Trouble In Teamster City|
IPSN Autumn, 1994
International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Ron Carey gave the boot to another Chicago metropolitan Local official accused of wrong-doing. It is an old, and painfully familiar story of greed, corruption, and arrogance within the nation's largest and historically controversial labor union. The reform-minded Ron Carey however, has sent a strong message in recent months that he is intent upon purging organized crime figures and their fellow travelers from the union, thereby attempting to bring a screeching halt to a vicious, age-old cycle of corruption. This was one of his major platforms when seeking the Teamster presidency and his work is cut out for him.
Teamsters Local 714 - the Machinery, Scrap Iron, Metal and Steel, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, Helpers, Alloy Fabricators, Theatrical, Exposition, Convention, and Trade Show Employees, controlled by William T. Hogan, Jr., may very well suffer the same consequences as what recently befell his ousted ally in Local 743, former president Robert Simpson, I.B.T. President Carey and the ambitious, social-climbing Billy Hogan don't see eye to eye.
And should the ax fall on Hogan's head, it will have tremendous impact on the well-being of 3,000 Department of Corrections employees, and Sheriff's deputies presently represented by the Hogan family's Local 714 - and its laughable "Law Enforcement Division." Should they ever get out of little Billy's local, they'll be far better off, and a stain will be removed from their law enforcement careers.
Round One on the pathway to reform: An oversight committee investigated and audited 172 Teamster Locals and Joint Councils suspected of involvement with, or tinged by organized crime and its influence. When work was completed (although investigations were still ongoing), charges were filed against 214 individuals and three Locals (nationwide) tainted by the stigma of organized crime influence.
Eleven Chicago-based Teamster Locals, including 703, 705, 710, 727, 738, 743, 753, 781, 786, 777, Hogan's "family" Local 714 and Joint Council 25 had their books and records examined and audited by the Investigations Office. Sixty-four Teamster officials permanently resigned, another 53 were suspended for a period of time, and 27 others signed an agreement to make restitution to the union and three locals changed their bylaws.
The recent suspension of Robert Simpson, President of Teamster Local 743, representing 20,000 office support workers, librarians, clerks, and tradesmen, is an offshoot of the earlier investigations. Simpson was suspended because he had allowed former President Donald Peters (his mentor and the real power with the Local), to continue to draw a salary and chart policy within Teamster circles in defiance of a 1989 consent decree which barred him from any future activity within the union that has been long overdue for house cleaning.
Don Peters served as President of Local 743 for 40 years before stepping down as a part of a court- approved settlement with the U.S. Government calling for him to "permanently retire" from all positions within the union. He was a well-connected powerhouse and an important cog in Teamster operations both in Illinois and nationally as a former International Vice President.
According to Angelo Lonardo, a Cleveland crime "L.C.N." figure who related a conversation between underboss Jackie Cerone and Joey Aiuppa, Don Peters was one teamster they "controlled."
Don Peters also enjoyed close ties to both Hogan and the murdered financial brain - insurance handler and behind the scenes political fixer, Allen Dorfman. Peters built his obscure, 350-member Local to more than 35,000 during its heyday. It is the largest in the Teamsters Union.
After bowing out and telling all he was stepping aside, Peters tabbed Robert Simpson, long-time organizer and Vice President to become his anointed successor. At the time, Simpson was the highest ranking African American to head a Teamsters Local in Illinois. Simpson's sense of misguided loyalty to Peters, his "eminence griese" would ultimately cost him his job.
Local 743, and Peters' involvement with organized crime heavyweights such as Joey Lombardo, Dominic Senese, and the late Allen Dorfman to name a few, date back many years.
His automobile was parked in the driveway of Dorfman's residence in Riverwoods, Illinois, hours after Dorfman was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Lincolnwood Hyatt Hotel in 1983. What the vehicle was doing there at the time of Dorfman's demise, one can only surmise. The Allen Dorfman hit was big time. How many other Mafia "hits" in this country are featured on Ted Koppel's Nightline program?
