California Bosses’ Tiny Fines Upheld

The Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters’ Independent Review Board’s fine of a top boss for breach of the IBT constitution has been affirmed by the U.S. Dist. Judge David N. Edelstein who oversees the 1989 consent decree between IBT and the Dep’t of Justice. On Jul. 12, Edelstein ordered James Santangelo, an IBT western region int’l vice-president, to pay a petty $2,000 fine for failing to uphold his fiduciary duties as secretary-treasurer of IBT Local 848 in Los Angeles. Local 848 president Richard Middleton must pay a $1,000 fine and the local must institute certain educational and financial controls to ensure its bosses fully understand and carry out their fiduciary duties.

The court-appointed IRB investigated allegations that Santangelo and Middleton had created a severance payment plan and made payments to themselves and others from the plan in violation of Local 848’s bylaws. After a ridiculously long administrative process, IRB held a hearing on the charges against the two bosses and in May 1999 issued a decision imposing the insignificant fines. Edelstein held that IRB’s charges against Santangelo and Middleton had been proven and that the fines were adequate for the misconduct. For a measly $2,000 and $1,000, why even waste members dues pursuing the case? [BNA 7/23/99]