Suit says Laborers faction loyal to ex-official trying to control outcome


August 29, 1998

Albany Days before Laborers Local 190 was to begin filling the void left by ousted leader Samuel Fresina, a legal battle broke out over allegations that Fresina's loyalists were trying to control the outcome.

Carmen Francella Jr., who plans to run for the Fresina's job as business manager in the 1,000-member union, filed suit in U.S. District Court Friday seeking to have a nomination meeting scheduled for Monday postponed until after mid-September.

Francella in the complaint alleged that he was being denied membership lists that would allow him to properly campaign and that he has been personally threatened. The nominations meeting, he also noted, was moved from its longtime location in the Laborers Temple on Third Street in Albany to Laborers offices in Glenmont.

The suit, filed by attorney Karen Kimball, states that the meeting would violate the Laborers constitution and that the president of the Laborers International Union of North America, Arthur Coia, was involved, giving Fresina's allies an unfair advantage in the upcoming election.

Neither the Laborers' headquarters in Washington, D.C., nor the local's attorney, Eugene Devine, responded to calls for comment.

Fresina this month quit his posts as business manager of Local 190 and chairman of the Laborers' New York state political action committee after he was found in an internal union disciplinary case to have given, as a PAC board member, $221,000 in PAC funds to an alleged organized crime associate, Salvatore Lanza. Lanza was the PAC's administrative officer and had been ordered removed by the union's disciplinary lawyer in Washington because of his supposed mob connections. But Fresina and other board members insisted they had to make the payment to buy out his contract or face a court battle.

Copyright 1998, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.

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