Longtime Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. – a former key ally of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner now faces federal extortion charges.

Leaders of Teamsters Local 726 has a 15-year, rent-to-own deal on an office building. But the Teamsters International in Washington D.C. dissolved Local 726 and its members became part of a new Local 700, which broke the lease in 2010, just after a year, and moved its offices to Park Ridge.

Another Teamsters group headed by Coli had just bought the Park Ridge building, where Coli’s sister Susan Fosco was the property manager.

Local 700 leaders argued that the lease for the building was not binding on them and stopped paying rent.

In July 2015, Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell ordered the union and Coli to pay near $2 million in damages and more than $300,000 in legal fees and costs. A three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate Court unanimously rejected the appeal, but reversed the ruling that Coli was personally liable to pay a portion of the judge.

Ironically, while the appeal was pending, Coli was charged in a separate, federal case in July with extorting $325,000 from Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. We covered that here.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 285-5342 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.

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