307 West 5th, Austin, TX MOLLY IVINSI Watching the Teamster Watch Here we are again with some seriously inadequate reporting on the Teamsters, spreading misunder standing nationwide. The long-expected decision by federal election overseer Barbara Zack Quindel that last year’s Teamster election has to be re-run, was treated as though it were an astonishing revela tionevening newscasts, front-page treatment etc ctually, that story had been widely reported for several months; every one involved expected it. And the Carey forces did indeed foul up royally; what they did was both stupid and illegal, and the fact that they . returned $200,000 in questionable contributions doesn’t make it any better.The scam was simple: Kickback money went into the Carey campaign, funneled through a publicinterest group, Citizen Action, and through Michael Ansara, the head of a labor-oriented telemarketing firm, the Share Group. Citizen Action, which had done good community organizing work, is discredited and destroyed by this. One of Carey’s campaign consultants has been indicted on mail fraud charges, and two others have been forced to resign. Bad doings all ’round. But, in addition to being old news, the story as reported last month contained some rather large lacunae \(a fancy word for holes big enough for a Teamster to drive a truck readers to know that Carey won even though Jimmy Hoffa outspent him in that election by about 3 to 1 \($3.7 million to the Ansara scam. In addition to the endless repetitions in the headlines”Carey, Corruption,” “Corruption, Carey” \(Carey has been charged one Sunday-morning chat show gave a good chunk of air time to Hoffa with no response whatsoever from Teamster leadership. When you talk about corruption and the Teamsters, it is wise to follow the oldest rule of political reporting: “Look at the record.” Carey’s record is this: He was elected in 1991 with the support of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, whose tenyear struggle against the mob is one of the most ‘heroic chapters in labor history; Since then, Carey has placed more than seventy union locals under court-ordered 22 THE TEXAS OBSERVER trusteeshipmore than one out of every ten locals. Hoffa and the old guard naturally claim that Carey was only replacing his political enemies within the union. Try New York Local 966, run by Jack McCarthy and his four sons for thirty years. McCarthy had been convicted five times of labor racketeering. And so it went in local after local after local. Not that the process is complete by any means. The Village Voice pointed out in December that 807, the Javits Center local, has been run by Joe Mangan for twentyfive years with help from the Gambino crime family. And the even more notorious 295, the New York airport freight local run by the Lucchese family, was made famous in the film Goodfellas. In addition to the seventy-plus trusteeships, Carey sold off the union’s two jets, ended free lunches at headquarters, and stopped holding union conferences in Hawaii. He also cut pay to union leaders and infuriated many of the old-guard leaders by stopping the system under which they got multiple salaries through regional boards. On top of that, Carey continues to live in the same apartment he had before he was elected president, and as you noticed from watching him on television, this is not a man who spends a lot of money on his suit. But this is the man whom ABC allowed Jiminy Hoffa to call corrupt and dishonest without any response. And, of course, while linking Carey’s name to corruption, the media have not bothered to look at Mr. Hoffa and his charming allies. Hoffa’s constantly quoted spokesman Rich Leebove is a former lieutenant in the whacky conspiracy cult of Lyndon LaRouche, who went to prison for bilking his contributors through false credit-card billings. Leebove left LaRouche’s National Caucus of Labor Committees in October 1981. He has since worked with another exLaRouchie, George R. Geller, who was a lawyer for Teamsters Local 337 in Detroit until at least 1993. According to the Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, Leebove went on to run a communications company that attacked Carey’s reformers in Chicago and elsewhere. Just to remind you of the kind of propaganda spread by the old LaRouche outfit, they were the folks who claimed that Queen Elizabeth II was a drug dealer, that Henry Kissinger spied for the Soviets, and that the since-deceased Nelson Rockefeller practiced cannibalism. According to the Gazette-Mail, “Since the 1970s, Geller and Leebove have specialized in smearing reform candidates in Teamster and United Mine Workers elections.” Last month’s news coverage gave both aid and comfort to the mob-controlled Teamsters’ old guard. Way to go, media. Molly Ivins is a former Observer editor and a columnist at the Fort Worth StarTelegrain. SEPTEMBER 12, 1997
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.