$729K Returned to Teamsters Pension Fund

Teamsters Local 710’s pension fund in Chicago was repaid $729,400 for questionable fees credited to a brokerage firm. Announced Oct. 23, the money was returned voluntarily by Fleet Financial Group, which said an audit of a bank acquired by Fleet in 1996 indicated that fees paid to East West Capital Corp., in Harper Woods, Mich., may have been improper. There is a federal investigation into what happened with the funds and what ties existed between East West, Teamsters bosses and alleged associates of organized crime. Fleet said it returned the money to after determining that East West may not have performed research for which it had been paid. Allegedly, Christopher Roach, an East West principal, has dealings with elements of a Detroit crime family. [A.P. 10/23/98]

Labor Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Scam
Former Police Benevolent Ass’n lawyer, Richard Hartman, pled guilty Oct. 27 to dodging over $300,000 in taxes.  The N.Y. labor lawyer had already been sentenced 5 years in prison for his role in running the now-defunct union like a “crime ring.”  The “once highly respected labor negotiator” lost his law license in 1988 after he was caught using police-union escrow funds to pay gambling debts and told the judge his gambling “addiction” had caused him to deceive the IRS. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the IRS charge, 5 of which will be served after his existing 5-year prison term expires. He was convicted Jan. 1998 with union boss Ronald Reale and labor lawyers James Lysaght and Peter Kramer of looting the union. Reale and other union bosses took over $300,000 in bribes in exchange for steering more than $2 million in contracts to the lawyers’ Long Island-based firm from 1992-94.  Hartman and Reale were also convicted of ripping off at least $21,000 in matching campaign contributions from the city Campaign Finance Board during Reale’s failed 1993 bid for public advocate. [N.Y. Post 10/28/98]

Union Representative Faces Perjury Charges
A Fraternal Order of Police union representative, Jerry Lieb, faces 2 felony perjury counts for allegedly lying to a grand jury that was investigating union jailers in Tazewell County, Ill. Six jailers face felony charges of official misconduct in connection with the Jan. 1998 suicide of inmate Stephen Carson. Carson hung himself in his isolation cell but his body wasn’t discovered until about 14 hours after his death. Authorities allege the jailers failed to make state-mandated checks on inmates and falsified jail logs. The jailers allegedly were watching movies instead of doing their checks on Jan. 22. [Copley News Service 10/26/98]