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UNITED STATES v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS

November 13, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiffs, against INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, et al., Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

 EDELSTEIN, District Judge:

 BACKGROUND

 This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement of an action commenced by the United States of America against, inter alia, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT" or "the Union") and the IBT's General Executive Board. The settlement is embodied in the voluntary consent order entered March 14, 1989 ("Consent Decree"). The goal of the Consent Decree is to rid the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime through a two-phased implementation of the Consent Decree's various remedial provisions. In the first phase of the Consent Decree, these provisions provided for three court-appointed officers: the Independent Administrator to oversee the Consent Decree's provisions; the Investigations Officer to bring charges against corrupt IBT members; and the Election Officer to supervise the electoral process that led up to and including the 1991 election for IBT International Union Office. In the second phase of the Consent Decree, the Independent Administrator was replaced by a three-member Independent Review Board, but the position of Election Officer remained unchanged. Further, paragraph 12(D)(ix) of the Consent Decree provides that "the union defendants consent to the Election Officer, at Government expense, to supervise the 1996 IBT Elections."

 According to the original terms of the Consent Decree, the Election Officer was authorized to oversee only those matters and disputes concerning the 1991 IBT Election. Consent Decree, PP 3(1), 12(D)(ix). By Stipulation and Order dated February 7, 1995, however, the Consent Decree was amended to reflect the parties' agreement regarding the supervision of the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election ("the 1996 Election"). See Stipulation & Order Implementing Paragraph 12(D)(IX) of the March 19 [sic], 1989 Consent Decree (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 1995) ("the February 7, 1995 Order"). The February 7, 1995 Order states that "it is the intention of the Government and the IBT that the Election Officer function in 1996 as similarly as possible to the 1991 Election Officer," id. at 2, and grants the 1996 Election Officer ("the Election Officer") "all rights and duties conferred upon the 1991 Election Officer by paragraph 12 of the Consent Decree," id. P 1, including "the authority granted by Paragraph 12(I) of the Consent Decree to make applications to the Court, after giving notice to specified parties." Id. P 3(c). Furthermore, the February 7, 1995 Order provides for the appointment of an Election Appeals Master to hear disputes about the conduct of the 1995-96 IBT election or the results of that election. Id. at P 2.

 Pursuant to her authority under the Consent Decree and the February 7, 1995 Order, the Election Officer submitted for this Court's approval the rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election ("the 1996 Election Rules"). On August 22, 1995, this Court approved the 1996 Election Rules in their entirety. August 22, 1995 Opinion & Order, 896 F. Supp. 1349, 1353 (S.D.N.Y. 1995), aff'd as modified, United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 86 F.3d 271 (2d Cir. 1996). On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed this Court, but held that one provision of the 1996 Election Rules was overly broad, and remanded the issue to this Court to amend the provision in question. United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 86 F.3d 271 (2d Cir. 1996). This Court modified the rule in accordance with the Second Circuit's opinion. June 18, 1996 Opinion & Order, 928 F. Supp. 392 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

 FACTS

 The ballot count for the 1996 IBT Election concluded on February 27, 1997. See Declaration of Barbara Zack Quindel, dated August 21, 1997 ("Quindel decl.") at P 4. Following the Election Officer's announcements of the winning candidates, post-election protests were filed. Quindel decl. P 4. The Election Officer conducted an investigation of the post-election protests and uncovered serious violations of the 1996 Election Rules. *fn1"

 Under the Consent Decree, "the Election Officer is vested with broad authority to supervise each and every facet of the 1996 IBT election." October 29, 1996, Opinion & Order, 943 F. Supp. 360, 364 (S.D.N.Y. 1996); accord July 10, 1990, Opinion & Order, 742 F. Supp. 94 at 106 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), aff'd as modified, 931 F.2d 177 (2d Cir. 1991). The 1996 Election Rules specifically contemplate the possibility that the Election Officer will order a rerun election. The Rules state that "should the Election Officer refuse to certify any election, she shall then immediately order that a rerun election be held." 1996 Election Rules, Article XIV, Section 5.

 On August 21, 1997, the Election Officer granted certain post-election protests, finding that violations of the 1996 Election Rules "may have affected the outcome of the election." Quindel decl. P 5; see 1996 Election Rules, Article XIV, Section 3(b)(stating that the Election Officer cannot grant a post-election protest unless "the alleged violation may have affected the outcome of the election"). In her decision dated August 21, 1997 ("E.O. Decision"), the Election Officer found that in September 1996, Ron Carey ("Carey") Campaign operatives met and concluded that the race was close and that the James Hoffa ("Hoffa") Campaign was raising between four and five times what the Carey Campaign was raising. E.O. Decision at 68. The Carey Campaign operatives determined that Carey would lose without additional money, and that the race was winnable but not unless the right people voted. Id.

 Thus, in October 1996, Carey Campaign operatives implemented a scheme whereby IBT general treasury funds would be disbursed to certain political organizations upon the understanding that those organizations would make payments to the Carey campaign, Id. at 69-71. Carey personally authorized certain of these disbursements from IBT general treasury funds. Id. at 72-75. The Election Officer further found that in October and November 1996, other improper or illegal contributions in substantial amounts were made to the Carey Campaign. Id. at 75-78.

 In addition, the Election Officer determined that a "large, direct mail campaign" was a key part of the "final efforts" of the Carey Campaign, and that during the week prior to the end of the voting period, between November 4 and November 9, 1996, the Carey Campaign mailed 1,697,214 pieces of campaign literature. Id. at 78-79. The campaign targeted the mailings so that members in certain groups would receive anywhere from one to five pieces of mail over the course of a week, id. at 79, and the contributions that supported the mailings, were "the product of employer solicitations and/or employer-created schemes to inject employer and IBT funds into the Carey Campaign, as well as to induce individuals to contribute through the improper manipulation of IBT spending." Id. at 96.

 John P. Morris ("Morris"), a member of the Carey slate, and candidate for International Vice President for the Eastern Region, filed a timely notice of appeal of the E.O. Decision with the Election Appeals Master, and filed his Submission in Support of Appeal ("Morris Submission") on September 4, 1997. The Election Appeals Master conducted a hearing regarding Morris' appeal on September 17, 1997. Morris argued that because his margin of victory over his nearest competitor was 14.38%, the Election Officer did not have convincing evidence that the tainted mailings affected the ...


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