Ex-New York Teamster Boss Pleads Guilty to Corruption

Teamster President James P. HoffaAnthony Rumore treated union members as though they were personal servants. He’s now likely to be serving some prison time in the near future. Rumore, former longtime president of the Scarsdale, N.Y.-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812 and Teamster District Joint Council 16, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 11 to making a false statement related to his coercion of various rank-and-file members to perform free labor for him. He initially had pleaded not guilty following his December 2007 arrest for extortion and embezzlement. 

Now in his mid 60s, Rumore arguably had been the most powerful Teamster official in the state of New York. Not only was he president of the 4,000-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812 during 1988-2004, he also headed Joint Council 16, with some 25,000 members. And he inherited a union legacy, albeit an unenviable one. Back in 1990 his father, Louis, was forced to resign from the Teamsters following evidence provided by federal overseers that he was a member of the Gambino crime family.

The younger Rumore may not have been a mobster, but he certainly acted like one. Federal prosecutors charged that for years he ordered any number of local officers, employees and business agents to perform various domestic services without compensation under threat of discipline or even termination if they refused. Rumore was well-paid, earning a combined $222,000 from his two posts. His wife, Elizabeth, pulled down $202,500 as director of the Local 812 retirement fund.

Much of the coerced activity pertained to Rumore’s country home in Lakeview, Pa. During the early to mid Nineties, prosecutors alleged, the Teamster leader ordered union members to install a new roof, deck and skylight, mow the lawn and clean gutters at that residence. In 1999 he directed members to put up a large tent for a “social occasion” at his father’s house in Queens, N.Y. The following year he had members await the delivery of a wall unit at a daughter’s apartment, transport it up an elevator, and install it. Rumore that year also directed Teamster employees to drive his wife and daughters from New York to medical appointments, and run errands for a daughter’s wedding. In 2001, he directed workers to drive him and his family from New York to Baltimore to another wedding and to follow the lead car in a second vehicle to carry gowns. Later that year, he directed employees to deliver and set up a Christmas tree in a family apartment. Whatever Anthony Rumore wanted, it seemed, Anthony Rumore got.

It was almost inevitable that the party would end. In 2003, after the three-person Teamster federal oversight body, the Independent Review Board (IRB), brought him up on an unrelated charge, Rumore responded by directing local employees to collect $30,000 in contributions to his legal defense fund. In 2004, the IRB, based on eyewitness evidence, accused him of intimidating employees into performing free labor on top of serving as involuntary fundraisers. He eventually stepped down from his local and district posts, and on December 18, 2007 would be arrested for extortion and embezzlement. His belated guilty plea has a lot of Teamster rank and file, not to mention General President James P. Hoffa (see photo), breathing more easily.