The Worlds of Arthur Coia
Part one of a two part series

By Dean Starkman,
with reports from John Mulligan and Mike Stanton
Journal-Bulletin staff writers

Arthur A. Coia wears dark chalk-striped suits, shirts with monogrammed French cuffs and intricately patterned ties.

He has a weakness for Ferraris and is a crackerjack amateur golfer

The bathroom in his executive suite, designed by his wife, Joanne, has handsomely tiled floors, brass fixtures and an impressive collection of colognes. The monogrammed robe says: "AAC."

The trappings reflect Coia's polished approach to a gritty job. He is the general president of a sprawling empire of 750,000 tunnel diggers, toxic waste haulers and oil riggers: the Laborers' International Union of North America.

Coia does not fit the mold of the cigar-chomping labor boss.

He can be intimate, even with a stranger. Coia will grab an arm, lean close and press his point with a gentle force, smiling with warm, basset-hound eyes. His sheepish grins and malapropisms - he once said union leaders should be skilled at "tele-genetics" - give him a boyish charm.

An unabashed social climber, Coia glows when talking about the intimate dinner he and Joanne attended with the Clintons at the White House. Last year, President Clinton gave Coia a Callaway "Divine Nine" golf club; the driver, alongside the President's handwritten note, is on display in a glass case at Laborers' headquarters.

Not much seems to cloud this otherwise sunny disposition, except, perhaps, the suggestion that he, his father or their union have ever been involved with the Mafia.

"There is crime out there," Coia says, bristling. "It's like any other industry, government and church or whatever. But the unjust accusation, that organized crime controlled this union, is a lot of baloney."

Coia, if nothing else, has shown over his career that he can thrive in two worlds.

Over 25 years, he rose to the top of a union that the government ranked among the nation's four most corrupt. Along the way, he was accused of pilfering union funds, kowtowing to the mob and squashing efforts at reform.

Then last year, after a wild go-round with federal prosecutors, Coia emerged in a new role: he was tapped by the Justice Department to reform the Laborers.

And a long list of his accusers - former colleagues, friends, a law client - now find themselves on the outside looking in.

A Rhode Island legend

Coia's grandfather, Pasquale, helped to found Providence Local 271 early in the century, when the Laborers were a ragtag collection of sewer workers and brick haulers.

The old man liked to amuse his grandson with a one-man-band routine; and the lad grew up playing the accordion, his first love.

The boy's father was a worker.

Arthur Ettore Coia left school in the eighth grade. He joined the local at age 20, in 1933, and trudged to work in the sewers of Providence. For 35 cents an hour, he grunted under loads of brick.

The legend was already in the making

Coia's father quickly made a name for himself. A diligent organizer, he rallied highway workers in North Providence, parimutuel clerks at Narragansett Park, gas station operators, plaster tenders, and macaroni plant workers. He was elected president of the local. Then he was named business manager. By 1954, he was the "international representative."

Coia's father became a major force in Rhode Island. Gruff and taciturn, with the flat nose of a prizefighter, the old man radiated authority. In 1964, he gave the word and a thousand workers walked off construction sites around the state. When the City of Providence threatened layoffs, in 1977, Coia's father called a demonstration that clogged traffic on Kennedy Plaza.

"We're against mob rule," Coia's father said. "But we had to bottle up the city to give our message."

Life in the simple ranch house on Standish Avenue in North Providence was not always rosy. His father was away a lot. Coia has told friends the relationship could be tense.

Coia, though, says his father was a visionary with an abiding compassion for working people.

"My father," Coia says, "was a legend."

Almost singlehandedly, he molded the union into a political force that, to this day, holds Providence City Hall in its grip. Few candidates crossed its formidable political machine; most have joined it. The union has doled out pensions to City Council members and hired Providence political figures and their relatives. The city's current administration director, Frank E. Corrente, was the Coias' business partner for years.

The old man had the ear of Rhode Island governors and found open doors when he walked through the halls of Congress.

And early on, Coia's father developed other, sinister contacts. He had a longstanding relationship with the legendary boss of New England organized crime, Raymond L.S. Patriarca.

Coia's father, by his own account, said he and Patriarca had known each other for 45 years, dating to the 1930s, when they were both young men.

Coia's father said the relationship was casual.

