|The Ron Carey Campaign
Former Teamsters Political Director Faces Union Penalty
Panel Urges Action Against William Hamilton Jr. for Allegedly Embezzling Funds for Carey Race
By Frank Swoboda
A special Teamsters review board yesterday proposed action against the union's former political director for allegedly embezzling union money to help finance the reelection campaign of President Ronald R. Carey.
The move by the union's Independent Review Board against William W. Hamilton Jr. offers the first public evidence of a paper trail of union records that matches the allegations of three key Carey campaign officials who have pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges for their role in funneling union money into his reelection effort.
The three-member review board, which includes former FBI director William H. Webster, accused Hamilton of arranging to have Teamsters money donated to various advocacy groups as part of a money swap in which the groups would find individuals who would donate money to Carey's campaign.
Hamilton called the review board allegations "absolutely bizarre. As I've said previously, I've done nothing improper or illegal and, to the best of my knowledge, Ron Carey did nothing illegal or improper. Everything I did and every expenditure I authorized was consistent with the missions and the goals of the Teamsters union. This is merely the restatement of claims by two consultants to the Carey campaign who have been convicted of crimes and are now understandably trying to avoid prison by sharing blame," Hamilton said.
The internal union process is separate from an ongoing federal criminal investigation of the financing of the Carey campaign. The maximum penalty the union can impose is to bar Hamilton for life from having anything to do with the union.
The board's report lists a series of memos and canceled checks, including five memos from Hamilton to Carey requesting union expenditures, that correspond to the events under investigation by federal authorities. Contents of the memos were not made public and there was no indication whether they contained proof of the illegal schemes alleged by federal authorities.
The allegations against Hamilton are the review board's first actions since former federal election officer Barbara Zack Quindel overturned Carey's 1996 reelection last August because of financial irregularities in his campaign. As part of her investigation, Quindel sent the names of several Teamsters officials and employees for investigation under the union's internal review process. Those names have not been made public.
Joseph J. Cronin Jr., the review board administrator, would not comment beyond the report, citing the ongoing investigation.
Hamilton also is being investigated by a federal grand jury in New York after several other figures in the case have alleged he helped arrange a series of illegal financial swaps to funnel money into Carey's campaign. Hamilton resigned his union post July 29 and said he would no longer cooperate with federal prosecutors.
The review board said in its report that it had invited Hamilton to "provide an explanation for his actions," but that he declined.
In its report, the review board said, "Hamilton's actions . . . resulted in an embezzlement from the [Teamsters] treasury."
Under the review board process, its proposed charges are sent to the Teamsters's General Executive Board for disposition. If the review board doesn't like the penalty meted out by the union panel, it can ask the union for a different penalty. If the review board still is not satisfied with the disciplinary measures handed out by the union, the board can take back the case and issue a penalty of its own.
It is possible the union will decide to send the case back to the review board because Carey and others on the union's executive board also are under investigation in the case, according to a source familiar with the process. The union's constitution bars anyone "involved" from handling the case. As part of its investigation, the review board said it took the criminal pleadings of the three Carey campaign figures -- Jere Nash, Martin Davis and Michael Ansara -- and matched up the allegations they made about the financial swaps with internal union records of checks and memorandums.
The report said Teamsters records showed that Hamilton asked that the union make donations to the advocacy groups that Nash identified in his guilty plea. The report said, "other evidence which corroborated Hamilton's participation in the scheme included Davis' testimony that he secured Hamilton's agreement to an earlier scheme to have money sent to the Carey campaign in return for [Teamsters] political contributions."
The review board cited hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to advocacy groups such as Citizen Action, Project Vote and the National Council of Senior Citizens. All three groups have denied any knowledge of the alleged campaign kickback schemes.
© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company.