A court-appointed investigator is seeking to remove 10 veteran Teamster Union officers across the country, largely on grounds that they have been convicted of receiving kickbacks or have been linked to organized crime figures, according to federal court records.
The action by attorney Charles M. Carberry, a former federal prosecutor, was disclosed in papers filed with a Manhattan federal judge who had appointed Carberry and two others earlier this year to oversee activities of the Teamsters.
The move is the most far-reaching to be taken by any of the union overseers so far and appears to serve notice of their intention to remove what the judge has called "the hideous cloud of corruption" that has hung over the nation's largest trade union.
Although Carberry has made no public announcement of the charges, officers at Teamster Union headquarters in Washington said that they had been informed of them.
The Teamster officers refused to comment except to note that, under terms of a court agreement, any accused member has 30 days to prepare a defense before receiving a closed hearing on the charges before Frederick B. Lacey, a court-appointed administrator.
The court agreement, signed by Teamster lawyers last March to settle a long-standing federal racketeering suit against the union, specifies that Lacey--based on the hearing--may order removal of any officer for "just cause." That is a much lighter burden of proof than the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" that applies in ordinary criminal cases.
The 10 Teamster officers being charged are from New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami and Pittsburgh and include two members of the union's national executive board--Ted R. Cozza and Harold Friedman.
Sources familiar with Teamster affairs said that others are expected to be charged by Carberry in the weeks ahead.
Carberry, who prosecuted Wall Street financiers Dennis B. Levine and Ivan F. Boesky when he was with the Justice Department, "is just as determined in his new post to clean up the Teamsters Union," according to a close associate.
U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein, who appointed Carberry and Lacey, has expressed his determination to make the oversight system work, despite Teamster animosity. Edelstein named a third attorney, Michael Holland of Chicago, to oversee the first direct elections of Teamster officers, in 1991.
Cozza, of Pittsburgh, was cited by Carberry for "conducting yourself in a manner to bring reproach" on the union by "knowingly associating" for 20 years "with members of organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra" in Pennsylvania, including John S. LaRocca, Gabriel (Kelly) Mannarino and Michael Genovese. Cozza long has denied any association with criminal elements.
Friedman, of Cleveland, was cited for his conviction in federal court last January on charges of conspiracy and embezzlement in a payroll-padding scheme. The longtime associate of Jackie Presser, the late Teamster president, has been fighting to keep his high union post in spite of his conviction.
Anthony Hughes, a former Presser bodyguard who was convicted with Friedman, was similarly cited by Carberry. Hughes has held the title of international representative.
Charles L. (Chuckie) O'Brien, who was close to former Teamster President James R. Hoffa, was charged with conduct that could bring reproach on the union for illegally accepting an automobile as a gift from a Teamster employer, a charge on which he was convicted in 1976. O'Brien was also cited for a loan fraud conviction in 1978 and for allegedly associating with mobsters Carlos Marcello and the late Anthony Provenzano.
O'Brien, whom Hoffa raised from childhood, is an international representative of the Teamsters Southern conference in Miami. He denied accusations several years ago that he had helped lead Hoffa to his presumed murder by mob figures in 1975.
Two New York Teamster officers, Cirino (Charles) Salerno and Edward J. Martinez, also were charged. Salerno was accused of receiving kickbacks from firms that employed members of his Local 272 and with consorting with leaders of the Vito Genovese crime family in New York.
Martinez was accused of bad conduct because he was convicted of misusing $9,000 from the treasury of Local 808, of which he was an officer.
Charges were also filed against four Chicago Teamster officers, including Joseph (Joey) Glimco Sr., an alleged mobster involved with the union since the 1950s. Glimco was cited as an actual member of the Mafia and for convictions for receiving labor kickbacks.
Union officers Dominic Senese, James Vincent Cozzo and Joseph Talerico were similarly accused of associating with Chicago mobsters Joey Aiuppa, Joey Lombardo and Jackie Cerone.
Aiuppa, Lombardo and Cerone were among six alleged mob leaders convicted of conspiracy in 1986 in a plot to skim gambling proceeds from Las Vegas casinos in which they had invested by using loans from the Teamsters Central States pension fund.