In 1988, despite powerful Congressional opposition, U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani brought a massive civil racketeering (RICO) suit against the leaders of the behemoth International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and more than two dozen Cosa Nostra (LCN) leaders. Intending to land a fatal blow to the mafia, Giuliani asserted that the union and organized-crime defendants had formed a devil’s pact. He charged the IBT leaders with allowing their organized-crime cronies to use the union as a profit center in exchange for the mobsters’ political support and a share of the spoils of corruption. On the eve of what would have been one of the most explosive trials in organized-crime and labor history, the Department of Justice and the Teamsters settled.
Breaking the Devil’s Pact traces the fascinating history of U.S. v. IBT, beginning with Giuliani’s controversial lawsuit and continuing with in-depth analysis of the ups and downs of an unprecedented remedial effort involving the Department of Justice, the federal courts, the court-appointed officers (including former FBI and CIA director William Webster and former U.S. attorney general Benjamin Civiletti), and the IBT itself. Now more than 22 years old and spanning over 5 election cycles, U.S. v. IBT is the most important labor case in the last half century, one of the most significant organized crime cases of all time, and one of the most ambitious judicial organizational reform efforts in U.S. history. Breaking the Devil’s Pact is a penetrating examination of the potential and limits of court-supervised organizational reform in the context of systemic corruption and racketeering.
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In 1988, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani brought a massive civil racketeering suit against the leadership of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), at the time possibly the most corrupt union in the world. The lawsuit charged that the mafia had operated the IBT as a racketeering enterprise for decades, systematically violating the rights of members and furthering the interests of organized crime. On the eve of trial, the parties settled the case, and twenty years later, the trustees are still on the job.Breaking the Devil’s Pact is an in-depth study of the U.S. v. IBT, beginning with Giuliani’s lawsuit and the politics surrounding it, and continuing with an incisive analysis of the controversial nature of the ongoing trusteeship. James B. Jacobs and Kerry T. Cooperman address the larger question of the limits of legal reform in the American labor movement and the appropriate level of government involvement. About the Author:
James B. Jacobs, legal scholar and sociologist, is Warren E. Burger Professor of Law and Director, Center for Research in Crime and Justice, NYU School of Law. Among his books are Mobsters, Unions & Fed: The Mafia and the American Labor Movement, Gotham Unbound: How New York City Was Liberated from the Grip of Organized Crime, Busting the Mob: United States v. Cosa Nostra, and Corruption and Racketeering in the New York City Construction Industry, all published by NYU Press.
Kerry T. Cooperman is an attorney in the litigation department of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and a former fellow in the Center for Research in Crime and Justice, NYU School of Law.
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