February 14, 1993
Arthur Coia, general secretary of the Laborers'
International Union of North America, has been elected president
of the 600,000-member union.
Coia succeeds Angelo Fosco, who died Thursday
during the union's annual winter meeting in Miami.
Coia, secretary since 1989, focused on health
and safety in the work place, training and laborer-management
cooperation while serving as the union's second-ranking officer.
The laborers' union is one of Rhode Island's
and one of the nation's largest and most controversial unions.
Coia also has been the subject of controversy
over alleged ties to Joseph Mollicone Jr., whose alleged embezzlement
from his Providence bank contributed to Rhode Island's banking
collapse two years ago.
Investigators found a passbook in the vault
of Mollicone's former Heritage Loan & Investment Co., listing
the name "Arthur Coia," among others.
The noninterest account, allegedly emptied
by Mollicone, appears to once have contained more than $400,000.
The account was established by the North
American Laborers' Defense League. The union denied either it
or Coia had anything to do with the money.
Coia also was charged and acquitted, along
with his father, who preceded him as union secretary, in a federal
racketeering case in 1981. Raymond Patriarca, former leader of
New England organized crime, also was a defendant in the case.
In union business, Coia has pushed for greater
cooperation between labor and management.
Before succeeding his father as the union's
general secretary-treasurer, he served as business manager of
the Rhode Island Laborers' District Council, and as manager of
the union's New England and Eastern Canada regions.