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Breaking the Devils Pact

Breaking the Devils Pact: The Battle to Free the Teamsters from the Mob

James B. Jacobs
Kerry T. Cooperman
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Breaking the Devils Pact
    Book Description:

    In 1988, despite powerful Congressional opposition, U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani brought a massive civil racketeering (RICO) suit against the leaders of the behemoth International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and more than two dozen Cosa Nostra (LCN) leaders. Intending to land a fatal blow to the mafia, Giuliani asserted that the union and organized-crime defendants had formed a devil's pact. He charged the IBT leaders with allowing their organized-crime cronies to use the union as a profit center in exchange for the mobsters' political support and a share of the spoils of corruption. On the eve of what would have been one of the most explosive trials in organized-crime and labor history, the Department of Justice and the Teamsters settled. Breaking the Devil's Pact traces the fascinating history of U.S. v. IBT, beginning with Giuliani's controversial lawsuit and continuing with in-depth analysis of the ups and downs of an unprecedented remedial effort involving the Department of Justice, the federal courts, the court-appointed officers (including former FBI and CIA director William Webster and former U.S. attorney general Benjamin Civiletti), and the IBT itself. Now more than 22 years old and spanning over 5 election cycles, U.S. v. IBT is the most important labor case in the last half century, one of the most significant organized crime cases of all time, and one of the most ambitious judicial organizational reform efforts in U.S. history. Breaking the Devil's Pact is a penetrating examination of the potential and limits of court-supervised organizational reform in the context of systemic corruption and racketeering.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4366-9
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xviii)
    James B. Jacobs
  5. U.S. v. IBT Timeline
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. Principal Names
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  7. 1 Introducing the Litigants and the Judge
    (pp. 1-21)

    The filing ofUnited States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters(U.S. v. IBT) in June 1988 pitted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), armed with the powerful RICO law and supported by skillful amici curiae lawyers, against the leadership of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the nation’s largest and strongest private-sector union, and Cosa Nostra (LCN),* the nation’s most powerful organized-crime syndicate.³

    This chapter sets the stage for this twenty-two-year (and ongoing) legal battle by introducing the plaintiff, the amici curiae, the defendants, and the judge who presided over the case for its first twelve years.

    U.S. Attorney Giuliani’s...

  8. 2 The Civil RICO Complaint and Settlement
    (pp. 22-47)

    On June 28, 1988, U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Randy Mastro filed a 113-page civil RICO complaint, accompanied by a 105-page memorandum of law and a 72-page attorney’s declaration supporting the allegations against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), its general executive board (GEB), one current and eighteen former GEB members, the Cosa Nostra (LCN) Commission, and twenty-six alleged LCN members and associates.² The complaint alleged and described the defendants’ decades-long corruption of the IBT’s international, regional, and local offices, often at the behest of Cosa Nostra members. The consent decree that settled the lawsuit aimed...

  9. 3 IBT Resistance and Judge Edelstein’s Resolve: July 1989–September 1992
    (pp. 48-63)

    The settlement inU.S. v. IBTby no means guaranteed eradication of Cosa Nostra’s influence in the union. The union vigorously opposed the consent decree’s implementation. As Judge Edelstein observed, “soon after the signing of the consent decree, the IBT waged a zealous attack on the reforms contained in the consent decree. . . . Relations between the Court Officers and the IBT began in a spirit of hoped-for cooperation and unity of purpose, but as the months passed these interactions became increasingly bitter.”³ Making matters worse, many local IBT officials and rank and filers, whom, in the court officers’...

  10. 4 Establishing New Disciplinary Machinery: July 1989–September 1992
    (pp. 64-82)

    Prior toU.S. v. IBT,the union’s locals, joint councils, and GEB rarely brought disciplinary charges against IBT officers. The disciplinary process was used largely to punish “dissidents”; even then, disciplinary decisions and sanctions were often unrecorded, unpredictable, and unknown to members beyond the respondent’s local.³ Disciplinary action against an international IBT officer was unheard of. The consent decree made administrative prosecution of violations of the IBT’s constitution, IBT locals’ by-laws, federal criminal and labor laws, and the consent decree itself the chief weapon for purging the union of organized crime’s influence.⁴

    The consent decree provided that an independent administrator...

  11. 5 An Insurgent’s Triumph: The IBT’s 1991 Election
    (pp. 83-102)

    In negotiating the consent decree, U.S. Attorney Giuliani and his staff accepted TDU’s and AUD’s prediction that, given free and fair elections, Teamsters would elect candidates who opposed corruption and racketeering. Therefore, the consent decree mandated election procedures that were more democratic than those of any other U.S. labor union. First, IBT locals’ rank-and-file members would elect delegates to a nominating convention.¹ Second, the convention delegates would nominate candidates for general president, general secretary-treasurer, international vice presidents, and international trustees.³ A candidate who received 5 percent or more of the delegates’ votes would earn a place on the general-election ballot....

