Houston Local Under Investigation for Possible Kickbacks & Embezzlement



Houston Local Under Investigation for Possible Kickbacks & Embezzlement

Investigators say they have found "sufficient evidence" that the president of Local 988 of the Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters has embezzled strike funds and muscled kickbacks from vendors and union members. The FBI is investigating the allegations, while officials from the Teamsters' Washington, D.C. headquarters will hold a hearing in Houston on May 27 to determine whether to appoint a temporary trustee.

Also monitoring the investigation is the three-member Independent Review Board, which has supervised the IBT since 1989, as part of a settlement of a nationwide racketeering case by the Dept. of Justice. Administrator John Cronin said that once the IBT has made its decision, the IRB will decide whether the union should add more charges or whether the Bd. should take over the case itself.

In a memo written by IBT president James P. Hoffa, Local 988 president Chuck Crawley is accused of: Giving salary raises to Local officers and employees in exchange for kickbacks from those increases: Demanding a kickback after arranging a pension for an ineligible Teasmster: And receiving a $20,000 kickback from a vendor installing a telephone system in the new union hall. Crawley and other officials are accused of embezzling strike funds to pay members for picket duty they did not perform.

Ironically, Local 988 officials used nonunion labor to construct the new union hall last year because they felt the union workers overcharged for their labor. [Houston Chronicle, 5/24/03]