Probe of Illinois Local Finds Corruption

The ongoing Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers investigation into IBEW Local 21 in Downers Grove, Ill., said it uncovered deficit expenses of over $600,000 for the first six months of 1999. IBEW findings were in a Oct. 14 letter to Local 21 members explaining why the international was “forced” to place the local under trusteeship in Sep. 1999 and suspend its officers. The letter from IBEW president J.J. Barry said the investigation also revealed: 1) unauthorized bonuses paid to bosses and staff, 2) improper and unauthorized use of union credit cards, 3) numerous unauthorized payments to local union bosses and staff, 4) local funds spent to campaign for union office.

But Barry added that the “improprieties uncovered concern past and newly elected officers.” IBEW spokesman did not provide specifics on which boss might face disciplinary action, but he said a hearing on the allegations is expected to take place soon.

In Jun. 1999, members elected three new officers, including Ronald Kastner, who serves as local president, business manager and financial secretary. He defeated incumbent Donald Moseley, who was appointed interim business manager by the international union on Sep. 1, 1998 — the same date that five locals in the Chicago area merged, forming IBEW Local 21.

IBEW took over Local 21 on Sep. 1, after a preliminary investigation of complaints from some members who alleged financial improprieties by officials. A two-day hearing to determine whether the trusteeship was justified and should continue was held Sep. 28. [Chi. Sun-Times 10/28/99]