But illegal FBI wiretaps, planted in the early 1960s, crackled with the sound of Patriarca barking orders about the Providence Laborers. The mob boss, records of the tapes show, tampered in everything from union elections to who got kickbacks on coffee machines sold to unions.

"Hit them, break legs to get things your way," he was overheard saying.

Once, Patriarca learned that two workers at Narragansett race track were dropping his name, saying they didn't have to join the Laborers.

"If they don't join," Patriarca replied, "tell them I won't put any of them to work next year up there."

A swindler's story

The year is 1976.

The scene is a dinner party at the posh Jockey Club on Miami's Biscayne Boulevard.

Arthur A. Coia, a few years out of law school, is mingling among the guests. With his father's help, he is already a top Laborers' executive in Rhode Island.

The host was a flashy insurance man named Joseph Hauser, a longtime acquaintance of Coia's father.

Hauser's past was murky. He claimed to have survived the Nazis' Mauthausen concentration camp before arriving from Poland as a 12-year-old refugee. He had grown up to be a dynamic salesman, who made grandiose promises and lived like a movie star.

He wore custom-tailored suits, handed out $100 bills as tips and swallowed ulcer pills by the handful. His speciality, authorities would later discover, was bribing influencial Laborers and Teamsters executives around the country.

In the 1970s union corruption was rampant. Federal antiracketeering laws were new and largely untested. The Senate's Permanent Subcommitee on Investigations would discover that Hauser alone had diverted at least $11 million from Teamsters and Laborers' funds in Arizona, Indiana, Florida and California.

Soon after the Florida party, Hauser hired Coia to do legal work. The swindler also paid more than $130,000 to an insurance firm owned by Coia's law partner.

At the time, Hauser was bidding to sell multimillion-dollar life insurance policies to two New England Laborers' benefit funds. Prosecutors later alleged that Coia's father vigorously lobbied fund trustees on Hauser's behalf.

Hauser won the contracts.


On Sept. 23, 1981, a federal grand jury in Miami indicted the two Coias, along with three others for racketeering for taking bribes from Hauser

In a bombshell, the government also indicted New England mob boss Patriarca as a co-defendant. Hauser, now a convicted swindler, would be the star witness for the prosecution.

The indictments were part of a nationwide sweep of pension fund abuses that snared a who's who of mid-1970s labor leaders and organized crime figures, including mob boss Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo of Chicago.

To reporters, the Coias expressed bafflement at the indictments. Coia's father said Patriarca was "a friend of mine," but no more. "When we see each other, we say hello - casually," the elder Coia said.

The younger Coia said he had had even less contact with the mob boss. "I think I met him in a restaurant once," he said, and added that he had never met anyone called "Big Tuna."

"Is he a big guy?" the younger Coia asked. "Is he heavy?"

Coia said he had nothing to do with the Providence insurance agency, which, he said, was owned solely by his law partner

A federal judge, James L. King, dismissed the case without hearing evidence, ruling the government had filed its charge too late. Prosecutors appealed, and a higher court reinstated the charge.

Hauser testified for days during the trial, creating more than 1,000 pages of transcript. He spun a sordid tale of kickbacks, secret meetings and bribery. He said the younger Coia held a hidden interest in the little Providence agency, which was used as a conduit for bribes. He said he gave white envelopes bulging with cash, between $2,000 and $10,000, to Coia's father

He also testified that he and Coia's father met Patriarca in a North Providence restaurant to devise the whole scheme.

But in December 1984, King dismissed the case again for the same reason: The statute of limitations had expired. By law, the decision could not be appealed a second time.

The case never went to a jury.

Coia today disparages the government's case. He says it was based entirely on the word of Hauser, "a total liar."

"The whole thing was full of baloney," Coia says.

A father's confidante

When Ronald M. Fino was a boy, his mother told him that his father was in the army. One day, she took him to the "army fort" for a visit. Years later, Fino learned the camp was the New York state penitentiary at Attica.

Daddy was a mobster.

The son of Buffalo underboss Joseph E. Fino, Ron Fino seemed destined for the Laborers' highest echelon. As a young man, he was installed in Buffalo's Local 210, a notoriously mobbed-up affiliate, and soon took command.

Fino reported directly to Joseph Todaro Sr. and his son, Joseph Jr., the boss and underboss of the Buffalo mob, who shielded a criminal empire behind a Buffalo pizza business.

On the Todaros' orders, Fino handed choice jobs to mob goons.

