Testimony of Arthur Armand Coia

MR. LUSKIN: GEB Attorney calls Arthur Coia.

(WHEREUPON, the witness was duly sworn.)


called as a witness herein, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:



Q: Mr. Coia, could you state your full name for the record, please?

A: Arthur A. Coia.

Q: Do you hold a position with the Laborers' Union, sir?

Page 1053 - Page 1056

A: Yes. I do.

Q: What is that?

A: General President.

Q: How long have you held that position?

A: Approximately two years.

Q: And before that, have you been affiliated with the Laborers' Union?

A: Yes. I joined the Laborers in 1957.

Q: So you have been a member for almost 40 years?

A: And I've had, I've held various office positions, from local union, District Council

International representative, regional manager, General secretary/treasurer, and now General President.

Q: And your father is also Arthur Coia, is that right?

A: Yes. Arthur E. Coia.

Q: He is deceased now, is that right.?

A: Yes.

Q: Was he also affiliated with the Laborers' Union?

A: Yes. He was affiliated from 1933 until his passing in 1993; 60 years.

Q: Mr. Coia, when did you first hear of John Serpico?

A: 1984.

Q: What was the context, sir?

A: He was just put on the Executive Board of the Laborers' Union

Q: Have you ever heard of him before that?

A: No.

Q: Who put him on the General Executive Board?

A: He was elected to the Board in 1984.

Who was the General President in1984?

A: Angelo Fosco.

Q: And do you know whether MR. Serpico was elected at convention or was he elected by the

General Executive Board?

A: He was elected by the General Executive Board in 1984.

Q: Who nominated him for that position?

A: I' m not sure.

Q: Would it normally be the prerogative of the General President to make a nomination to fill

a vacancy on the G.E.B.?

A: Yes.

Q: When did you hear about Mr. Serpico next, after 1984, when you heard that he had become

a vice president of LIUNA

A: 1985, when he testified before the President's Commission on Organized Crime

a: What do you recall hearing about his testimony before the President's Commission on Organized Crime?

A: Allegations of ties to Mob figures in Chicago.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: What were you at the time Mr. Coia? What position did you hold in the

union at the time?

THE WITNESS: I was an International representative. ;


THE WITNESS: New England region.


Q: Now, in 1985. when you heard the allegations that Mr. Serpico was associated with

organized crime did you personally have any way of knowing one way or another whether those

allegations were true?

A: No. I didn't formulate any determination of whether they were true or false.

Q: And you had no personal information about him at that time?

A: No, I did not.

Q: Now, over the nest four years, what contact, if any, did you have with Mr. Serpico?

A: Well in 1986 convention, which was held in Miami, and then from there, probably two or

three times a year up through 1989 at either Executive Board meeting or meetings, or a conference.

Q: And you weren't a member of the General Executive Board then, were you?

A: No.

Q: How would you come to attend General Executive Board meetings?

A: I attended the Board meetings, I accompanied my father, that was from 1987 through 1989.

Q: And your father was a member of the General Executive Board,

A: Yes. He was a General secretary/treasurer.

Q: Did there come a time when you wanted to succeed your father to the General Executive Board?

A: Yes.

:Q: When was that? Mr. Coia?

A That was in 1989. My father was seriously ill. For his benefit and the health

reasons. I thought it would be best if he would retire and enjoy some years that he had.

And I thought that I would like to get on the Board myself.

Q: And what did you do about the possibility of succeeding your father?

A: I contacted the General President Angelo Fosco.

Q: And when was this as best you can recall?

A: Either in the later part of December of 1988, or the first week in January of 89 in that

vicinity, in that time frame.

Q: Did you call him on the telephone or did you come visit him personally?

A: I spoke to - I called him on the phone and asked, that my father was ill ,was thinking of

retiring and I wanted to speak with him. So I went to Washington and spoke with. him personally.

Q: What do you recall - how long between this phone call did you come to Washington to meet

with Mr. Fosco?

A: A couple of day, later.

Q: Tell me what you can recall about the :meeting in Washington, what you said to Mr. Fosco

what he said to you.

MR. LYDON: Can we have a foundation as to who else was present.?


a: Was anyone else present at this meeting with Mr. Fosco?

A: W hen I met-

Q: When you met with him in Washington

A: No; just myself and Angelo Fosco.

Q: Okay. Can you recall what was said at that meeting?

A: Yes. I explained to him that my father was sick, wanted to retire and that I would like

to come on the Board.

C: What did Mr. Fosco say in response?

A: He said that, well, he as generally supportive of that position. He acknowledged the

work that I had been doing in New England. He said but he would like me to contact

John Serpico. I want you to talk to him and I'll talk to some other Board members myself.

Q: And did Or. Fosco identify anyone other than Mr. Serpico that he wanted you talk to?

A: No. He said he wanted me to, he said, call John Serpico and then you can get back to me.

Q: And did you in fact after- was there anything else said at this meeting that you can

recall by you or Mr. Fosco?

A: Well I thanked him for his position of support .And that was basically it. That was

basically it.

Q: Was the idea, to be clear, that you would become the General secretary/treasurer and

not simply vice president.

A: I expressed to him that I wanted to succeed my father in his role as General secretary/treasurer.

Q: And he was he supportive of that?

A: Yes.

Q Now, did you in fact call John Serpico as Mr. Fosco recommended?

A: Yes.

Q: How long after your meeting with Mr. Fosco did you all Mr. Serpico?

A: It could have been the same day or the next day. It was very close timewise.

Q: What do you recall about that telephone conversation? What did you say to Mr. Serpico?

A: I told him that I had spoken to Angelo, that my father had wanted to retire, he was sick,

and I wanted to succeed him, and Angelo told me to call him.

And then John said he would get back to me. He called me two or three days later,

and told me to come to Chicago.

Q: Can you recall anything else about either of those two conversations?

A: No. We made a date to meet in Chicago. And I came in to O' Hare Airport and met John there

Q: Did you know what the purpose of the meeting in Chicago was to be?

A: He just told me over the phone that he wanted to see me in Chicago, and I came..

Q: Based on that conversation did you know where you would be meeting or who you might be

meeting other than Mr. Serpico?

A: No.

Q: You say you did go to Chicago?

A: Yes.

Q: How long after this second phone conversation did you travel to Chicago?

A: Probably two days, three days after that.

Q: Plane Lands in Chicago you get off the plane. What hoppers next?

A: John meets me at the gate where I came in. the jet way. And from there -

Q: Was he by himself? I'm sorry. Was Mr. Serpico by himself when he met you at the gate?

A: Yes.

Q. What happened next'

A: Well then we walked from the gate through the airport, then we stopped at an area

where there was a little coffee shop. And he said I want you to meet a friend of mine.

Q: You were still in the airport?'

A: Yes in the airport area, the concourse area.

Q: And what happened next?

A: He said to me I want to - I want you to meet a friend of mine and he is sitting over

there: and brought me over to this person.

Q:: And was this a person you recognized.?

A: No.

Q: Were you introduced to this person?

A: Yes.

Q: Who did Mr. Serpico tell you is the person you were meeting.?

A: Vincent Solano.

Q: Can you tell me what happened next?

A: I went over to the table and he introduced me and at that point Solano told me

to sit down and told John to leave us alone and to walk over to another area.

Q: Did Mr. Serpico in fact leave you and Mr. Solano alone?

A: Yes. he did.

Q Did he disappear completely from sight or did he stay in this coffee area?

A: No. He was in the coffee area but out of hearing lengths

Q: What happened next?

A: Well. I sat down. and Solano asked me how my father was. He said, I understand he's ill

and I understand also that you are coming on the Board. And I said yes.

Then he said to me I want you to understand this, that John Serpico will be the next

General President of this union. He pounded on the table and pointed over. He says, we're grooming

that man there to be the next General President. He said it quite emphatically. and -

Q: What else, if anything ,did he say to you?

A: That was about it really.

Q: What was his manner in this conversation?

A: Well his demeanor and manner was forceful. He told me. He was emphatic about it.

And it was a statement that he made to me. And I didn't answer it.

Q: Did he indicate to you in any manner

why and I think his words were Mr. Serpico, we are grooming Mr. Serpico to be the next president?

Did he explain why at all?

A: No, he didn't say why. It was forceful. It was not in a position of - it was a

position of telling me. There was no reasons or answers or questions to be delivered at that point.

Q And did he indicate who "we. were?



HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Oh the term .'we.' I'm sorry.



A: I understood it to mean it wasn't union politicking that we were talking about here.

I had heard of Solano through the organized crime committee's reports. The whole

thing which I indicated earlier came to be a reality in a sense ,with Serpico and Solano, and

me sitting there. And the rumor issue became a reality.


Q: Now, what if anything did you say in response to what Mr. Solano said to you.?

A: I didn't say anything in response. As a matter of fact, at that point, he

called John back to the table, and may have talked about the weather very casually; really got out of

there. That was it. He dismissed the both of us We got up and we left.

Q: How long in total did you spend sitting with Mr. Solano privately?

A: About five minutes.

Q : And what happened after that.?

A: Well he got up. We left, said good-bye. And I went to the - or John and I

left .And we went to the ticket counter. I got a ticket back to go to Rhode Island.

Q: Now how long were you in Chicago total?

A: Probably an hour and a half to two hours. I mean. by the time I got a ticket back and

got the next plane back.

Q Now did you and Sir. Serpico have any conversation at all about your succeeding your

father to the Board while you were there in Chicago?

A: No, not really. He inquired again about the health of my father and basically he would

get some support of other Board members, told me to get some support from Board members,

and he would get back to Angelo.

Q: Now based on the circumstances of this meeting at O'Hare Airport here in Chicago, did you

form an understanding of who was in control of the


A: Yes I did.

a And what was that based on.?

A: Based on the way it as presented to me.The way he told John to leave the table, to leave

us alone, the way he called him back ,that this his show. I'm talking about Solano. The way he

got up abruptly, it wasn't like, you know, thank you Mr. Coia for being here and any niceties. It

was, okay time's up ,and the show is over.

Q: Did you know what position Mr. Solano held within the union at that time?

A: I'm not sure if I knew at that time. but I'd have to say he was either a president or

business manager of one of the locals in Chicago.

Q: And Mr. Serpico was an Lnteruational vice-president?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you have any doubt at all about who was in control of the situation?

A: Not the way it came down, no.

