The Boston Globe

R.I. Man To Head International Labor Union

February 14, 1993

Arthur Coia, general secretary of the Laborers' International Union of North America, has been elected president of the 600,000-member union.

Coia succeeds Angelo Fosco, who died Thursday during the union's annual winter meeting in Miami.

Coia, secretary since 1989, focused on health and safety in the work place, training and laborer-management cooperation while serving as the union's second-ranking officer.

The laborers' union is one of Rhode Island's and one of the nation's largest and most controversial unions.

Coia also has been the subject of controversy over alleged ties to Joseph Mollicone Jr., whose alleged embezzlement from his Providence bank contributed to Rhode Island's banking collapse two years ago.

Investigators found a passbook in the vault of Mollicone's former Heritage Loan & Investment Co., listing the name "Arthur Coia," among others.

The noninterest account, allegedly emptied by Mollicone, appears to once have contained more than $400,000.

The account was established by the North American Laborers' Defense League. The union denied either it or Coia had anything to do with the money.

Coia also was charged and acquitted, along with his father, who preceded him as union secretary, in a federal racketeering case in 1981. Raymond Patriarca, former leader of New England organized crime, also was a defendant in the case.

In union business, Coia has pushed for greater cooperation between labor and management.

Before succeeding his father as the union's general secretary-treasurer, he served as business manager of the Rhode Island Laborers' District Council, and as manager of the union's New England and Eastern Canada regions.


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