Former Washington area Teamster leader Francis C. DeBrouse was sentenced to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine today by a judge who told him he appeared to be a "fine union president" in some respects but there was "no question" he had abused his power for personal gain.
U.S. District Court Judge Frank A. Kaufman imposed the sentence for violation of five labor laws by demanding and receiving about $20,000 in goods and services from companies employing members of Teamsters Local 639, which DeBrouse headed from 1969 through 1977.
DeBrouse's attorneys said they will appeal.
In his lengthly comments to DeBrouse, Kaufman said he could not understand DeBorouse's own comment today that "I never felt I had that much power." Kaufman said he had never seen a union leader who had "gotten bigger for his boots that Mr. DeBrouse."
"I don't see how you can look yourself in the mirror and not see you got things for yourself and your family because you were a labor leader and you had that power," Kaufman said. "You were feared in a sense by those who didn't want you to achieve your legitimate goal [as union negotiator], but you were also feared because you were trying to achieve what the Congress of the U.S. stated were not legitimate goals . . . asking favors."
The sentence is the maximum possible for one of the five misdemeanor conviction. DeBrouse had been found innocent of felony charges of rack-eteering, extortion and tax fraud.
Kaufman told DeBrouse he would have levied a heavier sentence by making jail terms and fines consecutive-five years and $50,000-except for the fact that DeBrouse's wife, Glovia, had suffered a stroke shortly after the trial, leaving her partiallty paralyzed and DeBrouse with $6,000 medical bill.
DeBrouse also faces a legal bill of $150,000 as a result of the two-year investigation and trial concerning his union activities.
DeBrouse was convicted six weeks ago of illegally receiving nearly $7,000 worth of wall-to-wall carpeting and $1,771 worth of concrete for the base of the lights at his tennis courts. DeBrouse owns a $280,000 house in the exclusive Tara subdivision of Davidsonville, where the materials were used.
He also was convicted of illegally receiving payments of about $200 a week from an air freight company, Instant Air Freight, through a close friend.
DeBrouse also was convicted of accepting two exterminating contracts from Giant Food Ind. for Gotham Building Maintenance, a corporation in which he held a secret interest.
DeBrouse was found innocent of the most serious charge, that Excavation Construction Inc., a multimillion dollar Prince George's County firm, had given him $145,000 worth of labor and materials for the Anne Arundel County house which was built about five years ago.
During the trial prosecutors argued that DeBrouse had illegally used his position as head of the nearly $8,000-member union to obtain more than $200,000 worth of goods and services from companies where Teamster drivers worked.
The prosecutors said DeBrouse "extoried" the favors from companies like Giant Food Inc. wanted to insure labor peace and hold down labor costs.
But DeBrouse said the various business relationships developed naturally during the course of his union dealings and involved no special favors.
His failure to pay for certain items the prosecutors charged were payoffs, were simply matters of dispute over prices or workmanship, DeBrouse's attorneys argued.
DeBrouse was convicted of the five misdemeanor charges April 10. The jury, which has listened to nearly seven weeks of testimony and had poured over reams of documents, reported themselves deadlocked three times during their 40 hours of deliberations.
But on the fifth day of their deliberations, the jury returned with the misdemeanor convictions.