CHICAGO - On July 30, Teamsters top officials took over Chicago Teamster's Local 710, removed its officers and board of trustees and assumed control of the local's assets. accusing Local 710's officials of embezzling membership funds.
In a recommendation to the Teamsters International's Independent Review Board on July 18, 2014, the IBT's General President James P Hoffa said taking over the local was "necessary to correct financial malpractices and corruption."
Local 710's 13,000 plus membership is headquartered in Mokena, Illinois and up until this week was led by Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Flynn, Local President Michael Sweeney and Vice-President Gerald Pauli. Flynn was paid $482,543 by Local 710 members’ dues in 2013, plus an additional $44,900 in deferred income, making him the highest paid of all Teamster officials.
"This decision was not made lightly and is a result of the serious administrative and financial issues detailed in the 152-page IRB report," an announcement to the members posted online says. "As a result, all seven members of the Local 710 Executive Board have been removed from their positions."
Hoffa's recommendation states that Flynn took advantage of poor accountability within Local 710's board and officers to misrepresent the local's financial status, sign leases and agree to loans without the board's permission, and to accumulate $58,000 worth of gift cards not distributed as Flynn reported they would be.
A car loan for over $100,000 was obtained to purchase five cars for Local 710 officers to use, but board records do not document authorization. A lease for the Mokena building in which 710 is located was signed without board permission.
But most egregious was Flynn and Sweeney's alleged misreporting of Local 710's financial status. Hoffa says the two failed to disclose the local's liabilities after they were warned to do so by their auditors. Flynn and Sweeney's reports led members to believe the Local had over half a million in assets when they had not paid promised commissions and salaries to union employees.
During an election year, the report says, Flynn was able to boast the Local was "in the black" when they were substantially in debt.
Hoffa's report does not indicate any criminal or civil lawsuits on the horizon, but does say union bylaws would require Flynn to make restitution for the amount stolen while leading the local, and he would be required to reimburse the local for the salary paid him if he was proven to have misappropriated the members' funds.
Teamsters Central Region International Vice President John T. Coli has been appointed Trustee of Local 710.
Hoffa's 153- page recommendation is HERE.