When a mob capo wanted a union training center in New Jersey to stock with no-show jobs, the senior Todaro told Fino to take care of it.

When Fino tried to shut down a contractor who was dumping illegal hazardous waste, the senior Todaro told him to back off: The contractor had been paying the mob.<

As he rose in the Laborers, Fino met an elite crowd of top mobsters and Laborers' officers around the country.

He seemed to have it made.

But Fino never forgot the sight of his father in prison, and a belief that the mob had abandoned his father. At the end of his life, Joe Fino had been reduced to accepting a job from his son as a common laborer.

Fino carried his resentment quietly.

In the late 1970s, he met the elder Coia.

Handsome and articulate, not unlike Coia's own son, Fino won the older man's trust.They chatted regularly, and Fino made a habit of staying home Sunday mornings waiting for Coia's father to call.

In statements Fino would make to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fino says the elder Coia confided his most closely held secrets.

Fino says Coia's father had an arrangement with large Massachusetts and upstate New York construction companies. They paid him kickbacks. He says Coia's father bragged he carried "plenty of cash" to bribe New England politicians.

Fino says the elder Coia's confided that his closest organized crime contact was Patriarca and that he owed his career to the New England mob boss. "On several occasions, (he) has told me he loved Patriarca," Fino told prosecutors.

Their travels took Fino and Coia's father to lush retreats around the country, including Boca Raton, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe. Fino says they always went first-class, indulging in the finest wines and poshest hotel suites. Union training funds, Fino says, were open-ended expense accounts.

Fino says in the mid-1980s they rang up a $600 bill entertaining a top mobster in Miami. Fino says Coia told him to charge the New England Laborers Training Trust Fund fund. Another time, Fino says, Coia upbraided him in Honolulu for staying in a cheaper hotel room and making others "look bad."

Life was a whirl of ocean views, Montrachet and fresh-cut roses.

In 1981, their travels took them to Miami for the biggest event on the union's calendar: the general convention of the Laborers' International.

A beating

Murmuring voices, smoke and laughter floated up from the floor of a convention hall of Miami's Diplomat Hotel as more than 2,000 delegates gathered in a festive mood.

With free liquor flowing in hospitality suites upstairs, the hall, in the words of one participant, was "a sea of booze."

Surveying the scene were Fino and Coia's father; according to Fino's statements, the older man told him to look over the seating arrangements.

Coia's father pointed out that the front seats had been reserved for "made" Mafia soldiers and mob-controlled delegates, Fino says, while regular delegates sat toward the rear.

Fino says it was a security measure. The elder Coia "explained that this was done so that the delegates who were not controlled by the LCN could not get at (the board members) and the other officials on the dais," Fino says.

As general secretary-treasurer, Coia's father presided over the convention, and, nominally, faced an election.

But no one had ever challenged the ruling elite.

That is, until Miami.

Peering up from the convention floor were two delegates from Iowa, Dennis Ryan, an Iowa City construction worker, and Fred Noon, a sewer worker from Des Moines

They had packed a stack of leaflets and a copy of a 1980 Mother Jones article entitled "The Crookedest Union in America; and it's not the Teamsters" and driven Noon's brother-in-law's pickup 25 hours to Miami with the idea of running an opposition slate.

Neither had been to a Laborers' convention before. Ryan, who intended to do much of the talking, remembered a remark from a former delegate: " 'If you want to get to that microphone,' " the man told him, " ' you're gonna need a platoon of Marines.' "

Ryan thought he was kidding.

Handing out leaflets in the lobby, they were descended upon by a squad of giants, 6 feet 5, 300-plus pounds, "no fat," Ryan recalls. These union "sergeants-at-arms" punched and shoved the dissidents, scattering leaflets. The punches, Ryan noticed, were always aimed at the genitals. "It's nothing personal," the sergeants-at-arms kept saying.

One man showed a gun strapped to his ankle.

"Whoa," Chris White, a dissident, says he thought. "This is the Chicago Mafia."

The convention floor, a dissident recalls, was like "being in the ocean with the sharks."

Red-faced delegates screamed at them, spit on them and blew air horns in their faces. Ryan and Noon found their chairs had been swiped. A sergeant-at- arms told them to find a seat or get off the floor.

Ryan, in a statement he prepared for the Labor Department, says the elder Coia thundered from the dais against "outsiders" at the convention out to "destroy" the union.

