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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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Mr. Burris. About $1,250,000. That is the lowest appraisal of the
property.

Senator Curtis. Who are the other owners ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, the other owners are Mr. Plarris, LA. Harris,
Mr. George Lecay, and Mr. David Saltzman, S. George Burris & Co.,
and myself, each own 20 percent.

Senator Curtis. Your company owns 20 percent and you own 20
percent personally ?

Mr, Burris. That is right.

Senator Curtis. So you own 40 percent ?

Mr. Burris. I own 20 and part of the other 20.

Senator Curtis. What interest do you pay on that loan ?

Mr. Burris. Five and one-half percent.

Senator Curtis. Coming back to this Union Land & Home Co.,
you mentioned how much money you had put into it. Have you ever
drawn any out ?

Mr. Burris. No, sir.

Senator Curtis. Has Mr. Dranow ever drawn any out ?

Mr. Bui?ris. I don't know. The company, as far as I know, hadn't
had any income and anything that came in would probably be loans.
If they were drawn back and forth, Mr. Dranow would probably draw
moneys that he advanced to the company.

Senator Curtis. Did you handle all the money and assets and funds
of the Union Land & Home Co. ?

Mr. Burris. No, sir.

Senator Curtis. Some of it was handled by Mr. Dranow himself ?

Mr. Burris. As far as I know, most of it was handled by Mr.
Dranow himself.

Senator Curtis. It did not go through your hands as president ?

Mr. Burris. No. Just in one or two instances. I drew a couple of
checks. But that is all. In fact, sqme of the accounts I don't sign.
I have no right of signature, no right of withdrawal.

The Chairman. Senator Goldwater ?

Senator Goldwater. Mr. Burris, you are a CPA ?

Mr. Burris. Yes, sir.

Senator Goldwater. Do you do the auditing for the Union Land &
Home Co.?

Mr. Burris. There has never been an audit made of the Union Land
& Home Co. because in these small real estate companies, usually they
are written up at the end of a fiscal year.

Senator Goldwater. How long has this company been in existence I

Mr. Burris. Since, I think it was— I am not sure of the dates, but
I think it was organized in September of 1958.

Senator Goldwater. September of 1958. Have you made any in-
come tax returns ?

Mr. Burris. They are not due yet. The fiscal year isn't over.

Senator Goldwater. When are you going to audit these books ?



18978 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. BuKRis. Well, we will do it sometime between the end of the
fiscal year and the time the returns are to be filed.

Senator Gold water. You do no monthly auditing?

Mr. BuRRis. No.

Senator Goldwater. But you do have books ?

Mr. BuRRis. No, not as far as I know.

Senator Goldwater. How are you going to audit ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, we will take the checks and analyze them, the
same as we do in most other small real estate companies.

Senator Goldwater. You do have checkbooks and stubs?

Mr. BuRRis. We have the checks and check stubs.

Senator Goldwater. Who writes the checks ?

Mr. BuRRis. Who writes them ?

Senator Goldwater. Yes. Who signs them ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, they have been signed by — I would have to
see the checks. I think they are signed by somebody down in Florida,
Mrs. Walker or something.

Senator Goldwater. What State is this incorporated under?

Mr. BuRRis. Florida.

Senator Goldwater. Under your articles of incorporation, who is
authorized to sign the checks ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, I don't think that is specified in the articles of
incorporation. Usually you go to a bank and take a look at the
resolution. I wouldn't remember what the minutes said on that.

Senator Goldwater. What does the resolution say about it?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, I think there were two or three bank accounts
that the corporation had. On one of them I had the right to sign,
checks, and on the others I didn't.

Senator Goldwater. On the ones that you didn't have the right
to sign checks, who has the right to sign checks ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, from looking at the checks recently, Mrs.
Walker, I think. I would have — can I refresh my memory on that?

Senator Goldwater. Anybody else but Mrs. Walker ?

Mr. BuRRis. I don't know offhand. I would have to look at the
checks. We gave photostats of all these checks to your investigat-
ing committee.

Senator Goldwater. You are a CPA. Do you think you are go-
ing to have much difficulty auditing the books of this corporation?

Mr. BuRRis. I don't know. I don't think we have ever had any
difficulty auditing any books beyond any reasonable — there aren't so
many transactions there that I support we can't eventually get an
explanation. We just haven't gotten around to it.

Senator Goldwater. It seems rather peculiar that a CPA, who
is president of a corporation, wouldn't have any more interest in
what is going on in the corporation than you evidently have. You
don't know who can sign checks; you can't tell us amounts.

Were you actually the president of this corporation or were you
just put up there maybe as a front ?

