Acting-President Sever Reprimanded

Election Officer Michael G. Cherkasky found Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer and acting-President Tom Sever committed “very serious” violations of union rules by retaliating against union officials opposed to Sever’s continuation in office. Sever stripped duties from presidential candidate Tom Leedham and two others. Cherkasky ordered Sever and an aide to halt retaliatory actions, but he stopped short of barring Sever from reelection. [Detroit News 8/18/98]

Ex-Teamsters Boss to Pay $136K for Clean-Up
Robert Sasso, former President of Teamsters Local 282 in Lake Success, NY, was ordered Jul. 31 by a U.S. District Judge to pay $136,000 for the local’s court-appointed monitors. He is paying 15% of the monitor’s estimated $906,000 cost. Sasso pled guilty in 1994 to a criminal RICO conspiracy charge. He told prosecutors how the local shared its illegal gains with the Gambino crime family. While defendants in past cases have agreed to pay for monitoring costs, Sasso is believed to be the first to litigate the government’s right to ask a court to order a defendant to pay for monitoring. A 1995 consent decree against Local 282 created the monitoring program that is charged with removing union bosses engaged in extortion or corrupt acts such as lax enforcement of contracts for contractors making illegal kickbacks. [NY Law Journal 8/5/98]

Cleveland Teamsters Boss Guilty of Perjury
The Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 507 in Cleveland was found guilty Aug. 14 of lying to a federal grand jury regarding a meeting in which he allegedly asked a food store chain for help in Local 507’s election. Terrence Freeman faces 16 months in prison and a 13-year ban from union activities. He was cleared, however, on 2 related charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Woole said, “We take perjury before a grand jury very seriously, and we’re pleased with this verdict.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer 8/18/98]

Ickes’ Independent Counsel Bad for Teamsters
Attorney General Janet Reno is “seriously considering” an independent counsel to investigate former White House aide Harold M. Ickes for abuses in the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. Such a move would be bad news for the Teamsters, as well as the Laborers Union. Ickes, the White House’s DNC liaison in 1996, is also a longtime union lawyer whose clients have had severe corruption problems. The probe may include charges of perjury and campaign finance abuses. Before the Thompson Committee last year, Ickes vigorously denied that the White House helped the Teamsters in a dispute with Diamond Walnut Growers. But the Committee later uncovered union memos stating Ickes had urged then-U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor to intervene, and Ickes’ aide testified that Ickes told her to make sure Kantor followed through. [Wash. Post 8/19/98]