(D. Conn. 1992). Rather, Section 1954 is violated if a union official simply receives a thing of value "because of" his union position. See Roberto, 801 F. Supp. at 948.
The IRB found that "it appears that Perrucci violated [Section 1954] in that the reason the boat was offered to Perrucci was because of his position as a union representative and union Trustee on the pension fund." (IRB Decision at 21-22.) In rendering this finding, the IRB reasoned that "it can be reasonably inferred" that Eletto sold the boat to Perrucci at a steep discount "because of [Perrucci's] position as Local 177 Pension Fund Trustee, Local officer and business agent to Eletto Transfer, positions which Eletto knew offered Perrucci the ability, if he wished to exercise it, to influence negotiations between Local 177 and Eletto Transfer . . ." Id. at 22. While the IRB concedes that there is no evidence that Perrucci was influenced by the boat transaction, as explained above, actual influence is not the standard for determining a Section 1954 violation. See Roberto, 801 F. Supp. at 948. As a result, this Court finds that the IRB's determination that Perrucci violated Section 1954 is not arbitrary and capricious.
Because this Court has found that the IRB's determinations that Perrucci violated both Section 186 and Section 1954 are not arbitrary or capricious, it necessarily follows that this Court must find that the IRB's judgment that Perrucci breached the IBT Constitution also is not arbitrary or capricious. As explained above, Article XIX, Section 7(b)(13) is violated whenever an IBT official receives anything of value from an employer in violation of applicable law. Here, the IRB found that all of those prerequisites exist: Perrucci (an IBT official) received a thing of value (the boat) in violation of applicable law (Sections 186 and 1954). Because this Court finds that none of those determinations are arbitrary or capricious, this Court finds that the IRB's judgment that Perrucci breached the IBT Constitution also is not arbitrary or capricious.
II. CHARGE TWO: FREE ACCOUNTING SERVICES & YANKEE TICKETS
The evidence before the IRB established that, by Perrucci's own admission, shortly after he became Secretary-Treasurer of Local 177 in 1978, he hired Bernard Hecht ("Hecht") as the accountant for the Local and for the Local's pension fund from 1979 through 1993. (Tr. 91); (IRB Report at Exh. 2, at 20-121.) Perrucci admitted that Hecht offered the Local 177 board members "assistance with their taxes," (Tr. 88), and that, to his knowledge, all of the board members and business agents accepted Hecht's offer of free accounting services. Id. at 88-89. Perrucci also testified that he utilized Hecht's free services for most of the years Hecht worked as the Local's accountant. Id. at 90-92. Another Local 177 trustee, Richard Carunchio ("Carunchio"), stated that he received free tax services from Hecht during the years Hecht worked for the Local, but that Carunchio paid Hecht $ 150 each year for his services after Hecht stopped working for the Local. (IRB Report at Exh. 21, at 4, 8-9.)
The IRB also reviewed testimony from Perrucci that each year from 1979 to 1994, Albert Parsonnet ("Parsonnet"), an attorney who represented Local 177 and the Local 177 Pension Fund, from 1978 through 1995, gave Perrucci four season tickets to the New York Yankees home baseball games. Id. at Exh. 2, at 18; (Tr. 75-76.) These tickets possessed a cumulative face value of $ 56,052. (Tr. 81-83.) Perrucci testified that the Yankees sent the tickets and an invoice directly to Perrucci at Local 177, and that he would keep the tickets and forward the invoice to Parsonnet. Id. at 78, 80, 105. Perrucci maintains that he distributed most of the tickets to the Local members on a first-come, first-serve basis, and that, on occasion, he utilized the tickets himself. Id. at 79, 85-86; (IRB Report cat Exh. 1, at 66-68.) There was no formal ticket distribution mechanism, and no records exist concerning the ultimate recipients of the Yankee tickets. (Tr. 86-87, 106.)
The IRB determined that Perrucci's acceptance of free accounting services and Yankee tickets from Hecht and Parsonnet, respectively, violated Section 1954. As explained above, Section 1954 bans a person in a position of authority within a union from "receiving or agreeing to receive or soliciting any fee, kickback, commission, gift, loan, money, or thing of value because of or with intent to be influenced [in his exercise of union authority]." 18 U.S.C. 1954. Section 1954 is violated if a union official receives a thing of value "because of" his union position. See Roberto, 801 F. Supp. at 948.
To reiterate, this Court may reject the IRB's findings only if they are arbitrary and capricious. See, e.g., Sansone, 981 F.2d at 1368; Wilson, Weber & Dickens, 978 F.2d at 71. In light of the evidence upon which the IRB based its determination, this Court is unable to find that the IRB was arbitrary and capricious. Indeed, this Court cannot imagine that the IRB could require more solid evidence of a Section 1954 violation than Perrucci's own admissions that he received services and gifts Local 177's accountant and lawyer while he was a Local 177 officer. Section 1954 merely requires that a union official receive things of value "because of" their position within the union. See Roberto, 801 F. Supp. at 948. Hecht and Parsonnet each plainly possessed an economic interest in maintaining their business relationship with Local 177. It is thus not arbitrary or capricious to find, as the IRB did, that Hecht and Parsonnet gave gifts to Perrucci because of his status as Local 177 officer with the power to influence the continuation of Local 177's business relationships with Hecht and Parsonnet. This Court therefore finds that the IRB's finding that Perrucci violated Section 1954 was not arbitrary and capricious. In addition, as explained above, by violating Section 1954, Perrucci necessarily violated the Article XIX, Section 7(b)(13) of the IBT Constitution. Accordingly, this Court finds that the IRB was not arbitrary or capricious in finding that Perrucci breached the IBT Constitution by accepting free Yankee tickets and accounting services.
In light of its findings that both charges against Perrucci had been proved, the IRB imposed upon Perrucci the following sanctions: (1) a permanent ban from holding "any position as officer in the IBT or any of its affiliates, or obtaining employment, consulting or other work with the IBT or any IBT-affiliated entity"; and (2) a ten-year suspension from IBT membership. (IRB Decision at 24.) In imposing the ten-year suspension, the IRB explained that
while Perrucci's conduct did not involve organized crime activity or a pervasive violation of the rights of the [Local 177] membership [which would merit permanent union expulsion], and notwithstanding that there has been no finding that Perrucci's conduct influenced his negotiations with Eletto, we nonetheless regard Perrucci's misconduct as serious enough to warrant the additional sanction of suspension of his IBT membership for ten years.
Like other IRB judgments, this Court may reject the sanctions which the IRB imposes only if they are arbitrary and capricious. See Wilson, Weber & Dickens, 978 F.2d at 73-74. In the instant case, this Court finds that the sanctions which the IRB imposed upon Perrucci are not arbitrary or capricious. Perrucci has manifested a willingness to utilize his position of power and influence to enrich himself. Moreover, he has exhibited this unfortunate trait over an extended period of time. For example, Perrucci accepted free accounting services for a decade and free Yankee tickets for fifteen years. By abusing his power in such a perpetual manner, Perrucci has shown himself to be unfit ever again to be entrusted with influence and authority within the IBT. As well, because Perrucci enjoyed greater perks than he was entitled to as a leader within the IBT, a fitting additional sanction is to bar him from rank-and-file membership for ten years, so that he may not enjoy the benefits which even that lesser station provides. Accordingly, this Court finds that the sanctions imposed upon Perrucci by the IRB are not arbitrary and capricious, and that the IRB's decision should be affirmed in all respects.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the findings and sanctions of Application XLVII of the Independent Review Board are AFFIRMED.
DATED: New York, New York
May 21, 1997
David N. Edelstein