despite his ban, Hogan continued to exercise control over Local 714. (The local is headed by Billy Hogan’s son, Robert.) RISE investigators also uncovered apparent ties between Local 714 officials and organized crime figures.

Stier recommended that Hoffa appoint a personal representative to assist with a formal investigation. Hoffa took no action. When pressed by Stier, Hoffa instructed Stier to drop the investigation and turn over the Local 714 issues to the Independent Review Board.

Hoffa also refused to act on recommendations to charge three Local 786 Teamsters, including the assistant administrator of the local’s benefit funds for her association with a barred Teamster and Chicago mob lieutenant. When Stier pushed the issue, Hoffa said the charges were too minor.

Hoffa also removed his personal representative to Local 726 without notifying investigators. They were gathering information about organized crime influence in the local and a “Christmas Bonus” scheme that reportedly extorted members for hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in bribes in exchange for jobs and overtime opportunities.

Crisis Point

In all, investigations into one-third of the locals in the Chicago Joint Council were disrupted by Hoffa and his executive assistant, including an examination of the home local of Chicago Joint Council 25 President John Coli and two other joint council officers.

Hoffa also blocked the investigation into numerous reports that an International Organizer has been an organized crime associate.
The situation reached a crisis point when the General President’s office pulled the plug on all investigations into Chicago locals in February 2004.

Stier submitted a report to Hoffa a short time thereafter, detailing the organized crime allegations that needed to be investigated. The report goes out of its way not to prejudge the targets of the investigations. The issue, Stier wrote, was “whether political forces opposed to genuine anti-racketeering reforms will prevent them from being investigated at all.”

Stier warned, “If the current shutdown of IBT anti-racketeering efforts is allowed to stand, the reason for it will be obvious to both Teamsters and outsiders: the continued influence of the Chicago Outfit [organized crime] and the culture of corruption that has flourished in that area for as long as the union has.”

Rank and File Watchdog

Until now, the only Teamsters with access to Stier’s confidential report were Hoffa and the General Executive Board.

TDU obtained the report and is making this information available to the members because the allegations of widespread organized crime influence stretching from Chicago to the General President’s office have to be dealt with decisively and not swept under the rug.
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