May 27, 1995
Chester L. "Zip" Liberatore, who
is under indictment and suspended from the top post at Laborers
Local 310, has been accused of running the local from behind the
scenes and signing more than 1,000 union checks since his March
The charges were made to the Laborers International
Union of North America (LIUNA) by Joseph Victor, who was overwhelmingly
defeated by Liberatore in Sunday's election for Local 310 business
Liberatore adamantly denied the allegations.
LIUNA suspended Liberatore because of his
federal indictment. He cannot return to office unless he is acquitted
of criminal charges of accepting a gratuity from a union contractor.
Liberatore has denied wrongdoing.
Victor's charges suggest Liberatore has flaunted
his suspension by showing up at the local daily, directing the
activities of union business agents, and signing checks, although
the charges note that the signature on the checks appear to be
from a rubber stamp.
Victor further contends that Liberatore enjoyed
an unfair and illegal advantage during the election campaign in
part by using union resources denied to Victor.
"We've itemized some two dozen violations
of the election rules and laws by Mr. Liberatore, any one of which
we feel will give rise to his removal from office," said
Richard Lillie, Victor's lawyer.
Liberatore said he has exerted no control
over the local and shows up just to pick up his paychecks. He
also said the only checks that may still bear his signature are
those issued by the health and welfare fund.
"I'm not suspended from my responsibilities
as a (fund) trustee," Liberatore said, adding that Local
310 checks are signed by James Deane, the secretary-treasurer
and acting business manager.
A LIUNA spokesman said "the process
has been put in place to remove" Liberatore from his trustee
Liberatore also said he engaged in no election
violations and followed all recommendations of Joyce Goldstein,
the lawyer hired to oversee the election.