Coia Accused of Favoritism in Union Election

General President of the Laborers Int’l Union of North Am., Arthur A. Coia, was accused in a lawsuit filed Aug. 28 in U.S. District Court of helping allies of a corrupt and ousted boss gain an unfair advantage in an upcoming election. Just before LIUNA Local 190 in Albany was to begin filling the vacancy left by ousted business manager Samuel Fresina, a legal battle erupted over allegations that Fresina’s loyalists were attempting to control the outcome. Fresina was forced out last month due to alleged ties to organized crime (see: UCU 1.6 8/24/98).

Carmen Francella, Jr., a candidate for the job, filed the suit seeking the nomination meeting be postponed until late-Sep. The complaint said he was denied membership lists that prevent him from properly campaigning and that he has been personally threatened. The nominations meeting was moved from its longtime location in Albany to LIUNA offices in Glenmont. Francella’s suit alleges that the meeting would violate LIUNA’s constitution and that Coia was wrongfully aiding Fresina’s supporters.

On Aug. 31, the U.S. District Judge denied Francella’s efforts to delay nominations. Also, LIUNA hearing officer Peter F. Vaira, who is paid by the int’l union run by Coia, ruled Francella couldn’t delay the nominations, but Francella could complain if the Sep. 30 election is not conducted properly. [Albany Times Union 8/29 & 9/1/98]

Informant Works to Rid LIUNA of Mob
 A well-researched investigative article by Eugene H. Methvin, a Reader’s Digest contributing editor, on the massive corruption that still exists in LIUNA, is in the Aug. 31 Weekly Standard. “A Corrupt Union and the Mob,” profiles FBI informant Ronald M. Fino whose “testimony has helped convict many union officials.” Fino was a business manager of Buffalo’s Local 210, one of the worst in LIUNA. It’s a must read for anyone following union corruption or the farce called the LIUNA “internal reform effort.”

Teamsters Bosses Ante-Up $2M
 In a long-awaited reversal, the Teamsters agreed Aug. 31 to pay $2 million to help fund the presidential rerun election to replace the disgraced and expelled Ron Carey. This increases the chance the government will monitor the election.  But the Teamsters payment, added to the $4 million pledged by Congress, is still over $2 million short of the $8.6 million estimated costs. [Det. News 9/1/98]