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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              August 20, 1996





Jack Ford

August 20, 1996

Page 1



Jack Ford

1021 Everglades Drive

Pacifica, CA  94044


Julian Torres

817 Geneva Avenue

San Francisco, CA  94112

Andy Cirkelis, Secretary-Treasurer

Teamsters Local Union 921

450 Harrison Street, Room 304

San Francisco, CA  94105

Jack Ford

August 20, 1996

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Re:  Election Office Case No.              CONV-33-LU921-EOH





This matter was remanded by the Election Appeals Master for further investigation.  In Re: Ford, 96 - Elec. App. - 223 (KC) (August 12, 1996). 


Jack Ford, president of Local Union 921 and delegate to the Teamsters 25th International Convention, filed this protest pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (Rules) alleging that Local Union 921 Secretary-Treasurer Andy Cirkelis failed to authorize adequate reimbursement for expenses that Mr. Ford incurred for housing at the Convention.  The dispute arose from Mr. Fords refusal to stay at the hotel at which his local union had made prior reservations:  the Clarion Suites on Race Street in Philadelphia.  Mr. Ford rejected two rooms based on asphyxiating paint fumes and the inability to open windows.  When the Clarion made no other offer, Mr. Ford stayed one night at a Marriott located near the Philadelphia airport and the remainder of the Convention at the Embassy Suites in Center City (Philadelphia).


Local Union 921 declined to send payment to Marriott or Embassy Suites for

Jack Ford

August 20, 1996

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Mr. Fords replacement rooms, each of which was more expensive than the room that the local union had reserved at the Clarion Suites.  Accordingly, Mr. Ford paid for his new rooms by personal credit card.  His filed this protest over the local unions decision to pay him only the amount of the Clarion Suites refund when the local union receives it.  That decision leaves Mr. Ford responsible for the extra cost of his Marriott and Embassy Suites rooms, as well the Clarion Suites cancellation charge.


The Election Officer heard this matter under her Advisory Regarding Convention Expenses (Advisory), issued May 2, 1996.  The issue was phrased in the initial decision as follows:


Under the Advisory, the local union is not obligated to pay

Mr. Ford any money in excess of the cost it would have paid had he remained at the hotel originally reserved for him by the local union.  In addition, the local union is not obligated to pay any penalty incurred by the change in lodging arrangements. 

Mr. Ford, however, argues that the local union is obligated to reimburse him for the increased lodging expense because the accommodations at Clarion Suites were uninhabitable.  Mr. Ford states that asphyxiating paint fumes filled the entire hotel, including the two rooms, on separate floors, offered to him by hotel staff.  Thus, he contends that since he had no choice but to incur the extra expense, because of conditions at Clarion Suites and the scarcity of alternative accommodations, the local union should pay the full cost of his lodgings.


After investigation, the Election Officer denied Mr. Fords protest, finding that his claim of uninhabitable conditions was not supported by the record.  On appeal, the Election Appeals Master remanded the matter for further investigation, upon finding that [t]he Election Officer may not reject a claim without making a reasonable effort to contact and examine fact witnesses whose names and addresses are provided by a protestor.  With respect to Mr. Fords alternate delegate, Julian Torres, who accompanied Mr. Ford at the Clarion Suites, the Election Appeals Master found that he was not searchingly and directly inquired of . . . in sufficient detail to warrant a sound credibility judgment.  The Election Appeals Master also found that the Clarion Suites desk clerk, Ted Duffy, was presumably a first hand witness to room conditions but was inexplicably not interviewed.


Further investigation was performed by Election Officer Protest Attorney Christopher Corson.


Mr. Duffy remembered the events in question very clearly.  When Messrs. Ford and Torres arrived at the Clarion, Mr. Duffy checked them in and gave Mr. Ford the key to his

Jack Ford

August 20, 1996

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room.[1]  He handled Mr. Fords complaint about that room by offering him the second room.  When Mr. Ford rejected that room and asked to talk to management, Mr. Duffy contacted front office manager Jennifer Montemayor.


Mr. Duffy stayed at the front desk throughout this time.  He did not accompany Messrs. Ford and Torres to either room and he denied any knowledge of their conditions.  He noted that Mr. Ford was very angry and upset and that his complaints were broader than the alleged fumes in the rooms and included dissatisfaction with the location of the Clarion Suites.


