Watkins official sentenced in CDL scandal
Jan 20, 2004 12:00 PM, from staff and wire reportsA supervisor in the Chicago IL-area office of a Florida trucking firm received a 17-month sentence in the commercial driver license (CDL) bribe scandal that led, in part, to the recent indictment of former Illinois Gov George Ryan.
Frank Catanzarite, 49, received more than $10,000 in bribes from unqualified drivers who then were hired to haul freight for his Lakeland FL-based company, Watkins Motor Lines. One of these drivers was involved in a 74-car crash in California in which two people died.
Catanzarite is the 55th person sentenced in the scandal, and four others are awaiting sentencing. "He allowed drivers who were unqualified to go on the road," said Judge Blanche Manning at the sentencing.
In court, Catanzarite testified that he routinely allowed drivers to skip the CDL tests in exchange for $500 to $2,000 each. He filled out the tests himself and sent the passing results to the carrier's Lakeland headquarters. Officials there did not know the CDLs were obtained fraudulently.