(The witness conferred with his counsel.)

Mr. Burris. Wlien you say a "front," you could call it a front in
certain respects, except that I had an interest in development of the
Sun Valley project and I would share in that.

Senator Goldwater. Could you make any decisions as president?



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18979

Mr. BuRRis. Could I make any decisions ?

Senator Goldwater. Yes ; that the president usually can make.

Mr. BuRRis. I was acting, really, for a principal.

Senator Goldwater. Who was the principal ?

Mr. BuRRis. Mr. Dranow.

Senator Goldwater. Mr. Dranow ? Is Mr. Dranow, in effect, the
president of the company ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, he is the principal that I am acting for, except
that I have a participation in this particular transaction, and I imag-
ine that he would consult me as to

Senator Goldwater. Do you have a board of directors ?

Mr. BuRRis. What?

Senator Goldwater. Do you have a board of directors?

Mr. BuRRis. Yes. The board of directors, if I remember correctly,
are Mr. Shapiro, myself, and Mrs. Walker.

Senator Goldwater. Have you ever met ?

Mr. BuRRis. No, I mean — when you say met— —

Senator Goldwater. I mean have you met as a corporation ?

Mr. BuRRis. For a special meeting? Except for the first incorpora-
tion and occasionally for routine bank resolutions or something like
that, we have never met.

Senator Goldwater. How many times have you met for the pur-
pose of acting on bank resolutions ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, we don't actually have a meeting. The resolu-
tion is drawn up and I sign and the other people sign and it is put in
the minutes.

Senatro Goldwater. You do it by mail ?

Mr. BuRRis. What?

Senator Goldwater. You do it by mail ?

Mr. BuRRis. Sometimes. Most of the time by mail.

Senator Goldwater. That is all, Mr. Counsel.

It is a mighty funny corporation.

Mr. BuRRis. I beg your pardon ?

Senator Goldwater. It is a mighty funny corporation, and I don't
mean "funny" as "ha ha."

Mr. Kennedy. Did Mr. Benjamin Dranow assist you in any way
in obtaining the loan that you received from the pension and welfare
fund of the Central Conference of Teamsters ?

Mr. Btjrris. No, sir ; he didn't assist me.

Mr. Kennedy. Did he help you draw up the papers ?

Mr. BuRRis. No.

Mr. Kennedy. He didn't participate at all ?

Mr. BuRRis. No. I knew he had gotten a loan previously, and that
is how I thought of going to the Teamsters.

Mr. Kennedy. What do you mean he had gotten it ?

Mr. BuRRis. I knew he had gotten a loan through the Thomas Co.
I had known Mr. Dranow.

Mr. Ivennedy. Did Dranow assist you or did you consult with him
at all about this loan that you received ?

Mr. BuRRis. No. I don't need anybody to assist me in preparing
papers or in connection with a loan or any financial transaction.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you consult with him about it ?



18980 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. BuRRis. Beyond preliminary conversation, asking him just what
would be — well, where to apply and so on and so forth.

Mr. Kennedy. So you consulted with him as far as that was con-
cerned, at the beginning, to initiate the loan ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, if you call that a consultation ; yes.

Mr. Kennedy. Well, that is what it is.

I am going to come back to that in a moment, but I want to ask you
this : You are president of Union Land & Home ?

Mr. BuRRis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. How much of the stock is in your name ?

Mr. BuRRis. Seventy-five percent.

Mr. Kennedy. And you hold that as a front for Benjamin Dranow ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, if you call it that term, I won't argue with you
about it.

Mr. Kennedy. Is there any other term that you would use ? Is there
any other term ?

Mr. BuRRis. You can call it an agent or something like that.

Mr. Kennedy. You are an agent for Benjamin Dranow ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, in that respect I guess you would call it.

Mr. Kennedy. Who holds the other 25 percent ?

Mr. BuRRis. Mr. Shapiro.

Mr. Kennedy. 'Wlio is Mr. Shapiro ?

Mr. BuRRis. He is an attorney.

Mr. Kennedy. Is he Benjamin Dranow's attorney ?

Mr. BuRRis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. Do you understand that he also holds that 25 percent
for Benjamin Dranow ?

Mr. BuRRis. I think so.

Mr. Kennedy. So Mr. Benjamin Dranow, in fact, owns all of Union
Land ; is that correct ?

Mr. BuRRis. Yes, sir ; except that we would probably get some par-
ticipation if the transaction was profitable, and we would get our fees
for the time.

Mr. Kennedy. Wliy didn't Mr. Benjamin Dranow want to be the
owner in public of the union home and land ?

Mr. BuRRis. Owner of the what ?

