Mr. Ligurotis claims that this penalty is arbitrary and capricious. Respondent argues that other IBT members found to have embezzled funds received only five-year suspensions, and that no other IBT members have received lifetime bans for engaging in a pattern of conduct that fostered corruption. This Court finds that the Independent Administrator had ample justification for the penalty he imposed on each count.
As to Charge One, which involved Mr. Ligurotis' improper financial dealings, the Independent Administrator concluded that respondent treated "the Local as if it were his 'personal piggy bank,' [and thus] . . . sent the message that union officers are entitled to use the members' funds for their own pleasure. Ligurotis' actions also sent the message that with prominence and power comes privilege -- the privilege of being above the rules." Ind. Admin. Dec. at 30. As to Charge Two, which involved respondent's pattern of conduct, the Independent Administrator concluded that a lifetime suspension was appropriate given that "one of the main objectives of the Consent Decree is to restore the rule of law to the IBT. When one who is in Ligurotis' position condones lawlessness, the core purpose of the Consent Decree is frustrated. All members of the IBT, no matter how prominent and important they may be, must understand that the rules of the Local Unions, and the rules contained in the IBT Constitution, apply equally to all IBT members." Ind. Admin. Dec. at 32.
It is apparent from the Independent Administrator's decision that he had a sound basis for the penalty he imposed on Mr. Ligurotis. Respondent stole from the rank and file on two separate occasions: First, he received an improper loan from Local 705 in the amount of at least $ 76,250, and then he embezzled $ 77,000 from its coffers. In addition, he repeatedly engaged in behavior that violated federal statutes, Local Bylaws and orders of this Court. Because he committed these acts while serving as the highest ranking officer of Local 705, his behavior also constitutes a breach of his fiduciary duty to the general membership, and a betrayal of the membership's trust. In sum, respondent's conduct implicates concerns that animate the Consent Decree. The Independent Administrator's penalty recognizes the gravity of respondent's actions. In addition, given the Independent Administrator's broad authority and discretion in imposing sanctions on disciplined IBT members, the penalty imposed on Charges One and Two cannot be considered arbitrary or capricious. See United States v. IBT, 981 F.2d 1362, 1368 (2d Cir. 1992) (given sound reasoning for the punishment, court upheld Independent Administrator's authority to impose harsher sanction than that imposed on other IBT members who engaged in similar misconduct).
As the Second Circuit noted when it reversed this Court's decision to overturn a penalty imposed by the Independent Administrator, "[a] court may only consider whether the [Independent] Administrator made 'an allowable judgment in [his or her] choice of remedy." United States v. IBT, 978 F.2d 68, 73 (2d Cir. 1992) (quoting Sokoloff v. Saxbe, 501 F.2d 571, 576 (2d Cir. 1974)). The court added that "the experienced Independent Administrator--himself a former federal district court judge--heard the witnesses and fixed a penalty. On this record there is no basis for finding the penalty chosen by the administrator was either arbitrary or capricious." Id. at 42. An identical conclusion is appropriate in this case.
For the reasons stated above, Mr. Ligurotis' objections to the Independent Administrator's decision are DENIED. The decision of the Independent Administrator is AFFIRMED IN ITS ENTIRETY. In addition, the stay of penalties imposed by the Independent Administrator is dissolved, effective immediately.
Dated: February 9, 1993
New York, New York
David N. EDELSTEIN