According to the Niagara Falls Reporter, the FBI is investigating an alleged murder-for-hire plot by Cheryl Cicero, frmr. secy.-treasurer of Laborers Local 91. Reportedly, Cicero targeted a supporter of a slate of reform candidates in officer elections held on July 24. She is the daughter of the deceased frmr. bus. mgr., Michael “Butch” Quarcini, and wife of Joel Cicero, another ex-official of Local 91. She is the only frmr. official who has not been indicted for extortion and racketeering charges in a campaign of threats and violence aimed at Buffalo-area contractors and other unions.
After the May 2002 indictment, the Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer. placed Local 91 under trusteeship, and appointed local members Rob Connolly, Rob Malvestuto and Enrico Liberale as the union’s bus. agents. With officer elections approaching, numerous members told the Reporter that Cicero and Quarcini’s widow, Julie, called them in support of a slate of candidates, which they believed would lead the union back to its “glory days,” in opposition to Connolly, Malestuto and Liberale. Active members said they were threatened with blacklisting. Retirees said that the reformers would squander their pension money.
At a local meeting in late May or early June, Cicero got into a heated argument with local member Frank Zito, who backed the Connolly ticket. Later, acc. to the Reporter, the FBI intercepted a phone call from Cicero to a member now living in Calif., asking him to come back and “take care” of Zito.
On the 24th, 491 of the union’s 647 members turned out to vote. Connolly defeated Louis Fazzolari for the preeminent ofc. of bus. mgr. with more than 62 pct. of the vote. Malvestuto was elected as pres. of Local 91, while Liberale won the secy.-treasurer’s post. Also elected were Steven Beahen as vice-pres., William Grace as rec. secy., and Randy Butler as sgt.-at-arms.
If Cicero is indicted, she may be able to pay for her defense with a reported $94,000 settlement she rec. from LIUNA after claiming wrongful dismissal from her union ofc., and union pension payments of more than $100,000 a yr. [Niagara Falls Reporter, 6/22/04, 7/27/04]