Mr. Kennedy. Why did he do it through an agent ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, I don't know. I wouldn't know exactly, but I
imagine that I was the one that was originally, before the corporation
was formed, working with liim on this thing.

Mr. Kennedy. Did he discuss with you the fact that he did not
want to be the owner of record ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, he told me that he would like me to be the owner
of record, that it would be easier to deal with principals because I
was a CPA, well versed in financial transactions, and that he would —
and that since I had brought certain people in, I was supposed to be
part of an original group that would take the whole thing over from
him originally, that I would continue as the nominal representative
of the corporation.

Mr. Kennedy. Once that had fallen through there was no reason
to continue that procedure once it had been decided that you wouldn't
buy Sun Valley and he was going to get control of it. What was the
reason for your being the front man and his being the actual owner ?



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18981

Mr. BuKRis. Because I believed in the proposition, I thought I
could interest other people, and I thought we could eventually make
it a good proposition.

Mr. Kennedy. I am talking about what hapened after you decided
that you wouldn't do that and he went in to take it over himself,
why was it necessary to do it through you ?

(At this point Senator Gold water withdrew from the hearing room.)

Mr. BuRRis. I think you would have to ask Mr. Dranow that.

Mr. Kennedy. You had some discussions with him about it, Mr.
Burris.

Mr. BuEKis. Well, offliand, we have done that in many other in-
stances for our clients who asked us to ; it is not new\

Mr. Kennedy. Did he discuss the fact that he had received some
notoriety in comiection with this investigation, some notoriety in
connection with the fact that on his previous loan from the Teamsters,
the department store had gone into bankruptcy and that he had better
not appear as the owner, that he should keep his interest hidden ?

Mr. Burris. No ; we didn't discuss it from that point of view.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you discuss at all the fact that he had received
this notoriety and that he shouldn't be in the front in tliis matter?

Mr. Burris. Well, I knew something about Mr. Dranow's past,
and I think that I would be — well, my standing as a professional man
might help in financial dealings with banks and others.

Mr. Kennedy. At least he stated to you that he did not want to
be openly identified with the company ; is that correct ?

Mr. Burris. I beg your pardon ?

]\rr. Kennedy. At least he stated to you that he did not want to be
openly identified with the company ?

Mr. Burris. No ; I think he was pretty active with these people.

Mr. Kennedy. As far as the public was concerned, he stated to
you, did he not

Mr. Burris. We never discussed the public as far as this goes.

Mr. Kennedy. As far as public information or public knowledge
was concerned, he stated to you that he did not want to be openly
identified with the company, did he not? Did he not make a state-
ment to that effect to you ?

Mr. Burris. No ; I don't think it was ever put exactly that way.

Mr. Kennedy. How was it put ? You tell me again.

Mr. Burris. Well, he thought that I would be a representative of
the corporation that would carry a certain amount of prestige.

Mr. Kennedy. After the company was formed, you obtained an
option to purchase Henry Lower's interest; is that correct?

Mr. Burris. Yes ; an option was obtained to purchase it.

Mr. Kennedy. Who handled that transaction ?

Mr. Burris. I don't know. It was handled down in Florida. I
don't know who handled that.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you understand Mr. Dranow handled that
operation ?

Mr. Burris. I don't know who handled it. I know that the option
was obtained. I wasn't in Florida at the time.

Mr. Kennedy. Was there any discussion about Mr. Hoff a's in-
terest in Sun Valley ?

Mr. Burris. Not at that time.



18982 IMPROPER ACTIVmES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. Kennedy. Was there subsequently ?

Mr. BuBRis. Well, subsequently, Mr. Dranow and I were informed
that there was such an option, and we got in touch with Mr. Hoffa and
got him to release the option.

Mr. Kennedy. And his option was for what interest ?

Mr. BuRRis. Forty-five percent, I believe, if I remember correctly.

Mr. Kennedy. Did he give you a release on that ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, yes; if you call it that. It was written by my-
self, and I think it was equivalent to a release.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you meet with Mr. Hoffa in connection with
that?

Mr. BuKRis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. Wlio arranged the meeting ?

Mr. BuRRis. I wouldn't remember that. I don't know whether I
called or Mr.

Mr. Kennedy. Did Mr. Dranow arrange the meeting ?

Mr. BuERis. I don't remember offhand. Whether it was Mr.
Dranow or myself, I couldn't remember that.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you know Mr. Hoffa?

Mr, BuRRis. Yes ; I had met Mr. Hoffa.

The Chairman. I hand you here what purports to be a photostatic
copy of the release that Mr. Hoffa executed apparently on November
25, 1958, a release bearing a signature and apparently witnessed by
you.

