Boss Accused of Fixing Chicago Election; Quindel Returns

In a series of post-election protests, the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union’s Yale-educated top boss John W. Wilhelm has been accused of essentially fixing the recent election at HERE Local 1 in Chicago. The protests allege that Wilhelm created rules and directed resources in an effort to maintain the int’l union control over the scandal-scarred local. Specifically, Wilhelm allegedly tampered with Local 1’s bylaws in order to permit outsiders to participate in the election, in violation of HERE’s constitution. Also,Wilhelm is accused of inappropriately using int’l union resources to benefit his favored slate of candidates.

“This was a clear situation in which the general president was engaged in anti-democratic practices to benefit his handpicked candidates,” said Patrick Deady, an attorney for one of the two losing slates. Deady said Wilhelm’s actions were an attempt to “fix” or “stack” the election.

In the June 27 vote, ex-Wilhelm-appointed trustee, Henry Tamarin, received 1,851 votes for president; reformer Pablo Garcia received 1,140 votes; and ex-Local 1 president and ally of the corrupt Hanley family, Terry Maloney, received 906 votes. Tamarin’s “Better Contract Team” won all 18 other posts and 15 convention delegate positions.

Tamarin has been closely allied with the tainted Wilhelm for many years. He led Local 217 in Conn. in the early 1990s after Wilhelm left the local. He then participated in trusteeships in Atlantic City and N.Y. Since 1994, Tamarin has been the president of Local 100 in N.Y. He kept that post even after Wilhelm appointed him Local 1 trustee.

But Deady, who represents Maloney, said Tamarin never should have been a candidate for office. Just days before the election, Deady said, Wilhelm changed the local’s bylaws eliminating a provision requiring that candidates for office be members of the local for 24 consecutive months prior to an election. Under HERE’s constitution, he said, the previous bylaws should have applied, making Tamarin and two other members of his slate ineligible to stand for Local 1 election. Deady also said it is unclear whether Tamarin even transferred his membership from Local 100 to Local 1, which also could have made him ineligible.

Deady said Wilhelm further sought to improperly influence the results of the election by permitting personnel from the int’l union to assist Tamarin’s slate. Deady said at least six int’l union employees were either transferred to Chicago or permitted to take vacation time to come to Chicago during the weeks before the election. Such conduct, Deady said, violates HERE’s policies prohibiting int’l representatives from contributing time or money to influence local elections.

Deady said he filed three post-election protests with Barbara Zack Quindel, Local 1’s “independent” election supervisor. It’s unclear when Quindel might rule. Martin Preib, who ran for vice president with Garcia, said the reform slate filed similar protests with Quindel. Garcia and Maloney agree that Tamarin should not have been permitted to participate in the election. [BNA 7/2, 7/9/01]

This is the same Barbara Zack Quindel who supervised the joke called the 1996 Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters election, in which the campaign of corrupt ex-boss Ron Carey, among other things, looted IBT’s treasury to the tune of $885,000 for the benefit of the Carey campaign. Quindel was IBT’s court-appointed elections officer but resigned Sept. 30, 1997, after conceding a possible conflict of interest: some of the fundraising scandals that reversed Carey’s 1996 victory were connected to a group she and her husband supported financially. In a Sept. 19, 1997, questioning of confessed criminal and ex-Carey campaign consultant Martin Davis, Quindel discovered that Davis attempted to engineer a swap of a IBT contribution to the hard-left “New Party” in exchange for money being contributed to Carey’s campaign. Quindel and her husband, Roger, were members of the Milwaukee chapter of the “New Party” at the time.

In the wake of the scandal and her resignation, U.S. House subcommittee members told Quindel at a hearing that she should be embarrassed over the  failed election. “I’ve seen some pretty stupid elections in my life, but to spend $20 million and end up with an election as you did, I just don’t understand it,” said Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-N.C.). Of the more than $20 million the 1996 IBT election cost taxpayers, $1 million went to Quindel. [Chi. Trib., Newsday 10/16/97; Wash. Times 10/8/97]

Whether or not the the charges against Wilhelm get him into trouble, the real problem here was hiring Quindel. Despite the big black IBT spot on her resume, Wilhelm or someone else at HERE believed she was qualified to supervise an election at arguably the most historically corrupt HERE local in the country. However, in light of the accusations against Wilhelm, it now appears that an individual of Quindel’s low caliber is exactly what the doctor, that is the boss, ordered.

International VP Defeated Again in Hawaii
For the second time, Eric Gill was elected July 6 by a narrow margin to head Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 5 in Honolulu, again defeating incumbent and HERE int’l vice president Tony Rutledge who headed the local for more than a dozen years. HERE boss John W. Wilhelm placed Local 5 into trusteeship Feb. 26, 2001, citing a dispute between a Gill and the executive board that prevented the negotiation of contracts. The trouble arose after Gill defeated Rutledge by several dozen votes in a Spring 2000 election. But, Rutledge’s slate won a majority of executive board posts. Since the first election, Gill and the board have been at odds. Wilhelm’s move gave Rutledge a second chance.

This time, Gill was elected fin. secretary-treasurer over Rutledge by a vote of 2,527 to 2,506. But in this new vote,  Gill’s running mate Orlando Soriano was elected president, the local’s number two job. He defeated Arlene Ilae 2,815 to 2,287. Also, Gill’s slate won 12 of 15 board seats. [BNA 7/10/01]