Ex-Teamster leader pleads guilty in Chicago extortion case

July 30, 2019 GMT
Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr. leaves the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago after pleading guilty to receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return, Tuesday morning, July 30, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr. leaves the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago after pleading guilty to receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return, Tuesday morning, July 30, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr. leaves the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago after pleading guilty to receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return, Tuesday morning, July 30, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
1 of 3
Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr. leaves the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago after pleading guilty to receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return, Tuesday morning, July 30, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
1 of 3
Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr. leaves the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago after pleading guilty to receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return, Tuesday morning, July 30, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — A 59-year-old who was one of Chicago’s most powerful labor leaders has pleaded guilty to receiving over $500,000 in illegal payments and benefits, including the use of a yacht.

Former Teamsters Union official, John Coli Sr., changed his plea to guilty Tuesday in a federal case focused on how he squeezed one Chicago company for cash. He agreed to cooperate for a lower prison term of around 20 months.

The plea deal describes Coli threatening in 2016 to bring a picket line to the company and “shut it down within an hour” if it stopped $25,000 quarterly payments to him. Court filings don’t identify the company.

ADVERTISEMENT

Coli pleaded guilty to receiving prohibited payments as a union officer and making a false income tax return. Eleven other counts will be dismissed.