A key official of Local 230, Construction and General Laborers Union, based in Hartford, has allegedly fled the state after an audit disclosed financial malpractices.
Several sources close to the situation estimate the misused funds could total $200,000.
The official was identified as Michael R. (The Kingfish) Balesano of Manchester>
The local was placed into trusteeship by the Laborers International Union of North America following a series in The Times linking officers of the local to La Cosa Nostra (Mafia) , organized gambling activities and racketeering.
Balesano, the undisputed strongman of the union, served as secretary-treasurer and business representative for nearly two decades in Hartford. News accounts linked him prominently with reputed Mafia chieftain Raymond R. Patriarca, late of Providence , R.I. and now at the U.S. Prison at Atlanta, Ga. where he is serving a federal court imposed term.
A trusteeship report filed late this week with the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C. listed the following reasons for imposing the trusteeship on the Local:
To correct corruption or financial malpractice.
To assure performance of a collective bargaining agreement.
To restore democratic procedures to the local.
It also stated, "The local union has failed to take the necessary and proper action to comply with and assure collective bargaining agreements; the local union officials have failed to properly discharge the duties and responsibilities to all employees working within that local's jurisdiction; the local has failed to comply with the local constitution dealing with qualifications, nominations and election of local union officials and that in other respects the local union has failed to operate in accordance with the purposes and principles for which its charter was granted"
The funds under question are reportedly earmarked for the construction of a new labor temple in Hartford. The report filed by the international union, however, indicated "that an audit of the local's records was still under way.
It is known that each member of the local was assessed $ per month for a 12 month period beginning in January 1968. The collection was made on a quarterly basis.
As one union member related to The Times," they told us, you pay in cash, we didn't want any checks," The union member said he paid the amount in cash and was given a receipt at the union temple on Warwarme Street in the city's south end.
Arthur E. Coia of Boston, international representative and trustee for the local was unavailable for comment. Unionn officials in Washington said however they have been unable to contact Balesano for answer "to questions related the union." Coia was believed in Connecticut Saturday.
Dominic Lopreato of New Britain, who was an auditor for the local during the time the Balesano regime and president of the Connecticut Laborers District Council, has been action secretary-treasurer for the local. He also could not be reached for comment.
John Pezzenti, who was assistant business representative, was named acting business manager and James Pezzenti was appointed acting field representative. Both had previously served under and were close to Balesano during his tenure as union strongman.
The laborers purchased property on Ledyard Street for construction of a new temple, according to the report. The value was set at $76,000 but it is unknown if this was the purchase price.
Only $10,000 in marketable securities shows on the records of the local. This is believed to be the cost and redeemable value of shares purchased by members in the new temple.
Unexplained is a $55,000 note on the Constitution National Bank of Hartford, taken sometime this summer and payable within 90 days.
The audit of the local's funds is being done by a certified public accountant in Woburn, Mass. appointed by Coia. It is unknown when a report listing possible missing funds will be filed with the government.