New York City Chieftain to Return Improper Payments to HMO

It was a friendly relationship that Carroll Haynes had with a union health care contractor – too friendly, in fact, for a number of rank-and-file members who’d suspected something was up.  Haynes, a vice president for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a former president of New York City’s Local 237, has agreed to return more than $100,000 in questionable payments he had received from an HMO that manages the local health plan.  The agreement follows an investigation by a Teamsters dissident group, Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU).       


No prosecution has taken place.  Yet given the evidence, Haynes is smart to return the money.  Members of TDU requested that the leadership of Local 237, which represents municipal employees such as hospital security guards, conducted an internal probe.  Teamsters for a Democratic Union had uncovered a $54,500 “stipend” that Haynes had received in 2006 from HIP Health Plan of New York, a subsidiary of EmblemHealth Inc.  Further investigation uncovered an additional sum of more than $50,000 he got from the company in 2005 – and that doesn’t include what he’d received this year.  Following a probe by an outside counsel hired by TDU, Haynes agreed to return the payments.  The final sum has yet to be determined. 


This wasn’t the first time Haynes has been forced to return excessive compensation. In 2003 he was forced to pay back thousands of dollars following revelations that he had taken salary income in 2001 in excess of the General President’s salary – a violation of the Teamster Constitution.  David Levin, a TDU organizer, thinks Haynes’ boss, General President James P. Hoffa, might not be taking this case seriously enough.  “Making a millionaire pay back the money he was caught taking is not much of a deterrent,” he told The Chief, a New York City public-employee weekly newspaper.  “What happens to him is going to send a message to other Teamster officials.  Will Hoffa’s message be, ‘You will be held accountable,’ or ‘Go ahead, take your shot at the cookie jar because nothing really bad happens if you get caught’?”  (Teamsters for a Democratic Union, 10/9/07).