I ask you to examine this photostatic copy and state if you recognize
it as such.

(The document was handed to the witness.)

Mr. BuRRis. Yes, sir; I gave this copy to your agent, to your in-
vestigator.

The Chairman. That may be made exhibit No. 15.

(Document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 15" for reference
and will be found in the appendix on p. 19127.)

The Chahiman. That release was issued after the expose of this
transaction ?

Mr, Kennedy. That is right, November 25, 1958. It states :
To Whom It May Concern:

I, James R. Hofifa, hereby waive my option to purcliase 45 percent of the stock
at Sun Valley, Inc., granted by Henry Lower on April 15, 1955.

It is signed "James R. Hoffa."

The Chairman. I present to you what purports to be a photostatic
copy of what is entitled "Agreement of Sale." It appears to be dated
on the 16th day of March 1959, and is signed by Union Land & Home
Co., Inc., by S. George Burris, president, and also signed by Henry
Lower, and in the presence of others as witnesses.

Will you please examine this photostatic copy and state if you
identify it as such ?

(The domucent was handed to the witness.)

Mr. Burris. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. It may be made exhibit No. 16.

(Document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 16" for reference
and may be found in the files of the select committee.)

Mr. Kennedy. By the agreement between Henry Lower and Union
Land, No. 1, the company agreed to purchase from Lower all of his



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18983

interest in the outstanding capital stock of Sun Valley, consisting
of 90 percent of such stock ; is that correct ?

Mr. BuRRis. That is right.

Mr. Kennedy. No. 2, Union Land shall pay to Lower as a consid-
eration for such purchase, $20,000 in the following manner : $18,000
shall be paid upon the execution of the agreement. Is that correct?

Mr. BuRRis. Pardon me a moment.

Mr. Allder. Can we have that in front of us ?

Mr. Kennedy. Yes.

Union Land shall pay to Lower, as a consideration for such pur-
chase, $20,000 in the following manner : $18,000 shall be paid upon the
execution of the agreement.

Mr. Burets. Yes; yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. And the remaining sum of $2,000 shall be retained
by Union Land in consideration for its undertaking as follows : Union
Land covenants with Lower that as the holder of 90 percent of the
stock of Sun Valley, Inc., it will obtain from Sun Valley, Inc., an
agreement approved by the directors of such corporations, and this
is the important part, to accept the sum of $2,000 held by Union Land
as a full settlement of Lower's liability now appearing on the books
of Sun Valley, Inc., in the sum of approximately $134,000 ; and upon
such approval by the directors to pay over the sum of $2,000 in
satisfaction thereof.

Mr. Lower had taken, at least according to the books, had taken
$134,000, and you were taking $2,000 in settlement for that? .

Mr. BuRRis. Well, the trial balance that we had that was filed with
the bankruptcy court showed this as the outstanding obligation from
Mr. Lower.

The Chairman. How much outstanding obligation?

Mr. BuRRis. It showed a receivable item of this amount.

The Chairman. What amount?

Mr. Burris. $134,000. He couldn't pay it. He claimed that he
didn't owe it and all that sort of business, and that he could account
for the moneys, but there was no point in pressing it because he claimed
he was broke and didn't have anything.

Mr. Kennedy. When lie said he could account for the moneys, did
you ask him to account for them?

Mr. Burris. Well, that will come up later on when the Government
examines him as to what he did with the money.

Mr. Kennedy. This is your own personal financial transaction with
him. What I don't understand is, if he said he could account for the
money, why you didn't ask him to account for the money.

Mr. Burris. Well, this is in a chapter 10 proceeding. It is in the
hands of a court. If anybody has to account to anybody, he would
have to account to the bankruptcy court.

The Chairman. Wouldn't you want him to account to you?

Mr. Burris. Well, we said that as purchasers we wouldn't press this
obligation; that is all.

The Chairman. You had no interest?

Mr. Burris. As stock purchasers. That doesn't relieve him from
any responsibility as far as any court or any creditor.

The Chairman. If it is an asset, if you purchased the stock you are
entitled to have the debt paid to you, are you not ?



18984 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. BuRRis. Not if the debtor can't pay. It would just be a fantasy
to try to pursue it.

The Chairman. In other words, you didn't determine, you didn't
make any effort to actually determine it. You simply took his word ?

Mr. BuRRis. There is a statement in here that says he is broke and
can't pay anything, and his affidavit.

The Chairman. That is what I am saying. You just took his word
for it, that he is broke and can't pay it, and he said he could account
for it, so you let it go at that,

Mr. BuRRis. He will have to account to the regular courts.

The Chairman. He may have to account for it from the standpoint
of income taxes or something.

