How a Teamsters scandal had Aspen connections |

How a Teamsters scandal had Aspen connections

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

What does a decades-old election finance scandal involving the Teamsters union have to do with Aspen?

The answer can be found at the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, which reported Dec. 28 that an Aspen resident satisfied a judgment more than 13 years after he was ordered to pay $700,000 to the federal government.

The debt was paid after U.S. prosecutors for the Southern District of New York, on Dec. 9, 2014, slapped a $700,000 lien on a Red Mountain property purportedly connected to Martin Davis.

Davis was once a high-powered but low-profile political operative for the Democratic party; he reportedly worked on presidential campaigns for Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. But it was an election finance scandal involving the Teamsters union that resulted in him pleading guilty in 1997 to conspiracy, mail fraud and embezzlement from a labor union.

A federal judge ordered Davis on March 22, 2002, to pay $700,000 as part of his plea agreement. He also received two years’ probation.

But Davis, according to government records, failed to pay the judgment, prompting U.S. attorneys to file the lien in Pitkin County. The Aspen phone number listed under the name of Davis, who didn’t return calls last year regarding this story, was no longer in service this week. He also didn’t return a phone message left on his cellphone Tuesday.

An attorney who represented him in the fraud case said he was unaware of the lien or the outstanding judgment.

“I have not been in touch with Martin for years,” lawyer David Schertler said Tuesday from his Washington, D.C., office.

In an Oct. 22, 1997 article in the Washington Post about Davis, titled “Teamster Race Became a Dealmaker’s Undoing,” Schertler said Davis had admitted his wrongdoing in getting Teamster President Ron Carey re-elected in 1991 through illegal campaign funding schemes.

Carey defeated Jimmy Hoffa Jr., son of Jimmy Hoffa, who ran International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one of the most powerful labor unions in the U.S., from 1958 until 1971.

“Martin recognizes that his actions in trying to help Ron Carey get reelected were wrong and violated the law. He takes full responsibility for what he has done and is deeply, deeply sorry to all who have been affected by his conduct.”

Property records link Davis to the ownership of a condominium on East Hyman Avenue, which he bought in 1987.

The federal government, however, placed the lien on “said property of Martin Davis, located at 200 East Reds Road.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen A. Zebrowski didn’t return calls seeking clarification.

Davis’ Aspen connections also are touched on in the Washington Post article that noted: “He would throw a lavish party at his Dupont Circle home (in Washington, D.C.), then hop on a flight to Aspen to ski. There he would scream for others to go faster as he hurtled down the mountain, they said.”

Davis, who was born in 1961, remains an active registered voter in Pitkin County as a member of the Democratic party, according to voter records.

He also once owned a small consulting firm, World Marketing Corp., from Aspen. The firm was incorporated in 1996 in Washington, D.C., according to public records.