for the Laborers' International Union of North America
Contact: David Roscow
November 6, 1997
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The General Executive Board Attorney of the Laborers'International Union of North America today filed disciplinary charges against LIUNA General President Arthur A. Coia alleging violations of the LIUNA Ethics and Disciplinary Procedure and the LIUNA Ethics Practices Code.
Robert Luskin, the GEB Attorney, filed the
charges with LIUNA's, Independent Hearing Officer, Peter P. Vaira,
who will conduct a hearing on the allegations.Under rules of procedure
established by Mr. Vaira, neither the formal charges nor the hearings
will be public, although the record of the hearing will be available
to LIUNA members after it is concluded.
The charges allege that primarily between 1986 and 1993, Mr. Coia knowingly associated with members of organized, Knowingly permitted organized crime members to influence the affairs of LIUNA, breached his constitutional and fiduciary duties to the Union, and improperly accepted benefits from a LIUNA service provider
Mr. Coia has denied all of the charges and
has said that he intends to defend them at the hearing to be set
by Mr. Vaira
The LIUNA Ethics and Disciplinary Procedure
was adopted by the General
Executive Board of LIUNA in January 1995 as a centra1 component of its internal reform program. The Ethics And Disciplinary Procedure established four independent officers, with powers to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and to hear appeals concerning disciplinary violations and trusteeships. The General Executive Board Attorney is authorized to file charges against any member or officer of LIUNA for violation. of the LIUNA Constitution, the Ethical Practices Code,
federal or state law, or for engaging in "barred conduct," which includes knowing association with members of organized crime and knowingly permitting members of organized crime to influence the union
Under an Oversight Agreement with the United
States, LIUNA has been engaged since 1995 in a process of internal
reform under scrutiny by the Department of Justice. The Justice
Department has authority to impose a consent decree, appointing
court officers to oversee the day to day affairs of LUNAR if the
Union fails to make sufficient progress in ridding itself of corruption
within the union.
Because all of the most serious allegations concern historical misconduct, the GEB Attorney has declined at this time to suspend Mr. Coia. Under the Ethics and Disciplinary Procedure, an officer or elected official of the union may be suspended before a hearing only when "an emergency exists, in which the welfare or preservation of the Union is at stake."
The GEB Attorney will not further discuss
the merits of the charges in advance of the hearing.