United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee.

Investigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Select CommitteeInvestigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) → online text (page 19 of 38)
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Mr. Williams. So that, the record would be clear, Mr. Bergan testi-
fied in court that Boling and Smith had been suspended. He had
the most complete knowledge on the subject available because he, in
fact, had drafted the letter suspending them which the president of
the union had signed, and the suspension had been executed.

At the local level, because of the autonomy of the union, they ap-
parently chose to ignore the letter that came from headquarters. The
fact of the matter is they had been suspended, so it is not accurate to
say that they were not at the time the presentation was made. They
chose to ignore it, apparently with the backing of their local mem-

Tlie Chairman. He was still acting in an official capacity.

Senator Ervin. Mr. Chairman, may I make an observation at this
point ?

Of course, a lawyer has to rely upon the information given him by
his clients. Where he relies upon the information given to him by
his client he certainly does not play a fraud upon the court by pre-
senting that information in good faith.

Of course, sometimes a client can mislead a lawyer. If a client mis-
leads a lawyer intentionally, with the expectation that the lawyers
would pass on misinformation to the court and deceive the court, it is
possible for the client to practice fraud on the court while the lawyer,
presenting the information, is acting in perfectly good faith.

I would say this in this connection : I had the privilege of meeting
Mr. Williams first in September 1954, and I have a very high opinion
of him, both from the standpoint of capacity and from the standpoint
of character. I certainly think that anything he did in connection
with this matter was done in good faith, because a lawyer can't go out
and investigate everything for liimself. He has to act on the basis
of inf onnation which comes to him.

I would also have to say in view of these letters that there was, from
his standpoint, evidence that, as far as he could ascertain, from the
information he had, that they had been suspended.

Mr. Williams. I want to add to that, if I may, Mr. Chairman, that
insofar as I have been able to determine, everybody at the interna-
tional level believed this to be the case at the time of the hearing. So
I don't look for the shield of immunity that you have so graciously
tendered me, that I was deceived by my clients, because I do not be-
lieve I was deceiA^ed.

I believe they were in total good faith at the time that the repre-
sentation was made by me, and when they heard it made, because
they believed the suspension was in effect.

Senator Ervin. I am not intimating by what I say. I was speak-
ing in generalities before I became specific. I didn't mean to inti-
mate that anybody had conveyed to you false information, or had
a part as far as the personal conveyance was concerned. It does
seem, however, that after the president of the international had writ-
ten these letters, that the local union took matters into their own
hands, and that the actions of the local union were inconsistent with
what was set forth in the letters from the international.

Senator Mundt. Mr. Chairman

The Chairman. Senator Mundt ?


Senator Mundt. I would like to ask the witness this question, to
get away from theory, to get away from conflicting and confusing
situations :

You started out by saying, I believe, Mr. Hoffa, that you didn't think
these men were suspended. Do you want to leave it that way ? Then
tlie letter and the court testimony refreshed your memory and you
now agree that you did sign a letter suspending them; is that correct?

Mr. HoFFA. That is correct.

Senator Mundt. And apparently now or in a few days from now,
on the 10th of July, when his salary runs out, that will be a situation
of fact as far as Smith is concerned.

Mr. HoFFA. Right.

Senator Mundt. Did you also suspend Mr. Boling ?

Mr. HoFFA. Yes.

Senator Mundt. He has denied the suspension entirely and is serv-
ing as president. I would like to ask you this question : What do you
now propose to do concerning Mr. Boling ?

Mr. HoFFA. I want to check, Senator Mundt, on exactly the status
of this union, since I am going to be back here again, apparently, and
I would like to bring it back not second-hand, but first-hand, if I

Senator Mundt. You will certainly agree that you have some fol-
lowup work to do as far as Boling is concerned if, in fact, he is now
president of a union from which you suspended him ; is that correct ?

Mr. HoFFA. I certainly will find out why the letter was not com-
plied with.

Senator Ervin. I would like to clear up one thing. I will ask this of
Mr. Williams: Am I correct in inferring from your statement that
the question of whether Glenn Smith should be awarded a new
trial is a matter that is pending on a motion before the district judge
at Knoxville, rather than on appeal before the court of appeals ?

