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UNITED STATES v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS

August 11, 1993

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, et al., Defendants. IN RE: APPLICATION CXIV OF THE INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATOR


Edelstein


The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID N. EDELSTEIN

EDELSTEIN, District Judge:

 Application CXIV presents for this Court's review the decision of the Independent Administrator regarding disciplinary charges brought by the Investigations Officer against Mr. William Raimondi and Mr. James Bertino ("respondents"), respectively the former Vice President and Trustee/Business Agent of IBT Local Union 703, which is located in Chicago, Illinois. The Independent Administrator found that respondents brought reproach upon the IBT by failing to investigate and act when confronted with allegations that Mr. Dominic Senese ("Dominic"), a long-time officer of Local 703, was associated with organized crime. *fn1" Dominic died in January 1992. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 3). For these violations of the IBT Constitution, the Independent Administrator barred Mr. Bertino and Mr. Raimondi from holding office in, or drawing any compensation from, any IBT-affiliated entity for a period of two years. The Independent Administrator permitted respondents to retain their IBT membership so that they can secure work, if they choose, as rank-and-file members with non-IBT affiliates. Furthermore, for the period of their suspension, the Independent Administrator precluded IBT-affiliated entities from making contributions on respondents' behalf to employment benefit plans, whether controlled by IBT-affiliates or third-parties, although the Independent Administrator did not alienate their vested benefits. Finally, the Independent Administrator prohibited any IBT-affiliated entity from paying respondents' legal expenses. The Independent Administrator stayed the imposition of penalties imposed on Mr. Bertino and Mr. Raimondi pending this Court's review.

 Respondents contend that the proceedings before the Independent Administrator resulted in a deprivation of due process, and Mr. Bertino claims that laches bars the Investigations Officer's charge. Respondents further aver that the Independent Administrator's decision is arbitrary and capricious because it is not supported by substantial evidence. These arguments are without merit. For the reasons stated below, the decision of the Independent Administrator is affirmed.

 I. BACKGROUND: INDEPENDENT ADMINISTRATOR'S FINDINGS

 The Investigations Officer charged that respondents brought reproach upon the IBT in violation of Article II, Section 2(a) and Article XIX, Sections 7(b)(1) and (2) of the IBT Constitution. Article II, Section 2(a) is the IBT membership oath, which provides in relevant part that every IBT member shall "conduct himself or herself at all times in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon the Union." Article XIX, Section 7(b) is a non-exhaustive list of disciplinary charges that may be filed against IBT members. Two such charges are: (1) violating the IBT Constitution, a Local Union Bylaw or other Union rule; and (2) violating the IBT membership oath. See IBT Const., Art. XIX, §§ 7(b)(1)-(2).

 A. Dominic Was Associated with Organized Crime

 The Independent Administrator found that Dominic was a member of La Cosa Nostra ("LCN"). The Independent Administrator noted that in his July 12, 1990 decision involving disciplinary charges filed against Dominic, he found that Dominic was a member of LCN. This Court, as well as the Second Circuit, affirmed the Independent Administrator's decision. August 27, 1990 Opinion & Order, 745 F. Supp. 908 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), aff'd, 941 F.2d 1292 (2d Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S. Ct. 1161 (1992). In that earlier proceeding, the Investigations Officer offered the sworn declaration of Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") Special Agent Peter J. Wacks. Special Agent Wacks verified his earlier declaration at the hearing involving respondents. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 4). In his declaration, Special Agent Wacks recounted evidence that Dominic was associated with LCN, including that "Senese has been identified by the FBI as a made member of the Chicago Outfit." (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 4). In addition, Special Agent Wacks stated that former IBT General Presidents Roy Williams and Jackie Presser, as well as Angelo Lonardo, identified as an underboss of the Cleveland LCN, had identified Dominic as an LCN member. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 5). Special Agent Wacks also noted that on January 21, 1988, Dominic "was the victim of a mob-style murder attempt, by means of a shotgun blast to the head." (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 5). Because the Independent Administrator found Special Agents Wacks a credible witness who gave reliable testimony, the Independent Administrator found that Dominic was associated with organized crime. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 5).

 B. Respondents' Knowledge of Allegations Concerning Dominic's Association with Organized Crime

 The Independent Administrator found that Mr. Raimondi became a member of Local 703 in 1978 and was appointed Vice President of the Local by Dominic in 1983. Although originally a part-time position, Mr. Raimondi became full-time Vice President in 1987. He retained this post until 1989, when he lost an election bid to unseat Lucien as the Local's Secretary-Treasurer. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 6). Mr. Raimondi asserts that in addition to campaigning for the post of Secretary-Treasurer, he organized an entire slate of candidates to challenge the incumbent Local 703 officers, including Dominic and Lucien. Respondents' Memo, at 7-8. In the course of the campaign, respondents distributed to the membership of Local 703 literature concerning Dominic's ties to LCN. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 22-23); Respondents' Memo, at 8-12. After failing in his quest to secure the Secretary-Treasurer position, the FBI informed Mr. Raimondi of a death threat against him. In September 1990, Mr. Raimondi resigned from Local 703 and was appointed an Organizer/Business Agent of IBT Local 738. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 7).

 The Independent Administrator found that Mr. Raimondi knew of the allegations concerning Dominic's association with LCN. The Independent Administrator reasoned that Mr. Raimondi admitted hearing rumors of Dominic's LCN connections prior to the 1988 assassination attempt and he also acknowledged reading newspaper articles on the subject. *fn2" (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 10); Respondents Raimondi's and Bertino's Opposition to Application of the Independent Administrator (Respondents' Memo), at 5). Indeed, the Investigations Officer offered fifty newspaper articles, spanning a thirty year period beginning in 1961, that contained allegations linking Dominic to LCN. In late 1979 for example, and again in late 1983, both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune ran several articles containing such allegations. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 10-12).

 Mr. Bertino became a member of Local 703 in 1967, and in 1978 he became a Trustee of the Local. He remained in this position until December 1984, when Dominic and Lucien Senese compelled his resignation. Although he remained a Local 703 Organizer/Business Agent from 1984 until he left the Local in December 1989, Mr. Bertino's union membership was revoked by Dominic and Lucien in August 1988. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 7). In December 1989, Mr. Bertino resigned from Local 703 and began working as an Organizer/Business Agent at IBT Local 738. In 1991, Mr. Bertino became, and still is, Recording Secretary at Local 738. On his own time, he assisted Mr. Raimondi's campaign for Secretary-Treasurer. After that election, Mr. Bertino, like Mr. Raimondi, was informed by the FBI of a death threat against him. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 8). The Independent Administrator found that while a Trustee of Local 703, Mr. Bertino knew of the allegations linking Dominic to LCN. The Independent Administrator based this conclusion on Mr. Bertino's admission that he read newspaper articles containing such allegations. (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 10-12).

 C. Respondents' Failure to Act in Response to the Allegations Linking Dominic to LCN

 The Independent Administrator found that "Raimondi's failure to investigate is undisputed. . . . [His] testimony and admissions make clear that he never investigated Senese." (Ind. Admin. Dec. at 19). The Independent Administrator rejected Mr. Raimondi's contention that his electoral activities were an ...


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