Disqualification of Carey is upheld by federal judge Teamsters' chief barred from seeking re-election


January 01, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NEW YORK -- A federal judge yesterday upheld the disqualification of Teamsters union President Ron Carey from seeking re-election.

U.S. District Judge David Edelstein affirmed a decision by a court-appointed monitor to bar Carey from running again. He also refused to order a formal hearing that Carey requested to attempt to refute charges of illegal fund-raising.

"There is ample support for the election officer's determination," Edelstein wrote in his 29-page decision, released at U.S. District Court.

Carey was barred from seeking re-election on Nov. 17, after election officer Kenneth Conboy ruled that the union president was aware of a plan by aides to divert about $735,000 in union funds to his campaign treasury during the December 1996 election against James P. Hoffa.

Carey, 61, is on unpaid leave from the presidency to defend himself against the charges.

His election victory over Hoffa with 52 percent of the vote was set aside in August after the fund diversion was discovered. Carey was prepared to run against Hoffa again, when Conboy ruled that Carey was involved in the improper fund-raising, and disqualified him. Carey has denied all the allegations.

He is expected to make his first detailed public defense at a two-day hearing scheduled to begin Jan. 20 in Washington before the union's independent review board, which is weighing his punishment beyond disqualification.

Carey asked Edelstein to overturn the re-election ban on the grounds that the election officer had taken the word of "convicted felons" instead of Carey's, and hadn't given Carey ample opportunity to defend himself. Carey also argued that disqualification was an unjust punishment.

HTC Edelstein, who appointed Conboy, said Carey was making "irrational arguments" in trying to have the disqualification set aside, agreeing with Conboy's finding that "disqualification was necessary" to further the government's efforts to root out corruption in the Teamsters, the largest U.S. private industry union.

He said Conboy properly weighed the evidence, and that he wasn't going to change the decision based on Carey's arguments.

The judge also rejected an appeal by the Hoffa campaign seeking to disqualify all candidates who ran on Carey's slate from the rerun election later this year and to make them repay all funds diverted from the union treasury.

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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