Q: Did you also reach an understanding about the purpose of this trip to Chicago which you

just made?

A: I was brought into this meeting to tell   me that, here I'm coming on the Board and John

Serpico will be the next president

Q: And did you form an understanding of what Mr. Solano meant when he said that we, or

Chicago, were grooming Mr. Serpico to be the next president., `

A: I understood that the scenario that developed ,again, the demeanor, the emphasis that

was placed on the words, the rumor of the organized crime committee report ,the whole thing became a reality.

It was something- I don't know- like out of the movies. That is what I would have to describe it as.

Q: When you say the rumors became reality, what conclusion did you draw about what had just


A That I was told that he was going to be the next General President. That's the way it

was. It was a matter of fact; and that the issues that developed out of that Crime Commission was a

reality, that this group of people were controlling the show.

Q: And did you form a conclusion based on that meeting about whether Mr. Fosco was aware of

the circumstances that you encountered in Chicago?

A: Right. After that meeting I formed a conclusion. He directed me to John Serpico. John'

Serpico directed me to Vincent Solano. And I'm going back to Angelo Fosco.

So the conclusion that I formed was that the, there was- everyone was aware of this

particular meeting but only me, before I got there.

Q Despite the fact that you had come to

the conclusion that the rumor about Mob influence

in LIUNA was a reality ,as you put it, did you

decide nevertheless to go ahead and try to assume a

seat on the General Executive Board?

A: Yes I did.

Q: Would you tell me why?

A: Well I came to the conclusion that

there were a lot of good people in the union, that

there may have been some bad apples here and there

but generally speaking, there were a lot of good

people and a lot of good people on that Board.

And the union should go forward to do

what it was supposed to do in good ,which in most

instances it was

Q. And did you form any kind of strategy

about how you were going to pursue that goal?

A: Well not then. I didn't form any


My next - I had to in fact get elected.

Q: Let me stop you then, and ask you what

happened next. Let's try and get back on track


Were you subsequently elected to be

General secretary/treasurer?

A: Yes. A couple weeks later, maybe two or

three weeks later. The Board met in Florida. My

father submitted his letter of retirement. And the

Board elected me unanimously. That was on February

11 or 12 of '89.

Q: On becoming General

secretary/treasurer - let me stop you for a

second, and ask you if you can describe for me the

duties of the General secretary/treasurer of


Well, they are limited. They basically

handled the books and records and monitoring the

financial issues.

The general day-to day operation of the

union were in the powers of the authority of the

General President.

General secretary/treasurer monitored

the investment of the union, auditing program.

So they were limited to the financial transactions,

, I'd have to say.

Q: Now you testified a minute ago that

based on this meeting in Chicago, you got the word

from Mr. Solano, you formed the opinion that the

allegations about Mob control of LIUNA were

essentially true, is that right?

p ~ A: Well there were a lot of good people in

LIUNA. Mob control at the General President level,


Q: Well, and my question is, what if

anything on becoming General secretary/treasurer

did you do about that?

A: Well, I did a lot. I did a lot,

especially from 1989 to the middle of 1992.I

first went down to Washington and got a picture of

the - or lay of the land, as we would say,

'structure of how Internaconal headquarter was

laid out. people, departments, how they ran;

developed a program on some of the things that I

thought were, could make the organization more

efficient, spoke to Angelo Fosco about that.

I developed or analyzed the regional

office structures, specific regions in particular,

brought forward some new innovative programs that

make the union more open, especially in labor

management and training and education, health and


I also hat to direct certain priorities,

to have the members more informed and communicate

better with them, make the membership and the

regions and the district councils more aware of

what my abilities were. I was younger then, you

know, back around 1989; had to develop a certain

level of respect for the - from the people at

headquarters, department heads, certain level of

respect from the people in the field.

, And in that time and in that process, I

paid close attention to the individuals that were

employed by us in the field, our International

representatives, and also the regional offices.

Q: Let me stop you there.

A: I made -

Q: Sorry.

A: You know why? Because this is a process

that developed from '89 to '92.I did that, and at

the same rime tried to develop a respectful and

energetic rapport with the General Executive


It was, almost tried to politic, because

I just, I mentioned to you this 1989 meeting, and

either myself or someone else on that Board had to

be put in the position of assuming the General

President's role, because we, "we" meaning the

union, the members, could not afford to have anyone

that was outlined in that Commission's report head

this organization.

We had a cloud on the organization for a

long time, very long time. And that hampered our

organizing efforts. That hampered our collective

bargaining issues. It hampered our abilities to

get federal grants,

So we needed someone in a General

President's role that could carry that message

forward, and not be hampered by a cloud of

suspicion, and dealing with organized come figures

or undesirables. That could not be.

So I set out for a program to make the

Union better in one respect, and to politic, so

that in the event Fosco retired, or decided not to

run again, that someone, either my or someone

else would be in position to assume the

President's role, and not John Serpico.

Q: Now, during this time period, 1989,

1990, when you first got down there as General

Secretary/treasurer, did you have relatively close

contact with Mr. Fosco?

A: I did.

a: Did you ever raise with Mr. Fosco the

concerns you had about organized crime influence?

A: I did. I told -

Q Tell me when it happened.

A: I told him that this organization has

been under a cloud for a long time.

Q When did this conversation tactic place?


approximately when this first came up?

THE WITNESS: Well, I first of all got my feet

implanted in the position as General


When I got there, my first conversations

with him about trying to develop new programs, new

structure, ways of minimizing any undesirable

effort on this union, probably six months into the


I pointed out to him that a better

updating or better auditing updating system should

be put into place; a compliance program. I learned

that there were people in the field that were doing

two jobs, where they weren't able to handle one,

getting paid for two. I brought this out to him.

And I also discovered in that period

that Mr. Serpico was assistant to the General

President. I wasn't aware of that before.

And I told him that, you should make an

effort to put someone else in that position,

someone like Jim Norwood or a Lou Ellysie or a Carl


Q:: When did that conversation take place,

as best you can recall? Let's just focus on that


MR. LYDON: And who else was present?

MR. LUSKIN: Well. I'll ask it. Thank you.


Q When does it the place?

A: Well, I had a number of conversations

with him. The first conversation -

Q: When was the first conversation?,

A: - dealing -

Q:: About Mr. Serpico being - your concerns

about Mr. Serpico being special assistant to the

President ,.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Roughly the period.



A: Probably four months later, which would

be four months from February.


Q: Was anybody else present when you were

talking to Mr. Fosco?

A: No, not then.

Q: What did you say to him?

A: I said to him. I didn't realize that

John was the assistant to the General President,

Q And when did that take place.?

A: And he told me that that was around 1987

or 1988, in that time frame.

Well, I said, why did that take place?

Because you know what developed in the Commission's

report. You know what the problem is in Chicago.

Why did you allow this to happen.? You are only ,

putting us under a cloud more by doing this.

Q: What did he say in response?

A: He said, well, it had to be like that.

Q: Did he explain?

A: No.

Q: - why it had to be?

A: No. And I didn't go into it any more

either at that time.

Q: Now, in these first several months, were

there any other matters related to the possibility

of organized crime influence that you raised with

Mr. Fosco?

A: Well, as I was going through and

developing the regions or reviewing the regions,

we pointed out there was special International

representatives, which are part timers.

Q: Let me stop you and ask, are those

International positions, people paid by the


A: Yes.

Q:: Go ahead. I'm sorry to interrupt you.

A: I'm sorry. I lost my -

Q: I asked you, you were starting to tell

me that you found that there were positions,

part-time positions called special International


A: Right. They were special International

representatives, which we, which were classified as

part timers. There were no records of any activity

being developed.

I told him, I said, these people are

basically no-shows. How do you allow this to


Q: Who were these people, And where were

these people?

A: Well. the time, we are into the end of

89. Frank Caruso was one. And I believe another

one was Palermo, Palermo. As time went on, others

were hired: and the same problem or the same

conversations I had with him.

Q: Okay. But focusing on these first two,

Palermo and Caruso, did you believe these to be

no-show jobs?

A: I did. yes.

Q: What did you say, if anything, to Mr.


A: I told him, how come they are on our


Q: Was anyone present when you raised this

with him?

A: No.

Q: Anyone else present?

A: No.

Q: What did he say in response?

A: He may have been silent. I'm not even

sure he gave a response to it. It is tough to

really remember that

Q: Did you raise this issue with him on

more than one occasion?'

A: In 1992, on the no-shows, again, after

the convention, at that time, there was another

individual put on without me even knowing it, which

was John Matassa.

And I told him then, how come this

fellow is, you just put him on, when it doesn't

have the right appearance? If they are not doing

anything, this is wrong.

He said. well, I was told to put him on.

Q: Did he tell you who told him to put him


A: No.

Q: Are Mr. Palermo, Mr. Caruso and Mr.

Matassa all from Chicago?

A: Yes, yes.

a: Now, moving ahead to 1991, the next

convention, after that, when is the next time, if

at all, that the subject of Mr. Serpico possibly

succeeding Mr. Fosco came up, that you can recall?

A: Right after the convention; well, the

first part of 1992.The convention was in

September of '91. So first part of '92.Angelo

started to talk about retiring, and just casually

talking about it.

And then the subject really blew up in

the middle of '92, when one day I was in the

office, and Carl Booker come to speak with me, and

said that -

MR. LYDON: Can we just stop here and get a

foundation for this conversation, as to who was


HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Give us an idea of

where it is, and roughly what time.

(2 MR. LUSKIN: Sure.


Q:: Let me ask you, where did this

conversation take place, Mr. Coia?

A: In my office; he came down or came up

from his office.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: This is in D.C., sir?

THE WITNESS: This is in Washington, yes.


Q: In the headquarter of LIUNA in


A: Yes. My office was on the seventh

floor. He came to my office, and said to me that

Mary, which was-

MR. LYDON: Is there embody else present.?


Q: Is there anybody else present?

A: Carl Booker and myself.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Mr. Coia, who is Carl


THE WITNESS: Carl Booker?

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: What was his position

at the time?

THE WITNESS: He was director of jurisdiction.


Q:: Did Mr. Booker also function in a

de facto capacity as an assistant to Mr. Fosco?

A: He wasn't - there was no formal title.

His formal title was director of jurisdiction. But

he helped him

Q: But were those responsibilities that he

actually exercised?

