The Vindication of Ron Carey


Well-Known Member
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]The Vindication of Ron Carey[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]By Ken Crowe[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif](Ken Crowe, the former labor writer for New York Newsday, and author of Collision, attended the recent trial of former Teamster President Ron Carey in federal court. The following is a summary of his full account, which appears in the print version of Union Democracy Review. Copies can be ordered from AUD, send $2.00 to AUD, 500 State St. Brooklyn, NY 11217)[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]On Oct. 12, 2001, a Manhattan federal court jury of eight women and four men, a mixed jury of blacks, Latinos, Anglos with occupations ranging from college student to hospital supervisor, found Ron Carey, the tumbled president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters not guilty of seven counts of perjury and making false statements to a grand jury and a variety of court-appointed monitors. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]The charges against Carey flowed from a swap scheme in which $885,000 in Teamsters funds was donated to progressive political organizations, including the AFL-CIO, in 1996 in return for $221,000 in contributions to the then-Teamsters president’s reelection campaign. Significantly, Carey was never accused of participating in the illegal plot—despite years of probing and pressure by an aggressive troop of FBI agents and prosecutors under the aegis of Mary Jo White, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]Since the U.S. Attorney’s investigators couldn’t come up with proof to support any substantial charges against Carey, they resorted to accusing him of perjury for his repeated proclamations of innocence before federal grand juries and the court-appointed monitors of Teamster elections and behavior. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]The jury exonerated Carey of those "last-resort" perjury charges after a relatively brief deliberation, about 12 hours over a three-day span. The case simply came down to who to believe, the two major prosecution witnesses--Jere Boyle Nash III, admittedly a repeated perjurer, and Monie Simpkins, whose story changed three times in the course of the investigation—or the unshakeable Ron Carey, the most distinguished labor leader of modern times with a 40-year history of achievements that few union officials at the local or international levels could match.[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]These same two government witnesses provided the testimony and sworn statements that a court-appointed Teamsters Election Officer (EO) and the court-appointed Teamsters Independent Review Board (IRB) used to issue decisions in 1997 and 1998 first barring Carey from running for reelection and then expelling him from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters forever with an almost medieval stricture banning all Teamsters from associating with him. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]The reversal of Carey’s slide towards lasting disgrace came about because the jury witnessed the credibility of Nash and Simpkins shattered by the stinging cross-examinations of two heavyweight white-collar criminal defense lawyers, Reid Weingarten and Mark Hulkower, from the Washington, DC firm of Steptoe & Johnson. Bob Hauptman, Carey’s former Special Assistant for Management and Budget, served as the defense team’s researcher, analyst of the documents used in evidence, and a source of insight into the operations of the complex union. While Weingarten and Hulkower performed in the open courtroom, Bruce Bishop, another Steptoe & Johnson white collar criminal lawyer and appellate specialist, provided behind the scene backup with legal research and writing of motion papers. The entire defense team worked pro-bono for Carey who has been drained financially by years of litigation.[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]The besmirchment of his character aside, Carey had earned standing as a major figure in labor history on two counts: [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]--In 1991, Carey, then 55, running as an upstart reformer backed by Teamsters for a Democratic Union, was elected general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in a surprise victory over two "old guard" candidates in the first secret ballot rank and file election in the history of the union.[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]--Carey led the successful 15-day strike against the giant United Parcel Service in August 1997 over the issue of the steadily increasing use of part-time workers. The victory was the biggest organized labor had seen in at least three decades—and promised to stir new vigor into a union movement grown accustomed to defeats on picket lines and generally fearful of striking. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]Carey was still glowing from the UPS victory when court-appointed Teamsters Election Officer Barbara Zack Quindel on Aug. 22, 1997 overturned the 1996 election on the grounds that the $221,000 spent on mailings for Carey were enough to have unfairly tipped the election to him. She ordered a new election, which everyone including Hoffa’s adherents assumed Carey would win easily. After all, he had handed organized labor a heady win over Corporate America with public opinion staunchly on the side of the Teamsters.[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]Carey swore in testimony to the election officer, IRB investigators, and the federal Grand Jury that he knew nothing about the swap scheme, a position that his interrogators found hard to believe because so much money was involved from a union treasury that was in dire straits—and the political contributions had to be okayed through his office. Carey contended that as soon as he discovered the dirty deal early in 1997, he ordered the $221,000 returned to the non-Teamsters and told his staff to cooperate with the investigators. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]Carey’s lawyers, Weingarten and Hulkower, were denied the opportunity to cross-examine Nash or Simpkins before the court-appointed officers issued their decisions barring him from running for reelection and then expelling him from the union. But four years later at the jury trial that ended on Oct. 12, 2001 with Carey’s acquittal, Weingarten and Hulkower put Nash and Simpkins through cross-examinations that devastated the two prosecution witnesses’ credibility. Weingarten said without challenge from the federal prosecutors that Nash was proven to be "a completely dishonest, untrustworthy, little thief. He asked the jurors which of Simpkins’ stories to believe: one, two, or three?[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]With a jury of his peers having acquitted Carey on Oct. 12, the biggest question now is whether the administrative ruling—upheld by the federal courts--that stripped him of that membership and banned him from associating with his life-long friends and supporters in the union can be reversed. Carey’s lawyers said they are considering their next moves. [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif]At age 65, Carey had chalked up another major victory in his long labor career. A victory that Weingarten described as "a little bitter sweet." Hulkower’s observation: "A Greek tragedy with a happy ending."[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, sans-serif](Courtesy of[/FONT]