- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2001

Former Teamsters President Ron Carey yesterday pleaded not guilty to federal charges of perjury and making false statements during an investigation into illegal fund raising in his 1996 re-election campaign.

Mr. Carey, whose election victory over challenger James P. Hoffa was overturned after investigators found he was involved in a scheme to divert union funds to his campaign, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in New York.

The longtime union boss was released on his own recognizance after agreeing to relinquish his passport. He declined comment after the hearing.

Mr. Carey was named last week in a seven-count indictment, which accused him of lying to the Independent Review Board, a watchdog group assigned to oversee the union, to the IRB's chief investigator and to Barbara Zack Quindel, a court-appointed elections officer named to investigate the 1996 Teamsters election campaign.

The charges stem from the investigation by federal overseers of that election and also include accusations of perjury in connection with Mr. Carey's 1997 testimony before a grand jury. If convicted, Mr. Carey, 64, of Queens, N.Y., faces up to 35 years in prison.

Federal law prohibits the use of union funds to promote individual candidates.

Last year, William N. Hamilton, the Teamsters' former political director, was sentenced to three years in prison after his conviction on charges of embezzlement, fraud and perjury in the illegal diversion of $885,000 to Democrats in exchange for contributions to Mr. Carey's campaign.

Hamilton was convicted on the testimony of several government witnesses and Democratic officials who outlined a kickback scheme involving the Democratic National Committee, the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO, top White House aides and the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election committee. Authorities said illegal donations were routed through the Democratic Party to finance Mr. Carey's campaign.

According to the indictment, Mr. Carey denied any knowledge that illegal donations had been made to his campaign or knowing that his campaign manager, Jere Nash, had a role in the scheme. Mr. Carey also denied having any conversations about Richard Trumka, secretary/ treasurer of the AFL-CIO, about raising money for the campaign.

Nash, along with Carey aides Martin Davis, a Washington-based fund-raiser, and Michael Ansara, a Boston telemarketing consultant, all admitted to diverting funds illegally to Mr. Carey's campaign.

Davis and Nash disguised campaign donors by falsely identifying them in reports submitted to Mrs. Quindel, who was charged with ensuring a fair election in the campaign that pitted Mr. Carey against Mr. Hoffa.

Mr. Hoffa was sworn into office in 1999, nearly 42 years after his father, James R. Hoffa, had become president of the union.

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