|The Ron Carey Campaign
Judge Sets Rules for Teamsters Vote
By Kevin Galvin
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge appointed a new overseer Monday to decide whether Teamsters President Ron Carey should be disqualified from a rerun election against challenger James P. Hoffa.
And without awaiting a decision on Carey's fate, U.S. District Court Judge David Edelstein also said ballots will be mailed to the union's 1.4 million members on Jan. 9. The vote count will begin Feb. 6.
"It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of maintaining free and democratic (Teamsters) elections,'' wrote Edelstein, who has presided since 1989 over a consent decree the union signed with the Justice Department to avoid federal racketeering charges.
Edelstein appointed former U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Conboy to decide whether Carey can be held responsible for the fund-raising scheme that led Conboy's predecessor to set aside Carey's December 1996 victory.
Conboy is already familiar with the issues in the case. He has served as the "special master,'' ruling on appeals under the consent decree before they advance to Edelstein's courtroom.
Barbara Zack Quindel, the previous election officer, recused herself after new testimony implicated an associate of one of her investigators and the New Party, a small political party to which she belongs.
A week earlier, Carey's campaign manager, Jere Nash, and two others pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan in a fund-raising scheme that diverted Teamsters treasury money into Carey's campaign war chest.
Conboy, a former prosecutor, served as a federal judge in Manhattan for seven years before retiring from the bench in 1987.
In his decision Monday, Edelstein approved stricter limits on campaign contributions and greater disclosure requirements.
He rejected Hoffa's protests that the election should be further delayed and that a one-day convention should be held to nominate candidates.
Edelstein noted that a rerun plan filed by Quindel before she recused herself allows previously nominated candidates to stand again for election.
In the event that Carey were disqualified, delegates elected to last year's union convention could mail in ballots to nominate supplemental candidates.
The judge rejected a Hoffa request that would have allowed previously nominated candidates to switch slates.
"A provision enabling already slated candidates to switch slates at this point creates a window of opportunity for harassment, coercion, intimidation, threats, or other 'strong-arm' tactics,'' Edelstein wrote.
© Copyright 1997 The Associated Press