Coia shouted, "We must protect this labor organization from its enemies from without and from within," Ryan wrote

The incumbent president, Angelo Fosco, who at the time was under indictment for racketeering, was nominated amid a sea of bobbing "Fosco" signs. Confetti and balloons flew. Someone blew an air horn in Ryan's face.

Ryan is only 5 feet 6, 145 pounds - but scrappy, Noon says.

Coia's father, right in front of Ryan, called: "Other nominations?"

Ryan headed for a microphone, but someone swiped it.

"You little . . .," a delegate screamed. "Why don't you get the . . . out of here."

Someone stepped on Ryan's foot and shoved, and the beating started. At least 20 sergeants-at-arms and delegates, including two mob associates from Chicago, a witness recalls, jumped Ryan, beating and kicking him for several minutes in full view of the dais.

Coia shouted, "Will the delegate get to the microphone," Ryan wrote.

Bruised, his shirt ripped, a cut over his eye, Ryan fumbled for his glasses. Someone handed them to him. He straightened, limped to a microphone and looked Coia's father in the eye

"I wish to make a nomination for president," Ryan rasped. "I think it's time we returned to the tradition this union was founded on."

"Those last remarks are out of order," Coia's father said, according to Ryan.

The incumbent slate won, 2,342 to 5.

A wedge of sergeants-at-arms and security guards hustled Noon and Ryan through the jeering crowd and into a hotel security office. They left that night.

Back home in Des Moines, someone threw a woman's purse with a dead rat on Noon's front lawn.

A top Laborers' executive from Chicago, flashing diamond rings and gold chains, drove out to denounce Ryan at a local meeting. "You could have heard a pin drop," Ryan recalls. Ryan soon found that the local no longer assigned him work. After a few years, he left the Laborers.

Unwanted attention

In 1986, the President's Commission on Organized Crime had weighed in with a 393-page report that called the Laborers one of the nation's "Bad Four," the worst of the worst.

The commission of federal judges and former U.S. attorneys decried the violence of the Miami convention, the looting of benefit plans, the death threats, and murders of dissident candidates.

The panel criticized both Coias for using union funds to pay private investigators and lawyers. The panel also said its evidence implied Coia's father was a "trusted associate" of organized crime.

The Laborers' International, the commission concluded, was a racketeering case "waiting to be made."

"The commission believes there is little chance that the LIUNA membership will be able to eliminate organized crime's influence, or control their union, if the current leadership . . . remains intact," the report said.

The report spurred federal investigations around the country.

Despite the unwanted attention, Coia's father did not lay low after the report. Instead, according to Fino, he lobbied to take control of the entire international.<

Fino says Coia's father had complained frequently about, Fosco, the affable and pliant general president, saying he was "always drunk" and often failed to brief his mob handlers.

Coia's behind-the-scenes maneuvers caused ripples among mob families across country, Fino says, until Coia's father was told at a "sit down" of Mafia leaders to back off his challenge. Coia's father obeyed, Fino says.<

In Providence, the Laborers dedicated a new three-story brick headquarters, set amid the fashionable boutiques and coffee shops of South Main Street. It was called: the Arthur E. Coia Building.<

Virtually all of Rhode Island's top politicians attended, including Gov. Edward D. DiPrete and Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr., to honor the elder Coia.

DiPrete, who is now under a racketeering indictment, brushed aside questions raised in the president's commission report about the elder Coia and his mob ties.

"I get invited to many functions as governor, and I try to attend as many functions as I can," DiPrete said. "I don't feel ashamed of myself at all."

The informant

On Jan. 13, 1989, Fino rented a black Thunderbird, picked up a woman with whom he was romantically involved, and disappeared. A few weeks later, the Buffalo News reported the news: Fino was an informant for the FBI.

In a rare interview, Fino told the Wall Street Journal in 1990 that he bolted because his union colleagues had begun to suspect - correctly - that he had been a government mole.

Fino said he had since lived a furtive existence and had not been able to see his two children for years.

"Would I do it again?" he told the Journal. "No. The price is too expensive."

For seven years, the government has used Fino as its main guide to organized crime's grip on the Laborers. He has testified in successful prosecutions in Cleveland, Binghamton, N.Y., northern New Jersey, and New York City. He gave a series of statements to prosecutors and FBI agents on life inside the Laborers. The Journal-Bulletin has obtained some of the statements.

