Associated Press



Associated Press


Roman Catholic Msgr. Galliano Cavallaro is trying raise money for the legal defense of two union leaders who were indicted for labor racketeering with Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the reputed New England crime boss.

In a letter this week to New England members of the Laborers International Union, Cavallaro charged that secretary treasurer Arthur Coia of Providence and president Angelo Fosco of Chicago were "the targets of a concerted and well orchestrated campaign by the federal government to repress individual rights." When asked if Patriarca would receive any money, Cavallaro said, "Absolutely not; he's not in the union."

The appeal went out under the letterhead of the New England Laborers Defense League.

However, Cavallaro, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, told reporters he had no evidence of a campaign to repress rights.

"I'm not going to be answering any technical questions," he said. "I agree with the thoughts of the letter. I'm not going to be pinned down to any one person, one cause, one statement or any words."

He referred questioners to James Merloni Jr., whom he identified as administrator of the league. But Merloni, director of the union's training center in Hopkinton, Mass, said the priest "must be confused." Merloni said he knew nothing about the organization.

Coia and Fosco were indicted with 19 others earlier this year in connection with a wide federal probe of an alleged conspiracy to split millions of dollars in kickbacks on union trust funds.

Others indicted included Coia's son, Arthur A. Coia, an international representative for the 900,000-member union; former Rhode Island state Rep. Albert Lepore, the younger Coia's partner in a Providence law practice, and Patriarca.

The senior Coia said the league was established at his suggestion and he would take defense money from the fund if he needed it.


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