1/3/08

Hoffa dawdles on corruption clean-up

New officers were expected to take their Ohio Teamsters Local 377 offices today after they were denied the positions Wednesday until the International issued an opinion on an election dispute.

Robert Bernat, who served as secretary-treasurer until losing in the October election, said the new officers tried to enter the headquarters on Teamster Drive about 7 a.m. Wednesday. He said he refused to hand over the keys because he hadn’t yet gotten a ruling from the International on who should run the local.

Bernat said police were called, but left without incident after he showed them a decision from the International to set aside the election.

Bernat said he got word Wednesday afternoon that International General President James Hoffa agreed to stay a decision made in late December by the union’s Joint Council 41 to order a new election and suspend two top leaders, President Chris Colello and Business Agent Ray DePasquale, who appealed the council’s decision.

Hoffa’s ruling allows the General Executive Board to review the charges against Colello and DePasquale, Bernat said. The board, comprising 26 union vice presidents from across the country, is expected to meet the first week of February.

(tribune-chronicle.com)

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