A: Did that and he had an assistant by the

name of Steven Hammond. So Carl's real job was to

answer the mail for Angelo and work with Angelo.

Q: I'm sorry. I broke your train here to

establish this foundation, but we have to do it.

Mr. Booker came to your office on the seventh floor

at headquarters in-

A: That is what I said. I don't know if he

came down, because he may have been upstairs with

Angelo, which is, his office was on the eighth

floor. Or he may have been in his office on the

fifth. I'm not sure.

a: He came to your office?

A: He came to my office. He came up or he

came down.

Q: He ended up in your office is that fair?

A: He came to my office yes. And he said

to me that Mary, Mary Devella, which was Angelo

Fosco's secretary was very upset and may have

even been crying, because Angelo told her that he

was retiring and that she had to leave also;

further went on and said that the reason is that he

told Mary that John Serpico would be replacing him

as president, and he would be taking his secretary,

or people down to take her job.

Q: Is that all that happened in this


A: That's basically it, yeah. So I

immediate -

Q: What did you do?

A: I was very disturbed over it because I

had had these conversations with Angelo. He knew

my feelings. He knew what the problem was.

So I went upstairs, spoke to Mary and

said that, did he just tell you -

Q: Was anybody - let me stop you. Was

anybody else present?

A: May have been Carl. I'm not sure. But

I stormed upstairs, went in to see Mary; did he

tell you that he was retiring, and John was

replacing him?

Q: What did she say?

A: She said yes.

Q: What did you do next?

A: And he is taking some people down from

Chicago? She said yes.

I went in to see him at that point and

closed the door and started yelling at him

Q: Was anybody else present?

A: It was just me and him. Maybe Mary

heard it - I'm not sure - because her office is

right outside. But I was yelling at him

Q: What were you yelling about.?

A: That this is - first of all, I asked

him did you tell her that you were retiring, and

rot that John was replacing you., He said yes.

Then I said you know the problems that

this union has had in the past, you know the

problems you personally went through back in 1980;

how can you allow, even think of bringing John

Serpico and replacing you in this position?

Q: Let me stop you for a second here. What

problem, in 1980 were you referring to?

A: There were accusations and allegations

and ultimately indictment on Angelo that he had

been controlled by the Mob in Chicago.

Q: Okay.

A: So I said, with all these problems that

you had and this union has had .you cannot do

this. Do me a favor I said to him, stay in your

job. I'll do your work. I' m not going to get into


He says, well, I can't really do that

because I have no one to turn to in Chicago

anymore. I said, well, what are you talking

about? He said, well, Vincent Solano is dead now.

I said, well, I didn't even know that. That was

the first time I had heard that. So he had said,

well, he is dead. I have no one to turn to.

I said, look: just stay here and I'll

do the work for you.

Q: Did you underhand, did you have an

understanding about what Mr. Fosco meant when he

said to you, Vincent Solano is dead I have nobody

to turn to?

A: Right

Q: What did you understand that to mean?

A: That his contact man, Solano, was no

longer around, and he had no one to turn to, and

someone else was calling the shots, which he did

not have a friendly relationship with,

Q: Contact with whom?'

A: The Mob.

Q: Was he referring you think to the

District Council or the local unions in Chicago?

A: No, no, no.

Q: What else, if anything, did you say in

this conversation?

A: That was, I said we have done so much,

I've tried to do so much in the union, and here you

are, trying to take it down, and I'm not going to

stand for it. As a matter of fact, if that is, and

you can convince the Board to have him succeed you,

I will quit. And I will take the key people in

this organization in this building back to New

England with me. And that was a seeking out people

like Carl Booker or Steve Hammond, people that made

the operation run effectively.

And that was the end of the conversation

at that point.

Q: Is that everything you can recall that

you said or he said?

A: I think so. He just sat there and

listened to me. I was very upset with him. I was

banging the table. I said this, you can't do

this. You can't do this to these people. You

can' t do it to people like Booker and Ellysie and

Hammond and the rest of the people down there. You

just can't.

Q: And apart from his comment about Mr.

Solano being dead, did he say anything in response

to this?

A: No, no.

Q Now after you left his office that day,

did you form some sort of strategy or plan about

how you were going to deal with the threat that Mr.

Fosco would retire and designate Mr. Serpico as his


A: Well, I'd have to reach out now to the

Board, and subtly. I didn't tell anybody what

happened, the way it happened

I said that he is anticipating retiring

and what their position would be, subtly.

But about a month or two, month after

that, he got sick: Angelo Fosco got sick, might have

been a month or two after that

And I had learned from the family that

he was very sick, very sick. There was rumors

around that he may not ever come back to the office

again; he was that ill. At that point -

Q Did that lead you to believe that things

might be imminent in terms of his succession?

A: Yes. I stepped up the politicking

issue. I informed the Board that he was very ill.

I didn't want to make anybody panic over it. But I

started the - I had to tell them also, because I

didn't want anyone to pull any rugs out from under


So it was a process of him or his health

deteriorating; that's it.

Q: And you say this is - when was this in

time, just so we are clear on the sequence?

A: .November.

Q: Of 1992?

A: '92, yes. November.

Q: What happened next, if you recall?

A: Well, I was getting reports or rumors,

whatever, statements back from Chicago on the

condition of his health, both from the family and


Q: What were those reports?

A: That he was doing poorly, very poor.

Q: What else did you hear, if anything.?

A: That he we going into the hospital. He

was at one time in a coma. I also heard that John

Matassa and John Serpico were going to the house.

MR. LYDON: I'll object. unless we have some

foundation for this as well. Even though it is

hearsay, we ought to know where, when, who was


MR. LUSKJN: I'll try and connect up the dots

MR. LYDON: Wait. It is better than

connecting up the dots. I'm asking for a

foundation. He is starting to relate a

conversation that he heard. Where did he hear?

Who was present?

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I think that's fair.

I think it is fair to describe it, in what fashion

he heard. We can certainly hear hearsay, if it is

third-party, rumors, so forth, at least identify

where it came from.


Q: With respect to what you are about to

start telling me and start to say something about

Mr. Matassa and Mr. Serpico. whom did you hear

those reports from?

A: Well, Carl Booker had a close

relationship with the family. So Marie Fosco was

relating as to his health condition to Carl, and as

to visitors.

I had gotten information back also from

Bruce Monaco, not to me directly, through either

John LeConche. who was a training director for

Laborers/AGC and Lou Ellysie.

Q. Who is Mr. Ellysie?

A: Lou Ellysie was a head of a department

down in Washington. He was head of contractual

maintenance department.

Q: Tell us who Bruce Monaco is, by the


A: Bruce Monaco is Angelo's or was Angelo's

stepson. Now, I don't know. I heard that they

were going there. I don't know the amounts of

time, how often.

MR. LYDON: He heard this from all of these




MR. LYDON: Or who specifically here?

MR. LUSKIN: Let me ask a question.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Direct him and have

him delineate, if he knows.


Q: First, what did you hear from Mr.

Booker, from Marie Fosco though Mr. Booker,

about -

A: You have to understand, these people

are very concerned, not only of the health of

Anglo Fosco, but they were concerned about the

future of the union. Carl Booker -

MR. LYDON: I object to that. This is not

responsive to the question. I can't just let him

narrate here.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I understand that.


A: But people


little bit of background as to the, as I understand

it, the person's health is deteriorating, and he is

getting reports.

It is in this context I think he is

giving this. Now, without going into something

elaborate, could you direct it, so we can get to

transmission of the information?


Q: Sure. What were you hearing, first

focusing on Mr. Booker, what were you hearing back

from Mr. Booker that he related to you that he was

hearing from Marie Fosco, Mr. Fosco's wife? What

did you hear?

A: He would talk to her daily, to find out

Angelo's condition. And he would report it to me,

because in a sense, I was running the union in that

position. I had to know where, what condition he

was in. I had to know that. And he would report

back to me.

Q: And apart from Mr. Fosco's health, what

else did you hear from Mr. Booker?

A: That John Matasssa and John Serpico were

visiting him often. And that concerned me.

Q: Why did it concern you?

A: Based upon Angelo's statement a few

months earlier, and based upon the 1989 airport

meeting, it concerned me.

Q: Now, did you hear- now, focusing on

what you heard from Mr. Monaco, through Mr.

LeConche or Mr. Ellysie, were you hearing similar

reports from them to what you heard back from Mr.


MR. LYDON: I object to the leading. You can

have him relate what he heard from these people.


A: Well, it wasn't similar really. It

wasn't similar.


Q: What did you hear?

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: What did you hear?

Just differentiate, what did you hear from Monaco?

What did you hear from LeConche?

MR. LUSKIN: I think he said Monaco was a

source, and that was through either Mr. LeConche

or Mr. Ellysie.


Q: Is that correct?

A: Yes. I didn't speak to Monaco

personally. Monaco gave updates to LeConche on a

few occasions, he gave updates as to health;

Ellysie and Mazza also. Mazza was the regional

manager in Chicago. He would give me updates as to

the condition of Angelo.

Q: And either through Mr. Monaco or from

Mazza, did you also hear anything about visits

by Mr. Matassa and Mr. Serpico?

A: Yea.

Q : What did you hear?

A: Who said what at what time and how many

times, this was a general, general conveyance to

me, as to health and as to politicking, that was

getting back to me, so that these people know that

I knew what was going on.

Q: Did there come a -

A: Some of it wasn't solicited. Some just

came in on their own accord.

Q: Did there come a time in this period,

November or December of 1992, that you actually

went to Chicago yourself?

A: Yes, during Christmastime.

Q: Christmas of '92?

A: I went to see Angelo myself. His

condition got somewhat better, somewhat in the

sense that he was in the hospital. He wasn't in a

severely critical state. But he was in a terminal

state. I don't know how to explain that. I'm not

a doctor. But he was doing better but not good.

I went to see him

Q: He wasn't going to recover, would that

be fair?

A: Yes, that's right.


running the union at this time?


HEARING OFFICER VAIRA : Is that by terms

of your office succession as General secretary or-

THE WITNESS: No. I assume it - I was

running it, I mean but there is no provision in

the Constitution at that point.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Political reality, you

assumed it.



Q: Had you in fact been assuming a lot of

responsibilities of Mr. Fosco in the preceding


A: that was okay, because I indicated to

him, if he wanted to - do not retire, and I would

do his duties for him It just so happens that two

months later, he became ill.

