August 17, 1998
-- A federal judge backed down Monday from ordering the entire
Teamsters executive board to appear in his New York courtroom
to discuss funding for the union's upcoming election.
In a one-page order, U.S. District Judge
David Edelstein said he had been persuaded by objections raised
by the union's attorneys.
The attorneys had objected that the Teamsters
board already twice rejected funding the election and the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government was bound to
pay by the terms of a 1989 consent decree.
They also argued that forcing all 22 board
members to appear on Wednesday would disrupt union business.
The 1996 Teamsters election was financed
with $17.5 million in taxpayer funds under the terms of the consent
decree the union signed with the Justice Department.
The election was corrupted by a contribution-swap
scheme that the re-election campaign of Teamsters President Ron
Carey engineered. The Teamsters treasury was pilfered of more
Congressional Republicans have authorized
the Justice Department to pay for about half the estimated $8.6
million cost of the rerun election. The union, emboldened by the
appeals court decision, has refused to put up the other half.
Also Monday, a West Coast fund-raiser who
helped raise funds for a committee that supported Carey's campaign
in exchange for Teamsters' donations to liberal grass-roots causes
pleaded guilty to lying to the court-appointed officer who oversaw
Charles Blitz denied to the election officer
that Michael Ansara, who has also pleaded guilty, approached him
about the scheme and facilitated the contributions.
Blitz faces a maximum sentence of five years
in prison, a fine of $250,000 and possibly restitution. His sentencing
was set for Dec. 2.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated