Bureau of National Affairs

 

Business Manager of Chicago LIUNA Local Barred For Life Under Settlement Agreement

 

 

By Michael Bologna

Monday, March 04, 2002

 

 

CHICAGO – The business manager of a Chicago local of the Laborers International Union of North America with reputed mob ties has agreed to step down from his local under an agreement reached with the union's internal reform organization.

 

     Richard Caravetta, business manager of LIUNA Local 2, has agreed to be barred from elected office and employment within the union for life under a settlement agreement signed Feb. 19 with LIUNA's Office of the General Executive Board Attorney. Local 2, with approximately 2,000 members, represents Chicago laborers engaged in sewer and tunnel construction and repair activities.

 

   Matthew Paul, a prosecutor within the Office of the GEB Attorney, said LIUNA agreed to drop its investigation of Caravetta if he in turn stepped down from all leadership and employment duties within the union. The only exception to this divorce, Paul said, is Caravetta's right to remain a member of LIUNA. In this capacity, he could continue to earn a living as a laborer and participate in the union's pension and welfare programs.

 

  “Basically, he is now barred from office and from employment in the local, within the district council, at this international union and in any union-related entities such as training programs or pension and welfare funds,” said Paul, an attorney with the Washington, D.C. firm of Patton Boggs LLP.

 

   Caravetta could not be reached for comment. During negotiations with the GEB Attorney Caravetta was represented by the Chicago firm of George Becker & Associates.

 

   Caravetta's tenure at Local 2 was brief. He won election as business manager in March 2001. Caravetta's rise to power marked the first elections at the local after it was brought out of trusteeship. LIUNA placed Local 2 under trusteeship in 1999, alleging it was under the control and influence of organized crime.

 

   Paul would not reveal the nature of the GEB Attorney's investigation of Caravetta. He did note that Caravetta agreed to resign from Local 2 without admitting or denying any of the allegations. Paul added that the agreement, however, does not insulate Caravetta from potential civil litigation by the GEB Attorney, the union or some other entity.

 

   But Jim McGough, a Chicago laborer who operates a union reform group known as Laborers For Justice, said the investigation revolved around mob affiliation. McGough, who worked with a reform slate of candidates when Caravetta assumed control of the local last year, said local law enforcement does not view Caravetta as a member of organized crime, but as a mob associate. McGough said the GEB Attorney wouldn't have barred Caravetta for life if his alleged infractions were anything less than mob affiliation.

 

   “Caravetta was a mob puppet,” McGough said. “He was essentially under the influence and control of organized crime. Organized crime employed dirty tricks to win his election as business manager. The Caravetta slate, as I said during the election, was a mob slate.”


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