Q: So if I understand ,you actually offered

to him, if you stay on, I'll do the job?

A: Yes, that's right.

So I went to, I was in- I came to

Chicago to visit him in the hospital. It was

during Christmastime.

Q: Was anyone else present?'

A: Yes.

Q: Who was present.?

A: .Marie Fosco, and Terry Healy, and I.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Mr. Healy is a union

official here in Chicago?

THE WITNESS: Yes. He is the new regional

manager in Chicago. He replaced Joe Mazza.


A: They were there. And when I got into

the room, Angelo excused there. He wanted to talk

to me privately. So they left the room

And the first thing he said, I want you

to know, Arthur, that John is taking over. And in

the same breath, Peter Fosco will replace John as

vice-president, which is my son, and Terry Healy

will be the regional manger.

And the amazing thing is, he didn't give

me a chance to say, how are you, how are you

feeling, how is my family. I mean first thing out

of his mouth was, John is taking over.


Q: Did you say anything in response?

A: Yeah, I said, Angelo, you're crazy.

You know I will not go along with that. I will not

permit it. And as I told you before, if that ever

happens. I have to quit.

And by the way, I didn't want to upset

the man. I said, why don't you concentrate on

getting better, and we'll discuss it another time.

I stayed there about another 15 minutes, and then I


Q: And in the other 15 minutes, did you

have any other conversations on this subject


A: No. It would only- it - too

emotional. I didn't want to get into that.

Q: Now, focusing on the period of time

between Christmas of '92 and the General Executive

Board meeting on Mr. Fosco's death, which testimony

was established is in early February of 1993, what

if anything did you do concerning the question of

who would succeed Mr. Fosco as President?

A: I made some telephone calls to Board

members, told them his condition was bad; I saw it


I waited, as time went on, and the whole

board came to Washington for the Presidential

inauguration, which was I believe the second week

in January. I got the whole board there, spoke to

them individually, told them that it did not look

like Angelo was going to recover, and I would like

their support, if in fact he died. It wasn't a

question of, if in fact he retired. And they all

gave me a commitment.

Q: Did you solicit Mr. Serpico's support.'

A: No.

Q: Is there anybody else on the Board who

you didn't approach?

A: Mr. Vinall

Q: Why was that?

A: Well, I thought he was quite friendly

with Mr. Serpico.

He has been on the Board the longest,

and I didn't - I didn't think it was appropriate.

Q: Moving ahead to the G E.B. meetings in

February of 1993, did there come a time when you

heard that Mr. Fosco was actually going to leave

his bed and come down to those meetings?

A: The Executive Board meeting was the

second week in February, second week. .And he got

out of his bed and got a private plane to come down

to Florida. I couldn't believe it. That's what


Q: Why couldn't you believe it?

A: Well, the man was seriously sick. He

was blown up. It was, his whole body was distended

from fluid. He couldn't pass it. I mean, his

organs were breaking down.

If you seen a person that is sick with

cancer, or kidney failure, that is what happened.

Q: What significance, if any, did you

attach to his willingness to get on a plane and fly

down to Florida in that condition?

A: My significance?

Q: Yes.

A: He was coming down to gather support

from the Board to endorse John Serpico to replace

him as president.

Q: What happened next? Did he do that?

A: No, He died on February 11, which was

the third or fourth day of our meetings.

Q: When you heard about his death on

February l 1, what time of the day was that, Mr.


A: Approximately 3:00.

Q: What did you do next?

A: Well, we had an office at the Americana,

which is like a cabana setup there. And most of

the vice-presidents were there. And those that

weren't, I sent someone out to get them, and told

them that he had died. Most had heard. And I

indicated to them that were - we would have an

election the next day to replace Angelo.

Q: So did you in fact have a meeting with

all the vice president members of the G.E.B.


A: Yes, everyone was present, yes: told

them that there would be an election the next day.

I did that for a couple of reasons.

One, I did not want to, I personally did not want

to go back to Chicago to have an election after his


O: Why not?

A: There was a whole bunch of problems that

happened during Angelo's election in 1975. I don't

know if they were true or not. But they were

reported, that there was bad politicking going on.

And I didn't want that to happen.

Q: What do you mean by bad politicking?

How specific can you be here? What happened in


MR. LYDON: Objection, foundation, as to who

he heard this from and when.


A: It is bad politicking

HEARING OFFICER VIARA: Time out. There is an

objection on the record.

What is your objection Mr. Lydon?

MR. LYDON: My objection is one of

foundation He is now alluding to a conversation

again or it has to be conversation He was asked

what he heard, I'd like to know where and when he

heard it, from whom, who else was present


A: It was in the-

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Just a moment, sir,

just a moment.

MR. LUSKIN: We are going about his state of

mind here.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: He is talking about

his state of mind. He said he doesn't know whether

it is true or not. He said it is something he is

reacting upon. It is reasonable to as him, what

was this, quote, "bad politics," and how did he

hear it, to give it some credibility.

MR. LUSKIN: Of course.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I think that ought to

be the question. Mr. Lydon wants a foundation, as

good as you can give a foundation, because he says

it is giving his state of mind.

MR. LUSKIN: I'll furnish as much of a

foundation as the witness can.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Along those lines.




MR. LUSKIN: Fine, that's fine.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I have a question.

When you finish this particular conversation - it

is about 20 after 12, we are going to go the rest

of the afternoon - can we finish this

conversation and take a break? Is that all right?

MR. LYDON: Fine.

MR. LUSKIN: That is fine.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Finish this little

scenario about his state of mind, what he heard.

Then we will break for about half an hour. I mean

an hour, okay?



Q: Mr. Coia, when you talk about bad

politics that you associated with Chicago and the

election of Angelo Fosco, what do you mean?

A: That was reported-that there was some

Mob influence in the President's Commission on

Organized Crime report that that went on in 1975.

I don't know if it was true or not. But

based upon everything that unfolded from me from

1989 to 1992. I placed some truth in that.

So I didn't want that to happen. And if

I was going to be elected the General President, I

didn't want that to be surrounding my tenure in

office, nor did I want to expose anybody on that

Board to any what I'd call bad politicking.

That is the No. 1 reason.

No. 2, Carl Booker was with the family

when Angelo died. He went there at my direction.

because it looked like he was not going to make


And I asked him to inquire of the

family, which is Marie Fosco, whether they had any

preference of having the election immediately, or

wait after the funeral.

And she said that she would prefer to

have it immediately, so there would not be any kind

of distractions while the wake was going on and the


HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I think now we can




(WHEREUPON, the hearing was

recessed until 1:20 p.m., this


May 19, 1995.)





JOHN SERPICO ) No.95-020

May 19,1995





2828 Pennsylvania Avenue. N.W. Suite 200.

Washington, D C. 20007-3763),by:



appeared on behalf of the G.E.B.


(35 West Wacker Drive, Chicago, 60601 9703),



appeared on behalf of John Serpico.




Page 1110


called as a witness herein, having been previously

duly sworn and having testified was examined and

testified further as follows:



Q: Mr. Coia, when we broke for lunch, you

were, you had just finished answering the reason,

giving us the reasons why you wanted to hold the

election in Miami the next day, rather than

postpone it to Chicago.

After the General Executive Board

meeting that afternoon of the 11th, did you have

occasion to meet with Mr. Serpico that afternoon or


A: After I notified the Board of the

death -

Q: Yes, sir.

A: - and the election, I then had written

a formal notification, given to each Board member

at their hotel room, as to the time and place of

the election, which would be the following day,

which I believe was Friday, which was the 12th.

After the meeting- it wasn't a formal

meeting, I mean, everyone was there. I made an

announcement as to what was happening. I went to

the Fosco house, paid my respects. I went there

with my wife, and stayed there for a couple of


And then I had something to eat, and

then I came back to the hotel

Q: Did you see Mr. Serpico at any time that

afternoon or evening after this meeting?

A: He was at the meeting. Then after the meeting -

Q: After the meeting. yeah.

A: - this 'was around 8 or 9:00 at night,

when I came back to the hotel, I saw him in the lobby.

Q: Were you with anyone at that time?

A: I was with my wife, Armand Sabitoni, and Albert Lepore.

Q: Who is Mr. Sabitoni?

A: Sabitoni at that time was regional

manager of New England, and now he is a

vice-president and New England regional manager.

Q: And how about Albert Lepore? Who is he?

A: Albert Lepore is a friend of mine.

Q: Was Mr. Serpico with anybody, or was he

by himself?

A: He was alone.

Q: Did you two have a conversation?

A: Yes. I went over to him and we spoke.

He said that, I guess I got this all

wrapped up - meaning me - with respect to the

General Presidency and then he asked me, do you

think I could be General secretary/treasurer?

Q: What did you say in response?

A: I said no; Jim Norwood I would like as

General secretary/treasurer. And not only that, it

wouldn't be appropriate, John, to be

secretary/treasurer, again because of the history

that goes back to '86, '89, and the innuendo

allegations, that I had heard and then personally


Q: You said this to him?

A: Well, not in those kind of words. I

just said -

Q: Give me the words as best you can


A Oh, the words: no, you can't be

secretary/treasurer, there's too much baggage that

you have to bring to that position, for the union.

Those are the words.

Q: What if anything did he say in response?

A: He said that he would like to see me the

following morning, that he would like me to meet

with a friend of his.

Q: Did you ask-

A: I asked him what time. He said 7:00. I

said fine. I'll meet you then.

Q: Did you ask him then who that friend


A: Yes.

Q: What did he say?

A: John Matassa.

Q: What did you do next?

A: Well. I then spoke to Armand and Albert,

and went over the conversation that had developed.

And the three of us decided that I would not speak

to the two of them together in the lobby the next


Q: Can you tell me why?

A: Because of the cloud around the both of


Q: So what did happen the next morning?

Did you meet with Mr. Serpico or Mr. Matassa?

A: The next morning, Albert, myself and

Armand went downstairs in the lobby at 7:00, and

Matassa was not there. John said that he would not

be coming.

Q: Well, let me stop you there. Was Mr.

Serpico there?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you have a conversation with Mr.


A: Yes.

Q: Was anyone else within earshot?

A: No. I was talking-

Q: Was this a private conversation?

A: I talked to him alone. Armand and

Albert were just off to the side.

