RICO Suit Against Carey, Not Trumka

IBT and its boss James P. Hoffa filed a civil racketeering suit Apr. 17 seeking about $9 million in damages against ex-boss Ron Carey and others, but not AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Richard L. Trumka, for allegedly defrauding IBT of funds used to promote Carey’s reelection in 1996. The suit, filed in U.S. Dist. Ct. in Manhattan, charges the defendants with an illegal scheme to defraud the IBT by making bogus IBT contributions to liberal groups, which, in turn, made reciprocal contributions to Carey’s  campaign.

In addition to Carey, the current defendants are: 1) William W. Hamilton, ex-IBT political director (convicted), 2-4) Carey campaign consultants Martin Davis, Jere Nash, and Michael Ansara (all pled guilty); 5) Ansara’s wife, Barbara Arnold; 6) liberal fundraiser Charles Blitz (pled guilty); 7) Cohen, Weiss and Simon law firm and 8) its ex-associate Nathaniel Charny (pled guilty); 9) liberal advocacy group Citizen Action and two of Citizen Action officers, 10) Ira Arlook and 11) Rochelle Davis.

Trumka’s absence is troubling. He allegedly routed $150,000 from IBT through AFL-CIO to Citizen Action to the Carey campaign. Trumka has invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid federal probes. IBT is hopeful that U.S. Atty. Mary Jo White will indict Trumka soon. But, IBT spokesman Bret Caldwell said the union had no comment on “why or why not Trumka was not named” adding “this is the right group to name based on the roles they played in the scheme.”  On Feb. 8, 2000, IBT received $500,000 from the AFL-CIO for a strike fund.

The suit, which has been anticipated since Jan. 1999, seeks to recover $885,000 lost as the result of the money-swap scheme plus $2.2 million the IBT spent for the rerun election. IBT seeks triple damages allowed under RICO: $9 million.

Ask about the RICO charges, Hamilton said “being called a racketeer by James Hoffa is like being called ugly by a frog.”  [BNA 4/19/00]