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High-ranking Chicago Teamsters official quits; tight with indicted ex-leader

Teamsters logo on t-shirt

A top local Teamsters official has resigned. | Sun-Times file photo

A long-time colleague and confidant of indicted ex-Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli Sr. resigned her union posts this week without explanation.

Becky Strzechowski, who had been principal officer of Teamsters Local 700 and a vice president of the Chicago-area consortium of Teamster groups called Joint Council 25, sent a brief letter to the organization dated Thursday saying:

“Please be advised that I am retiring from my positions with the Teamsters effective today.”

Strzechowski, who could not be reached for comment, also held a post with the Teamsters’ international operation, overseeing the office for women members on behalf of Teamsters chieftain Jim Hoffa.

She had been one of the highest-ranking female Teamsters officials in the country and was considered a protégé of Coli, who already was gone from the union.

Coli, for years an influential figure whose money and membership was courted by politicians, was charged in 2017 with extorting Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, a West Side operation where TV shows such as “Chicago Fire” and “Empire” have been recorded, and through which the Teamsters have agreements.

Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. leaving the Dirksen Federal Building last July.

Former longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. leaving the Dirksen Federal Building in July 2017. | Max Herman / Sun-Times

Studio boss Alex Pissios started cooperating with federal authorities – allowing them to secretly record conversations – after they confronted him with evidence that he’d committed fraud during his bankruptcy.

With Pissios’ help, the feds snared Coli, who is accused of extorting money from Cinespace to buy labor peace.

Federal agents have interviewed, or tried to interview, other high-level Teamsters officials in the Chicago area about Coli, sources said, one of whom called Strzechowski’s resignation “abrupt.”

Local 700 represents, among other workers, city of Chicago garbage collectors and snowplow operators.

Coli is awaiting trial.

Attorneys for Coli and Pissios could not be reached for comment.