Coli and his relatives have also been accused in civil lawsuits in both state and federal court of running the union like a racket — accusations they have vehemently denied.
A politically connected Teamsters union boss was indicted Wednesday on federal charges alleging he extorted $100,000 in cash from a local business.
John Coli Sr., considered one the union’s most powerful figures nationally, was charged with threatening work stoppages and other labor unrest unless he was given cash payoffs of $25,000 every three months by the undisclosed business.
The alleged extortion occurred when Coli was president of Teamsters Joint Council 25, a labor organization that represents more than 100,000 workers in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana.
Coli, 57, an early backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was charged with one count of attempted extortion and five counts of demanding and accepting prohibited payment as a union official.
In all, Coli accepted five payoffs, most recently a $25,000 sum on April 4, according to the indictment. Last year, he also accepted four cash payments totaling $75,000, according to the charges.
The indictment seeks forfeiture from Coli of at least $100,000.
An arraignment in federal court in Chicago had not been set as of Wednesday.