Mr. Williams. My understanding is. Senator, that there is a mo-
tion for judgment notwithstanding a verdict, a judgment of acquit-
tal notwithstanding verdict, now pending before the trial judge, and
that that has been argued, I believe, and that he has not decided it.

I am not sure. But I know it is not in the appeals court, and I
also know by at least a conversation with a member of the panel who
heard his case against these men that they plan to render their de-
cision immediately upon the decision of the trial judge.

The Chairman. All right. Let's have the question.

Mr. Kennedy. The first question I asked was: What steps were
taken to follow up to determine whether Glenn Smith had been sus-
pended ?

Mr. Williams. Mr. Chairman, we have just gone through this •

iVlr. Kennedy. No ; we haven't.

Mr. W1LLL4.MS. Just a minute.

The Chairman. Let's proceed. I will get to questions and answers.
What steps were taken to follow up to see whether Glenn Smith was
actually suspended?

You mean whether the suspension went into ejffect ?

Mr. Kennedy. In the first place, Mr. Hoffa, let me ask you : Was
this letter actually sent to Glenn Smith ?

roi— 59^pt. 54-


Mr. HoFFA. I beg your pardon ?

Mr. IvENNEDT. Was this letter dated Au^ist 24 actually sent to
Glenn Smith?

Mr. HoFFA. The photostatic copy that you presented here had Glenn
Smith's name on it. I don't make the mailings out of the interna-
tional. We have a mailing department for it. I assume that it was
mailed out of the mailing department since it was addressed to Glenn

Mr. Kennedy. So to the best of your knowledge, this letter was, in
fact, sent to Glenn Smith ; is that correct ?

Mr. HoFFA, I would have to assume that. His name is on it.

Mr. Kennedy. Your understanding is that the letter was actually
sent to Mr. Glenn Smith?

Mr. HoFFA. I assume, and I haven't checked it, but I assume that
since his name is on the letter, both Boling and Smith, that the letters
did go to Boling and Smith.

Mr. Kennedy. What steps were taken after that to insure that
they were suspended ?

The statements that were made to the court were made in Novem-
ber of 1958.

Senator Mundt. Mr. Chairman, let me ask this question :

This is a rather unusual exercise of high authority, is it not, Mr.
Hoffa, for you to suspend a man down at the local level ?

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, sir.

Senator Mundt. It would occur to me that it being as unusual as
it is, that you might well follow the practice of sending those kind
of suspension notices by registered mail, return receipt requested, so
that you know that the suspension has been consummated.

Mr. HoFFA. That is conceivable. We may have that in our files.
That is conceivable.

Senator Mundt. Don't you think that would be a logical way to
handle such a high function of authority with such important mail ?

Mr. Hoffa. I would assume that our mailing department would
have a registered letter in this particular instance. I am not, however,
sure. It can be checked as soon as I get there.

Senator Mundt. Will you check that and supply it for the record?

Mr. HoFFA. Yes.

The Chairman, What counsel is pursuing is this : Here is evidence
of a letter or letters to these two people

Mr. HoFFA. I am sorry. I don't understand you. What did you

The Chairman. I say there is evidence here of a letter addressed
to these two people. The question is whether, and as Senator Mundt
has pursued it — we have a copy of a letter which may have never been
sent. We are trying to establish whether the letter was dispatched
and received.

Mr. HoFFA. I understand, sir.

The Chairman. You have no knowledge other than the fact that
in the routine way you assume the letter went out ?

Mr. HoFFA. That is correct, sir.

The Chairman. But you can check further and ascertain possibly
what your records show with respect to whether it was registered,
and whether you have a receipt for it, or any other documents you


may have that would, further clarify as to whether the letter actually
went out or was received ?

Mr. HoFFA. We can check that.

Mr. Kennedy. We asked you to bring the files over. Did you bring
the files ? Maybe it would be contained in the files.

Mr. HoFFA. What did you ask me to do ?

Mr. Kennedy. To bring the files of local 515.

Mr. HoFFA. You didn't ask me. We submitted — let's get it straight.

You submitted this morning to Bill Mullenholz a subpena for cer-
tain information. You didn't give it to me. I assume that it is here.

