THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL-BULLETIN
Saturday January 21, 1995
A newspaper report says Arthur J. Coia, the
union's president, has been attempting to forestall a federal
labor racketeering suit with high-profile actions to demonstrate
that the union is cleaning itself up. Journal-Bulletin Staff and
In an apparent effort to defuse a government
takeover of the union, the Laborers International Union of North
America this week suspended its New York-New Jersey and Chicago
international vice presidents and voted to adopt a code of ethics
banning anyone with mob ties from membership, according to several
Arthur A. Coia of Providence, the union's
general president, was traveling yesterday and could not be reached
to explain why he recommended the suspensions. Officials at the
union's Washington headquarters did not return phone calls.
The Laborers union has about 700,000 members
in the United States and Canada, in the construction, municipal,
hospital and nuclear-waste-removal industries.
Justice Department lawyers in Washington
and Chicago, working with FBI and Labor Department organized-crime
investigators, have been gathering evidence for the past two years
for a possible national civil racketeering suit against the Laborers
union - similar to the one brought against the Teamsters in 1988,
Coia has been attempting to forestall the
suit with high-profile actions to demonstrate that the huge union
is cleaning itself up, according to Newsday.
The two vice presidents, Samuel Caivano of
New Jersey and John Serpico of Chicago, represented the two regions
of the country where many Laborers locals have been dominated
by organized crime for decades, the newspaper said.
Caivano also was removed from his appointed
position as the powerful regional manager for the New York-New
Jersey area. Latest available records show that Caivano was paid
$226,311 in 1993 and Serpico, $110,124. Neither returned calls
The Laborers staff a cross section of work
places, from construction sites to post offices.
The Laborers' general executive board adopted
the ethics code and appointed three new officials with extensive
investigative and disciplinary powers.
Before his election as general president,
two years ago, Coia was the union's New England regional director
and worked out of the union's Providence office. He still has
a residence in Providence and works in the Providence office occasionally.
Coia has been involved in several controversies
in Rhode Island.
Joseph Mollicone Jr., one of the key figures
in the RISDIC credit union "scandal, allegedly emptied a
$400,000 account that was established to help union members who
need legal assistance and bore Coia's name.
Coia said he had no idea why the passbook
account had his name on it.
An earlier controversy dates from 1981, when
Coia and his father, Arthur E. Coia, were charged in a federal
racketeering case involving an alleged $2 million kickback scheme.
The late New England organized-crime boss
Raymond L.S. Patriarca was also a defendant in the case, which
was dismissed because the indictment was filed after the statute
of limitations expired.
Contents copyright 1982 to 1995 by The Providence