In them, Fino says he had less contact with the younger Coia than with his father, and when they did meet, they spoke of careers, golf and sports cars.

But as both rose in the international, their contacts increased. By 1987, Fino says he saw the younger Coia 20 or 25 times.

Coia says he knows Fino and makes little effort to hide his contempt for him. Coia says Fino is so desperate for money he once tried to sell a story to the National Enquirer about O.J. Simpson's days in Buffalo. And he even tried to peddle information about corruption to Laborers' internal investigators.

Fino, he says, is not a legitimate source of information.

"Ron Fino is a paid-for-hire witness, a paid-for-hire story," Coia says.


While Fino became an informant, Coia prospered beyond even his father's expectations.

In Providence, he has built an interlocking network of interests that blurs the line between union responsibilities and private business.

He started a law firm and built it into one of the state's leading worker's compensation firms. A Journal-Bulletin review of court records shows the firm, Coia & Lepore, earned more than $3 million in the past five years in Worker's Compensation Court fees.

And, government records show, Laborers' benefit funds have also hired Coia & Lepore to do legal work.

Back in 1974, Coia convinced Mayor Joseph A. Doorley to fund a legal service plan for city workers. The city has so far paid $6 million to the plan. The plan's trustees, all Laborers' officers, have hired Coia & Lepore to provide its legal services.

Coia & Lepore has also been hired by a second Rhode Island Laborers' legal fund and by the Laborers' Rhode Island Health and Welfare Fund, according to government records

One of the legal funds, last year, engaged in an even bigger transaction. It paid $2.3 million to Coia's real estate partnership for an office building, called Gateway, on Providence's South Main Street.

Coia says the trust funds operate independently of the union.<

"It's not the union," he says. "That's why there're trustees there."

The outside income has augmented Coia's union salary, which last year was $218,959.

He and his family live in an exclusive part of Barrington. Their house, named "Southwind," is an elegant cream-white contemporary with a curving driveway, landscaped yard, a private beach and a spectacular view of fishing boats bobbing in the sunrise on Narragansett Bay.

Coia also bought a house in Delray Beach, Fla. In Washington, he keeps a room at the Carlton Hotel, a short walk across a leafy plaza from Laborers' headquarters.

His golf game got serious. At a driving range, he routinely hit hundreds of balls as a time and, at one point, lowered his handicap to zero.

Coia and his wife, in 1983, built a kennel on a Rehoboth, Mass., farm and began breeding champion Rottweilers. One of their dogs, Double-C's Agib, won the "best of winners" title at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.

At one point, Coia tried to mate his stud dog with a bitch owned by Raymond J. "Junior" Patriarca, then underboss of New England organized crime.

Coia says he found himself sitting in a lawyer's office with the younger Patriarca during Coia's racketeering trial, in which Patriarca's father was a co-defendant. Coia says Patriarca, who became mob boss upon his father's death in 1984, proposed the mating.

"I didn't know that he had a Rottweiler, and I had a Rottweiler - two Rottweilers," Coia says.

Coia says he is not sure whether Patriarca, who is now in federal prison, visited the Rehoboth kennel, or whether the crime boss was charged a stud fee.

The coupling failed to produce puppies.

In the union, Coia followed his father up the ranks. Elected president of Providence Local 271 in his 20s, he soon became business manager of the Rhode Island District Council, patiently tending to the affairs of a dozen health care, construction and state and city employee locals.

He was named manager for the New England region in the late 1980s. Soon, after his father had taken ill, Coia decided to try to move up to his father's job, international general secretary-treasurer. He lobbied for support among members of the union's general executive board.

In early 1989, he flew to Chicago.

A meeting in Chicago

John Serpico, a member of Coia's father's generation, was the Laborers' vice president for the Midwest and a man with powerful connections.

Serpico admitted to the president's commission that he knew many of Chicago's top mobsters personally. And a succession of Chicago mayors and Illinois governors had appointed him to the Illinois International Port Authority, a prestigious post.

Last May, at a secret union disciplinary hearing, Coia testified that Serpico summoned him to Chicago six years ago to discuss the promotion.<

Coia says Serpico greeted him warmly at the jetway and the two chatted as they walked through the airport. Then, Coia says, Serpico abruptly steered him into a coffee shop to a man sitting alone at a table.

"I want you to meet a friend of mine," Serpico said, according to Coia.

