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November 05, 2002

Webster- Ripping off Teamster Members

"Judge Webster" is about to suffer the worst fate of a "respected Washington insider"-- actually having what such insiders do looked at closely.

And it's not a pretty sight.

Along with the corporate board positions such as the one at U.S. Technologies that currently has him in trouble, he also managed to get appointment to the three-member government panel overseeing corruption in the Teamsters. Yet despite being paid $100,000 per year for the job, paid out of hardworking Teamsters' dues, many feel, according to today's New York Times, Webster has been doing very little to earn his money.

And he's been consorting with the worst of the old corrupt Teamster leaders. As Bob Novak noted recently

Webster was honored May 11 at a New York Marriott Marquis Hotel dinner hosted by one of the most unsavory of old Teamsters, George Barasch. Webster addressed the Union Mutual Benefit Association (UMBA), which is charged in a Garment Workers Union (UNITE) lawsuit as draining millions from Barasch's Allied Trade Council (ATC) for his personal use. The IRB in November 1999 charged that Barasch and his family were siphoning money from benefit plans of the ATC and the Barasch-controlled Teamsters Local 815. A lawyer in the UNITE lawsuit was recently told by Barasch's son, Stephen: "Judge Webster seems to think we're OK."
The Labor Party-- the prototype third party supported by major unions -- condemned the government for allowing Webster to serve on the Teamsters oversight board, since he also had corporate positions with antiunion firms, including a clear conflict of interest of serving on the boards of companies negotiating with the Teamsters itself. Here from the Labor Party resolution this summer:
WHEREAS the government's "Independent Review Board," established to oversee the Teamsters Union, has a conflict of interest in that William Webster, a former CIA and FBI director, who heads the board, also sits on the board of directors of Anheuser-Busch, which negotiates contracts with the Teamsters. In addition, Webster was on the board of the Pinkerton Security and Investigations Services, notorious in labor history for its strikebreaking.
And Webster's involvement with NextWave, a telecom upstart that defaulted on billions owed to the F.C.C., leaves many establishment leaders appalled that he's allowed near corporate oversight (again from the NY Times):
NextWave was a "bottom feeder," said Gerald Faulhaber, a Wharton School professor who served as the F.C.C.'s top economist in 2000 and 2001. "Do I feel comfortable with my watchdog being involved with these guys? No."
Everyone may be claiming that Webster is a fine civil servant, who just happens to consort with mobsters, corporate felons, and union-busters. But let's just say we should be on the safe side in a position entrusted with enforcing corporate responsibility.

Fire his ass.

Posted by Nathan at November 5, 2002 12:09 PM

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