Carey Trial Begins in Manhattan

The perjury and false statements trial of expelled Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters boss Ron Carey began Aug. 28. He allegedly lied about matters in several complex schemes in which $885,000 of IBT funds were embezzled and some $538,000 was wrongfully funneled into his failed 1996 campaign. Five others have pled guilty and one has been convicted in the scandal. Carey faces up to thirty-five years in prison. U.S. Dist. Judge Robert L. Carter (S.D.N.Y., Nixon) said at jury selection on Aug. 27 that the trial is expected to last three weeks.

Asst. U.S. Atty. Deborah A. Landis is trying the case with Andrew Dember, chief of U.S. Atty. Mary Jo White’s Public Corruption Unit. Landis told the jury in opening arguments that Carey lied sixty-three times in six months to investigators and a  grand jury. Landis also said that Carey knew about a scheme to raise campaign funds from AFSCME, SEIU, and AFL-CIO bosses in violation of election rules barring employers contributions. She singled out the AFL-CIO’s Richard L. Trumka, saying that Carey had been angered when told that Trumka “had not yet fulfilled his commitment to raise” $50,000. Carey was “mad because he had helped Trumka get his job and he expected Trumka would return the favor,” she said.

Carey’s attorney Mark J. Hulkower argued that Carey had been the victim of a scheme by professional political aides to enrich themselves at IBT’s expense. Hulkower blamed the scheme on two Carey campaigners, Jere Nash and Martin Davis. He argued that Nash, falsely implicated Carey in an effort to win leniency after having been convicted twice of perjury.  Nash “is looking at a lot of jail time,” Hulkower said. Separately, Carter scolded Hulkower after the jury was dismissed for one lunch break: “We had agreed you were forbidden to indicate that Mr. Carey was not indicted by the government because he was innocent of the charge.” He added, “I’m not going to tolerate any more” and threatened to “embarrass” Hulkower in front of the jury if there was a recurrence.

Nash testified Aug. 30 that he gave $5,000 in cash to a Carey campaign worker, Joe Fahey,  and told him “to write out a [personal] check to the campaign” for the same amount. The switch was done to hide the fact that Trumka was the source of the money. On Sept. 4, Nash faced new questions of shenanigans. Hulkower confronted him with old expense reports, which showed that Nash charged both the Carey campaign and a consulting firm for the same airline tickets. Nash call the double-dipping “an accident.”

In a very surprising development, prison inmate and ex-IBT political director, William W. Hamilton will testify in the Carey trial, according to Landis. Convicted in 1999 of embezzlement and related corruption, Hamilton began serving a three-year sentence April 30 at a federal prison in Cumberland, Md. He must have something the government wants: a more solid case against Carey and maybe others? Also, the government has to have something Hamilton wants and that could only mean reduced jail time or restitution. [BNA 8/30; N.Y. Times 8/28; N.Y.L.J., Newsday, Daily News 8/29; N.Y. Post 8/31, 9/5/01]