Rhode Island Boss’ Fraud Trial Begins

A pension fraud trial of an ex-boss of the Nat. Education Ass’n/Rhode Island (who also worked for the Washington office of the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am.) began Apr. 27 in Providence. The key question of the case is whether boss Ronald L. DiOrio returned to NEA/RI as a consultant or a regular employee after a stint with ex-Gov. Edward D. DiPrete.

DiOrio was NEA/RI president from 1973-85. Then he was DiPrete’s top policy aide from 1985 -88. Then DiOrio was forced to resign because he placed the ex-wife of a reputed underboss of the Patriarca crime family on the DiPrete’s Justice Commission. He returned to NEA/RI from 1988-90 and seized on a lucrative pension law (passed in 1987 and repealed in 1988) allowing union employees to get state pension credits for union work and a state early retirement program to collect a state pension. NEA/RI boss, Donald C. Hill, will also face trial on related charges.

DiOrio was indicted in 1995 for misrepresenting his job status, enabling him to buy state pension credits for union work and begin collecting a $41,000 state pension in 1990. Before his indictment, he worked for LIUNA on training grant funds. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 4/29/99 & 1/1/96]