Chicago Tribune


By Stephen Franklin
Tribune Staff Writer
January 28, 2000

Former Laborers union president Arthur Coia pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Boston to charges of setting up a scheme to avoid paying taxes on expensive cars that cost as much as $1 million.

The one-time organized labor powerbroker is slated to pay a $10,000 fine, make restitution on about $100,000 in unpaid taxes, and serve a two-year period of probation, according to the deal reached with prosecutors. He will be sentenced on Monday.

Coia, 56, also agreed never to hold a position again with the 450,000-member Laborers' International Union of North America and not to be linked with any union for five years.

Coia had faced allegations about corruption within the union and his ties to organized crime figures. In December, he announced his retirement from the union.

Last year a union-led investigation cleared Coia of the corruption charges, but said he had wrongly benefited by buying a costly automobile from a car dealer with business ties to the union. It fined him $100,000.

In the federal case, Coia was charged with buying several cars and using fraudulent invoices or other ruses to avoid paying taxes on them to Barrington, R.I., where he lives, and to Rhode Island.

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