US ACCUSES PATRIARCA OF LABOR RACKETEERING
By Richard J. Connolly Globe Staff
Raymond L.S. Patriarca, reputed head of The Mob in New England, was accused yesterday of conspiring to seize control of the insurance business of the Laborers International Union in the Northeast with the help of a union official, two Providence lawyers and a Winchester businessman.
The alleged scheme was described by the Justice Department when Patriarca and his four codefendants were arraigned on an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Miami that has been investigating the role of organized crime and union leaders in a reported kickback racket.
The indictment, disclosed in federal courts in Boston and Providence, charged that the 73-year-old Patriarca and the other defendants conspired to funnel business from insurance funds, to charge union members the most expensive form of insurance and to loot insurance payments.
Named with Patriarca were Arthur E. Coia, 68, of Standish avenue, North Providence, general secretary-treasurer of the Laborers International Union of North America; his son, attorney Arthur A. Coia, 38, of Payne road, Barrington, R.I.; attorney Albert J. LePore, 40, of Nannaquaket road, Tiverton, R.I., a former Rhode Island state representative; and Joseph J. Vaccaro Jr., 51, of Rangeley Ridge, Winchester, who was associated with the J.J. Vaccaro Inc. construction firm.
Patriarca, the Coias and LePore were arraigned in District Court in Providence and released in $50,000 bond each pending further proceedings by the Justice Department to force them to appear in a Miami court.
Vaccaro appeared before US Magistrate Robert J. DeGiacomo in US District Court in Boston and was released after he assured the magistrate he would travel to Miami for trial whenever Justice Department officials requested his presence.
The nationwide investigation of alleged labor racketeering has centered in Miami where 16 other persons, including Santo Trafficante Jr., Florida's reputed No. 1 mobster, and Anthony Accardo, an alleged Chicago racketeer, were indicted last June.
The latest indictment alleges that in 1976, Patriarca advised Joseph Hauser, a Beverly Hills, Calif., insurance broker, that the insurance business of the Laborers Union would be controlled by "the family" with Patriarca controlling the Northeast, Trafficante controlling the South and Accardo taking the business in the Midwest.
Patriarca and his codefendants face fines of $25,000 each and up to 20 years in jail if they are convicted, according to Lawrence Sarhatt, special agent in charge of the Boston office, who supervised the Boston phase of the investigation.
Patriarca walked into the Federal Building in Providence unassisted but left leaning on the arm of his attorney, John F. Cicilline of Providence. Cicilline has said Patriarca is not well enough for trial on murder charges in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
"I don't care if I die or go to prison, because they are going to keep harassing me - for what I don't know," Patriarca told US Magistrate Frederick R. DeCesaris.
Patriarca's heart condition has been a factor in delaying his trial in Providence, where he is accused of ordering the 1965 murder of Raymond Curcio, a small-time hoodlum who allegedly broke into the home of Patriarca's brother, the late Joseph Patriarca. The reputed crime boss is scheduled to go on trial next Monday amid reports that a state appointed cardiologist has examined him to determine his ability to stand trial.
Rhode Island Atty. Gen. Dennis J. Roberts 2d said yesterday he is awaiting a report from a state-hired cardiologist who examined Patriarca. Roberts said he would push for a trial on the state charge if the doctor determines Patriarca is capable of standing trial.
Patriarca faces another trial in New Bedford in the 1968 slaying of Robert Candos, a bank robber, whose conduct allegedly aggravated Patriarca. That trial also has been delayed by Patriarca's health problems.
The labor racketeering charges result from a three-year investigation in which Patriarca and the others are accused of giving and receiving unlawful kickbacks for granting union-related business stemming from the operation of insurance funds.
The government alleges that the funds were those of the Laborers International Union, the Massachusetts Laborers Health and Welfare Fund and the Rhode Island Laborers Construction Fund.
Part of the conspiracy was that Hauser allegedly would purchase and operate Farmers National Life Insurance Co. of Florida, which provided life and health insurance coverage for the Laborers and that Hauser would pay kickbacks to Patriarca and the other defendants.
Coia, in addition to having a law practice with LePore, was also listed as business manager of the Rhode Island Central Council of the Laborers Union, and international representative of the union.
His father was identified as international vice president of the union, chairman and trustee of the New England Laborers Training Trust Fund and chairman and trustee of the Rhode Island Laborers Legal Services Fund.
LePore was counsel for the health and welfare trust fund of the Laborers Union and president of the Northeast Insurance Agency in Providence.
Vaccaro, a native of Somerville and a resident of Winchester for 11 years, was listed in the indictment as a trustee of the New England Laborers Training Trust Fund and head of the National Group Insurance Agency in Boston at the time of the alleged crime.