Teamster fund-raiser admits coverup

Aug 17, 1998

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A fund-raiser for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters pleaded guilty Monday to lying to federal investigators probing illegal fund raising by the 1996 election campaign of former union President Ron Carey.

Charles Blitz, who raised funds for Carey's 1996 re-election, pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to a one-count charge that he misled a court-appointed election officer overseeing the 1996 Teamster election.

He said he concealed a scheme in which wealthy donors to Carey's campaign, ``Teamsters for a Corruption-Free Union,'' were repaid with Teamster general treasury funds that went to the donors' groups and organizations.

Carey won re-election, but his victory was later reversed when the government uncovered the illegal fund raising.

Federal labor law and Teamster election rules bar the use of union funds for candidate campaigns.

Blitz, 45, of Santa Barbara, Calif., who faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, is the fourth person to plead guilty in the scheme. Martin Davis, a political consultant; Jere Nash, manager of Carey's 1996 campaign; and Michael Ansara, a telemarketer, previously pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from the campaign. William Hamilton, the union's former director of government affairs, is under indictment on charges of participating in the schemes.

Since 1989, the government has supervised Teamster elections under a consent decree intended to rid the union of corruption and organized crime, and to provide for direct, rank-and-file secret ballot elections by the membership for the first time in Teamster history.

A new election to replace Carey has been delayed by a dispute over whether the government should continue to pay the costs of election supervision. A hearing on that case is to be held Wednesday in federal court.Blitz is to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Keenan Dec. 2.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Return to

All original work Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.