Q: Tell me what you can recall about that


A: Well, he said that Matassa wasn't

coming, and that he would like to have a job with

the union. And I said, well, I have to think about

it. He says, well, I'd like to have a job, because

I'd like to build up some pension. I only want to

work a couple of years, until I'm 68. I said I

would think about it.

And he also asked me if Peter Fosco

could replace Jim Norwood in his Vice-president


Q: What did you say in response?

A: I said no-that Jack Wilkinson-who has

been regional manager for at least 20 years, and he

had promoted all the programs, to doing a lot of

good things for his region, and that I am going to

support Jack Wilkinson

Q: Now, explain for me if you can, why

giving Mr. Serpico a job would build up his

pension. I' m not sure I understand that.

A: Well, he was making $20,000 a year as a

vice-president. And by giving him a job to add to

the salary, it would increase his level of benefits

by increasing the salary. And by giving him a job,

job, and appropriate salary, that would increase

the level of benefits. That is basically -

Q: Do I understand the -?

A: Increase the level of benefits is really

the short answer.

Q: Thereafter, did the G.E.B. in fact meet

and hold an election that morning?

A: Yes

Q: What happened?

A: - about an hour later. I was elected

General President and Jim Norwood General

secretary/treasurer and Jack Wilkinson elected to

the vacant vice-president position. They were, all

of us were elected unanimously.

Q: Now, shortly thereafter, did you in fact

give Mr. Serpico a job?

A: Yes.

Q: What position was that?

A: He was a hearing officer, panel hearing


Q: And do you recall what salary he was to

get for being a hearing panel officer?

A: That was the same as a regional

manager's salary, which at the time I believe was

$100,000, or 90 or $100,000.

Q: And that was in addition to the $20,000

that he was earning as vice-president?

A: In addition to that, he would be

receiving $20,040 as a vice-president, as an

Executive Board member.

Q: Let me stop and ask you, Mr. Coia, and

you have testified and indicated that you think

that Mr. Serpico was influenced by organized crime,

was under the direction of Mr. Solano, and that you

thought is was your duty to the union to ensure

that he didn't succeed Angelo Fosco as president

because of that.

Why did you give him a job as hearing

officer, which sounds like a responsible position?

A: Well, I gave him a job knowing that he

would leave in a couple of years. That was the way

of doing it easily. I gave him a position of

hearing officer, which is not really a - it sounds

responsible but it is really not. There is no

financial responsibility attached to it. There is

autonomous decisions that come out from that


He would accompany another

vice-president to hear regular charges or regular

issues that would come before the panel. He was a

fact-finder basically, which would be accompanied

with an attorney.

That panel makes a recommendation to the

Board, and then the Board votes on whether the

recommendation should be followed or not. And the

final decision process is with the Board,

basically or is, not basically.

Q: And as the hearing panel officer would

Mr. Serpico or did Mr. Serpico have the ability to

hire other persons to positions?

A: No.

Q: Now following your election you told

us before about certain jobs that you believe were

no-show jobs held by people in Chicago whom you

believed, based on your conversations with Mr.

Fosco, were put in those positions, by people

associated with organized crime.

Did you do anything about that?

A: Yes.

Q: What did you do?

A: I indicated that, when I got into

Washington, and learned the operation and the

regional offices more thoroughly, there were

certain things that had to be corrected. Certain

structures had so be changed, certain positions,

that I felt were no-show.

So approximately six weeks later, with

respect to the no-show positions, I terminated

Matassa, Caruso, Palermo and Dumo, which is out of

the Chicago region.

MR. LYDON: Could I have those names again?

THE WITNESS: Matassa, Dumo, Palermo, and



Q: Frank Caruso or Bruno Caruso?

A: I transferred Joe Mazza

who was the regional manager; which in my opinion I

felt he couldn't handle that job, and replaced him

with Terry Healy.

Now, Terry Healy was the best on that

staff at that time.

I also appointed as an assistant

regional manager Bruno Caruso, who I personally had

the most faith in, in the Chicago region. He was a

hard worker, dedicated, was committed to the

programs. And personally, I wanted so put him as

he familiarized himself with that region, as a

regional manager at some time.

I also implemented a compliance program'

which I had suggested to Angelo Fosco to do, headed

by three of our vice-presidents, which was George

Gudger, Chuck Bonds and Bud Vinall, assisted by

attorney Dave Elbaor.

I upgraded our auditing program, put

additional auditors on, with additional functions

and additional responsibilities.

I restructured regions in Atlanta,

Chicago; terminated a regional manager that I felt

was not performing as a regional manager should to

promote our programs and to enhance the members'

position in Atlanta.

As vice~presidents left, I

encouraged -excuse me- I encouraged the

retirement of Lcdger Diamond, who had been a

long time member of the Board who was not assigned

to any particular duties, with George Gudger.

Jack Wilkinson I said came on the

Board. Louis Bravo, he retired; replaced him with

Mike Quevedo, who I felt also had a deeper

understanding of the Hispanic community.

MR. LYD0N: How do you spell that?

THE WITNESS: Q u-e-v-e -d-o.


Q: Let me move on. A few weeks later-

A: One other thing I forgot. There were

jobs that I had discovered through reviewing LM-2

forms, when I was a secretary-treasurer that

people had two and three of, and receiving two and

three salaries, which I singled out and corrected.

So I did a lot of things. I mean, I did

a lot of things, that structure, restructured

headquarters, developed new programs, new

departments, and basically was working towards a

good goal in the compliance program, good goal to

auditing and restructuring.

Q: A few weeks after your election,

February 12, 1993, did you have occasions to talk

again with Mr. Serpico, in Mr. Serpico's presence,

about your succession to the Presidency?

A: Yes. My father died on March 4. And

John Serpico and John Matassa came to the funeral.

And that was the next time I talked to the both of

them, the next time I talked to John Serpico with

John Matassa

Q: And did you have a conversation about

the succession issue?

A: Yes. Well, the day of the funeral ,John

asked me to come and talk to his friend, John


And we went off to the side, and John

Matassa told me -

Q: Le: me stop you. When you went off to

the side, who's together here?

A: John Matassa. John Serpico and myself.

Q: So John, while I talked to the two of

them, John Matassa did the talking this time and

said that he didn't like and the boys here did not

.like what I did by stealing and taking the

Presidency from Chicago.

Q: By "boys" here - you were in Providence

at the time - who were you referring to?

A: The boys in Chicago.

Q: Was that the term he used?

A: That's the term he used, yeah.

Q: What if anything did you say in


A: I said, I don't care what you think

about it. Then I left.

Q: Let's skip way ahead, Mr. Coia. In

November of 1994, did you receive notice that the

Department of Justice was contemplating filing a

civil RICO action against the Laborers' Union?

A: Yes.

Q: When did you learn that.?

A: I was in Rhode Island. And I know it

was November 5th. I was in Rhode Island, I

received a telephone call from the then general

counsel, Bob Connerton.

He indicated to me that he had received

a letter from the Department of Justice, indicating

that they wanted to sit down to discuss issues that

were formulated in a draft civil RICO complaint.

That was on a Saturday, November 5th.

Q: And thereafter, did you have an

opportunity to review the Complaint.'

A: Yes. I was in Washington And I

reviewed it with Bob Connerton on November 7.

Q: Let me show you what has previously been

molded as Serpico Exhibit 6 and ask if you can

identify that as the draft RICO complaint.

A: Yes, it is.

Q: Let me show you a letter dated November

4, to Connerton from Paul Coffey, chief of the

organized crime and racketeering section, ask you

if that is the letter that accompanied the draft


A: Yes.

Q: In reviewing the complaint. Mr. Coia,

did you understand that the complaint, the draft

complaint made certain allegations against you


A: Yes.

Q: You understand that you were named as an

individual defendant in the proposed draft RICO


A: Yes, I was.

Q: Did you understand that the Department

of Justice in the dust civil RICO complaint was

seeking relief that would have barred you from

continuing to serve as General President of the

Laborers' Union.'

A: Yes.

Q: Did you see that it also makes certain

allegations against John Serpico?

A: Yes.

Q: Was Mr. Serpico named in his individual


A: As a defendant'

Q: Yes.

A: No.

Q: Did the suit allege that he was an

associate of organized crime in Chicago?

A: Yes.

Q In the draft complaint, is what I'm -

A: Draft complaint.

Q: And did the draft complaint also make

certain allegations against vice president Sam


A: Yes. They indicated that he was an

associate of certain crime families in New York and

New Jersey.

Q: And was Mr. Caivano named in his

individual capacity?

A: As a defendant, yes.

Q: Now. when you received this suit - or

I'm sorry, this proposed draft complaint, the

letter from Mr. Coffey, did you understand what

your response - What was expected of you or the

union, I should say, in response?

A: Yes. They indicated that they had put

forth certain contentions, and the type of relief

that they sought. They indicated that they would

like the union, me, to get back to them on November

18, by November 18.

I contacted you, Bob Luskin.

Q: Let me stop you right here.

A: Okay.

Q I want to go over these questions.

Now, did that proposed draft civil RICO

complaint occupy most of your attention over that

week and the beginning of the following week?

A: Well, we had a civil RICO case that was

filed on one of our affiliates in New York, which

was the Mason Tenders. And we had just received

approximately eight volumes of material, evidence,

depositions concerning allegations of wrongdoing

in that complaint.

And that weekend, I was going through

some of that, and Monday also, because I had to

consider imposing an emergency trusteeship on that

District Council.

So most of my attention was in the Mason

Tender case as opposed to this one. This one, we

had until November 18 to get back. And they were

contentions, versus the real thing in the Mason

Tenders, and some serious allegation of

wrong doing, and money that was taken from their funds.

Q: Let me digress for a second to the Mason

Tender case. Did the evidence that the government

has provided to you in that case, that you

described a minute ago, almost about the same time

you received this draft civil RICO complaint from

the Department of Justice, did it matte specific

allegations against Sam Caivano?

A: Yes.

Q: Was there evidence that you saw that Mr.

Caivano was associated with organized crime

families in New York, and that they influenced his,

influenced, excuse me, his actions as regional


MR. LYDON: Excuse me, was in the Mason


MR. LUSKIN: In the Mason Tenders, yes.


Q: Was there evidence there that you

reviewed that weekend?

A: Yes, yes.

Q: Now, on November 9, 1994, did you call a

meeting of the General Executive Board?

A: Yes.

Q: What was the purpose of that meeting?