The two men were known to be close personal friends, and Peters assisted Allen's continuance as the health and welfare fund's administrator even after Dorfman was convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud in 1972. Dorfman was always recognized as a man to be seen when it came to pension loans and manipulative activities within the Fund. He was the main man to get things done for the "wise guys" and when he proved to be a potential threat to their well-being he was assassinated. Some say - and they are knowledgeable sources - Frankie Schweihs was the gunman who pulled off the neat and clean hit for his friend Joey Lombardo.
During the course of the federal investigation into an attempt on the part of Lombardo, Chicago's strongest mob guy, along with the now deceased I.B.T. President Roy Williams, and various other Mafia leaders from across the U.S. to bribe Senator Howard Cannon of Nevada in return for his vote on a trucking de-regulation bill, the partnership between Peters, Joey Lombardo, and Dorfman was exposed through massive electronic surveillance. At the time, Peters was overheard bragging to Lombardo that he had "control" over his Local delegates' votes at the Teamsters convention. Control used to make sure national presidents were their kind of guys.
The late Dominic Senese survived a 1988 ambush assassination attempt on his life - he was protected at that time by the Special Operations Associates (S.O.A.) private security firm run by former Sheriff and Chicago Police Superintendent James O'Grady, and his bumbling sidekick Jimmy "the Bohemian" Dvorak. Prior to being removed from the presidency of Local 703, Senese was permanently barred from union activity because of his ties to la Cosa Nostra. Senese once describes his high regard for Don Peters during a deposition given in his civil RICO case; "We love, we have respect. We are not hypocrites. I love somebody. I love him...I love the man and I mean it with my heart. That is all I can say about that."
On two occasions, Peters ran for Joint Council 25 office on the same slate with the now departed Dominic Senese. Through information supplied to the government by former I.B.T. President Jackie Presser, it was learned that Peters and Anthony Lapiana, Jr., a member of the Detroit crime family, badgered Presser to name Senese a teamster organizer. This would mean more salary for the man. However, in 1990 Dominic Senese was barred from the Teamsters Union when an independent administrator found that he was indeed a member in good standing of the Chicago Outfit.
Tainted by his hoodlum alliances, Donald Peters quietly stepped down in favor of his protégé, the hand-picked Simpson, who now finds himself boiling in hot water for allowing Peters to receive title to a car paid for with local funds, and other perks that stand in violation of the aforementioned consent decree.
Simpson, who assumed the presidency of Local 743 in 1988 vowing to "do the things he taught me well," was never much more than a Peters point man and he knew it. The IPSN was told recently that Peters continued to attend all executive board meetings and business went on as usual until Ron Carey placed Local 743 into a trusteeship. Peters was reimbursed for "consulting" expenses by Local 743, "while traveling and representing the interest of Local 743 and its members."
Simpson was cognizant of the terms of the Peters settlement agreement when he allowed his mentor to carry on in defiance of the order. I.P.S.N. learned that Simpson was provided with a copy of the document in May 1989, by none other than Marvin Gittler, Esq., Don Peter's attorney, and the long- time legal brain to Chicago P.D.'s Fraternal Lodge 7, of the F.O.P. during the reign of its ex- president, the erstwhile John Dineen. Gittler also represented other Teamsters in trouble; Dominic Senese's son Lucien, the Secretary Treasurer of Local 703, and William Raimondi, and James Bertino. The Teamsters were a major Gittler client, have been for a long time, and still were wt the time of the rigged Chicago Police-Jane Byrne collective bargaining election.
Teamster money paid for luncheon meetings between Gittler, Simpson, Peters, and other Teamster officials at Eli's, Gene & Georgetti's, the La Gondola, and other famous Chicago eateries during the time the decree was in full force. The establishments they dined at are some of Chicago's most popular eateries for the city's "in crowd."
Robert Simpson, it should be noted, sided with the William McCarthy faction when the (then) incumbent Teamster President was first challenged by an insurgent faction led by Ron Carey. Simpson ran for a trusteeship in December 1991 on the McCarthy slate. However, Carey was elected General President in the first national election which allowed rank-and-file participation. To the victor goes the power, and Carey has been exercising that power quickly and precisely. Most observers of the Teamsters wholeheartedly agree it is needed and long over-due, but his enemies will not let go without a fight.
Carey's expedious move to oust Simpson when he did, continues his campaign to jettison influence- peddling Teamster officials allied with outfit figures from within and outside this tumultuous union that has a reputation for sweetheart deals overseen by "connection guys."