Ms. Montemayor handled Mr. Fords complaint.  While Messrs. Ford and Torres remained in the lobby, she and a member of the food and beverage staff, Sally Wilford, examined both rooms.  Ms. Montemayor states that both rooms were in perfect condition and she denied the presence of any fumes or odors.  Ms. Wilford also stated that they examined both rooms thoroughly and that there were no paint or turpentine smells.


Mr. Torres states that he and Mr. Ford originally had trouble locating the Clarion Suites.  They did not like its neighborhood and Mr. Torres stated that it did not even look like a hotel from the outside.  With respect to the rooms, Mr. Torres stated that they had an odor he found nauseating.  He attributed it to a combination of smells, perhaps including paint, bug spray, mold and/or cooking odors from appliances located in the rooms.  He further stated that the presence of smells was corroborated by a member of the cleaning staff with whom he and Mr. Ford spoke in a hallway when they went back to the second room to retrieve their luggage after deciding to leave the Clarion.  According to Mr. Torres, the staff member said that the Clarion was undergoing remodeling and that fumes were particularly bad in the basement break room where staff ate meals.  Messrs. Torres and Ford both stated that they saw other IBT members in the lobby of the Clarion who might be able to corroborate their complaints, but neither was able to provide names so that such witnesses could be contacted.


Ms. Montemayor confirmed that the staff break room is in the basement.  However, she denied that the Clarion was being remodeled.  She states that the hotel underwent remodeling in 1995, but that work ended in November.  Ms. Montemayor further states that the Clarion was full during the week of the Teamsters Convention, including the rooms that Mr. Ford rejected, and that no one else complained of odors in any of the rooms.


The Election Officers Advisory required local unions to provide their delegates with hotel rooms for the Convention.  The IBT Housing Office facilitated that process by compiling a list of hotels at which it had reserved blocks of rooms.  The Clarion Suites was one of the hotels on that list.


Jack Ford

August 20, 1996

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Truly substandard accommodations would not have satisfied the Advisory.  On the basis of this record, however, the Election Officer finds that the Clarions rooms, including those offered to Mr. Ford, were not substandard.  Ms. Montemayor stated that both rooms were free of odors and in normal condition.  The Election Officer credits the testimony of

Ms. Montemayor that the hotel was full for the week of the Convention and that no other complaints about odors were received.  The IBT Housing Office received some favorable comments about the Clarion and some complaints about its location.  The Housing Office received no complaints about the quality or condition of the Clarions rooms.  Furthermore, the Election Officer finds that the Clarion was not undergoing remodeling or painting when Messrs. Ford and Torres were there.


With respect to Mr. Fords rejection of the specific rooms offered to him, Mr. Torres did not corroborate Mr. Fords complaint of asphyxiating paint fumes.  Mr. Torres stated that he smelled a mixture of odors, including mold and cooking odors, that he found nauseating.  The Election Officer finds in any event that both rooms were subsequently accepted and inhabited by other Clarion guests. 


The evidence shows that both Mr. Torres and Mr. Ford had begun to dislike the Clarion even before entering it, due to their difficulty in finding the hotel, their dislike of its location and their opinion that it did not look like a hotel from the outside.  Mr. Duffy confirmed that Mr. Ford complained about the Clarions location when complaining about the alleged fumes.  Mr. Torres also testified that a member of the cleaning staff said that remodeling was taking place.  While the Election Officer credits Mr. Torres testimony that such a conversation took place, which may have contributed to perceptions of fumes on the part of Messrs. Ford and Torres, the Election Officer has found, as a matter of fact, that remodeling was not going on.


The Election Officer finds that the Clarion was generally acceptable for purposes of the Advisory and that the record as a whole shows that the rooms rejected by Mr. Ford were not uninhabitable.


Accordingly, after further investigation as ordered by the Election Appeals Master, the protest is DENIED.  Local Union 921 shall reimburse Mr. Ford the full amount of the refund it receives from the Clarion Suites within two (2) working days of the receipt of the refund.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one day of receipt of this letter.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Officer in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing and shall be served on:

Jack Ford

August 20, 1996

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Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham & Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY 10022

Fax (212) 751-4864


Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 400 N. Capitol Street, Suite 855, Washington, DC 20001, Facsimile

(202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.






Barbara Zack Quindel

Election Officer



cc:               Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master


[1]Mr. Torres was the alternate delegate from Local Union 921.  The local union did not pay for his accommodations at the Convention.  In order to avoid personal expense, he stayed in Mr. Fords room.