Former Ethics Watchdog Points Finger at Hoffa

More details have emerged about Edwin Stier’s resignation as the Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters’ (IBT) internal ethics officer on April 29.  These details come from Stier’s resignation letter to IBT president James Hoffa, secy.-treasurer Tom Keegel and the IBT’s Gen. Exec. Bd.  Jim McGough, who heads the union reform group, Laborers for Justice, provided a copy of the letter to NLPC.


In his letter, Stier complains that when he submitted a report on the “threat to the union” posed by organized crime in “one metropolitan area,” reported to be Chicago, Hoffa refused to meet with him.  Then, Stier wrote, the report, based partly on sources concerned about their safety, was distributed to the IRS and the U.S. Dept. of Labor.  “I have no lack of confidence in both organizations,” Stier wrote, “but such a shift in responsibility can only result in a loss of momentum and a disruption in continuity thereby reducing the chances of successfully completing the investigations.”


Previously unreported is Stier’s allegation that Hoffa has not presented a code of conduct written by a task force of Teamster members under Stier’s direction to the U.S. Attny. for the Sou. Dist. of NY.  Stier wrote that the code was “an essential element” of the union’s case that it could police itself, and that the 14-yr. federal oversight over the union was no longer necessary to keep it free of corruption.  Stier also complained that Hoffa failed to move against officials of a local union (reported to be Houston Local 988), when Stier’s investigators uncovered evidence of kickbacks.  According to Stier, “Hoffa resisted imposing a trusteeship and only reluctantly appointed a panel of Teamsters to consider whether a trusteeship should be established.”


The Teamster panel failed to issue its findings within the required 60 days.  Only when the federally-appointed Independent Rev. Bd. (IRB) recommended charges against the top 2 officials of the Houston local did Hoffa finally impose a trusteeship on the union.  As previously reported in UCU, the president of Local 988, Chuck Crawley, demanded a kickback from an employee’s salary to contribute to Hoffa’s campaign for the IBT presidency in the hope that Hoffa would endorse Crawley for that post when it became available.


“[R]ather than creating an atmosphere in which serious allegations are resolved expeditiously and fairly,” Stier wrote, Hoffa has created “the clear impression that the union is slow to react to corruption issues and is insensitive to witnesses’ justifiable fears of retaliation.”