  12. 6 General President Carey and the IRB: 1992–1997
    (pp. 103-121)

    Ron Carey’s inauguration as IBT general president in February 1992 and the IRB’s assumption of disciplinary authority later that year seemed to augur well of greater cooperation between the IBT and the court-appointed officers. The IRB’s chief investigator (CI) would investigate union corruption and, when appropriate, recommend disciplinary charges. If the three IRB members decided to accept the CI’s recommendation, they would refer charges to the jurisdictionally appropriate IBT unit, monitor compliance, and, if necessary, take action to ensure compliance. For this phase of the consent decree to work effectively, the IBT would have to carry out its disciplinary duties...

  13. 7 The 1996 Election Scandal
    (pp. 122-145)

    Ron Carey could not be confident about reelection in 1996. He had won the 1991 election largely because the IBT establishment had split its support between R.V. Durham and Walter Shea. During his first term, Carey was frequently reminded that he could not count on the political support of a large majority of local and regional IBT officials. More worrisome, in 1996, he would face a challenge from James P. (Jim) Hoffa, son of former IBT General President James R. (Jimmy) Hoffa, a Teamster folk hero despite his Mafia ties and corruption conviction.³

    Carey launched his reelection campaign in mid-1995....

  14. 8 The 1998 Rerun Election and the Emerging Dominance of James P. Hoffa
    (pp. 146-166)

    On August 21, 1997, the same day EO Quindel nullified the 1996 election, she submitted a proposed rerun-election plan to Judge Edelstein. Candidates who had received 5 percent of the delegates’ votes at the 1996 convention would automatically be placed on the 1998 general-election ballot. The 1996 convention delegates could also make supplemental mail-in nominations, but the 5 percent criterion was still applicable. Candidates who were members of slates in the invalidated 1996 election could not switch slates in the rerun election.

    Aiming to further level the election playing field, the rules for the 1998 rerun election included campaign contribution...

  15. 9 The 2001 Election, the Demise of Project RISE, and the IRB’s Third Term
    (pp. 167-189)

    The consent decree authorized DOL to supervise the 2001 IBT election. However, in February 2000, the IBT and DOJ asked Judge Edelstein to approve an agreement calling for an “election administrator” to supervise the convention-delegate elections, candidate nominations, and rank-and-file balloting.*² DOL’s role would be limited to making recommendations. The IBT agreed to contribute more than $12 million to election supervision.³ (The election ultimately cost approximately $9 million.) Judge Edelstein reacted favorably to the joint proposal. He appointed Michigan labor lawyer William Wertheimer to serve as EO. Kenneth Conboy would continue as EAM.⁴

    Edelstein approved election rules closely tracking the...

  16. 10 The 2006 Election, the IRB’s Fourth Term, and the Lead-Up to the 2011 Election
    (pp. 190-209)

    As the IBT’s 2006 election wound into gear, a nominating convention, followed by a nationwide rank-and-file election, no longer seemed like an experiment. The court, EO, and EAM had succeeded in routinizing free and fair international-officer elections.

    The consent decree provided for DOL to supervise the 2006 election. However, as in 2001, Chief Judge Preska approved the IBT’s and DOJ’s joint request to appoint an “election supervisor,” previously called “election officer” and “election administrator,” to supervise the 2006 election.* DOL’s role would be limited to making recommendations. Edelstein appointed former federal prosecutor Richard Mark as EO. (As a young AUSA...

  17. 11 Lessons, Reflections, and Speculations
    (pp. 210-230)

    U.S. v. IBT, a government lawsuit that charged the nation’s largest and most powerful private-sector union with being racketeer ridden, has to be placed in political context. This lawsuit would be impossible in most countries, especially where there is a “Labor” political party. ThatU.S. v. IBTwas politically possible in 1988 confirms what all well-informed American political and labor observers know: the private-sector labor movement has weakened dramatically since the mid-twentieth century. Indeed, the Teamsters Union experienced a 35 percent membership decline from 1976 (2 million members) to 2010 (1.3 million members). Nevertheless, nearly one in five private-sector union...

  18. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 231-232)
    James B. Jacobs
  19. Notes
    (pp. 233-286)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 287-292)
  21. Index
    (pp. 293-309)
  22. About the Authors
    (pp. 310-310)