A: Well, it was twofold.

One, I wanted to inform them that I had

imposed an emergency trusteeship in the Mason

Tenders District Council case. I wanted their

support for it. Constitutionally I didn't need it.

But I wanted to inform them of what happened

there. And secondly, to inform them that we had

received this draft complaint which incorporated

certain relief that the government wanted: and

also, that they wanted to speak to a legal

representative of the union I had, and that is what

I called them for.

Q: And by then, by November 9, had you and

I spoken, and you had made a tentative decision to

recommend me as counsel for LIUNA in dealing with

the Department of Justice?

A: Yes. You were at that meeting on

November 9.

Q: Did you propose that I be retained at

that meeting on the 9th,

A: Yes, I did.

Q: Did the Board agree to that?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, shortly thereafter, did you get a

formal notice from me that you ought to consider

retaining independent counsel in connection with

this proposed civil RICO complaint?

A: Yes.

Q: Did I indicate to you -

MR. LYDON: Excuse me. Was this, you said

formal; is there some letter? Is that what you

meant by that?


Q: Written, by written communication?

A: Yes, written communication, yes, yes.

Q: And in fact, did you retain separate

counsel a few weeks later?

A: I did. I retained counsel the end of

November of '94

Q: Who was that counsel?

A: Brendan Sullivan

Q: Now. focusing your attention on the

period between November 9 and December 15, were you

aware during that time period that I conducted

several meetings with the Department of Justice

concerning the proposed draft civil RICO complaint?'

A: Yes.

Q: And you were aware then, were you not -

MR. LYDON: I'm going to object to leading at

this point.

MR. LUSKIN: All right, sorry. I'll rephrase.

it. Thank you.


Q: Any time during that period, did you or

to your knowledge anybody else associated with

LIUNA ask or direct me to suggest to the Department

of Justice in any way some sort of trade in which

relief against you by the Department of Justice

would be dropped, and Mr. Serpico would be

substituted in your place?

A: No.

Q: Are you aware of that ever happening

during that period of time.,

A: No, it never happened.

Q: Are you aware of any discussions which

suggested that I might have done that unilaterally

on my own?

A: No, I was not aware.

Q: Let me show you what has been previously

marked for identification as Serpico Exhibit 15.

Were you aware sometime, did you learn

some time in mid December, in connection with the

discussions that have been going on between LIUNA's

counsel and the Department of Justice, that the

Department of Justice had decided to make a formal

proposed settlement offer of the draft civil RICO


A: Yes.

Q: And did you understand that Exhibit 15

was the Justice Department's proposal to resolve

the threatened litigation?

A: That's right.

Q: Was a copy of that furnished to you on

or about December 14, 1994?

A: Yes.

Q: Let me ask you, if you will, to turn to

Page 8 of that exhibit.

MR. LYDON: Could we just hold it for a minute?


MR. LYDON: I thought I had my copy. And I don't.


Q: I'm on Page 8 now. Directing your

attention to the Page 8 heading, which says, Status

of Current G.EB. Members, did you understand that

this, the Department of Justice's proposed consent

decree, called for a permanent injunction against

John Serpico, Sam Caivano and Robert Connerton?

A: Yes.

Q: And did you read this document carefully

when you got it?

A: I certainly did.

Q: Did it call for any relief against you?

A: No.

Q: Did it identify you individually in any


A: No, it did not.

Q: Did you or to your knowledge anybody'

working on behalf of LIUNA have any hand in

this document?'

A: Absolutely not.

O: What did you understand it to be?

A: This was a government proposal.

government prepared consent decree, which they were

asking you to enter into.

Q: And after you reviewed it, what was your

reaction to it?

A: Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I

was disturbed over it.

Q: Now, if I understand it, if LIUNA. if

you had recommended that this consent decree be

examined by the G.E.B. and the G.E.B. had approved

it there would have been no risk as far as you

are concerned that the government would have

sought to permanency enjoin you from any

association with the union, is that right?

A: Yeah. This would have been the end of

the case; would have enjoined Serpico, Caivano and

Connerton. And here was no mention of me. That

is what my understanding was. And it would have

avoided the litigation.

Q: So was it your understanding that if you

had agreed to the government's proposal on December

15, that the threat of litigation would have ended,

and that you would not have been disturbed in any

way in your office as General President of LIUNA?

A: That's right.

Q: I ask again, did you agree or recommend

that the union agree to these terms?

A: I absolutely rejected this.

Q: Why?

A: Because it wasn't good for the union or

the people involved.

Q: What do you mean by that? Let's talk

about good for the union to begin with.

A: It wouldn't have been good for the union

because of other conditions in this consent decree;

would have put more control, control with the


It would have permanently enjoined three

individuals from holding any position, not given

them any right of due process and they would have

been out of the union completely. And I don't

believe that's right.

Q: Do you know whether or not counsel for

LIUNA indicated to the government that LIUNA would

not accept those terms?

A: Yes.

Q: As an alternative, do you know whether

LIUNA proposed, made a counterproposal to the


A: Yes. I directed you to go back and make

a counterproposal.

Q: Let me show you what has previously been

marked and is really only a portion of Serpico Exhibit 16.

Since that was a group exhibit, let me

identify specifically the documents that I'm going,

to show you.

It is a contract, a consent decree, and

what appears to be a draft complaint captioned,

United States of America Laborers' International

Union of North America the G E B of Laborers'

International Union of North America, and Arthur

A. Coia, General President. Again, there is a long

string of defendants.

Let me ask you whether or not this

constituted LIUNA's counterproposal to the

government in response to their proposed consent


A: Yes, it was, and is, or whatever.

Q: Did you have an opportunity to review it


A: Yes. I did.

Q: Does any aspect of the contract or the

consent decree or the complaint call for any

permanent injunctive relief or any other kind of

a disability to be imposed on Mr. Serpico, Mr.

Caivano, Mr. Connerton or you,

A: No. There is no injunctive relief, no.

Q: Moving ahead to January 4, do you recall

whether the terms of this counterproposal were

presented to the General Executive Board at a

General Executive Board meeting on January 4?

A: Yes.

Q: And what was the response of the General

Executive Board?

MR. LYDON: Wait I'd like to object and ask

that if we are going to get into this at this

point, I realize your need to lead in other areas,

but let's have foundation and what happened and who

said what, okay?


MR. LYDON: Thanks.


have to rule.

MR. LUSKIN: Don't have to rule. I'll be

happy to rephrase the question


Q: Turning your attention to the meeting of

January 4.1995, let me ask you whether or not the

terms of this proposal were presented to the

General Executive Board for its review at that


A: They were.

Q: Tell me if you can recall now what

happened in connection with that.

MR. LYDON: Well, who is at the meeting, okay,

other then - I'd like a foundation laid in other



went to the meeting: who was there, who said what.

and detailing whatever importance, whatever

seriousness you want to -


Q: Were all the members of the Executive

Board present?

A: Yes. We had a number of meetings during

this period of time. I believe that one of the

vice-presidents was not there but he was hooked up

by telephone with a speaker. I believe that was

that meeting. His name was Chuck Bonds. The rest

of the Board was there.

This proposal that

MR. LYDON: Just a minute. Were there any

other persons there other than the G.E.B.?


Q: was I present.?

A: Yes.

MR. LYDON: Anybody else?


Q Do you recall anyone else?

A: Mary Devella.

Q:Mr.Traini present.?

A: Carl Booker

Q: What position -

A: Do you have the minutes? It would be


Q: They were introduced. We ought to have

the exhibit. Let me give them to you.

Let me show you what has previously been

marked as Serpico Exhibit 9, minutes of the January

4 meeting.

A: Okay yes. This is, the meeting on

January 4 is again - I thought so - Chuck Bonds .

was not physically present but was hooked in by

way of a telephone hookup and heard the meeting ,

and asked some questions..

Who was there other than the Board? Was

that your question?

Q: Do you recall whether Mr.Traini was present.?

A: I' m not sure.

Q: During that period of time, what

function was Mr. Traini serving?

A: He was doing legal work for the union.

Q: What was his title if he had one?

A: I think special counsel.

Q: Moving ahead to the report of the

Justice Department investigation do you recall

whether Mr. Connerton was excused from the meeting

at that point?

A: Yes he was and the reason I suggested

that he be excused was that in the letter that we

had received from the Justice Department which

contained the November 4 letter which contained

the draft complaint they indicated that Connerton

would probably be called as a witness or would be

a material witness in the case.

So I suggested that he be excused. And

he excused himself.

Q: Now again I'll ask you, at some point

during the meeting was a presentation made to the

Board outlining the terms of the proposal that were

reflected in government Exhibit 16?

A: Yes.

Q: Who made that presentation?

A: I don't know if I did or you did to be

honest with you. Did you.?

Q: Take a look at exhibit, bottom of Page 4

and top of Page 5 of Exhibit 9. Let me a5k if that

refreshes your recollection of how the presentation

was made.

A: What was it again?

Q: Bottom of Page 4 top of Page 5.

A: Yes. Yeah, you presented it.

Q: After that presentation was there some

discussion among the members of the G.E.B.?

A: Yes. there was.

Q: Okay.

A: As a matter of fact. I recommended that

if we could get this particular proposal that was

put together by us I recommended to the Board that

we should enter into it and to give you the

latitude that was necessary in negotiations to get


Q: Did anyone make any objections to that


A: The entire Board thought that a good

idea with the exception of John Serpico, who said

that he wanted his attorney to look at it first

before he would vote to give you the latitude.

The Board wanted to vote on it then.

And I said, as a result of the allegations that

are made and the seriousness of them, that I think

we should give John an opportunity to have it

viewed by his own attorney And that is how it

was left.

Q: Did you understand whether Mr. Serpico's

attorney was present in the G. E B that afternoon?

A: Not that afternoon, no. He was given

the contract and the proposed consent decree, and

gave it to his attorney.

Q: Do you know whether or not this proposal

which -

MR. LYDON: Excuse me. When was that? You

want to put a tine on that?'

THE WITNESS: January 4.

MR. LYDON: When it was given to Mr. Serpico?

THE WITNESS: He was given the contract and

the proposed consent decree.

MR. LYDON: Gotcha.


Q And that's the document that we have

identified as Serpico Exhibit 16?

A: Yes.

Q: Because we have two things that are

called consent decrees out here, and I want to be

very clear. So take a look.

A: Exhibit 16.

