Power, a part of nature, abhors a vacuum. And ever since George Cashman, the corrupt boss of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston was sent packing to federal prison nearly two and a half years ago, it’s been less than clear as to who will fill that vacuum. One will have a better idea come June, when the 8,300-member local will send a delegation to the Teamsters’ national convention in Las Vegas. On one side is incumbent President Ritchie Reardon, the secretary-treasurer who took over the presidency after Cashman’s departure. On the other side is his challenger, Sean O’Brien. Both are supporters of General President James P. Hoffa, himself up for re-election late this year. But the similarities pretty much end there.
O’Brien, whose Teamsters father, William O’Brien, had been a close ally of Cashman, is campaigning on the slogan, “Results, not excuses!” He’s positioning himself as an old-fashioned organizer, using a recent work-rule concession to United Parcel Service to siphon support away from Reardon. In turn, Reardon supporters, many of them Cashman loyalists, are charging O’Brien with benefiting from nepotism. It’s not as if they don’t have a case. O’Brien’s father was a movie transportation crew coordinator whose home in Medford, Mass. was raided by the feds in 2001, a bust netting more than $50,000 in cash stuffed in envelopes. Sean O’Brien, an ex-member of the crew, was named business agent for Local 25. He’d been running a truck driver training school that had been under FBI investigation for its connections to Cashman.
The delegate selection process now underway is likely a dress rehearsal for next fall’s local elections. The campaign will have to make do without Cashman’s help; in April 2003 he pleaded guilty to pension fraud and extortion. Cashman and a local trucking company owner, Thomas DiSilva, had been indicted four years ago for a deal to place nearly 20 ghost employees on DiSilva’s payroll, effectively fleecing a Local 25 benefit plan of some $72,000 during 1992-2001. In October 2003 Cashman, who also was Hoffa’s ports division director, received a two-year, 10-month sentence, a $30,000 fine, and a 13-year ban on participating in union affairs. He’s now living in a halfway house. But that’s not going to get him any closer to either O’Brien or Reardon, with the feds watching every move of the local. (Boston Herald, 2/23/06).