Mr. BuRRis. Well, that is his headache.

The Chairman. But he did not account to you, who were purchas-
ing the stock.

Mr. BuRRis. No ; we didn't pursue it.

The Chairman. In other words, the $134,000 item that he owed
according to the books of the company, you accepted for $2,000. You
paid him $2,000, that is correct, or withheld $2,000 from the purchase
price ?

Mr. Btitkris. The only thing we said was that we withheld $2,000.

The Chairman. All right.

Mr. Kennedy. This is part of the money, Mr. Chairman, that we
traced out of Sun Valley up into the land scheme up in Michigan.
Of course, it is of some interest.

Let me ask you this : Who made these arrangements that you would
accept the $2,000 ?

Mr. BuRRis. Incidentally, this also includes other items besides
Sun Valley, this agreement.

Mr. Kennedy. Who made the arrangements in connection with the
$2,000 ?

Mr. BuERis. We discussed it at that time when we were with Mr.
Lower. That was an arrangement that we decided upon when we got
together.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you know of this arrangement before you went
down there to meet ?

Mr. BuRRis. No.

Mr. KJENNEDY. Hadn't it been discussed by Mr. Benjamin Dranow
and Mr. Henry Lower?

Mr. BuRRis. No. No ; this was done in Detroit when we got to-
gether.

Mr. Kennedy. Didn't Mr. Benjamin Dranow know that the price
was to be $18,000 ?

Mr. Bltrris. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. So there must have been some discussion about it
prior to your arrival.

Mr. BuRRis. No; that was left to me in our discussions with Mr.
Lower when we got up. That was the first time I had met with Mr.
Lower, and we worked out the agreement to satisfy overybody, and
here it is.

Mr. KENNEDY. But prior to that time, Mr. Benjamin Dranow knew
that the figure would be $18,000, did he not ?

Mr. BuRRis. That is right.



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18985

Mr. Kennedy. So he must have had some discussions prior to
that time.

Mr. BuRRis. No; this was my discussion with Mr. Lower.

Mr. Kj:nnedy. You didn't know until you arrived there that it was
going to be $18,000, did you ?

Mr. BuRRis. No, I knew that it was going to be $18,000.

Mr. Kennedy. Who had told you ?

Mr. BuRRis. Mr. Dranow.

Mr. Kennedy. Where did the money come from, the $18,000?

Mr. BuRRis. I don't know.

Mr. Kennedy. Who paid that?

Mr. BuRRis. Wlien I arrived in Detroit, there was a bank that had
a draft ready for us, addressed to me.

Mr. Kennedy. Didn't Mr. Benjamin Dranow tell you about that
draft?

Mr.BuRRis. That is right.

Mr. Kennedy. May I just point out, Mr. Chairman, that this is
quite an operation and a great favor for Mr. Henry Lower, who had
been involved in this financial deal with Mr. Hoffa earlier. It also
gave Mr. Benjamin Dranow control of the company at that period of
time.

Did Union Land make any loans or advance any money to any
Teamster Union official ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, I since found out that there was a loan made of
$17,000 to one of the Teamster officials.

Mr. I^nnedy. Who was that?

Mr. BuRRis. Mr. Roy Williams, with his land as security for the
loan.

Mr. Kennedy. And that was a loan of $17,000 which was made by
Union Land on January 26, 1959 ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, I don't remember the date, but if you have the
date I will assume it is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. And payable to Roy Williams?

Mr. Burets. That is right.

Mr. Kennedy. He is head of the Teamster Local 41 in Kansas
City ; is that right ?

Mr. BuRRis. I am not familiar with the numbers of the locals, but if
you say that is the number, it is all right with me.

Mr. Kennedy. How did you happen to make that loan to him?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, I had met Mr. Williams. We got to talking
and he mentioned something about the fact that he had some land on
which he wanted a loan. He was talking about considering getting
a loan, and I said, "Well, maybe we can arrange it for you."

I called up Mr. Dranow when I got back a day or so later, and from
that point on it was handled by some attorneys back and forth who
checked it and then a loan was made.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Roy Williams, as well as being head of the Team-
ster Local 41 in Kansas City, is also a trustee of the Central States,
southeast and southwest areas pension fund.

Do you know that ?

Mr, BuRRis. Yes, I know it now. I didn't particularly notice when
I was before the committee that he was one of the trustees.



18986 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. Kennedy. Have you received any other loan from that fund
other than the $735,000 in December of 1958 ?

Mr. BuRRis. Well, we had a loan approved of $1,400,000 on some
property that another party and our group were principals in. We
didn't take the money yet. We just had the loan approved.



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