Q: Okay.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: That is the one you

fellows drew?

MR. LUSKIN: Exactly.


Q Do you know whether or not this proposal

was in fact submitted to the government for their


A; Yes, it was.

Q: What was the government's reaction?

A: They rejected it

Q: Did you understand what the government's position was?

MR. LYDON: Can we have a foundation for that

as well?



Q: How did you come to know-

MR. LYDON: Did you have a conversation with

someone; who, where, when.


A: You came, you Bob Luskin, came back to

me and told me that they rejected this proposal,

and they were insisting on their proposal that was

given to you, or that proposed consent decree on

December 14, which was Exhibit 15.


Q: In light of the government's rejection

of Serpico Exhibit 16 and their insistence on

Serpico 15 did you then recommend or try and

recommend or consider recommending that the Board

adopt Exhibit 15, the government's proposed consent


A: No. I would never enter into that type

of consent decree.

Q: That's 15?

A: Yeah. I would never enter into that

consent decree which is Exhibit 15.

Q: Now, between January 4, shortly

thereafter, when you learned the government

rejected that proposed resolution and January 18,

when the Board next met, did you come up with an

alternative plan for addressing the threat of


A: The plan that I suggested that we do.

and it may have been a mutual idea. I'm not sure,

was -

MR. LYDON: Can we pause? If it is mutual,

I'd like to know who mutual with.


A: Mutual-Bob Luskin

MR. LYDON: Okay.


A: - as again attorney for LIUNA and

myself; we sat down many hours to review what had


It appeared that litigation that we

were going to actually be sued by the government.

And I wanted to get into some posture that in the

event there was a suit, any restraining order, or

injunctive relief would not be granted.

So the best way that we could do this

was to develop a disciplinary procedure and ethics

code and developing that procedure to get a

permanent department of an Inspector General,

General Executive Board, G.E.B Attorney, Hearings

Officer, and an Appellate Officer, which would then

hear any case, and be decided, whether anyone that

was accused would have a fair due process hearing.


Q And again, before January 18, did you in

conjunction with your attorneys actually develop

those specific document that would be adopted by


A: Yes, yes.

Q: Now, as of January 18, did you have any

agreement with the government?

A: No.

Q: What was your understanding of the state

of the negotiations between LIUNA and the Justice

Department as of January 18?

A: We could be sued any day.

Q: Particularly, did you have any agreement

with the government concerning the removal or

suspension of Mr. Serpico, Mr. Caivano or Mr.


A: No.

Q: Did you have any promises or pledges

from the government that if you took action against

those individuals, the government wouldn't file a


MR. LYDON: Object, lack of foundation for

that, if you are going to suggest that there were


MR. LUSKIN: No. I'm asking if he was aware

of whether there were any such things.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: He can answer the


MR. LYDON: I just wanted to make sure of what

the question was.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: He can answer the



A: There was no agreement There was no

promises. There was no agreement.


Q let me show you what we will mark as

G.E.B. Exhibit 18, minutes of the Board meeting on

January 18. Did the Board in fact hold a meeting

on January 18, 1995?

A: Yes.

Q: Who summoned it?'

A: I did.

Q: were all the members of the Board


A: Yes.

Q: Were they physically present on the


A: They were physically present. General

counsel Connerton was excused again for the

reasons I mentioned in my, the last time.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: What are you reading,

gentlemen? Just one second. What are you looking

at? G.E.B. 18?


MR. LYDON: For the record, this is the

unexcised version of -

MR. LUSKIN: These are unredacted. This is an

unredacted version of the minutes of January 18,

which we furnished to you.

MR. LYDON: Which are identified as Exhibit 10

for Serpico.

MR. LUSKIN: But since we have a different

version here -

MR. LYDON: Ours are redacted.

MR. LUSKIN: Let me, for the purposes of

clarity, let me identify the unredacted minutes as

G.E.B. Exhibit 18.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I see. That is why we

are having-

MR. LUSKIN: So there won't be any confusion. Okay?



Q: Mr. Coia, was I present at the meeting?

A: Yes.

Q: Were there other lawyers present at that

meeting as well?

A: Yes.

Q: Who were they, if you know?

A: The attorney for Mr. Serpico; I believe

his name was Pearl. I'm not sure of his first

name, attorney Stan Brand for Sam Caivano, that's

it. Yourself for the LIUNA

Q: Let me ask you to turn your attention to

page -

A: I asked their attorneys to be there,

incidentally. The reason they were there was-

MR. LYDON: Is that something-


A: - I asked them to be there, because we

were deciding on something that was critical to the


HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: Hold it one second.

MR. LYDON: My question is, is that something

that is reflected in the minutes on any page, or is

it just your recollection?

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I think it is your

first statement about who else was present.

MR. LYDON: In other words, were you just

giving us your recollections or was this something

that you referred to in the minutes, is all I'm


THE WITNESS: Well, I'll look through the

minutes, but I know they were there.

MR. LYDON: If you were just stating from your

recollection, that is fine. My question was

whether you were referring to the minutes, and if

so, I wanted to know at what page.


Q: Let me ask you to turn to the page

headed Department of Justice, Department


A: Justice. yes.

Q Are you there?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you recall that I made a presentation

to the General Executive Board about the state of

the negotiations between LIUNA and the Department

of Justice as of January 18?

A: Yes.

Q: And taking a look at the third and

fourth paragraphs on that page -

A: Yes.

Q: - does that reflect the report that I

gave? The statements in the minute there, to your

recollection, accurately reflect what I told the

members of the General Executive Board on January


A: Yes.

Q: Do you recall that as of January 18,

that where the thing stood was that the differences

between LIUNA and the Department of Justice were

too fundamental a bridge and that no more

negotiations were going to take place

A: That is exactly, right

Q: Did you recommend to the G.EB. that it

adopt the Ethics and Disciplinary Procedure?

A: Yes, I did. As a matter of fact, I met

with each Board member on the 17th, and spoke with

them individually, to go over the entire case with

them, and to explain to them that we were in a

position that we could be sued at any moment. We

were in a critical position for this union, and

that the appropriate thing for us to do to prepare

ourselves, put us in good litigation posture, in

any event was to develop the disciplinary

procedure and ethics code.

I spoke to each of them individually.

with the exception of John Serpico and Sam Caivano,

who had attorneys and they were represented. And

that is what I did.

Q: So you didn't speak to either of them?

A: I did not speak to them personally, no,

again because they had attorneys. and I didn't

think it was appropriate for me to do that.

Q: Do you know whether or not I

communicated with their attorneys?

A: Yes, you did, with their attorneys.

MR. LYDON: Okay, that is fine. I don't think

there is any dispute.


Q: How did you come to have that

understanding, that I communicated with their


A: I told you to, and you told me you did.

Q: Closed the loop them

And did the Board adopt the Ethics and

Disciplinary Procedure?

A: Yes.

Q: What was the vote?

A 10 to 2.

Q: Who cast the dissenting votes?

A: Serpico and Caivano.

Q: And thereafter at this meeting on the

recommendation of the G.EB. attorney, and on your

recommendation, were Mr. Caivano and Mr. Serpico

'suspended from their positions as vice-presidents?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you know whether or not the

government had requested or demanded that LIUNA

take that action?

A: They did not.

Q: Do you know whether the government was

even aware that the Ethics and Disciplinary

Procedure was going to he adopted on the 18th?

A: They were not aware of that

Q: Now, why did you single out Mr. Caivano

and Mr. Serpico for suspension, Let's start with

Mr. Caivano, why did you single him out?

A: After we had the ethics code in place, I

personally reviewed all the evidence that was,

submitted to me from the Southern Distinct of New York.

MR. LYDON: Excuse me. Maybe I am

misunderstanding. Is this after the ethics code

was in place?

MR. LUSKIN: This is moments after-

THE WITNESS: Moments after.

MR. LUSKJN: - after it was adopted in the

context of the same meeting.

MR. LYDON: I follow.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: You adopted it on

January 18 right?

MR. LUSKIN: Right, in the same meeting, those

two individuals were suspended.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: That ethics code was

proposed and shown to the other G.E.B. Board

members the day before, am I right? On the 17th?

THE WITNESS: Not the proposed. It was

summarized by me to them. It was summarized. Then

they had a formal copy presented to them at the

Board meeting.



A: With respect to the suspension


Q: Yes, please.

A: - I received eight volumes of evidence.

both depositions and testimony from Allen Taffert

of the Southern District of New York on the Mason

Tenders case, substantial evidence that linked

Caivano to two different crime families.

And as a result of than I took a

position that he would be suspended pending a

hearing as to his guilt or innocence.

Q: Now when you say that the evidence

indicated, the evidence Mr.Taffert had furnished

to you had indicated that he was connected with two

organized crime families in New York based on your

review of the evidence, which you said you did, how

is he connected to the two crime families, in

what fashion?

A: His decisions as a Laborer official were

influenced by them.

Q: What kinds of decisions? Can you be

more specific?

A: Yes. He handled some trusteeships in

his region. And those trusteeships were, trustees

and the people working under the trustee were

selected by either of these two crime families.

And he put them in position of authority

Q : Now turning to Mr. Serpico why did you

accept the recommendation and second the

recommendation of the G. E B Attorney to suspend

Mr. Serpico pending a disciplinary hearing

in front of the Independent Hearing Officer?

A: Based on the Crime Commission report

in 86, the testimony there, my own experiences

that developed after that in 89, and my

conversations with Angelo Fosco and my meeting at

my father' s funeral.

Q: Based on those facts did you have a

firm good faith belief whether or not Mr. Serpico

was associated with and permitted organized crime

to influence the affairs of LIUNA?

A: Yes.

Q: Was the decision to second the

recommendation to suspend them motivated in any way

by their dissent from the adoption of the Ethics

and Disciplinary Procedure?

A: No absolutely not.

Q: Do you know whether in fact Mr. Serpico

and Mr. Caivano or their counsel had been advised

before the meeting and before the vote was taken

that you might take some disciplinary action at the

meeting if the ethics code was adopted?

A: Their lawyers were told that.

Q: Now was a decision to accept the

recommendation of the G.E.B. Attorney and recommend

to the G.EB. that they be suspended, as you

understand it part of any kind of trade or

agreement quid pro quo with the government

concerning yourself and your own position at LIUNA?

A: Absolutely not.