Ahead: a much more formidable adversary in the Chicago-based Joint Council 25 and Teamsters Local 714, and the onerous influence against reform within the Teamster's union wielded by the dexterous William T. Hogan, Jr., who was groomed within the union movement by his daddy. A good paying job was his goal and not that of the working man's well being.
Hogan draws a handsome salary of $268,000 a year in his dual capacity as secretary-treasurer of Local 714, and as president of Joint Council 25, making him the second highest paid Teamster leader in the country. The Joint council under this reign comprises 25 Chicago-based Locals - and was formerly headed by his father and teacher, William Hogan, Sr., a member of the Teamsters Union since 1929. Hogan, Sr. sounded Local 714 in 1949 and its power base has traditionally been the McCormick Place Exhibition facility and its strong ties to the Mayor of the City of Chicago - both junior and senior - and two of the other three in between. The younger Hogan, who is feeling top Teamster-reform heat emanating our of Washington, controls several billion dollars of assets in one way, shape, form or another, through Joint Council 25 which represents about 120,000 rank-and- filers who have known union democracy only as an outsider to the process. This tidy amount of union member's money is by anyone's standards a compelling reason for Carey to rein in the ambitious Hogan who he views as an impediment to the membership's well being in the Chicago metropolitan area and for that mater throughout the International. It can be assumed that Carey doesn't like Hogan's national machinations and past ties at all.
The senior William Hogan by name is a former steelworker, retired from his I.B.T. career in 1990. His son James, Billy's brother, presently serves as the president of Local 714 which still has a large contract over McCormick Place. As an aside, McCormick Place provides security jobs to...you guessed it...Special Operations Associates security firm - O'Grady's baby. Another Hogan progeny, Robert, serves as a business agent. Hogan, Sr. took control of Teamsters Joint Council No. 25 in November 1986, following the death of the strong-willed ally of Daley the Elder, Louis F. "Louie" Peick, the old-line boss of Local 705.
In the 1970s (then) Mayor Richard J. Daley, appointed Peick to the sensitive position on the Chicago Police Board to maintain the good will of this influential joint Teamster Council, and of course control over the tin blue line. Local 705 is also one of the nation's largest, most powerful Teamster Locals in the country whose political clout extends from the Washington beltway to the "man on five" as the mayor's office is often referred to in Chicago folklore.
Peick controlled Joint Council 25 for nearly two decades until his death in 1986. In 1979 he turned back an electoral challenge from the "wise guy's" choice, Dominic Senese, who had long enjoyed close ties to the late Tony Accardo the friendship of the Hogans, who had appeared before the U.S. Senate Rackets Committee in 1959.
Peick departed this world in 1986, and William Hogan, Sr. replaced him as President of the powerful Joint Council 25. The elder Hogan hung on to the presidency until he voluntarily stepped down due to the complication of old age in November 1988. Four years later Billy Hogan, Jr. assumed the presidency after Dan Ligurotis left. Local 714, and Joint Council 25 have remained a Hogan :family affair" ever since and a bastion against the reform movement of President Carey. To Billy's credit, though diminutive in size, he is large on sensing and securing political and economic power.
Little Billy challenged Carey's national reform slate of candidates in a historic democratic election for that union held back in 1991. He ran for vice-president on a ticket headed by R.V. Durham, the hand-picked successor the (then) Teamster President William McCarthy, whose scandal-plagued regime ended disastrously when the government accused him of appointing known mobsters to key Teamster committees - a monotonous refrain. Durham lost the Teamster presidential election to Carey, and its been clean-up time ever since he took over and it appears Hogan is on Carey's "has to go" reform list.
Earlier this year the fast-moving Carey whose opponents have been throwing dirt at them since assuming office, smartly removed Hogan as director of the Convention and Trade Show Division as possibly the first step toward eliminating the Hogan - "family" control over Local 714 - long associated with organized crime figures. One wonders why the present Mayor Daley does not take notice of friend Hogan's problems and past.
What happens in the next few months with respect to Carey's Teamster reform efforts means a good deal to the 3,000 D.O.C. officers and Sheriff's deputies in the Cook County Sheriff's Office, represented by Local 714 in a "sweetheart" relationship with the past Sheriff's administration and specifically the corrupt James O'Grady-Jimmy Dvorak tenure.
