Tallahassee Journal

Feds agree to loosen strict oversight on Teamsters

Feds agree to loosen strict oversight on Teamsters

The feds have agreed to “reduce, and ultimately eliminate” much of the stringent oversight the government has had the past 25 years over the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that was aimed at weeding out Mafia corruption, according to a proposed deal reached Wednesday. The agreement, which still must be signed off by Manhattan federal Chief Judge Loretta Preska, would replace a 1989 consent decree that settled a racketeering lawsuit brought by then-US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and the Justice Department, accusing the union of making a “devil’s pact” with reputed crime families by allowing them to control elections.

The proposal retains an injunction banning union members from racketeering activities but also calls for the feds’ oversight to be phased out over five years. It also ensures the progress made through the consent decree’s disciplinary and electoral reforms — including fair elections — is preserved. “This is a historic day for our Teamsters,” said IBT President James P. Hoffa in a statement to the union’s 1.4 million members. “By agreeing to end the lawsuit, the government acknowledges that there has been significant success in eliminating corruption from within the Teamsters.”

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bhahara said the agreement “seeks to strike the appropriate balance, recognizing the significant progress that has been made ridding the [Teamsters] of the influence of organized crime and corruption.”