Kentucky Probe Implicates Gov. in Trumka Visit

Prosecutors alleged Nov. 19 that Ky. Gov. Paul Patton’s (D) chief of staff and campaign manager, Andrew ”Skipper” Martin, illegally evaded a 1995 campaign spending limit by persuading the Teamsters union to hire a Patton aide to coordinate the campaign efforts with organized labor. Martin, as well as two Teamsters bosses Lon Fields, Sr. and Bob Winstead and Patton labor aide Danny Ross were indicted Sep. 24 and pled innocent Oct. 29.  Patton wasn’t indicted, but he is implicated in the filing, called a bill of particulars. It says he asked Ross if ethically-challenged AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, Richard L. Trumka, could come to Ky. to campaign. (Separately, Trumka invoked the 5th Amendment to avoid connections to the national Teamsters money-laundering scandal.) The Ky. Democratic Party paid $3,879 for a Trumka campaign trip with Patton, which is now alleged to have been an illegal contribution.

To save money for TV ads, Martin and several other Patton aides worked as volunteers. Ross couldn’t afford to do that, but Martin considered him ”integral” to the campaign. The bill of particulars says, Ross was paid $20,000 by the Ky. Teamsters in the summer and fall of 1995, immediately after and before stints on Patton’s state payroll. Ross worked for the Ky. Teamsters council in Louisville, but spent most of his time working for the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO spent $247,000 on the 1995 election and the Teamsters spent $61,000. Unions can spend unlimited sums on campaigning among their members, but the bill of particulars suggests the spending was tainted because Ross was taking orders from Martin and Patton and coordinating with AFL-CIO operatives. [Courier-Journal 11/20/98]

Hoekstra Says Reno should have IC for Ickes
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the 105th Congress’ led investigator of the Teamsters money laundering scandal, called on Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel to probe possible illegal acts by former White House aide Harold M. Ickes on behalf of the Teamsters. Reno’s 90-day review ends Nov. 30. Hoekstra, in a N.Y. Times op-ed on Nov. 18 said: “My committee looked closer at this issue than anyone, save, perhaps, the Justice Department. And we have developed considerable information that casts a shadow of doubt on Mr. Ickes’ statement, under oath, that he did not know of anything the White House did regarding the [Teamsters’] Diamond Walnut strike. Given what we have learned, the Attorney General must seek the appointment of an independent counsel. The law demands nothing less.”

New York Bosses Return $1.5M
Trustees of the Teamsters Local 125 Retirement Fund in Little Falls, N.J., will repay over $1.5 million to fund under a Nov. 24 judgment won by the U.S. Labor Dep’t.  Defendants Charles V. Giordano, Joseph A. D’Orazio, Peter Hoekendorf, Richard Rabin and Albert W. Palm’s estate allegedly permitted the plan to invest $2 million in an improper loan. The court ruled in the earlier decision that the trustees breached their fiduciary duties by permitting the plan to invest $2 million in a loan to Donald J. Clause without conducting an adequate, independent investigation of his ability to repay it. In addition, according to the department, the trustees didn’t examine the loan’s security and didn’t pursue steps to collect on the loan after Clause defaulted. At the time the loan was made, Clause was late in making interest payments due under an earlier loan he received from the plan. [BNA 11/25/98]
Cleveland Boss Sentenced for Perjury
Cleveland’s Teamsters Local 507 boss, Terrence Freeman, was sentenced Nov. 18 to 5 months in prison and 5 months of home confinement 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. He was also banned from union activities for 13-years. He was convicted of perjury on Aug. 14.  [Plain Dealer 11/19/98]