Since the early 1970s when the Teamsters first began a push to organize law enforcement officers as a means to swell membership roles and exert influence over a possible foe, their record of success in winning benefits, increasing pay, and safeguarding the rights of the rank-and-file they hoodwinked, has been dubious at best. At contract time when an election for a new bargaining representative looms and Local 714's control is in peril, Hogan has been known to throw his weight around to ensure the perpetuation of the local's reign within the Cook County Sheriff's office. Intimidation and scare tactics of pay and fringe benefit losses are passed through to the rank-and-file officers who are kept mostly in the dark about their collective bargaining representation.
Cook County Correctional Officers toil under a 1993 collective bargaining contract that was never ratified by the rank-and-file membership; one that was "grandfathered" in by Local 714 to thwart a new representative election. There is widespread ambivalence among the D.O.C. Officers at 26th and Cal toward their collective bargaining unit - Teamsters Local 714 and the well-heeled Hogans. In fact, there exists a downright dislike.
Speaking under the condition of anonymity, a veteran correctional officer told the I.P.S.N. that Local 714 is "...in bed with Director J.W. Fairman," and the administration "is calling all the shots." The iron-willed Fairman has inspired widespread fear, loathing, and dislike, among the 3,000 correctional officers at 26th and Cal, since receiving his political appointment from Sheriff Michael Sheahan, with the blessing of the John Howard Association, a prison "watchdog" group.
The Teamsters entered the picture with the assistance and compliance of two former Sheriffs, Richard Elrod and James O'Grady. Their top people throughout the department smoothed out the road for an eventual take-over by this infamous Local which still controls one of the largest groups of law enforcement officers in the U.S. - the Cook County Department of Corrections and Sheriff's Deputies.
The organized crime tie-up of Local 714 surfaced spectacularly in the early 1970s. The roster of hoods holding down lucrative high-paying jobs at McCormick Place through Local 714 which controlled the exhibitors and tradesmen employed there, read like a "Who's Who" Blue Book of Chicago organized crime. Ernest "Rocco" Infelise, who headed a menacing Chicago mob street crew until his conviction on murdering and racketeering charges sent him away for 63-years, found gainful employment at the lakefront exposition hall through his 714 ties.
Ties that bind.
The "Rock" also figured prominently in the criminal activities of O'Grady's henchmen, most specifically his undersheriff, the convicted felon James Dvorak and the Cook County Police and Correctional Merit Board. Other Local 714 payrollers at that time, who were not employed by McCormick Place, but involved in dope dealing, price gouging, and shakedowns at the lakefront exposition center while working at Local 714 and the Hogan's behest included Rocco "the Parrot" Potenza, former mob gambling boss of the Northwest suburbs: convicted heroin dealer and a "made" guy, "Americo Pete" DePietto; Wayne Bock, a former professional football player with the Chicago Cardinals turned hit-man for the mob; Charles "Specs" DiCaro, ex-cartage thief and gambler, tied in with dope peddler Mario Garelli and South Side rackets boss Ralph Pierce, who, for many years, ran the self-styled "connection guys." The connection guys greased the palms of the politicians, judges, labor leaders and political officials.
The late Ralph Pierce was aligned to John D'Arco and Pat Marcy, the First Ward "fixers" with the ability to influence the outcome of murder cases for the right price, as was proven during the operation Gambat investigations of the late 1980s.
Pierce was close to Sam Giancana, Tony Accardo and was the "guy to see" for favors in Las Vegas. Need a hotel "comp?" Call Pierce. Wanna know in advance the outcome of a title fight? Call Pierce. He was at your service.
Ralph is gone now, but he is hardly forgotten.
David Kaye (nee: Kaminski), chief steward and business agent for Local 714 and "one helluva guy!" by Hogan's own words, was sentenced to prison following his conviction on 73 counts of extortion. He was called the "dictator" of service contractors at McCormick Place during the nine years he worked as chief steward. Guys like Kaye give decent labor officials a hard road to hoe but maintain a "status quo" for the local's hierarchy. They also get money and instill fear.