Q: Now in mid February of 1995 did LIUNA

finally reach an agreement with the Department of


A: Yes we did.

Q: Now, does any part of the agreement

between LIUNA and the Department of Justice

identify specific individuals for disciplinary


A: No.

Q: As you understand the agreement between

the United States and LIUNA is the success of its

G.EB. attorney in any disciplinary proceedings an

clement of the agreement that LIUNA must satisfy?

A: No.

Q: As you understand the agreement with the

Department of Justice, is your testimony or the

testimony of any other officer or employee of LIUNA

any particular disciplinary proceeding an

element of your agreement with the Department of


Q: No.

MR. LUSKIN: I have no further question,.

HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: We have been at this

about an hour. You need a five minute break?

Mr. Coia, you need a break?

Let's go off the record.

(WHEREUPON, discussion was had

off the record.)



Q: Mr. Coia, you are a licensed attorney

as I understand it?

A: Yes

Q.: When were you licensed to practice law?

A: I was admitted before the Rhode Island

bar in 1968, federal bar in '68 or '69, Supreme

Court in '71, of the United States.

Q: Who kind of practice have you engaged in

as a lawyer?

A: At what time?

Q Beginning - why don't you just give us

a brief history. Let's not make it exhaustive

It -

A: I haven't practiced law in at least 15

years. I practiced law on a somewhat formal basis

fore that, basically in workers compensation and

maybe personal injury law before that.

Q: Any labor law work?

A: Not me, no.

Q: With what firm did you practice?

A: Coin & Lepore.

Q: L-e- p-o-r-e?

A: Yes.

Q: You had mentioned an Albert Lepore

earlier in your testimony. Is that the same


A: That is the same person.

a: Does that firm continue so do business


A: Yes.

a: Does it do business under the name

Coia & Lepore?

A: That's right.

Q: Do you have any interest in the:


A: Well. I have a shareholder interest in

it. I don't practice, no.

Q: But it's a professional corporation

is that what you mean?'

A: Yeah.

Q: And you have not practiced at Coia

& Lepore, as I understand your testimony for the

last l5 years, is that right.,

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have relatives that practice at

that firm?

A: Yes.

Q: Who?

A: Well my son-in-law works at the firm.

Q: What is his name?

A: Darren Corrente. I have a cousin or a

cousin's cousin, I should say ,Raymond Coia and

another cousin's cousin Ronald Coia.

If you have a letterhead. I can go

through it and sometimes we catch it.

Q: I know. Do they practice law in a

building that is, actually identified otherwise with

the Laborers' Union'

A: No.

Q: Has Coia & Lepore ever shared office

with any office of LIUNA or local -

A: No.

Q: associated with LIUNA?

A: No. You mean share offices? You are

talking about in the same building or-

Q: Same building

A: Same building. yes. I didn't want to

lead you astray. In the same building yes.

Q: What offices are in that same building?'

A: Well, right now, none.

Q: But at one time there were, I guess?

A: Right.

Q: What offices were in the building?

A: There was a local public employee

office, Local 1033, local 271,the Rhode Island

District Council, and the New England regional


Q: And although you left Coin & Lepore 15

years ago did you thereafter occupy any space

within that building?

A: Did I?

Q: Yes.

A: I don't understand the question.

Q: Well, maybe I've made an assumption I

shouldn't have. When you stopped practicing law,

what did you undertake to do as a livelihood?

A: I was an International representative

for LIUNA.

Q: For what period of time were you an

International representative for LIUNA?

A: Oh, I believe from 1978 to the present

time. I'm not sure of the dates though.

Q: What are the duties and responsibilities

of an International representative of LIUNA?

A: To collectively bargain, to organize, to

participate in arbitrations, to handle grievances,

to legislate, to involve ourselves with political

activities, to formulate the programs and practices

of the convention and of the delegates.

Q: What specific - was there a geographic

area that you had responsibility for as an

International representative?

A: New England and eastern Canada.

Q: Just taking New' England, forgetting

about what is included in Canada, what

geographically do you mean by New England.?

A: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhoda Island.

Q: So New York and New Jersey would be

separate then.'

A: That is another region.

Q: Another region?

A: Yes.

Q: So your work was throughout that area

then as International representative?

A: Yes, yes.

Q: Are you paid a salary during that

period of time?

A: Yes.

Q: How much, do you remember? If you

don't, it is not a -

A: Probably around $22,000 a year,

something like that

Q: When did you next undertake any

additional work or take on any new title with -

A: With LIUNA?

Q: with LIUNA or any local, subsidiary?

A: I was business manager of the Rhode

Island Laborers' District Council which

geographical jurisdiction was in Rhode Island.

Q: What was that title?

A: Rhode Island Laborers' District Council.

Q: Was that one of those, were you in the

same building., That was one of the -

A: Yes.

Q: Was that building owned by you or family


A: No.

Q: Just rent?'

A: Rent.

Q: In any event, what were your

responsibilities at Rhode Island Laborers' District


A: I negotiated basically all the


MR LUSKIN: Can we have a foundation of time

frame here? I'm a little bit lost here.

MR. LYDON: Sure.


Q: This is when, from what dates, what date

to what date?

A: Which dates do you want.?

Q: Rhode Island Laborers' District Council.

A: During the whole time, I negotiated the

collective bargaining agreements, ran legislative

programs, handled the arbitrations and grievances,

made sure that our programs would be developed to

the point where they would be most effective,

coordinated organizing campaigns, both public

employee, industry, and in the construction

industry, went to affiliate meetings to assure the

affiliates what direction they were going in,

provided daily insight into each local

Q: What geographic area did that cover?

Just Rhode Island?

A: Rhode Island.

Q: What were the years, approximately?

A: 1967 through approximately '74.

Q: So during this period of time, you

actually spanned, this spanned your practice of law

as well, is that correct?

A: 1960 - well. I started practicing law I

believe in 71. I was admitted to the bar in '68.

Q: My only point was that you were

practicing law at Coia & Lepore at the same time

you were doing this job though At Rhode Island

Laborers' District Council?

A: Yes.

Q: What other positions have you held with


A: Assistant regional manager, which was a

development of the International representative


Q: From what dates were you assistant

regional manager?

A: I believe '86 or '87,1986 or 87.

Q: Is that the -

MR. LUSKIN: Is that the beginning or the end


THE WITNESS: I started, I was assistant

regional manager around 1986 or 1987, until 1988.

Then I was a regional manager. Then 1989, I was a

general secretary/treasurer, and regional manager.


Q: Wait a minute; slow down. After you

are regional manager - I'm sorry, after regional

manager, you took what spot in '89?

A: Let me give you a chronology of it, so

you will know.

Q: Fine, okay.

A: 1967, I was a business manager of the

Rhode Island Laborers' District Council. Then in

74 or '75,I was an International representative.

And then in 1986, The International

representative, I was promoted to assistant

regional manager, which is an International

representative, but with a more -

Q: Different title?

A: - more responsibilities.

and then in 1988, I was a regional

manager, which again is an International

representative, with responsibilities of the entire

region, and direction of district councils and

affiliates and programs, a responsibility of the

regions in the regional manager's hands.

Q: okay.

A: Then in 1989,I was the

secretary/treasurer, General secretary/treasurer,

and regional manager.

Q: And we know that you became the General

president in 1992. Have you held other positions?

MR. LUSKIN: Correction,'93.


Q: 1993, sorry. But did you hold any other

positions other than General president?

A I'm president of our LOCAL 271 in

Providence, Rhode Island.

Q: What about that position of regional

manager? What happened to that?

A: That when I became General President, I

appointed the regional manager position to Armand


Q: Is Armand Sabitoni a lawyer?

l A: Yes.

Q: Does Mr. Sabitoni practice with Coia &


A: Not now.

Q: Did he then?

A: No.

Q: Or did he at any time?

A: A long while ago.

Q:: When?

A: He hasn't practiced law I don't believe

in the last five or six years.

Q: The responsibilities of being a regional

manager, I take it, are considerable within a

particular region, is that correct?

A: Yes.

Q: What do they entail?

A: Primarily, to ensure that the mandate of

, the convention is carried through, programs.

collective bargaining. to ensure that the fringe

benefit funds provide the best possible benefits,

the lowest cost for the respective affiliates in

each state, to review their development, to review

the idea whether they should be merged together for

more economically sound reasons, to develop a

uniform collective bargaining process in each

state, so that the contractors that we deal with

have a uniform rate, uniform working conditions, so

that they can travel from one geographical area

within the region to the other, and be competitive,

to utilize the training and educational programs

that were developed in New England, referring these

people who were trained, those who were specialized

in certain areas, such as environmental

remediation, to our contractors that we had

collective bargaining agreements with; to ensure

that the health and safety provisions that we had

developed and mandated through the convention would

be consistently adhered to and enforced in the


This is quite a big job, yes.

Q: Does it also involve some - I assume it

also involved supervision of a lot of people as


A: That's correct; requires going to a lot

of meetings.

And it requires, again. the review and

supervision of whatever comes out of the

convention, and these programs I just mentioned to


Q: Does the supervision extend into locals

within a region?

A: Well, the way we set it up in New

England, because that is what I've been talking

about now, the way we set it up in New England,

that each State has a District Council, and the

more direct contact from the regional office would

be with a District Council.

In each state, that District Council

then would monitor the collective bargaining

process, report back to the region, regional

manager or International representative, who would

be under a regional manager.

And so direct contact really was with

the District Council.

I took the position also of getting into

the locals and going to their meeting to get a

pulse of the beat, of the feel of what was

happening in the field.

Q: But in terms of, if we look at it as a

pyramid structure, then what you are describing to

me is that the District Council would be between

the regional manager or the assistant regional

manager and the local unions?

A: There is. a lot of ways you could do it.

There is a lot of ways you could do it.

Q: I mean in the New England area

A: Different autonomy. They each have


My plan was to have a District Council

review everything within the locals, and that the

region review everything within the District


So the pyramid structure would be

locals, District Council, regional office,


HEARING OFFICER VAIRA: I think this might be

a good time to stop.

Thank you, sir.

WHEREUPON, the hearing was

adjourned until 9:00 a.m.,

June 1,1995)



I, Mary KAY BELCOLORE. a Certified

Shorthand reporter of the State of Illinois

hereby certify etc, etc

Return to Laborers.org

All orginal work Copyright Laborers.org 1998. All rights reserved.