Friends of ex-Teamster Bill Hogan rally to his aid

Jim Belushi will be one of the Friends of Bill Hogan hosting a March 24 fundraiser on behalf of the former Teamsters official, as he defends his right to free speech.

In a bizarre parallel universe out of an H. G. Wells sci-fi novel, Bill Hogan could go to jail for six months for violating an order to never speak to anyone in the union ? including his son.

“Although I am personally angered by the way Bill has been treated, he keeps his head up and takes the high road. I will support Bill to the end,” Belushi said.

Hogan, who ran Local 714 for 30 years and headed Joint Council 25 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was expelled from the Teamsters in 2002. Trumped up and unproven charges were brought against Hogan by the International Review Board, a government-imposed internal watchdog organization.

Now the IRB wants to jail Hogan for six months for speaking to his boyhood friend and fellow union member, Bill Riley, on purely personal matters.

Furthermore, Hogan’s son Bob, former business manager/secretary-treasurer of Local 714 also could be expelled from the Teamsters for life at an April 2 hearing.

The reason: Bob couldn’t prevent his father from talking to fellow union member Bill Riley about purely personal matters. Hogan and Riley have been close friends since the fifth grade and Riley is a multi-honored honoree for his lifelong work in humanitarian causes.

The Teamsters expelled Riley in 2005 for talking to Bill Hogan ? even though Hogan was no longer a union member.

Legal experts say Bill Hogan should no longer be subject to the onerous rules of the IRB. “Friends of Bill Hogan” was organized to help Hogan pay legal expenses for his defense.

Belushi, who has known Bill Hogan since 1985, said, “I know Bill to be very fair, honest and a terrific community leader. He was born a bred as a Teamster. He has the heart and passion for the working man and for bettering his community and everyone in his union.”

Among the guests expected at the cocktail party-fund-raiser will be the first IFO director Lucy Salenger, who said, “There wouldn’t be a film industry in Chicago without Bill Hogan.”

For information about the fund-raiser at O’Brien’s, 1528 N. Wells, call 312/446-6290.