The Plain Dealer



May 27, 1995

Chester L. "Zip" Liberatore, who is under indictment and suspended from the top post at Laborers Local 310, has been accused of running the local from behind the scenes and signing more than 1,000 union checks since his March suspension.

The charges were made to the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) by Joseph Victor, who was overwhelmingly defeated by Liberatore in Sunday's election for Local 310 business manager.

Liberatore adamantly denied the allegations.

LIUNA suspended Liberatore because of his federal indictment. He cannot return to office unless he is acquitted of criminal charges of accepting a gratuity from a union contractor. Liberatore has denied wrongdoing.

Victor's charges suggest Liberatore has flaunted his suspension by showing up at the local daily, directing the activities of union business agents, and signing checks, although the charges note that the signature on the checks appear to be from a rubber stamp.

Victor further contends that Liberatore enjoyed an unfair and illegal advantage during the election campaign in part by using union resources denied to Victor.

"We've itemized some two dozen violations of the election rules and laws by Mr. Liberatore, any one of which we feel will give rise to his removal from office," said Richard Lillie, Victor's lawyer.

Liberatore said he has exerted no control over the local and shows up just to pick up his paychecks. He also said the only checks that may still bear his signature are those issued by the health and welfare fund.

"I'm not suspended from my responsibilities as a (fund) trustee," Liberatore said, adding that Local 310 checks are signed by James Deane, the secretary-treasurer and acting business manager.

A LIUNA spokesman said "the process has been put in place to remove" Liberatore from his trustee position.

Liberatore also said he engaged in no election violations and followed all recommendations of Joyce Goldstein, the lawyer hired to oversee the election.


Return to

(c) All orginal work Copyright 1998. All rights reserved..