The aforementioned organized crime figures - Infelise, DePietto, DiCaro, Potenza, Bock, and Garelli - were routed from their hobs at McCormick Place after the F.B.I. began an investigation.
In 1975, Local 714 made its opening move of organizing the Chicago Police Department into its arms, but was thwarted by the efforts of CCPA's President John J. Flood, who was successful in blocking the politically sanctioned gambit, and also by the sudden death of Mayor Richard J. Daley who had sanctioned their move. Daley, who maintained a customary "hand-off" policy toward the activities of the big labor unions during his four terms of office, departed form his usual practice by entering into a handshake agreement with Peick, and Ray Schoessling, then the director of the Central States Conference of Teamsters to deliver the police employees of the city into the hands of Local 714. One might was well turn the employees over to friends.
The Teamster plan of Local 714 to bring the Chicago Police Department under its control had to be put on hold for another five years after Daley's passing.
A collective bargaining election that was blatantly rigged in favor of the Teamsters by former Mayor Jane Byrne occurred five years later. The Hogan family believed they had 10,000 Chicago cops in their hip pocket - the election pro forma based on the back-room machinations of Byrne, and moved along nicely by (then) Superintendent Richard Brzeczek. Things didn't work out according to plan after the C.C.P.A. took actions with the representative election and fought the Hogan's onslaught and thusly, F.O.P. Lodge 7 lucked out and narrowly won the right to run in the general election against the city's "no union" position by only 174 votes. But F.O.P. and John Dineen were also a friend to the politicos. Yes, 174 votes kept the Chicago P.D. from little Billy Hogan's grasp. Most people don't know that but it's true. Flood was the guy who did it and Billy knows that well. He doesn't like Flood who doesn't particularly care that Billy doesn't like him.
Hogan has polished the civic apple of political friendship since those rough and tumble days. He currently serves as chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau by appointment of the present Mayor and former State's Attorney, Richard the Younger, who should have known better.
Now, let's take a look at some of Richie's other friends and allies, namely, John Serpico, of the Central States Joint Board Laborer's Union, and President of the Illinois Regional Port Authority. Serpico's long-standing ties to Vince Solano and other hoodlums who infiltrated the labor movement is well-documented in his testimony before the President's Commission on Organized Crime.
Eddie Hanley, President of the nationally known and hoodlum-manipulated Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HEREIU) is another of the Daley cognoscenti. Hanley, you will recall, took the Fifth Amendment non-stop while being grilled about his mob ties before a Senate Subcommittee a few years back. Hanley's Atlantic City Local 54 signed a consent decree with the government, effectively barring future activity in the popular coastal gambling resort community because of ties to the Angelo Bruno-Nicky Scarfo crime family of Philadelphia.
Eddie Hanley was one of Allen Dorfman's clients, when Dorfman was alive and well and peddling insurance to his union pals. Eddie is also one of Richie's point men on the downtown casino project which looms over the horizon for Chicago.
The Convention and Tourism Bureau represents 1,500 members. His appointment is seen as a way of fending off future labor troubles for the Daley guys when the $1 billion-dollar McCormick Place expansion is completed in 1997 and all that added convention business rolls into town.
Chairman Hogan points with politically connected civic pride to a "spirit of cooperation" existing between the big trade shows coming into McCormick Place and the craftsmen with set up the exhibitor booths. The practice of "shaking down" convention exhibitors by Local 714 allies has vastly diminished, we are told. Possibly the Kaye connection had an impact. No more troublesome strong-arm problems exist to be contended with. Everybody gets along. Hogan's got the workers tied in...for now...and the Daley administration is hell-bent towards its legalized gambling destiny.
Bob Simpson is gone now. He was particularly vulnerable, and the decisive actions taken against Local 743 by the International came on the heels of a similar action in the locals when their leaders were ordered by a federal judge to step down because of corruptive influences.
Ron Carey, as we are told, had recruited many capable retired law enforcement officials including former governmental investigators knowledgeable of Teamster past practices to comprise local task forces charged with the responsibility of rooting out the "bad seeds" left in the union. He is going to need all the ability he can muster along with a good deal of luck and maybe a bullet-proof vest.
Now, by present indications, it seems to be Billy Hogan's turn in the Carey hot seat. Let's wait for the shootout...or should we use that analogy?
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