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U.S. v. INTERNATIONAL BROTH. OF TEAMSTERS

September 18, 1990

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. IN RE APPLICATION XIII BY THE INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATOR.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edelstein, District Judge:

OPINION AND ORDER

This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement in the action commenced by plaintiff United States of America (the "Government") against defendants International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the "IBT") and the IBT's General Executive Board (the "GEB") embodied in the voluntary consent order entered March 14, 1989 (the "Consent Decree"). The remedial provisions in the Consent Decree provided for three Court-appointed officials, the Independent Administrator to oversee the remedial provisions, the Investigations Officer to bring charges against corrupt IBT members, and the Election Officer to oversee the electoral process leading up to and including the 1991 election for International Officers (collectively, the "Court Officers"). The goal of the Consent Decree is to rid the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime through the election and prosecution provisions.

Application XIII seeks this Court's review the August 20, 1990 opinion of the Independent Administrator. The Independent Administrator held that the Investigations Officer had sustained his burden of demonstrating that there was just cause to find that IBT officers Cirino "Charles" Salerno and William Cutolo had breached their duties under the IBT constitution by knowingly associating with organized crime figures.

The opinion of the Independent Administrator is affirmed.

I. Background

Cirino "Charles" Salerno was the president of Local 272 located in New York, New York. Salerno was charged with two violations of Article II, § 2(a) of the IBT constitution ("Article II, § 2(a)"), the membership oath of the IBT where members swear not to bring reproach upon the Union. The charges filed by the Investigations Officer specifically allege that Salerno brought reproach upon the IBT by (1) knowingly associated with members of organized crime, and (2) being convicted in New York State Supreme Court for violating New York Labor Law § 725 by accepting two $500 payments from an employer of members of Local 272. Salerno appeared at the hearing before the Independent Administrator, but does not contest the decision before this Court. Salerno notified this Court by letter that he had resigned from the IBT effective September 14, 1990.

William Cutolo was the president and business agent of Local 861 in New York, New York. Cutolo was charged with violating Article II, § 2(a), and Article XIX, § 6(b) of the IBT constitution. The charges filed by the Investigations Officer specifically allege that Cutolo was a member of La Cosa Nostra, and knowingly associating with members of La Cosa Nostra. Cutolo did not appear before the Independent Administrator to contest the charges, but challenges the decision before this Court. Cutolo resigned from his IBT position effective February 1, 1990.

Article II, § 2(a) provides in relevant part that every IBT member shall "conduct himself or herself in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon the Union . . ." Article XIX, § 6(b) provides the bases for bringing disciplinary charges against IBT members. Article XIX, § 6(b)(1) indicates that violating any specific provision of the IBT constitution is chargeable conduct. Article XIX, § 6(b)(2) states that transgressing the IBT oath of office is chargeable conduct.*fn1

II. The Findings of the Independent Administrator

Salerno does not challenge the substance of the Independent Administrator's decision to this Court. Cutolo challenges jurisdiction over him, and the sufficiency of the proof before the Independent Administrator.

A. Standard of Review

  With respect to the disciplinary and investigatory provisions
of the Consent Decree, the IBT General President and GEB
delegated their disciplinary authority under the IBT
constitution to the Court Officers. United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 905 F.2d 610, 622 (2d
Cir. 1990), aff'g March 13, 1990 Opinion and Order, 743 F. Supp. 155
 (S.D.N.Y. 1990); November 2, 1989 Memorandum and Order,
725 F. Supp. 162, 169 (S.D.N.Y. 1989); January 17, 1990 Memorandum
and Order, 728 F. Supp. 1032, 1048-57 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), aff'd,
907 F.2d 277 (2d Cir. 1990); Local 27 v. Carberry, et al., July
20, 1990 at 3-4, 1990 WL 108348 (S.D.N.Y. 1990); Joint Council
73, et al. v. Carberry, et al., 741 F. Supp. 491, 492-93
(S.D.N.Y. 1990); August 27, 1990 Opinion and Order at 5-6. The
Independent Administrator and Investigations Officer are
stand-ins for the General President and GEB for the purpose of
the instant disciplinary actions. Hearings before the
Independent Administrator are conducted pursuant to the same
standards applicable to labor arbitration hearings. Consent
Decree, ¶ F.12.(A)(ii)(e).

Paragraph F.12.(C) of the Consent Decree mandates that the Independent Administrator must decide disciplinary hearings using a "just cause" standard. Consent Decree at 9. Paragraph K.16 provides that this Court shall review actions of the Independent Administrator using the "same standard of review applicable to review of final federal agency action under the Administrative Procedures Act." Consent Decree at 25. This Court may only overturn the findings of the Independent Administrator when it finds that they are, on the basis of all the evidence, "arbitrary or capricious." This Court and the Court of Appeals have interpreted ΒΆ K.16 to mean that ...


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