NASHVILLE (CN) – The Teamsters union conspired to bribe, extort and defraud the Fraternal Order of Police to ensure that the Teamsters would remain the Nashville Police Department’s collective bargaining agent, the Fraternal Order claims in Federal Court. It claims the Teamsters spent $8,500 to install hidden surveillance cameras to catch cops drinking at a police youth camp, and bribed a caretaker to let them do it.
The Fraternal Order of Police represented Nashville cops from 1997 until February 2006, when the International Brotherhood of Teamsters took over, according to the complaint. The FOP Andrew Jackson Lodge also runs a youth camp at Mt. Juliet, Tenn., where the alleged wrongdoing occurred, during the runup to another vote on which group would represent the cops.
The FOP also sued its former president, Calvin Hullet, who now works as a union organizer for the Teamsters. It claims that all the incidents in the complaint occurred after Hullet consulted with higher-up Teamsters at national headquarters, who approved the conspiracy, and approved spending $8,500 on the surveillance equipment, and cell phones allegedly used in the operation and purchased under a phony name.
The FOP says that in June 2007, Hullet approached a caretaker at the Mt. Juliet camp, who is a prison trustee serving time, and assigned to the youth camp. At this meeting, the complaint states, “Hullett (a) falsely represented to the trustee that he was a police officer conducting an investigation into alleged inappropriate activities by counselors at the FOP Camp and needed the trustee’s help in connection with the investigation; (b) told the trustee that in furtherance of the investigation, he wished to install video surveillance and recording equipment; (c) told the trustee that if the trustee assisted him, he would speak to the trustee’s sentencing judge to request that the trustee’s sentence be suspended, but that if the trustee refused, the trustee would instead go back to jail; and (d) provided the trustee with cash and one of the cell phones to use to call him, after the trustee agreed to help.”
The operation went off as planned, the complaint states. Its purpose allegedly was to catch police officers who worked as camp counselors drinking booze. It claims that the conspiracy culminated on July 10, 2007, when Hullett sent an email to the Nashville Police Department, which “alleged that the minor campers were in danger. Additionally, Hullett’s email made allegations that drinking of alcoholic beverages had occurred and was occurring at the FOP Camp and suggested particular locations within the FOP Camp where empty or full containers of alcoholic beverages could be found.”
The FOP claims that on July 13, 2007, “an individual whose identity is unknown told an officer who worked at the Davidson County, Tennessee General Sessions Court that Hullett would be calling the officer, whereafter Hullett called and asked the officer whether it was possible to expedite a motion, then pending in General Sessions Court, to suspend the trustee’s sentence.”
The next day, the complaint states, Hullett tried to retrieve the surveillance equipment from the police youth camp, “at which time he was arrested by law enforcement officers.”
The FOP demands punitive damages for RICO bribery, extortion and fraud, privacy invasion, violation of the Hobbs Act, and other violations. Their lead counsel is Kristen Vanderkooi with Neal & Harwell.