-- Monsignor Galliano J. Cavallaro is leading a
fund-raising drive to help pay legal expenses for top members of
the Laborers International Union, indicted in Miami on racketeering charges.
Union members around New England were asked
to donate to the defense fun through a letter carrying the letterhead of "New England Laborers Defense
League," and signed by Monsignor Cavallaro, pastor of Our Lady
of Mt. Carmel Church in Providence.
It claimed that Angelo Fosco of Chicago
and Arthur E. Coia of Providence, the top two officials of the Laborers -- were
"the targets of a well-orchestrated campaign by the Federal
Government to repress individual rights."
"I agree with the thoughts of the letter,"
Monsignor Cavallaro said today, but "I'm not going to be
pinned down to any one person, one cause, one statement or any
Coia, Fosco and 19 others were indicted on labor racketeeting charges earlier this year following a Federal investigation of an alleged conspiracy to funnel millions
of dollars in kickbacks on union trust funds to organized crime figures.
Also charged were Arthur A. Coia, son of the elder Coia and an international representative for the 900,000-member union; former State Rep. Albert J. Lepore, the younger Coia's law partner in Providence, and reputed New England crime boss, Raymond L. S. Patriarca.
Arthur A. Coia said the defense league was set up last year at his suggestion about a year ago to aid all union members, not specifically to collect funds for the indicted individuals.