Teamsters Local 120 under scrutiny, execs on leave

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The International Brotherhood of Teamsters says it has taken over leadership of a local union with offices in four states and placed its top two executives on leave, citing evidence of financial irregularities.

The parent union and its president, James P. Hoffa, placed Local 120, based in the Twin Cities suburb of Blaine, into emergency trusteeship Tuesday after determining there was a violation of "fiduciary responsibility," said Bret Caldwell, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The Teamsters Independent Review Board has been investigated Local 120 and its executives for the past several months, officials said. In a memo posted at the local's offices, Hoffa said problems at Local 120 "appear to be pervasive and ongoing."

Caldwell said the local top two leaders, Bradley Slawson, Sr., and Bradley Slawson, Jr., have been place on leave and the local leadership board has been dissolved. A call to Bradley Slawson, Jr., was not immediately returned. A listing for Bradley Slawson, Sr., could not be found.

Hoffa's memo cited apparent irregularities with Local 120's plans to construct a new union hall in 2007 and 2008. A $90,000 "finder's fee," was paid by the building's general contractor to a family friend of a union leader, according to the memo. Hoffa said there was an unauthorized diversion of $189,000 from Local 120's strike fund to pay for the new building.

The review also found irregularities in the operation of a bar and gaming operation in Fargo, N.D., known as the Teamsters Club, the Star Tribune reported. Hoffa's memo says a family friend of the Slawsons was allegedly employed by the club as a consultant and was paid without approval of the local's executive board. It said local funds were used to subsidize the club's continuing losses without disclosing it to the executive board or membership.

A Teamsters hearing panel appointed by Hoffa will review the allegations involving Local 120 within 60 days. If the claims are upheld, the Slawsons will not be allowed to return to leadership positions at Local 120, Caldwell said.

Teamsters Local 120 represents employees from several industries, but it might be best known as a local for drivers, freight handlers and warehouse workers. The local also has offices in Mankato; Fargo, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Des Moines and Dubuque, Iowa.