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Ex-Hotel Union Head Hanley Dies

January 9, 2000

LAND O’ LAKES, Wis. (AP) _ Edward T. Hanley, who led a national union for hotel and restaurant workers for 25 years before retiring amid a federal corruption probe, died Friday in a traffic accident in northern Wisconsin. He was 67.

Hanley was killed in a head-on collision on a country highway in Land O’ Lakes, Vilas County Sheriff’s Department officials said. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Hanley, of Wadsworth, Ill., also had a residence in Land O’ Lakes.

During his years as president of the 244,000-member Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, Hanley was recognized for bringing young people back into the labor movement. He wielded power with strong political connections _ he was a confidante to Mayor Richard Daley, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski.

But his tenure also was marked by federal investigations into alleged links with organized crime and improper expenditures, which the union denied. Hanley’s retirement in July 1998 was part of an agreement with a federal monitor who had been named to purge mob influence from the union.

As part of the agreement, Hanley, who admitted no wrongdoing, kept his full salary, $250,000 a year, for life.

A report issued later by the federal monitor charged that union bosses and their cronies enjoyed luxuries, such as a $2.5 million private jet and Cadillacs, paid for with the dues of rank-and-file members.

Though would-be reformers railed against Hanley, he also had his admirers.

Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke said in a statement that Hanley’s rise from humble beginnings on Chicago’s west side ``is the stuff of legends.″

``I fear no one will ever chronicle the countless people who were the beneficiaries of Ed Hanley’s generosity and care,″ Burke said.

Hanley is survived by his wife, Kathryn, two sons, two sisters and four grandchildren.

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