IRB Ousts Hoffa’s “Duke” for Nepotism

On May 30, the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters’ court-monitored oversight panel barred William Hogan, Jr., Chicago’s most powerful Teamster and close ally of IBT boss James P. Hoffa, from the union for life due to a plot to drive down wages and benefits for Las Vegas IBT Local 631 to help a Chicago-based firm in which his brother had a stake. Also banned for life was Dane Passo, a Chicago Teamsters who became Hoffa’s right-hand-man at IBT headquarters in Washington. The Indep. Review Bd.’s action came as Hoffa endorsed Ohio’s GOP governor and appeared with the likely GOP gubernatorial nominee in Md., all in an effort to reportedly persuade President Bush to seek IRB’s disbandment. IRB was founded in 1989 to help settle a racketeering suit by the government charging that IBT were controlled by organized crime.

IRB ruled that Hogan and Passo, colluded with United Serv. Companies to have the firm’s nonunion employees perform work at Las Vegas trade shows and conventions at less than half the hourly wage of Local 631 members, thus allowing other contractors to pay the same wages even to union workers. Hogan’s brother, Michael, was USC’s vice-president. Reportedly, Hogan and Passo, engineered Hoffa’s firing of Local 631 officials who opposed the deal. Only when IRB began investigating did Hoffa stop Hogan and Passo’s campaign. Disturbingly, Hoffa responded to the warnings about Passo’s links to organized crime by his internal ethics watchdog by raising Passo’s salary and keeping Passo as his “special representative” to the besieged Las Vegas Local.

Hogan is ex-secretary-treasurer of IBT Local 714. In 1996, following an IRB probe, the local was put in trusteeship. Among other things, IRB found that the local was being run for the benefit of the Hogan family and not its members. The report contained a number of allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest by Hogan and other officers who were Hogan family members. When the trusteeship was imposed, Hogan was a candidate for IBT int’l secretary-treasurer, on Hoffa’s slate against disgraced ex-boss Ron Carey. Hogan subsequently dropped out of the race. His various union salaries added up to some $210,000 a year. Passo ran Hoffa’s campaign effort in Chicago. [BNA, Chi. Trib. 5/31/02, New Republic 4/1/02]