Hartford Courant

Saturday, October 1, 1994

MARK PAZNIOKAS; Courant Staff Writer


A prominent labor leader pleaded not guilty Friday to an eight-count indictment charging him with arranging the investment of $8 million in union pension funds in return for $345,000 in bribes.

Dominick Lopreato of Hartford, who has led the laborers' construction union in Connecticut for a quarter- century, entered his plea in a brief appearance in U.S. District Court before Judge T.F. Gilroy Daly.

Jury selection was scheduled for Dec. 6.

His union, meanwhile, says that Lopreato will retain his position as secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut Laborers' District Council because Lopreato is accused of nothing pertaining to his union office.

The indictment charges him with taking bribes in return for helping arrange the investment in Colonial Realty of $5 million by the Connecticut Laborers' pension fund and $3 million by an Albany, N.Y., laborers' union.

"Since the recent indictment . . . does not allege any misconduct in his capacity as secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut Laborers' District Council, the Council will take no action at this time and will await the outcome of his trial," the council said in a written statement.

Charles LeConche, the business manager of the district council, said Lopreato will step down temporarily from his unpaid position of union pension trustee. LeConche will take his place.

Once this is resolved, I will resign and he will go back on," LeConche said.

Lopreato also will retain his position as business manager of Local 230, the Hartford affiliate of the Laborers.

His Hartford lawyer, Edward J. Daly Jr.. was joined Friday at the arraignment by another defense counsel, Anthony Traini of Providence, who described himself as a solo practitioner.

But Traini is associated with Coia and Lepore, the firm of Arthur A Coia, the Laborers' national leader. A receptionist at the firm's Providence office took a message for Traini and described him as part of the firm

He's a big guy here," she said.

Traini said he was retained by Lopreato, not the union. LeConche said the union is offering Lopreato no financial assistance for his defense.

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