Bureau of National Affairs

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

 

News

 

Teamsters

 

Last Three Figures in Election Case Receive Terms of Two Years' Probation

 

NEW YORK--The three figures whose 1997 guilty pleas broke open an International Brotherhood of Teamsters election finance scandal have each been sentenced to two years' probation (United States v. Nash, S.D.N.Y., No. 97-944, judgment entered4/9/02).

 

Jere Nash, a Mississippi political consultant who managed the 1996 re-election campaign of then-IBT President Ron Carey, was sentenced to probation by Judge Thomas P. Griesa of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on April 7, according to court records. As part of his plea agreement, he paid $25,000 in restitution to the union.

 

Nash, who was the government's central witness in the conspiracy trials of Carey and former IBT governmental affairs director William Hamilton, pleaded guilty in September 1997 to two counts of conspiracy and making false statements to investigators for his role in the case (183 DLR AA-1, 9/22/97). He later pleaded guilty to an additional charge of mail fraud for his role in a scheme to overbill the union for expenses and lying to federal investigators about it.

 

In the Carey and Hamilton trials, defense attorneys sought to undercut Nash's testimony by portraying him as dishonest and manipulative. But prosecutors said that, despite his admitted criminal conduct, he was offering credible testimony that was instrumental to proving their case. Hamilton was convicted of having participated in the scheme, but Carey was found not guilty of charges that he had lied to investigators and a grand jury when he denied any knowledge of it.

 

The other defendants who pleaded guilty with Nash, Washington, D.C., political consultant Martin Davis and Carlile, Mass., telemarketer Michael Ansara, were sentenced to probation in March, court records indicated.

 

Davis, who had pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy, embezzlement from a labor union, and mail fraud, was sentenced by Griesa March 22 and ordered to pay a $300 fine (United States v. Davis, S.D.N.Y., No. 97-948, judgment entered 3/25/02). Davis had already paid $700,000 in restitution as part of his plea agreement, according to court records.

 

Ansara, who had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, was sentenced by Griesa to probation on March 7, court records showed. Although he had already paid $395,000 in restitution as part of his plea agreement, he was ordered to pay $250,000 more at sentencing. He filed objections to the additional amount, but the court records indicated that the judgment had been satisfied and the case closed. Attorneys in the case could not be reached for comment.

 

The restitution orders were based in part on claims made by the IBT, under the leadership of President James P. Hoffa, that the union was entitled to $2,635,000 to cover losses incurred as a result of the crimes. Hoffa was Carey's election rival in the 1996 race.

 

That figure included $885,000 in political contributions from the IBT treasury that prosecutors successfully alleged had been swapped for donations to Carey's re-election campaign; $2.2 million in union costs to re-run the 1996 election; and unspecified legal costs of the union's civil suit to recover funds from the criminal defendants in the scandal. Subtracted from the total was $450,000 paid to the union in 2000 to settle fidelity-bond claims made over the Carey administration's fiduciary conduct, union attorneys said.

 

Of the seven people accused in the scandal, only Carey successfully fought the charges. Although a court-appointed review board that relied heavily on Nash's testimony had stripped Carey of his union office and membership for failing to block the scheme, he was not indicted on criminal charges until January 2001.

 

After a four-week trial interrupted by the September 2001 terrorist attacks, Carey was found not guilty of all charges that he lied to investigators and a grand jury about his knowledge of the swap scheme (197 DLR A-11, 10/15/02).

 

But Hamilton, who also pleaded not guilty to charges in the scandal, was convicted in November 1999 of conspiracy and lying to federal investigators and a grand jury. In March 2000, he was sentenced to serve a three-year prison term and pay $100,000 in restitution (51 DLR A-9, 3/15/00).

 

Attorneys for Hamilton, in his trial, claimed he had been duped into his role in the scheme by Davis and Nash. Two other defendants, a fundraising consultant and a Carey campaign attorney, earlier had been given probation or time served after having pleaded guilty to making false statements to a court-appointed elections officer looking into a Hoffa protest related to the scandal.

 

Prosecutors did not announce the sentencing of Nash, Davis, or Ansara. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan did not respond to a request for comment or details about the sentences.

 

Commenting on the case, IBT General Counsel Patrick Szymanski told BNA, "The union is relieved that there is finality with respect to these cases. In general, we feel that the court dealt appropriately with the defendants."

 

Szymanski declined to comment on the restitution amounts as long as the union's civil suit remains pending. He added that the union was in settlement discussions with defendants in the suit. Although a federal judge granted a defense motion to dismiss that suit in October 2001 (191 DLR A-11, 10/4/01), Szymanski said the case is still proceeding in district court on the basis of an amended complaint filed by the union.

 

Copyright © 2002 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Washington D.C.


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