Teamsters Union President Roy Lee Williams once spoke of ordering a union dissident in Kansas City shot because he was such "a nuisance," a federal court judge was told here today.
Not long after the 1959 conversation, the so-called troublemaker, a truck driver, Jake Henderson, was wounded by a shotgun blast through his living room window, the court was told.
The testimony came from William Quinn, a retired FBI agent from Kansas City, who also told of reports that the Kansas City crime syndicate dominated Williams within a year after he became president of Teamsters Local 41 in 1954.
Quinn said his information came from a now-dead colleague of Williams, Floyd R. Hayes, the former secretary-treasurer of Local 41. Hayes was murdered in June, 1964, a few months after he had secretly started cooperating with the FBI.
Asked about the Henderson shooting, Quinn said Hayes remembered that, "Sometime in 1959, Roy Williams told him that Jake Henderson had, in effect, become a nuisance." Accordingly, the FBI man continued, Williams told Hayes that "he was going to have him Henderson shot, only to hurt him, not to kill him."
According to Quinn's mild-mannered testimony, Williams reluctantly installed a medical plan at Local 41 under a death threat from Kansas City crime boss Nick Civella's organization. Then, after the plan was installed, Williams allegedly sought kickbacks from the doctor in charge of it.
Quinn said Hayes once told him of being frozen out of a $30,000 payoff that Williams allegedly got in return for a $1.1 million Teamsters pension fund loan to a Midwest oilman. Quinn added, "Roy told him that he had used the money for a land transaction . . . and that while Mr. Hayes was in jail for income tax violations , the union had taken care of him very well."
The testimony was admitted over the objections of Williams' lawyer, Thomas Wadden, who maintained that the government should not be allowed to use the statements of a dead man without corroboration.
"This is a terribly serious matter to Mr. Williams," Wadden protested at one of a series of pre-sentencing hearings for the Teamsters leader and three other men. "His reputation is at stake here."
U.S. District Court Judge Prentice H. Marshall impatiently pointed out that Williams had been convicted less than two months ago "of a very serious offense," conspiring to bribe Democrat Howard W. Cannon when he was a senator from Nevada.
"Mr. Williams made his own reputation," the judge added. "He's chosen his own companions and he didn't choose very well."
Retired FBI agent Quinn said Hayes contacted the FBI in late 1963, when he was facing a five-year prison term for conspiring to steal union funds by inflating expenses. Williams was tried with Hayes but had been acquitted.
Under cross-examination by Wadden, Quinn agreed that Hayes, who had been top man in Local 41 before being shunted aside, "hated Roy's guts." But Quinn said he still found Hayes reliable.
The ex-FBI man said Hayes once told him of a conversation with Williams shortly after Williams became Local 41 president.
"Mr. Williams told him any major decisons with regard to Local 41, he had to clear with Nick Civella," Quinn related.
According to Quinn, Hayes also told of being invited to Williams' home around 1956 to discuss a proposal by Dr. James DiRenna, a Kansas City osteopath, to provide outpatient medical care for Local 41 members and their families for $1 a month.
Williams reportedly was agitated and told Hayes that "two hoodlums," one of them the late Thomas (Highway) Simone, told him "he should accept the DiRenna plan or his children would be killed . . . and then his wife would be killed and then he would be killed," Quinn testified.
" Hayes said Mr. Williams was emotional about it to the point that he broke down and cried."
After a futile effort to get Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa to intervene, Williams reportedly agreed to accept the plan and, subsequently, to pay $4,000 a month. Quinn said Williams later reportedly told Hayes that he "contacted Dr. DiRenna and asked for a $400-a-month kickback." When DiRenna refused, the court was told, Williams suggested $200 a month, but that, too, was rejected.
Contacted at the Parklane Medical Center which he founded in Kansas City, DiRenna denied the account. "That's crazy," he told a reporter. "I never had that kind of power."
Hayes was killed by a shotgun blast on June 11, 1964, in the parking lot of a Kansas City bowling alley, just before he was to go to prison. "The murder . . . had a very chilling effect on the cooperation we got thereafter," Quinn testified.
The hearings, now past their sixth day, will resume Tuesday.