LABOR : Federal Monitor to Oversee Hotel and Restaurant Union : Settlement: Move will help resolve racketeering case. Group admits no wrongdoing.

From Associated Press

A quarter-century of organized crime influence on the nation’s largest hotel and restaurant employees union is expected to end with the appointment of a federal monitor, the government said Wednesday.

The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union accepted the monitor as part of its settlement of racketeering charges. The union, which represents about 350,000 U.S. and Canadian workers, admitted no wrongdoing.

The settlement removes no union leaders, but several have resigned recently, and the monitor, a former federal prosecutor, can expel any member.


This represents the second time the government has stepped in to overhaul a major union, after it did so with the Teamsters in 1989. The hotel and restaurant union was one of four named as the nation’s most corrupt in a 1986 presidential commission report.

U.S. Attorney Faith S. Hochberg called the agreement a “sweeping change that will place power into the hands of rank-and-file members and out of the grasp of organized crime.”

She said the union’s leadership intimidated members through force and threats, that it embezzled union funds and that it extorted kickbacks from employers.

The Mafia had a particular influence over the union in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and Philadelphia, Hochberg said, but she would not be more specific.

The agreement was approved Tuesday in Trenton by U.S. District Judge Garrett E. Brown, who oversaw the installation of a federal trustee in 1991 over the union’s Local 54, representing tens of thousands of Atlantic City casino hotel workers.

Kurt Muellenberg, a former chief of the Justice Department’s organized crime and racketeering section, will be the monitor. He can remove officers, bar people from running for office and interrupt contracts.