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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 31, 2000
Arthur A. Coia, ex-boss of
the Laborers Intl Union of N. Am., has agreed to plead guilty
to a mail fraud charge related to union corruption. U.S. Attorney
Donald K. Stern in Boston and John R. McGlynn, of Dept of Labors
Racketeering Division, announced Jan. 27 that Coia defrauded the
State of Rhode Island and the Town of Barrington, R.I., of approximately
$100,000 in taxes. The deal alleges that from 1991-97, Coia, with
the assistance car dealers under the name of Viking (a LIUNA vendor),
purchased Ferraris that ranged from $215,000 to $1,050,000 and
avoided taxes due on the purchase and ownership of those cars.
"While holding important leadership positions at LIUNA...
Coia repeatedly found ways to shirk his duty to pay his taxes,"
In the plea, the government
recommended a two-year probation term, full restitution and a
$10,000 fine. Additionally, Coia is barred from any future role
in LIUNA or its subordinate entities in any capacity, and to be
barred from being an employee of any other union for a period
of five years. Coia "retired" as LIUNAs boss on Jan.
1. He is now president emeritus and get $335,000 a year. The plea
is subject to approval by U.S. Dist. Judge George A. O'Toole.
[USAO D. Mass., Media Release 1/27/00]
"Coia's plea further illustrates
that the Laborers ¡internal reform effort is a sham,"
said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm. "Since 1995, Coia and LIUNA
have perpetuated the myth that Coia is ¡squeaky clean. Finally,
it is confirmed that Coia is just another dirty union boss. The
Clinton-Reno Justice Department should be embarrassed that it
has taken so long to bring Coia to partial justice."
"The agreement doesnt
go far enough. For years Coia has avoided justice. Now that hes
caught, the government should not go soft on him. Coia is a corrupt
union boss who should get what he deserves -- prison," added
Coia, in his office three blocks
from the White House, used a Ferrari coffee mug, had Ferrari toy
cars and displayed Ferrari posters. When union officials who
disdained such "high living" visited his office, he
would temporarily replace his Ferrari pictures with posters by
Ralph Fasanella, a painter famous for his "loving" depictions
of factories. [N.Y. Times 1/28/00]
Accountability sunk to a new
low in the ongoing scam between the Dept of Justice and LIUNA.
The extension of the 1995 DOJ-LIUNA agreement, by which the union
avoided a DOJs racketeering suit and takeover, was set to expire
Jan. 31. On Jan. 20, the agreement was replaced with a weakened
agreement that expires in 2006. Unlike the prior agreement, the
new deal has no takeover threat. Before, DOJ could take over
the union if DOJ felt the unions "internal reform effort"
was failing. Though the last five years have shown that this
threat was meaningless, it was at least something. Now DOJ has
virtually nothing: it can "veto" major changes in LIUNAs
"internal reform effort." What is a major change?
How will this "veto" be enforced?
The new agreement also calls
for Stephen A. Goldberg, a law professor, to oversee LIUNAs 2001
and 2006 elections. He oversaw the 1996 election of corrupt ex-LIUNA
boss Arthur A. Coia. [BNA, Providence J.-Bull. 1/21/00]
In the latest illustration
that the LIUNA "internal reform effort" is a failure,
U.S. Dist. Judge Richard J. Arcara Jan. 24 approved a consent
decree over LIUNA Local 210 in Buffalo. Arcara said the government
takeover was "appropriate and necessary" and that he
found "substantial evidence" that the affairs of Local
210 have been influenced by members of organized crime for more
than 20 years. If such corruption is so pervasive in Local 210,
what has LIUNAs "internal reform effort" been doing
the last five years?
A 114-page civil complaint
filed under RICO sought injunctive relief to insure that Local
210 is "rid of domination and influence by members and associates
of the La Cosa Nostra organized crime family." The complaint
was filed by DOJ and LIUNA in Dec., but Arcara forced LIUNA out
because of a conflict of interest. LIUNA had run Local 210 and
it was suing Local 210. The judge didnt want LIUNA to be both
plaintiff and defendant. [BNA 1/26/00]
Rhode Island Boss Indicted
for Embezzlement Michael Fascitelli, the business manager of a
LIUNA Local 1056 was indicted Jan. 12 by a Rhode Island grand
jury on a felony embezzlement charge for allegedly using his union-issued
credit card for personal purchases. The amount was not disclosed.
The embezzlement allegedly occurred between 1996 and 1997. He
is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 26. [Providence J.-Bull.
Union Corruption Update is part of NLPC's Organized Labor Accountability Project which is investigating and exposing corruption and extremism in the Teamsters, LIUNA, AFL-CIO and many other union organizations. NLPC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation promoting ethics and accountability in government through research, education and legal action.