Mr. Kennedy. It is not here. We understood that you were going
to bring it over, Mr. Hoffa.

Mr. HoFFA. Mclnerney didn't see me and Mclnerney didn't tell me
that. Nobody told me to bring it here. Now, if you want it, I am
sure, as we have done on similar instances, we have sent it to you if
you asked for it.

You must have it there.

Mr. Kennedy. It just arrived. We have it.

Mr. Hoffa. It must have arrived if you asked for it.

Mr. Kennedy. Was this letter sent from the International Brother-
hood of Teamsters, this registered letter ?

Mr. HoFFA. What did you say ?

Mr. Kennedy. This letter that was supposedly sent out on August
24, or addressed, written on August 24 — was that letter sent out from
the International Brotherhood of Teamsters?

Mr. Williams. Which registered letter are you talking about?

Mr. Kennedy. ToMr. Boling.

Mr. Williams. Was this a registered letter ?

Mr. Kennedy. I believe that is what he stated.

Mr. Williams. Let's not misstate what the witness said. You
know he didn't.

Mr. Kennedy. Was this letter sent out from the International
Brotherhood of Teamsters ?

Mr. HoFFA. Look, let me say this to you : We are a fair-sized opera-
tion and we have a little system of our own that operates this Inter-
national Union by departments.

A letter comes into my office. It is dictated, it is typed, brought to
my office, I sign it, a secretary takes it, and I assume that after the
Secretary takes it, it is mailed out to the individual the letter is mailed
out to.

I don't follow that through. I couldn't tell you. I have no way of

Mr. Kennedy. I just want to get the procedure straight, Mr. Hoffa,
for the record.

After that, what steps did you take to be sure that Mr. Glenn Smith
had in fact been suspended ?

Senator Mundt. Mr. Chairman, before we leave the letter, I have it
in my hand, and I notice in the right-hand corner they have typed
these words, "Kegistered, return receip)t requested."

Mr. HoFFA. Then it must be. It is a good thing you found out.

Senator Mundt. This is certainly a thing that is available for docu-
mentary proof. You would have the receipt. It wouldn't have been
thrown away. Or we can get the registry books of the Post Office De-
partment and it can determine whether or not this receipt was signed.


Mr. HoFFA, Maybe, and I don't know — what is in that group of
letters that was subpenaed today ? It might be there.

Mr. Kennedy. It is not there.

Mr. HoFFA. It isn't there ?

Mr. Kennedy. In fact, that letter is not even in this record.

Mr. HoFFA. Well, there may be a trusteeship file or some descriptive
file that might have it. I don't know. I will check. That is all I can
tell you.

Mr. Williams. Where did you get it ?

Mr. Kjennedy. We requested under subpena all of the files in con-
nection with this local.

Mr. WiLLL4MS. Well, you got those letters from the international
union, didn't you, on a previous date ?

Mr. Kennedy. We received the letters from the monitors.

Senator Ervin. May I ask a question, Mr. Chairman, along this

The Chairman. Senator Ervin.

Senator Er^t:n. I believe it appears that in all probability some time
in August of last year you directed letters to Glenn Smith and Boling,
informing them they were suspended from their respective offices in
the local union ?

Don't you consider it rather drastic action to suspend a duly-elected
local official from the powers of his office ?

Mr. HoFFA. I certainly do.

Senator Er"\t^n. And what efforts, if any, did you make to ascertain
whether or not they had recognized or complied with your letter
suspending them ?

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I would assume that when a letter went out
like that it would be complied with. We have international organizers
and directors in various areas. I would expect it to be followed
through by somebody in that vicinity, rather than the international
office, to make sure that the intent of the letter was carried out.

I can't tell you, truthfully, that I personally did anything after
it got to the stage of the letter going out, to see whether or not they
got the letter.

(Tlie witness conferred with his counsel.)

Mr. HoFFA. Excuse me, sir.

Whether or not they got the letter, whether or not they complied.
But I do know this : That they filed an injunction against me from
carrying it out, and now that I recall, it is coming back a little bit ;
they filed an injunction, I believe, against the international union from
doing what I intended to do by that letter, and our lawyer went into
court and, as recited by Mr. Kennedy previously, fought the question
of the injunction.

