Inquest Ordered into Kentucky Death

In the ever-expanding Ky. AFL-CIO scandal, an inquest was ordered into the death of the group’s bookkeeper Donna Bayless. On Sep. 19, her body was found, with a pistol nearby. Ky. State Police originally said suicide was the apparent cause of death. But the Anderson County Coroner’s Mar. 15 inquest announcement means that the death may have resulted from another cause. Bayless and her husband, Morgan, the Ky. AFL-CIO’s ex-political director, were among several AFL-CIO officials suspended amid embezzlement allegations. Also, records were destroyed by an apparent arson at the Ky. AFL-CIO office, and records were stolen by an apparent burglary. [Courier-Journal 3/16/99]… Read More ➡

Rhode Island Pension Fund Manager Probed

According to the Securities & Exchange Commission, the pension manager for Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 99 in Providence, R.I., is responsible for “the biggest unauthorized diversion of funds” in New England in the last decade. Todd LaScola, the co-owner of CPA Network Advisors and owner of CPI Investment Management, has been accused of diverting at least $6 million from brokerage accounts of CPA to repay IBEW. LaScola reportedly invested $6.4 million from the pension fund in ultra-speculative promissory notes sold by a Chicago real estate developer, RBG Management Services. After the investment collapsed, he diverted money from customer accounts without permission to cover the loss. Allegedly, IBEW demanded an immediate return of the $6.4 million and after IBEW got its money back, it fired LaScola. No criminal charges or civil sanctions have been filed, but LaScola is still under investigation and his firms have been closed. [A.P. 3/15/99]… Read More ➡

Reputed New Jersey Mob Bosses Battle in Court

Daniel Provenzano, the nephew of the “infamous” ex-Teamsters boss Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, is fighting back against his ex-associate turned government-informant Bernard Recanati by taking him to court. Reportedly, Recanati has helped the N.J. Atty. Gen.’s Office get an impending state-racketeering suit against the younger Provenzano. Provenzano is an alleged associate of the Genovese crime family. However, turning on his ex-boss has cost Recanati.

In Jun. 1997, both were arrested on charges of attempting to strong-arm an individual into turning over his insurance business because of gambling debts. Recanati was released on $50,000 bail posted by Provenzano. Later, after Recanati turned on Provenzano, a N.J. judge reduced his bail in Jan. 1998 from $50,000 to $5,000. Provenzano asked the court to have the money returned to him. But Recanati wanted the refund.

In Feb. 1998, both argued in criminal court over the cash, with Provenzano claiming it had never been … Read More ➡

Massachusetts Union Allies Reap Rewards

Union bosses that backed Mass. Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) in his narrow victory last year are already reaping the rewards. The Professional Firefighters of Mass. are a prime example. First, Cellucci’s budget had $4 million for a program that pays overtime to firefighters for teaching fire prevention in schools. Cellucci wants to fund the Student Awareness Fire Education program with money from the tobacco tax, and balked at protests from public health officials who claimed those funds are better spent battling smoking. Second, Cellucci is including firefighters in a state program entitling law enforcement workers who pursue post-high school education to earn as much as 25% above their pay grade. Third, Celluci has restored binding arbitration, which was banned in 1980. This mechanism enables firefighters to protect generous contract deals negotiated by local town managers from being wiped out during town meetings. Fourth, Cellucci put PFM boss Robert McCarthy into … Read More ➡

Federal Grand Jury Investigation of Boss Coia?

As reported in the last issue, the Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am.’s “internal reform effort” whitewashed its investigation of LIUNA boss Arthur A. Coia, and the Dep’t of Justice finally showed some signs of disbelief that LIUNA could reform itself. Shortly thereafter, new information was disclosed at a Mar. 11 news conference held by Dep. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder. An unidentified reporter asked Holder:

“One of his findings of fact in the ruling is that Mr. Coia avoided $42,000 worth of federal taxes. But he goes on to say that’s not a felony that’s within his province to investigate.  But it has been presented to your people in the Justice Department, and reportedly it’s been presented to a grand jury in Boston. What can you tell us about that case? Are you going to indict Mr. Coia?”

