The Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters filed internal charges of links to organized crime against one of its vice presidents on Jan. 21. The internal charges come three years after Donato DeSanti was first accused of of improper behavior while running for vice pres. on James Hoffa’s slate.
Hoffa’s opponent, Tom Leedham, accused the president of IBT Local 701 in New Brunswick, NJ, of associating with a barred Teamster member who had earlier been disqualified as a part of Hoffa’s slate of natl. officer candidates. Leedham’s allegations did not prevent DeSanti, or Hoffa, from taking office. But the more recent charges appear to have stuck to DeSanti.
According to the IBT, DeSanti conspired with a member of the Genovese crime family, along with a convicted trucking racketeer, to unionize a T.J. Maxx warehouse in Philadelphia, then kick back a portion of the employees’ wages to organized crime. The Genovese member, Michael Sciarra, ran IBT Local 560 in Union City, NJ, during the 1990s, intimidating members and attempting to loot millions of dollars from the pension fund. He and his allies were finally thrown out by a court-appointed trusteeship and free elections in Dec. 1999.
Frank Walsh, a trucking company owner in Massena, NY, allegedly participated with DeSanti and Sciarra in the conspiracy to pay the T.J. Maxx workers less than the regular Teamster wage. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 1990 for a similar scheme involving Local 560 officials, incl. Anthony Provenzano, a suspect in the late Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance.
The IBT’s Exec. Bd. will appoint a panel to try and punish DeSanti, should he be found guilty of the charges against him. [The New York Times 1/25/03]