IRB Declines to Hear Case against Ohio Union Chieftain

blet-logoDon Hahs may be a thief, but he’s neither high-level nor mob-connected.  That’s why the Independent Review Board (IRB) recently informed International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa that the ball is in his court in determining whether Hahs is guilty and, if so, what sanctions should be taken.  Hahs is national president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a Teamsters-affiliated union based in Cleveland.  Months ago, the IRB, the three-member board set up to monitor Teamster operations following the union’s 1989 civil RICO settlement with the government, conducted an investigation, concluding that Hahs had embezzled more than $58,000 in union funds for his personal use, most of it going for Cleveland Cavaliers NBA tickets.

The IRB sent the result of the probe to Hoffa, who in turn asked the board to hear the case, as Hahs’ attorney said his client could not get a fair trial at a union hearing.  But the IRB’s reply was in the negative.  Administrator John Cronin explained that Hahs’ actions “simply don’t meet the standards of the few non-organized crime cases to come back.”  As a result, “we sent the case back to the (Teamsters) for them to adjudicate it.”  Official Teamster procedure calls for Hoffa to name a three-person panel to hear the case, and recommend appropriate action within 90 days.  Given Teamster policy of not commenting on an ongoing internal case, such action likely won’t be known until after the start of next year.  (Traffic World, 10/29/07).