This is the first news that Coia may be under a federal … Read More ➡

Florida Members File Class-Action Discrimination Suit

Two Jacksonville women,Vonceil Fisher and Traveine Howard, recently filed a sex discrimination suit against the Int’l Longshoremen’s Ass’n, ILA Local 1408 and others. The state class-action suit was filed on behalf of all female-longshore-workers and for actions in 1970-99. Court records state ILA denied women “treatment equal to that afforded male workers with regard to availability of work, work assignments, hours of work and opportunity for earning compensation, on the basis of gender.” The suit further states that the women were subject to a hostile work environment, including “crude and derogatory references to female workers,” “sexual jokes” and “physically abusive conduct.” The suit seeks unspecified damages. [Florida Times-Union 3/13/99]… Read More ➡

LIUNA Boss Coia Gets Slap on the Wrist

Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am. boss Arthur A. Coia was cleared Mar. 8 by his union’s “judge” on 15 of 16 corruption counts including associating with organized crime. The “in-house judge,” Peter F. Vaira, upheld only one charge of a conflict of interest resulting from Coia’s 1991 purchase of a Ferrari F40 for $450,000 with Viking Oldsmobile in Providence, R.I. Coia was only fined $100,000.

The Dep’t of Justice’s 1994 draft RICO complaint describes what was at stake: “LIUNA…officers…at all levels…have been chosen, subject to the approval of, and have been controlled by, various members and associates of organized crime. Four consecutive General Presidents of LIUNA, [including] Arthur Armand Coia…have associated with, and been controlled and influenced by, organized crime figures. Consequently, the rights of the members of the union to control the affairs of the union have been systematically abused. [Members] have been intimidated into silence by violence, … Read More ➡

Reformers to Challenge Coia’s Stranglehold in 2001

A new effort to oust LIUNA boss Arthur A. Coia has begun within LIUNA called Laborers for Justice. James McGough of Chicago said LFJ’s mission is to sweep organized crime from LIUNA by getting “honest rank-and-file laborers” elected at the 2001 convention. McGough said, “We will oppose each member of the entire General Executive Board that allied with Arthur Coia in 1996… These people should have had the moral courage not to run with Arthur Coia.” LFJ announced its formation to coincide with the outrageous Coia ruling. [BNA 3/8/99]

New England Laborers Hire Corrupt Ex-Mayor
Recently retired Cranston, R.I., mayor, Michael A. Traficante (R) and his sidekick Peter Alviti took positions in early Mar. with LIUNA’s New England office. LIUNA, one of America’s most corrupt unions, created the new government liaison post just for Traficante. Traficante’s 14 years in office were marred by corruption. Two of his administrators have been … Read More ➡

Another DC37 Boss Ousted, $2 Million Unaccounted

The ongoing corruption probes into the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 in N.Y. has caught another union boss and three of his aides. AFSCME Local 1549 boss Albert A. Diop was suspended Mar. 3 by AFSCME after an audit found over $2 million in undocumented expenditures. Diop was a top lieutenant of recently retired and disgraced DC37 boss Stanley Hill. Diop was “widely seen as the power behind the throne at the mighty” DC37. Diop’s 1998 salary was $191,000, and he had access to a penthouse at DC37’s compound in lower Manhattan. Insiders said Diop used union funds for trips to Denmark, Japan and Switzerland. Diop’s post as an AFSCME Int’l Vice-President is pending.

The audit uncovered that Local 1549 had paid out $1.2 million directly to Diop and three other top bosses in the last four years. There was no documentation to justify … Read More ➡

New York Bosses Exchange Charges

Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 810 in N.Y. appears to be on the verge of a corruption war. President Louis Smith recently fired his ex-ally Pat Monaco as union business agent claiming Monaco misused his union credit cards. Monaco denied the charge and retorted that Smith was retaliating for Monaco’s corruption charges of Smith including alleged sweetheart employer contracts. Investigators reportedly seized Local 810’s records the last week of Feb.

Smith and Monaco started their stints as bodyguards for ex-boss Dennis Silverman. In 1993, the two turned on Silverman. He was ousted and the union placed in trusteeship. In 1995, the two were elected to union posts. Smith’s background includes an alleged 1983 beating of a Carpenters union boss and a 1988 weapons conviction. [Daily News 3/1/99]

Hoffa Campaign’s Fine Upheld
The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 23 that Teamsters president-elect James P. Hoffa’s campaign must pay … Read More ➡