The New York Times

Union Dissident a Winner in Lottery

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A Bronx construction worker who drove himself deep into debt during the last four years fighting corruption in his union won $2.5 million in the New York State Lottery yesterday. "There's got to be a God above," said he worker, Mario Montuoro, who, in the process of his fight, has accused the United States Secretary of Labor of participating in payoffs.

Mr. Montuoro has not worked steadily since he was forced out of his job as an officer of his union four years ago because, he says, he would not cooperate in cheating union members of their benefits. "You've been beating your head against a wall for four years," said James A. Nolan, regional director of the lottery, as he told Mr. Montuoro of is winnings. "What this can do is start brand new life for you." "My mind was made up about what I got to do before this," Mr. Montuoro sic. "Money isn't my thing. If I were greedy, I'd still be there with all the other corrupt union officials. This money's not changing me. But all the people who stood by me, I'm going to help them now."

Mr. Montuoro, who is 49 years old, said he would use part of his winnings to set up a fund to help pay the legal costs of unionists fighting corruption.

He said he would also use some of the money to pay back the $25,000 that he has borrowed from friends and family since he was ousted from his job as secretary-treasurer of Local 29 of the Laborers International Union, which represents blasters and drillers at city construction sites.

Mr. Montuoro acknowledged that his falling out with the leaders of his union marked a break with people with whom he had had much in common. "I was no angel," he said. Although he has convictions for narcotics and weapons possession, he said that "I'm going to make up for all the bad I did."

His ouster from the union post was the beginning of a battle with the leadership of the union-a battle that took Mr. Montuoro to prosecutors, grand juries, newspapers and anyone else who would listen to his stories of corruption in the union.

Partly on the basis of Mr. Montuoro's testimony, both the president of the union, Louis Sanzo and the new secretary-treasurer, Amadio Petito, were convicted on Federal charges.

During the investigation of his union, Mr. Montuoro raised an additional charge: that Raymond J. Donovan, now the Secretary of Labor, had participated in a payoff to Mr. Sanzo during a period in which Mr. Donovan was executive vice president of a construction company building part of a new subway line. Those charges are being investigated by a special grand jury, but Mr. Donovan has denied any wrongdoing and has described Mr. Montuoro as a "damnable, contemptible liar."

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Mr. Montuoro reinstated with back pay, but the union has so far resisted. Mr. Montuoro said he would continue the fight for his back pay and his job.

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