Hoffa Running Mates Face Charges
Source D. Ohmans
Date 99/05/01/22:37

/* Written 4:04 PM Dec 20, 1998 by in igc:labr.all */
/* ---------- "Hoffa Running Mates Face Charges" ---------- */
Hoffa Running Mates Face Charges


(c) The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As James P. Hoffa awaits certification
of his election victory as Teamsters president, new union
charges against members of his slate are reviving
questions about some of his associates.

A court-appointed board has filed new charges against two
of Hoffa's running mates since the voting ended earlier
this month, and a third slate member was implicated in
charges filed against another Hoffa ally. All of Hoffa's
slate members were elected, pending certification.

The timing of the charges is troubling both for Hoffa,
who intends to push for an end to the federal
government's supervision of the 1.4 million-member union,
and to his opponents, who say the members should have
been told about the charges before they cast their

``The members should have been able to make a decision
with all of the facts and all of the information,'' said
Tom Leedham, who lost to Hoffa with 39 percent of the

But Charles Carberry, chief investigator for the
court-appointed Independent Review Board, said that ``the
charges are filed when the charges are ready. We can't be
concerned about the timing.''

Leedham and the grass-roots reform group that backed him,
Teamsters for a Democratic Union, painted Hoffa as the
favorite of old guard union officials who were stripped
of power after the Teamsters union was forced to sign a
federal consent decree to avoid racketeering charges in

Shaking that image is a primary challenge for the son of
labor legend Jimmy Hoffa, but allegations continue to dog
some of his associates.

Regarding the new charges, Hoffa released a statement
saying only that there were mechanisms in place for
weighing the allegations and that ``we intend to see that
the procedures are followed.''

On Monday, the Independent Review Board charged J.D.
Potter, leader of a Texas local and a candidate for the
Teamsters executive board on the Hoffa slate, with lying
to the election officer about breaking donation limits.
Under the rules, Potter was limited to giving $5,000 to
the Hoffa campaign, and he said that an additional $5,000
he forwarded came from other union members.

He also contended, according to the charges, that the
original bills they gave him were still in his car, and
he produced $4,700 in cash from the trunk. But 13 of the
bills were not in circulation at the time he claimed
Potter had collected them.

``It appears that Potter lied under oath to the IRB and
the election officer,'' according to the IRB's charges.

Last Friday, the IRB charged a Hoffa ally who was
suspended from the union in 1996 with violating his
suspension by frequenting the Hoffa campaign's
Philadelphia headquarters and participating in campaign

The report said that the suspended member, Tom Ryan, met
with Hoffa slate member Donato DeSanti to discuss
campaign activities and noted that union rules bar
members from associating with banned members.

``The IRB is putting all union members on notice that it
considers continued knowing association with a suspended
member that relates in any way to union activity or
business to be conduct in violation of the (Teamsters)
constitution and the consent decree,'' the report said.

Before the votes were tallied, the IRB charged another
Hoffa slate member with filing false election reports.

Tom O'Donnell, a New York Teamsters leader, had earlier
admitted to the election overseer that he paid the salary
of a campaign worker who was a convicted felon to the
worker's wife rather than admit there was a felon on the
Hoffa campaign payroll.

Hoffa has said that ending the government's close
supervision of the union is a priority, but his opponents
ask whether that will be possible if his allies continue
to run afoul of the rules.

``I'm very troubled by it,'' Leedham said. ``How do you
get the government out of the union when members of the
executive board seem to be falling right and left?''

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information
contained in the AP news report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the
prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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