We were successful in overthrowing their request for an injunction
to prohibit my action.

Then I would assume that after winning the lawsuit that the director
in that area, or the organizer, would have carried out the intent of
the letter.

That is the best I could tell you, sir.

Senator Ervin. You do know now, from having your recollection
refreshed about the lawsuit, that they did not obey your letters and
the lawsuit arose on account of that ?


Mr. HoFFA. I think that is the way it went ; yes, sir.

Senator Ervin. When did the lawsuit begin ?

Mr. HoFFA. I couldn't tell you honestly. They must have copies
of the lawsuit here in this file. I think they could tell you better
than I could.

Senator Ervhst. Did j^ou make any effort after the lawsuit came to
an end with a victory for the international — did you make any effort
to see whether these people complied, not only with your orders but
also with the order of the court ?

Mr. HoFiFA. Senator, I think what happened — and I am guessing;
I don't want to be held — but the procedure would have been that I
appointed the panel and they must have enjoined the panel from
trying to do what I instructed it to do.

I would assume that since the panel was sent out to investigate,
they would have carried out the instructions of this letter.

I am guessing, but I would think that happened along the procedure
of our international union.

Senator Erat:n. How often along about that time did you resort to
such drastic action as to remove from office a local official who had
been elected by members of the local ?

Mr. HoFFA. I believe there were two instances, this makes three —
there was Boling, Smith, and Feldman.

Senator Ervin. In other words, I can't understand why you weren't
interested enough in it to pursue it and find out whether they carried
out your order.

JMr. HoFFA. It wouldn't be a question of not being interested. It
would be a question of expecting somebody other than myself per-
sonally to see whether it was carried out or not, in regular routine
fashion of operating the international union.

Senator Ervin. Here is another thing: I don't know who it re-
flects on, but to me an astomiding thing about Glenn Smith is this:
That he is made an officer in the union after he has been convicted of
robbery, which is nothing in the world more than stealing property
by force or intimidation, and after he had been convicted of burglarly
and larceny, which is stealing, and after he had been convicted of
assault, which might have been of some consequence or might not, I
don't know, and after he became a fugitive from justice from the
State of Kentucky, he is made an officer in the union and permitted
to exercise authority over honest men.

I can't understand why. I can understand why some crimes that
a man commits that do not involve moral turpitude, why he should b©
made an officer. But I do not understand why so many people, as in
this case, Glenn Smith, would have committed crimes involving moral
turpitude, are permitted to occupy offices and exercise authority over
honest men.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, my answer to you would be that an autono-
mous organization under the democratic system of this country has a
right in free assemblage to nominate and to elect who they desire, and
if this individual was elected by the rank and file members of this
local union, and carried out to their satisfaction the office that they
elected him to, then I don't find anything any more unusual about
that than I do find that in certain instances in this United States in-
dividuals have gone to jail, come out of jail, and have been elected
to the Halls of Congress.


Therefore, there should be no implication placed on Smith that he
is any different than individuals elected to Congress.

Senator Ervin. Under the laws of most States a man who commits
a crime of robbery which is a felony, or the crime of murder, which is
a felony, is even denied the right to vote, much less hold office, unless
he first over a long period of time, shows by his subsequent conduct
that he has repented of his past iniquities and straightens himself out.

Mr. HoFFA. I am not sure, that it is either 15 or 16 years since
his serious trouble with the law that he was elected to office. There-
fore, a man could have conceivably rehabilitated himself.

Senator Ervin. The last time before he wound up in Tennessee, as
I recall it was in 1949 when he was implicated in the dynamiting,
alleged conspiracy to dynamite, and when he apparently became a
fugitive from justice and fled from Kentucky.

Mr. HoFFA. I am talking about the time you claim he was convicted
for robbery until the time he was released until the time he became a
truckdriver until the time he was elected to office. If I understand
correctly, the other charge was eventually dismissed against this man.

Senator Ervin. Well, they could not catch him. He fled.

Mr. HoFFA. They eventually dismissed them.

Senator Ervin. In 1949 he fled from Kentucky. Two years later
he winds up in Tennessee in a conspiracy case in Tennessee which
he took the union for $18,000 according to the statement, if I recall
the letters you wrote correctly, that admitted that they had used those
union funds for that purpose.

