Hoffa Fires his “Chief of Staff”

Carlow Scalf, a former Detroit Teamsters boss and former top aide to Intl. president James P. Hoffa the past six years, has been fired amid allegations that he improperly received a housing allowance of more than $69,000.  Scalf was identified last year by Edwin Stier, the union’s former internal investigator, as the person most responsible for shutting down his probe of mob influence in Chicago locals.  Stier resigned last May, perceiving that Hoffa was “no longer committed” to ridding the union of organized crime.


The union did not announce Scalf’s firing. His fate was revealed in a letter from a Teamsters attorney to a federal court judge who oversees union affairs.  “General President Hoffa rescinded Scalf’s appointment as Executive Assistant March 12th,” attorney J. Bruce Maffeo wrote U.S. Dist. Judge Loretta A. Preska (S.D.NY, GHW Bush).  The Teamsters agreed to court supervision in 1989 as settlement of a racketeering suit charging the union with being a subsidiary of organized crime.

Teamsters’ spokesman Bret Caldwell said that when Scalf was suspended, Hoffa said then he would review the facts of the case and make a decision on his friend and aide’s future. “And that is what he has done,” Caldwell said.


Scalf was accused by a union oversight board of filing documents with the union showing that he lived in Detroit when, in fact, he lived in Washington, D.C., and was not entitled to a housing allowance. In repaying the union and agreeing to the suspension, Scalf said he was neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing.  Scalf repaid the union earlier and agreed to a 60-day suspension that was to have ended earlier this month.


Scalf and Hoffa have been friends and associates for many years. Scalf was an executive assistant to Larry Brennan, head of Teamsters Joint Council 43 in Detroit, in the early 1990s when Hoffa was there as a labor attorney.  When Hoffa was elected Teamsters president in 1999, Scalf accompanied him to Washington.  As Hoffa’s executive assistant, Scalf functioned as a chief of staff.  He was involved in key negotiations and was one of two Teamsters officials who approved day-to-day union expenditures. [Detroit News, 3/24/05]