Former Teamster Leader Convicted Of Extorting Boston Businesses
BOSTON – Two former members of a powerful Boston Teamsters local, including its principal officer and a member who had been convicted of a prior felony, were convicted today by a federal jury of extortion and racketeering, including charges that they extorted local non-profits.
John Perry, 62, of Woburn and Joseph “Jo Jo” Burhoe, 46, of Braintree, were convicted on multiple felony counts after a seven week trial. Perry, the former Secretary/Treasurer of Boston Teamster’s Local 82, and Burhoe, a member who acted as Perry’s enforcer, were convicted of extorting non-profits and other non-union businesses in Boston, as well as extorting other union members of their wages and benefits. Among the extortion victims were Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the United States Green Building Council. Since the time of the crimes, Local 82 has been merged with Teamsters Local 25. Those Locals load and unload trucks at major business and entertainment venues in downtown Boston. Judge Denise Jefferson Casper set sentencing for Perry on Feb. 25, 2015 and Feb. 26, 2015 for Burhoe.
“Today’s verdict reconfirms our commitment to protecting those doing business in Boston from unions’ extortionate demands for personal payoffs or other illegitimate labor objectives,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. “We will also protect union members’ rights to democratic participation in the affairs of their union, including the right to vote on contracts that effect their livelihood, their right to file grievances, and their right to appear in court as a witness, without fear of intimidation or physical assault by union officials.”
United States Department of Labor Inspector General Scott S. Dahl stated, “Today’s convictions represent the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General’s commitment to protect the American workforce from those who abuse their positions of trust and instill fear in others desiring simply to conduct an honest business. John Perry and his co-conspirator created a climate of fear and intimidation that deprived workers of their rights under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. My office stands firmly committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this criminal activity.”
“I want to commend the great work and collaboration between the Boston Police Special Investigations Unit, the United States Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Labor to bring about this verdict,” said Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans. “Their efforts throughout this investigation were tireless and will ensure that Boston remains a world class city that attracts world class events.”
Perry, Director of Trade Shows and Convention Centers for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 82, and Burhoe, a convicted felon who was a member of the union, worked in the trade show and moving industries. Since 2007 the defendants engaged in illegal activities in order to generate money for themselves, their friends, and family members. The defendants extorted various entities throughout Boston including hotels, event planners, catering companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, music entertainment companies, and non-profit organizations, none of which had collective bargaining agreements with Local 82.
The defendants threatened to picket and disrupt business, sometimes just hours before an event, if the entity did not accede to the defendants’ demand for unwanted, unnecessary and superfluous jobs for themselves, their friends and family. Payment was demanded for these unnecessary Ajobs.@ They also used threats of physical and economic harm to deprive members of Local 82 of their legally-protected rights as union members.
The statutory maximum for each RICO/RICO Conspiracy and Hobbs Act extortion count is 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for each count. The statutory maximum for other counts of conviction is up to 10 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Two other defendants were on trial with Perry and Burhoe. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision as to James Deamicis, a/k/a “Jimmy the Bull,” 51, of Quincy, and the Court declared a mistrial as to Deamicis. Thomas Flaherty, 50, of Braintree was acquitted.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; Inspector General Scott S. Dahl; Mark J. Neylon, District Director, Office of Labor-Management Standards, U.S. Department of Labor; Susan A. Hensley, Regional Director of The Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; and Commissioner Evans made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Laura J. Kaplan and Susan G. Winkler of Ortiz’s Strike Force and Drug Task Force Units, respectively.