Senator Mundt. Mr. Chairman, around this topic and since we
have devoted over an hour today to discussing the so-called Kennedy-
Ervin bill, I would like to ask the witness what his reaction is to one
section of that bill which I had added by a vote of the Senate which
it seems to me is pertinent to this case.

I can understand how the international president of a imion may not
have any original jurisdiction over who gets elected by an autonomous

Knowing that and realizing that some pretty unsavory characters
have been elected, the Senate twice passed legislation which would
make it illegal for a union official to serve who has been convicted of
crimes so felonious that he has lost the right to vote in the State of
his own residence.

Would you think that is good legislation or would you disapprove of
that legislation which would have prevented the type of thing we have
before us ?

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I am opposed to any class legislation. If you
want to make this a law applying to employers and all organizations
in the United States, every single description, that is one thing. But
w^hen you ti^- to place second-class citizenship upon members of unions,
then I object and I will not concur in any sucli legislation without first
having the right to express my opinion and try to get people to vote
against it.

Senator Mundt. In other words, first you take recourse in the fact
that there is no law that enables you to keep a man like Smith from
getting his office and then you oppose the passage of the law which
would give you the authority or the Congress the authority.


Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I object to a law that states in principle that
a man may not be elected to the office of president of our union but
the following day he can incorporate and become president of a corpo-
ration and be able to hire employees of any description he wants to
hire and be able to sit across the table and bargain collectively with a
union official and be able, if you please, to place his stock on the market
of Wall Street or to be elected to the Halls of Congress without giving
the same right to individuals who are members of labor organizations.

This is what I object to, sir.

Senator Mundt. That is all, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Kennedy. Can I go back to my question now, please ?

The Chairman. All right, let us start again.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Hoila, after this letter aromid August 24, 1958,
what steps did you take to insure that Mr. Glenn Smith had in fact,
been suspended ?

Mr. HoFFA. I thought I had answered the question. I said that
when this letter came across my desk and was signed it went into the
regular routine procedure of being sent out to the local union, I

Mr. Kennedy. I want to know what you did personally.

Mr. HoFFA. Let me tiy to tell you.

The Chairman. He assumed that the letter went out.

Mr. HoFFA. I assmned that it went out. Now, the letter must have
went out because of the ensuing lawsuit. When our lawyers defeated
their attempt against us from carrying out this action, I then would
assume that the local union, having lost their round in court, would
have the international office in that district, w^ould have saw to it that
the letter from the president's office was carried out.

If it was not, then it was not brought to my attention and appar-
ently, it was not.

The Chairman. In other words, you went no further than to as-
sume in the routine of things it would be carried out.

Mr. HoFFA. Yes.

The Chairman. Beyond that assumption you did nothing?

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, sir.

Mr. ICennedy. Did you ever talk to Mr. Glemi Smith after 1958 ?
Did you ever talk to him ?

Mr. HoFFA. I think, and I talked with Smith and it is my under-
standing that Smith was out of his local union on leave of absence.

Mr. Kennedy. Was he suspended or was he out on a leave of
absence ?

Mr. HoFFA. Apparently, he had left the local union. From what
you read here he must have been on a leave of absence. If he was
out, I could have assumed that it was my letter that did the job.

Mr. Kennedy. If, in fact, you did suspend him in August of 1958,
and if, as the record shows, he was not suspended but continued to
draw his salary, will you take legal action now to have Mr. Glenn
Smith and Mr. Boling return the money that they have received from
the union since August of 1958 ?

Mr. HoFFA. I would assume that if the membership having author-
ity to make expenditures of their money, were formally called into
a meeting and those individual members attended that meeting and
over and beyond the quorum voted for an expenditure of the money


of their local union, not the international union's money, I would
assume that we would have a problem trying to instigate a lawsuit
against the action of the democratic rights of the membership of that
local union.

Mr. Kennedy. You stated, as I understand it, that you had the
authority to suspend him by writing him a letter, that that was all
that was necessary, that he was suspended at that time. He was sus-

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Select CommitteeInvestigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) → online text (page 19 of 38)