The man was Vincent Solano, a powerful capo regime in the Chicago Mafia in charge of loansharking, prostitution and gambling on the city's North Side. The soft-spoken Solano, who nickname was "Vincent Innocence," had often been mentioned in the Chicago newspapers as a potential boss of the entire city.

Solano treated Serpico like a bellhop, Coia says. When the capo barked "take a walk," Serpico dutifully shuffled out of earshot.<

Coia says Solano laid down the law. Solano told the younger Coia that he had the Mafia's blessing for the No. 2 job, but he should not try for the general presidency as his father had done.

That job was Chicago's and Serpico would get it, Coia says Solano told him, pounding the table and pointing toward Serpico.

Coia described the encounter last May 19 at a secret union disciplinary hearing in Chicago. The Journal-Bulletin has obtained a record of the proceeding. Coia told the story to discredit his old rival Serpico, who was accused of breaking union rules against consorting with the mob.

A lawyer for Serpico, Matthias A. Lydon of Chicago, hotly disputes Coia's account.

In an interview with the Journal-Bulletin, Lydon says Serpico met Coia at the airport, but Solano was never there. The lawyer adds, though, that the story is an odd one for Coia to tell.

"That's a two-edged sword, isn't it?" he says.

Through a spokeswoman, Coia declined to comment on his testimony last May, or to be interviewed for this story.

In a Nov. 30 letter, the spokeswoman, Linda L. Fisher, said Coia has already spoke with Journal-Bulletin reporters for many hours this year on a variety of topics, including his personal life.

"Entire books have been written on fewer interviews," Fisher wrote.

In his testimony, Coia says the meeting at O'Hare took about five minutes, and he caught the next flight to Rhode Island.

"I didn't say anything in response," Coia says. "He called John back to the table, and may have talked about the weather, very casually; (Then he) really got out of there. That was it. He dismissed the both of us. He got up, and we left."

Soon after his ascension to Laborers' general secretary-treasurer, a reporter asked Coia about the president's commission's allegations that his father was tied to the mob.

The commission, Coia said, had made an "unfair characterization."

"The so-called link to organized crime," he said, "does not exist."


Just after New Year's, while hitting his morning hour of golf shots on driving range at The Hamlet, his home course in Florida, Arthur A. Coia felt a couple of bumps under his collar.

"Impossible," he thought.

But tests would confirm the bad news. Coia had Hodgkin's disease, an often fatal form of cancer that causes the lymph nodes and spleen to enlarge.

And so began 1993, a year of struggle.

In February, Laborers' general president Fosco grew deathly ill, and Coia, between his own doctor's visits, joined a fierce struggle to succeed him.

His chief rival was Serpico.

With the two sides vying for his support, Fosco, ever-obedient to his mob handlers in Chicago, came out for Serpico.

When word of the endorsement spread through Laborers' headquarters in Washington, Coia burst into Fosco's office on the eighth floor and urgently told Fosco that the union could not afford a president of Serpico's tarnished reputation.

"You cannot do this," Coia said, according to his testimony in the internal union hearing this year.

The old man appeared lost. Fosco said he didn't know what to do because he had "no one to turn to in Chicago anymore."

Coia didn't know what Fosco was talking about.

Finally, Fosco said: "Vincent Solano is dead,"

"Well," Coia replied, "I didn't even know that."

"Well, he is dead," the general president mumbled. "I have no one to turn to."


Arthur A. Coia: General president of the Laborers' International Union of North America, he followed his famous father up the union's heirarcy.

Arthur E. Coia: Coia's father, he held the second-ranking job of the Laborers International, general secretary-treasurer.

Raymond L.S. Patriarca: FBI wiretaps, planted illegally in the early 1960s, overheard him meddling in Laborers affairs.

Ronald M. Fino: A former executive in the Laborers' Buffalo local who became a government informant, he told the FBI he accompanied Coia's father to many meetings with mobsters.

Dennis Ryan: An Iowa construction worker, he was beaten on the floor of the 1981 Laborers convention when he tried to nominate an opposition slate.

Vincent Solano: He was a powerful capo regime in the Chicago Outfit who died in 1992. In testimony during an internal union hearing, the younger Coia says he had a surprise encounter with Solano at O'Hare airport in 1989.

Edward D. Diprete: As Rhode Island's governor, he helped dedicate the Arthur E. Coia Building on Providence's South Main Street.

Copyright © 1997 The Providence Journal Company.

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