Ousted Chicago Teamster Official Faces Fine, Jail for Violating Gag Rule

teamsters-logoPart of the federal oversight of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters involves barring expelled members from talking to existing ones – and vice versa.  It can get pretty frustrating.  Just ask William Hogan, Jr.  In May 2002, the Teamsters’ three-member court-monitored investigation and ethics panel, the Independent Review Board (IRB), imposed a lifetime ban on Hogan’s participation in union affairs, the result of his involvement in a scheme to deliver a substandard contract while enriching himself.  What’s more, pursuant to the terms of the union’s 1989 out-of-court civil RICO settlement with the federal government, the IRB barred Hogan and members from communicating with each other.  Hogan, a former big gun in the Chicago Teamsters hierarchy and an ally of current General President James P. Hoffa, suddenly was a non-person in his own union.  Now the IRB is saying the firewall created by its 2002 ruling wasn’t thick enough.  Hogan, the panel charges, made more than 150 union contacts prior to the close of 2005.  If the allegation is true, Hogan faces a $5,000 fine and a six-month stretch in jail.    


Bill Hogan had served as secretary-treasurer of Chicago’s Local 714.  His final undoing was a plan that he and another Hoffa ally in Chicago, Dane Passo, hatched to drive down wages and benefits for IBT Local 631 in Las Vegas.  The pair allegedly conspired with a Teamsters contractor, United Service Companies, to have the firm’s nonunion employees perform work at trade shows and conventions at less than half the hourly wage that union members received, in the process allowing other contractors to pay the same wage scale to members.  Hogan’s brother, Michael, happened to be USC’s vice president.  Hoffa, at the urging of Hogan and Passo, reportedly fired officials of Local 631 who opposed the deal, backing away only when he became aware of an ongoing IRB investigation.  Even then, he made Passo “special representative” to the Las Vegas local and gave him a raise, despite indications Passo had links to organized crime.  Passo, like Hogan, eventually was kicked out of the Teamsters.  And Hogan’s union, Local 714, was put into trusteeship in 1996 following an IRB probe indicating Hogan used the local to enrich family and friends. 

The latest revelation shouldn’t come as a surprise.  It was common knowledge that Hogan was going stir-crazy over the IRB ban on contact with the Teamsters or any of its locals.  One might sympathize with him, were it not for the larger context.  The racketeering consent decree between the Teamsters and the Justice Department represented the culmination of overdue action against decades of mob-enforced corruption within the union.  The union leadership signed that agreement because they understood the almost certain alternative was federal prison.  Hogan knew the rules, but had the misfortune of getting caught breaking them.  He, too, might have gone to prison.  (New York Sun, 5/1/07).