Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Proposed Settlement Agreement In Landmark Civil RICO Action
Settlement Follows 25 Years Of Oversight And Reform Under Consent Decree Governing Union’s Affairs
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the “IBT” or the “Union”) have entered into a settlement agreement (the “proposed agreement”) that, if approved by the Court, would replace the Consent Decree currently governing the Union’s affairs. The Consent Decree has been in place since March 1989, following the Government’s filing of a landmark civil lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act designed to rid the Union of the corrupting influence of organized crime and put in place an electoral system that would foster democracy within the Union.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The proposed settlement agreement seeks to strike the appropriate balance, recognizing the significant progress that has been made in ridding the International Brotherhood of Teamsters of the influence of organized crime and corruption, while providing an avenue for the Union to demonstrate its ability to preserve these gains through its own independent disciplinary and electoral systems. We recognize that, although substantially diminished, the threat posed to the IBT by organized crime and other corrupting influences persists, and the proposed agreement provides for a continuing monitoring role for the Government. We should also recognize, however, that reaching this juncture is a great tribute to the success of the Consent Decree in forging meaningful and positive change in the IBT.”
Among other features, the Consent Decree permanently enjoined all IBT members, officers, employees, and agents from committing acts of racketeering activity or knowingly associating with various organized crime groups or persons otherwise enjoined from participating in union affairs; provided for “one-member, one-vote” direct elections of IBT International Officers, subject to independent oversight; and established a Court-appointed, three-member Independent Review Board (“IRB”) to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing and oversee the IBT’s implementation of disciplinary or trusteeship charges.
The proposed settlement agreement was submitted today to United States District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska for her approval. The terms of the proposed agreement seek to ensure that the progress made under the Consent Decree’s disciplinary and electoral reform provisions will be preserved while reducing the Government’s oversight role over time. Among other things, the proposed agreement retains the permanent injunction feature of the Consent Decree, enjoining IBT members, officers, employees and agents from engaging in racketeering or knowingly associating with organized crime groups or persons otherwise banned from Union affairs. With regard to its elections, the Union also has agreed to permanently retain the structural reforms of the Consent Decree, including, without limitation, the one-Teamster, one vote direct elections of IBT International Officers, and to the appointment of an independent election supervisor to oversee those elections. During these elections, the Union will fund the direct mailing of candidate campaign materials to Union members. Further, with regard to the IBT’s disciplinary system, the IRB will be phased out during a five-year transition period, and the Union will establish its own independent disciplinary enforcement mechanism through the appointment of disciplinary officers approved by the Government. Following the transition period, the Government may apply to the Court for further equitable relief upon showing that either the IBT’s electoral or disciplinary systems are functioning ineffectively or that there exists systemic corruption or organized crime influence in the Union. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the Court retains jurisdiction to ensure that the agreement is enforced.
The proposed agreement has been filed with the Court today as part of the parties’ joint motion requesting that the Court approve the agreement, following a three-week comment period and judicial hearing.
Any written comments that interested persons wish to provide for the Court’s consideration must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 4, 2015. Comments may be sent via email to USANYS.IBTsettlement@usdoj.gov, or by first class mail or overnight delivery to:
United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York
AUSA Tara M. La Morte
86 Chambers Street, 3d Floor
New York, New York 10007
A hearing in this matter is scheduled for February 11, 2015, at 11:00 a.m., at 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 12A, New York, New York 10007.
The proposed settlement agreement and the parties’ joint motion requesting that the Court approve the agreement can be found on the website of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York at http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys, and via a link from www.teamster.org.
Assistant United States Attorneys Neil Corwin, Tara M. La Morte, and Jaimie Nawaday are currently in charge of the case.