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Pa. Teamsters leader is ousted

The leader of one of Pennsylvania's most powerful unions has been ousted after allegations that he lied to a federal investigatory board.

The leader of one of Pennsylvania's most powerful unions has been ousted after allegations that he lied to a federal investigatory board.

Francis "Frank" J. Gillen, a longtime officer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, cannot hold any union office for five years and cannot belong to the union as a truck driver for three years.

Gillen, an international vice president for the eastern region of the United States, led the 140,000-member Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters and the 60,969 member Joint Council 53, a group overseeing nearly 20 Teamster locals in the region.

Gillen also had to resign from his position as president of Local 500 in Philadelphia, which has 1,249 members.

The Independent Review Board, a federal court-supervised panel established in 1989 to root out corruption and mob influences in the Teamsters, will decide Sept. 11 whether the Teamsters' Aug. 2 action against Gillen is sufficient.

Yesterday, the board decided to hold off on an immediate reaction to the Aug. 2 ruling until Sept. 11 to give Gillen time to decide whether to appeal.

Gillen's attorney, Andrew Hoffmann of Wiseman & Hoffmann, of New York, said Gillen would appeal.

The Teamsters' decision - if it is upheld by the review board - will prohibit Teamster union members and officials from speaking to Gillen.

"The impact of the decision upon Mr. Gillen is devastating for someone who has spent his entire adult life as a Teamster and representing the interests of other workers," Hoffmann said.

Gillen did not return several phone calls to his home in Sewell, N.J.

"Gillen brought reproach upon the IBT," said charges submitted to the Teamsters by the review board.

In the April 26 document, Gillen is accused of lying to the review board about his contacts with Thomas Ryan, the former president of Teamster Local 107, one of the unions in Joint Council 53.

The federal board ousted Ryan in 1996 for misusing money from the local. He was later permanently barred.

Under board rules, Teamsters may not have contact with permanently barred members.

In February, Gillen testified under oath that he had not been in contact with Ryan, but phone records showed they spoke 95 times between 2000 and 2001, according to board documents.

Besides his four paid union positions, Gillen serves on the board of the Philadelphia Port Authority and receives $48,000 a year as a consultant to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the board documents said.

In 2006, Gillen earned $156,800 from his state and local union positions, according to U.S. Department of Labor records. Appointed as international vice president in November, he was set to earn $75,000 a year in that job, the review board document said.

Now the Teamsters must find new leaders to fill Gillen's roles.

The Teamsters will eventually appoint a replacement for him as an international vice president, spokesman Bret Caldwell said.

Paul Cardullo, vice president of the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, is now its acting president, according to its Web site.

The board of the regional group, Joint Council 53, will meet Monday to select a new leader. James Kelly, secretary-treasurer of Local 500, Gillen's home local, can lead the union initially.