A preliminary audit of Teamsters Local 50’s financial records uncovered problems “severe enough” to warrant an immediate takeover of the local union in what’s known as an emergency trusteeship, an International Brotherhood of Teamsters spokesman said Tuesday.
Local 50 president Scott Alexander and the union’s four other officers were removed from their posts Friday. A complete audit of the local’s records is ongoing at the union hall at 1609 N. Illinois St. in Swansea.
An emergency trusteeship was ordered by IBT General President James P. Hoffa, who in a notice posted Friday wrote he had “received a series of credible reports from members and officers of Local 50 alleging improper use of Union resources and other violations” of union rules.
Removed along with Alexander were Secretary/Treasurer Mark Beil and trustees Ed Weber, Mark Stogner and Mark Wagner.
Local unions usually have seven officers, but Marc Archer, who was recording secretary, and Terry Rawson, who was vice president, resigned earlier this year, IBT spokesman Brian Rainville said.
Under an emergency trusteeship, “we come in and we take control of the assets, take control of the local union. The officers are removed,” Rainville said. “That doesn’t mean that every officer is guilty, but when you do a trusteeship, the slate is wiped clean.”
Rainville said he didn’t know when IBT first became aware of problems at Local 50, but he said “there’s been some turmoil here.”
“Like a lot of places, we take pretty swift action. We heard about some things, the auditors came in, they did a preliminary audit. Their preliminary audit found that there are some problems here that warrant an emergency trusteeship,” Rainville said.
“It’s a shame that you have to come and do this but the fact is that when the Teamsters find something wrong, the International acts on it. It can’t just be that the union wants to get the audit done and see if we can fix it. It was severe enough that (Hoffa) said, ‘No, we need to do this now.’”
It’s unclear whether a separate, federal investigation into the union by the U.S. Department of Labor is ongoing, but Rainville said if the department isn’t already aware of what IBT discovered in its initial audit, it would be notified.
A spokesperson for the department could not be reached for comment.
Hoffa’s notice also stated that Local 50 “has not withheld sufficient taxes from the salaries of Scott or Nancy Alexander, thereby subjecting the Local to penalties from the Internal Revenue Service. As of (Friday), the Local Union still owes penalties for its failure to withhold sufficient taxes.”
An IRS representative could not be reached for comment. It’s unclear how much in back taxes Local 50 owes.
Scott Alexander, the only union officer named in Hoffa’s notice, and Nancy Alexander are husband and wife. A man who answered the door at the Alexanders’ Belleville home said that he was not Scott Alexander and that neither Scott Alexander nor Nancy Alexander were at the house.
According to a 2015 financial statement the union filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, Scott Alexander is listed as Local 50’s president and business agent. He earned $127,191 in wages, allowances and disbursements in 2015. Nancy Alexander, listed as a union bookkeeper, earned $72,498 in wages, allowances and disbursements.
That same statement also showed that Nancy Alexander had overpaid herself in vacation time to the amount of $7,749 and had charged $6,655.76 in personal expenses to union credit cards. Including $399.35 in interest tacked onto the credit card purchases, the total —$14,804.11— had been repayed to Local 50 by Nancy Alexander.
So far, no criminal charges against Scott Alexander, Nancy Alexander or any of Local 50’s other officers are pending.
Tony Barr, president of Teamsters Local 916 in Springfield, was named the emergency trustee of Local 50. Rainville said it’s up to Barr to decide whether the union’s remaining employees can stay on the job. Barr was not available for comment Tuesday.
In a hearing to be held in the coming weeks, IBT will present its case to a panel of non-local union leaders. The removed officers will be allowed to answer to the complaints made against them and local union members also will be allowed to address the panel.
That hearing is not open to the public. A date for the hearing has not yet been set.
Rainville said if the panel rules that the emergency trusteeship was necessary, the trusteeship will remain in place until Local 50’s next scheduled election, which will be next fall.
IBT also could file internal charges against the removed officers following the hearing, with potential punishments including being permanently banned from the union.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 50 is required by law to submit financial statements to the U.S. Department of Labor. Included in those annual statements is local union officer and employee wages, allowances and disbursements. According to Local 50’s most recent statement:
President, Business Agent
Secretary/Treasurer, Business Agent
Vice President, Business Agent
Recording Secretary, Business Agent
Recording Secretary, Business Agent
Source: U.S. Department of Labor