Teamsters Local 743 Officer and Three Former Employees Indicted in Alleged Conspiracy to Steal Ballots and Rig Contested 2004 Elections for Local Officers

Sep 07, 2007, 01:00 ET from U.S. Department of Justice

    CHICAGO, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An officer of Teamsters
 Local 743 and three former union local employees were indicted on federal
 charges for allegedly conspiring together with others to steal ballots in
 an effort to rig two elections in favor of an incumbent slate of officers
 in 2004, officials of the U.S. Justice and Labor departments announced
     In two closely-contested elections just months apart, the defendants
 and others allegedly diverted to their friends, family and confidantes
 hundreds of mailed, official ballot packages that were intended for
 delivery to Local 743 members, and then cast the ballots or caused them to
 be cast to ensure election of the incumbent slate. Local 743 of the
 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, based in Chicago, represents more
 than 12,000 members engaged in warehouse, office, medical, service and
 other industries, and is one of the largest Teamsters locals in the
     The seven-count indictment was returned yesterday by a federal grand
 jury, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the
 Northern District of Illinois; Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher
 of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; Don Todd, Deputy Assistant
 Secretary of the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards;
 Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General of the Labor Department; and Thomas P.
 Brady, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in
     All four defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit
 fraud by depriving Local 743 of their honest services and to embezzle, or
 steal, the official ballots belonging to Local 743. The defendants are:
 Richard Lopez, 53, of Maywood, secretary-treasurer of Locals 743 since 2005
 and recording secretary from 1999 to 2005; Cassandra Mosley, 51, of Gary,
 Ind., a Local 743 business agent from 2003 to 2006; Mark Jones, 48, of
 Joliet, Ill., also a business agent from 2003 to 2006; and David Rodriguez,
 35, of Chicago, an organizer for Local 743 from 2003 until this year.
     In addition to conspiracy, Mosley and Rodriguez were each charged with
 two counts of embezzlement or theft of the ballots, which the indictment
 alleges was union property, and Lopez and Jones were each charged with one
 count of embezzlement or theft of union property. All four defendants will
 be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
     "This indictment demonstrates that attempts to subvert the democratic
 process will not be tolerated and the rule of law will prevail," said Mr.
 Todd, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Labor-Management
 Standards. "When a union member brings an election complaint to the
 Department of Labor, we will vigorously investigate and pursue any attempts
 to deny a free and fair election to which the members are entitled by the
 Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act."
     Labor Inspector General Heddell said: "These individuals allegedly
 conspired to influence the outcome of an election to gain control of the
 union. My office will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies,
 in this case, the Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal
 Inspection Service, to ensure that union officers serve the interests of
 union members."
     Justice and Labor department officials said the investigation is
     According to the indictment, Local 743 was required to hold elections
 for its officers every three years, and had scheduled a mail ballot
 election to be held in September and October 2004 (the October 2004
 election). The Local purchased official ballot packages consisting of an
 outer envelope in which a ballot would be delivered by mail to each member,
 a secret ballot, an envelope in which the secret ballot could be sealed,
 and a return envelope in which the sealed secret ballot could be mailed to
 Local 743 for tallying. In October 2004, two days after the ballot counting
 began, Local 743's executive board suspended the tallying before its
 conclusion and scheduled a rerun election in November and December 2004
 (the December 2004 election). The incumbent slate of officers won the
 December 2004 election, and the Labor Department later filed a civil
 lawsuit challenging the election results. Under the terms of a
 court-ordered settlement in July 2007, the Labor Department's Office of
 Labor-Management Standards will supervise Local 743's next election,
 scheduled to be held next month.
     The indictment alleges that between August and December 2004, Lopez,
 Mosley, Jones and Rodriguez, together with others, engaged in a scheme to
 rig the election by diverting official ballot packages to the defendants'
 friends, family and associates, and casting the ballots or causing them to
 be cast in both the October and December elections for incumbent officers,
 known as the "Unity Slate," to ensure their election. The defendants and
 others allegedly caused the addresses of certain Local 743 members to be
 changed in union records so that official ballot packages would be diverted
 in the mail to their friends, family and associates, rather then being
 delivered to Local 743 members in good standing who were eligible to vote
 in those elections. The defendants and others allegedly caused the
 addresses of Local 743 members in a computer database to be changed from
 the members' previously recorded addresses to new addresses collected and
 provided by the defendants that in fact belonged to their friends, family
 and confidantes. The defendants then allegedly collected the fraudulently
 delivered ballot packages, and the ballots later were cast or caused to be
 cast in favor of the incumbent slate of officers.
     The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David
 Buvinger and Vincent J. Falvo, Jr., a trial attorney in the Justice
 Department's Criminal Division.
     If convicted, each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of
 five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Court, however, would
 determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed under the advisory United
 States Sentencing Guidelines.
     The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is
 not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are
 entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving
 guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice