National Legal and Policy Center
1309 Vincent Place, Suite 1000
McLean, Virginia 22101
TEL: 703-847-3088 FAX: 703-847-6969

May 20, 1998

Mr. Craig Oswald
Assistant United States Attorney
Dirksen Federal Building, Fifth Floor
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Mr. David Buvinger
Assistant United States Attorney
Dirksen Federal Building, Fifth Floor
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Mr. J. Kenneth Lowrie
Criminal Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

RE: New information on why LIUNA GEB Attorney Robert D. Luskin should be dismissed from the LIUNA internal reform program.

Dear Sirs:

This is formal request that the United States (the Government) use its influence to have the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) dismiss General Executive Board (GEB) Attorney Robert D. Luskin. Further, the Government should fully impose the terms of the consent decree as provided in the February 13, 1995 Agreement (the Agreement) between the Government and LIUNA.

This is the National Legal and Policy Center's (NLPC) third formal request on this matter. The first of March 11, 1998 argued that Mr. Luskin has an obligation under the Agreement to undertake an impartial, independent and vigorous investigation; however, instead he has functioned more like a public relations consultant for LIUNA President Arthur A. Coia and Coia's political allies namely President Clinton by Luskin's repeated public attacks on Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr. The second of March 31, 1998 argued that Luskin was unfit to oversee LIUNA because conflicts of interests stemming from his and his law firm's clients, such as Mark E. Middleton, who are linked to Clinton Adminstration scandals.

NLPC has now uncovered new information that furthers the argument that Mr. Luskin has conflicts of interest that render him unfit to serve as LIUNA GEB Attorney investigating Mr. Coia.

Mr. Luskin, the attorney hired to rid LIUNA of mob-influence is no stranger to organized crime figures in Providence, Rhode Island, the home base of Mr. Coia.

Stephen A. Saccoccia was a client of Mr. Luskin. Mr. Saccoccia was a Rhode Island precious metals dealer convicted of money-laundering for the two South American drug cartels and La Cosa Nostra crime families in New England and sentenced in 1993 to 660 years in federal prison, fined $15.8 million and ordered to forfeit all laundered money. Former U.S. Customs Commissioner Carol B. Hatlett identified Mr. Saccoccia as "an associate" of the Raymond L.S. Patriarca crime family in Rhode Island and also as "a contract employee for the LCN [La Cosa Nostra]." Further in 1985, Mr. Saccoccia plead guilty to tax evasion in connection to his role as a key moneymaking "associate" for the Patriarca crime family and spent a brief time in jail.

On May 8, 1998, Mr. Luskin agreed to pay the Government $245,000 of $674,296 he received in "legal fees" from Mr. Saccoccia. Luskin said he received 45 gold bars valued at $505,125 and $169,171 in wire transfers from a Swiss bank account. The Government, led by recently retired U.S. Attorney Sheldon Whitehouse, went after Mr. Luskin and four other Saccoccia attorneys for the money paid to them out of profits laundered by Saccoccia. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys cannot be paid with funds acquired as result of the crime. Mr. Whitehouse charged Mr. Luskin with "willful blindness" in accepting the gold bars and wired funds -- after all, Mr. Whitehouse noted, Saccoccia's crimes involved precious metals, including gold, and Swiss bank accounts. Mr. Whitehouse further stated, "Luskin had reasonable cause to know that these funds were the proceeds of Saccoccia's money-laundering activities. Luskin, however, chose not to know the true origin of these funds."

The first issue against Mr. Luskin is his character. Should someone who the Government believes wrongfully and willfully took attorney fees from organized crime's profits (apparently including profits from La Cosa Nostra) be trusted at the same time by the same Government to root-out organized crime (including La Cosa Nostra) from one of America's most troubled labor unions? The Government's answer should be "No." Mr. Luskin, who de facto admitted that his acceptance of funds from Saccoccia was wrong with his May 8 settlement, should be not be trusted by the Government to continue a true LIUNA internal reform program.

The second and more important issue is the inherent conflict of interest between Mr. Luskin, Mr. Saccoccia, the
Patriarca crime family of Rhode Island and Mr. Coia. In 1981, Mr. Coia was indicted for bribery and racketeering. Codefendants in the case were Mr. Coia's father, the late Arthur E. Coia and the late Raymond L.S. Patriarca.

In addition to the obvious and direct connection of Luskin-Saccoccia-Patriarca-Coia, other questions exist. The former Rhode Island bank, Heritage Loan and Investment Company, was the only financial institution to have reportedly aided in Mr. Saccoccia's money-laundering schemes. Heritage Loan and Investment was the home of the North American Laborers Defense League which solicited funds to aid LIUNA officials, including Mr. Coia, with legal defense. This same bank also figured prominently in the 1990-1991 collapse of Rhode Island's banking system. Former Governor Bruce Sundlun closed 45 banks and credit unions after their private insurer failed.

Also, Mr. Luskin's services for Mr. Saccoccia raise questions. Mr. Luskin did not represent Mr. Saccoccia at trial. He reportedly helped on sentencing and appeals as well as with frozen assets around the world. For this he received almost $700,000? According to Mr. Whitehouse, the $169,171 in wire transfers from Switzerland were made between December 4, 1994 and February 23, 1995. November 4, 1994 was the day the Government delivered the 212-page draft RICO complaint to LIUNA with allegations including charges of Mr. Coia's longstanding collusion with organized crime. The Agreement by which LIUNA averted a Government takeover and Mr. Coia was able to keep his job, was signed on February 13, 1995. It was during this period that Mr. Coia hired Mr. Luskin to negotiate LIUNA's case with Government. The confluence of these dates, this money and these individuals at the very least should raise serious questions about Mr. Luskin and the trust the Government has placed in him to run an honest LIUNA internal reform effort.

It is as if Mr. Luskin was charged with overseeing a corrupt organization's "reform effort" and at the same time receiving payment from the corrupt entities of the organization in order to go easy on organization and its leaders. It is unseemly and has at least the appearance of conflict of interest.

Mr. Saccoccia and his connections to the Patriarca crime family and possibly to Mr. Coia, make Mr. Luskin a walking conflict of interest. Between Patriarca crime family, Mr. Coia and Mr. Luskin, the opportunities for improper influence and tampering with the LIUNA reform effort are endless.

Without an oversight offical who is, and is perceived to be, totally and unquestionably impartial, the reform effort is a joke, and the rank-and-file LIUNA member suffers. LIUNA members deserve a corruption-free and mob-free union. They should not have to tolerate any more corruption and embarrassment.

Mr. Luskin has an obligation under the Agreement to perform his duties with the utmost integrity and impartiality. But, his financial ties to Mr. Saccoccia and possibly to La Cosa Nostra and the Patriarca crime family, render him incapable of performing his duties under the Agreement.

Given this additional information, NLPC respectfully requests that the Government take whatever action is available and appropriate to have Mr. Luskin immediately relieved of his duties at LIUNA. Further, NLPC requests that the Government immediately dismiss Mr. Coia and implement the pending consent decree as provided for in the Agreement because of the damage done to the LIUNA internal reform program by Mr. Luskin's conduct.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Kenneth Boehm, Esq.

Attachments (Related Articles):

Jonathan D, Rockoff, "U.S., Lawyer Settle Suit Over Fee," Providence Journal-Bulletin , May 10, 1998.

Timothy J. Burger, "DOJ Targeting Attorneys' Fees," The Recorder , February 11, 1998.

cc: U.S. Attorney Scott R. Lassar
U.S. Representative Henry J. Hyde
U.S. Representative Bill McCollum

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