The court-appointed officer investigating the campaign of Teamsters President Ron Carey removed herself from the case Tuesday as Carey denied any part in an illegal fund-raising scheme that “ripped off” his union.
Barbara Zack Quindel, who was weighing whether to disqualify Carey from a rerun election against James P. Hoffa, resigned effective Sept. 30 after new evidence implicated a political party to which she belongs and an associate of one of her investigators.
Earlier Tuesday, Carey blamed unscrupulous consultants for the fund-raising illegalities. “If there is a victim here, I certainly am the victim,” he said.
Quindel’s decision to quit stemmed from her interview last Friday with political consultant Martin Davis, who pleaded guilty a day earlier to conspiracy in a fund-raising scheme that funneled Teamsters treasury money into Carey’s coffers.
“The latest revelations include facts that suggest the schemes of the Carey campaign may have involved a professional associate of one of the Election Office’s investigative staff and an organization to which I belong, the New Party,” Quindel wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge David Edelstein.
“Whether or not these allegations are true, the fact that they have been asserted at this point in the investigation places me in an untenable position with respect to the investigation and issuance of any supplemental decision on the matter of disqualification.”
Davis told Quindel that he had proposed a contribution swap with the executive director of the Wisconsin affiliate of the New Party, in which Quindel and her husband are active. Davis also said he solicited and received an illegal $20,000 contribution from a labor relations consultant who has close ties to an investigator in Quindel’s office.
Quindel was expected to rule on Carey’s eligibility before Oct. 6, and her resignation threw the process into turmoil.
“Barbara Quindel’s administration of this election should have ended a long time ago,” said Richard Leebove, spokesman for the Hoffa camp, which has been critical of Quindel’s tenure.
The Carey forces released a statement saying they were “disappointed that Quindel has decided to remove herself so abruptly,” since she was well-acquainted with issues “so fundamental to a judicious decision on whether to disqualify the sitting president of the union.”