IBT Report Attempts to Discredit Ex-Watchdog Stier

The Chicago Sun-Times has obtained a draft of an internal Teamster report that attempts to discredit the union’s former ethics watchdog, who charged the union hierarchy with squelching his efforts to investigate corruption within the union.  The report was put together by former federal prosecutor Edward McDonald report, and claims that Edwin Stier was bent on keeping the paychecks coming for his staff, and that he ignored directives from the office of James P. Hoffa, president of the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters. 


Stier, who resigned a year ago, said on April 20 that he hadn’t seen the McDonald document.  But he had a notion of its findings, which he termed “bulls—,” a “whitewash” and an attempt by Hoffa to save face as he geared up for re-election.  “I think this is the beginning of a fight I’m prepared to take on,” Stier said, adding he has prepared a letter expressing his views that he’ll be distributing to as many of the union’s 1.4 million members as possible.


“You’ve got a report written by a guy who never tried to interview me, written by a guy who’s a buddy of one of Hoffa’s chief advisers, who never dealt with what are, in my view, the most important issues in the report — corruption in Chicago,” Stier said.  He noted his own report clearly contained credible information because some of it was picked up by other agencies.


Federal investigators, for instance, are following up on allegations in Stier’s report that there might be something shady with a benefit plan at Local 727, headed by Chicago‘s top Teamster, John Coli. And the quasi-governmental Independent Review Board recommended the expulsion of a union boss for associating with banished Teamster boss Bill Hogan Jr.


The McDonald report doesn’t delve deeply into Stier’s accusations against the Chicago hierarchy.  One exception: He says disciplinary action should be pursued based on a Stier probe of Local 786. In that case, two officials with Local 786’s benefit funds were accused of “testifying falsely” to investigators.


The main allegation of Stier’s mentioned by McDonald involves Coli, Hogan and recently fired Hoffa aide Carlow Scalf trying to thwart Stier’s pursuits, possibly at the instigation of racketeers.  The “foundation” of that allegation, McDonald writes, is six “confidential” sources.  McDonald tracked down most of them and claimed they weren’t credible, or their comments may have been distorted.  One informant once was caught lying, according to the report, but his words still were given weight by Stier.


Admitting that IBT officials indeed did not let Stier probe certain allegations, McDonald claims there were good reasons — such as mounting costs and the prospect of another ethics squad being formed if federal oversight was lifted and the IRB dismantled. [Chicago Sun-Times, 4/21/05]