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Forum staff reports, Published April 11 2013

Teamsters panel fines former leaders

MINNEAPOLIS – A Teamsters panel has ordered two former leaders of Local 120 and a former Fargo club site manager to pay hefty fines in order to help make up for allegedly embezzled union funds.

The recommendations were adopted this month by Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa after an investigation of financial misconduct against Local 120 leaders Bradley Slawson Sr. and Bradley Slawson Jr., respectively the secretary-treasurer and president of Local 120, according to a report in the Star Tribune.

The Fargo Teamsters Club at 21 18th St. S. is a part of Local 120, based in Blaine, Minn. The Fargo club was shut down in November amid the allegations.

According to the Star Tribune’s report, the Teamsters panel fined Slawson Sr. $159,000, an amount that included $68,100 in improper stipends he received from the Fargo club.

The panel suggested fining former Fargo site manager Todd Chester, who is the father of one of Slawson Sr.’s grandchildren, $235,761 for embezzlement alleged to have occurred while he managed the Fargo bar, the Star Tribune reported.

The amount represents alcohol revenue that went missing during his tenure in Fargo.

The Teamsters panel concluded that Slawson Jr. should be fined $72,700, the amount of improper stipends he allegedly received from the Fargo bar.

The Slawsons have argued the stipends were approved by the Teamsters Club’s own bar and gaming board and, therefore, were not embezzled.

Because the fines were imposed by a Teamsters panel, and not a judge, the men would to have to pay the fines if they want to get back in the union, the Star Tribune said.

At the same time the Fargo club was closed, the Slawsons were removed from their posts and the Teamsters international union put Local 120 into emergency trusteeship.

The Teamsters Independent Review Board, a panel is partly commissioned by the U.S. Justice Department, investigated the Slawsons last year.

The Independent Review Board, which reports to a federal court in New York, must still approve the sanctions against the Slawsons, according to the Star Tribune.

In a statement to the Star Tribune, the Slawsons’ attorney, Brian Toder, said the entire matter “will soon be appealed to real court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the Slawsons fully expect due process of law,” as well as “vindication,” Toder wrote.

Local 120 has five satellite offices in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Iowa. It primarily represents drivers and delivery workers.