Jury Convicts Boxing Boss in New Jersey

On Aug. 17, a federal jury in N.J. found Robert “Bob” Lee, Sr., ex-boss and founder of the Int’l Boxing Fed’n, guilty on six counts of union corruption. He faces 37 to 46 months in jail for convictions on three counts of racketeering, two counts of tax evasion and one count of money laundering.

U.S. Atty. for N.J., Robert J. Cleary, charged Lee with taking $338,000 in bribes from promoters and managers to fix rankings and sanction fights. The jury, found Lee guilty in his dealings with Francisco Fernandez of Colombia, the IBF’s S. Am. representative. Lee was acquitted on charges of improper payments to him by promoters Bob Arum, Cedric Kushner and Dino Duva.

Federal prosecutors continue their civil case against Lee and his son Robert, Jr., in which they are seeking a permanent injunction to keep the Lees from any involvement in the IBF and attempting to recover the $338,000. Figuring treble damages and attorneys’ fees, the suit could cost the Lees over $1 million.

Reportedly, Lee, Sr., has been told that prosecutors would go easier on him if he turned over any evidence he had of wrongdoing on the part of promoter Don King, an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.

The Lee verdict came a day after the Nevada State Athletic Comm’n fined Arum $100,000 and put restrictions on his promoter’s license for six months after Arum admitted in testimony in the Lee case that he had agreed in 1994 to pay Lee $200,000 to get IBF’s sanction of a heavyweight title fight between George Foreman and Axel Schulz. [L.A. Times 8/18/00]

Judge Edelstein Dies
U.S. Dist. Judge David N. Edelstein, who oversaw the implementation of a racketeering consent decree between the Dep’t of Justice and Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters for the last 11 years, died Aug. 19 at the age of 90.  Appointed in 1951 by President Truman, Edelstein served as the S. Dist. of N.Y.’s chief judge  from 1971-80. The court’s assignment committee will decide which judge will be assigned the IBT case.

The election officer appointed by Edelstein to supervise the 1998 IBT rerun election, Michael Cherkasky, said  Edelstein played “a vital, critical role in helping to move the union back to where it should be, that is, representing members and not mob bosses.” [BNA 8/22/00]