In a notice posted on Tuesday, February 7, Hoffa informed members that Rochester Local 118 is under emergency trusteeship effective immediately. The trusteeship announcement cites a laundry list of financial malpractices by local union officers.
Rochester Local 118 is headed by Paul Markwitz, who ran for Eastern Region Vice President in 2021 on the Hoffa-backed Vairma Teamster Power Slate.
The number two officer is Chris Toole, a former Upstate New York UPS panel chair, known for his cozy relationship with UPS management.
Vacations and Luxury Cars on Members’ Dime
The notice details financial abuses by Markwitz, Toole, and other Local 118 officials including extended stays for out-of-town meetings in high-priced hotels and luxury car rentals at extravagant rates.
During the four-day, remote 2021 Convention, officers racked up food and drink tabs totaling over $6,000 on the members’ dime.
Toole is cited as having manipulated the credit card policy, using his personal credit card to book reservations for union business to pile up hotel and frequent flyer points.
In addition to financial misdeeds, local officers failed to keep accurate minutes with records of motions, decisions, and votes.
The audit is ongoing. The notice states that the issues covered are only a “small sample” of questionable expenditures.
The Trusteeship Process
Under Article 6 of the Teamsters Constitution, the General President can appoint an emergency trustee to address corruption and financial mispractice in a local union.
Hoffa has appointed Michael McElmury as the temporary emergency trustee.
McElmury previously served as the trustee for Orlando Local 385 from 2019-2021. He then ran for office in the 2021 local union election when the trusteeship ended, but was defeated in a 3-way race.
The International Union will hold a hearing within 30 days to determine whether the emergency trusteeship should be extended.
A panel of uninvolved members will be appointed by Hoffa to make a decision within 60 days following the hearing.
Opportunity for Change
Members in Rochester Local 118 will have a chance at the end of the trusteeship to elect new leadership who will end corruption and fight for the members.
Local 118 members who want information on their rights under the trusteeship or help organizing for change can contact TDU.