MICHAEL BEEBE; News Staff Reporter
December 8, 1999
The Laborers International
Union has dropped out of a racketeering lawsuit it brought with
government prosecutors against Laborers Local 210 after a federal
judge questioned whether the parent union could sue the local
it has run for nearly four years under a trusteeship.
Federal prosecutors will continue
the suit on their own, however, and hope U.S. District Judge Richard
J. Arcara will approve a settlement and appoint a court liaison
officer for the next five years to continue efforts to end organized
crime's control over Local 210.
Attorneys for dissident members
of Local 210 said they will continue their effort to have the
trusteeship ended and the union returned to local control.
They said their efforts are
especially needed after the trustee running Local 210, Steven
Hammond, was elected Monday as one of 13 international vice presidents.
As a board member, Hammond
will vote on policy for the 800,000 member union and all its locals.
Hammond's appointment was announced
at the same time that Arthur Coia, the president of the international
union who has been accused of mob ties himself, announced his
retirement as of Jan. 1. Coia was cleared of mob allegations by
the union earlier this year but was fined $ 100,000 after a hearing
officer found him guilty of a conflict of interest.
The international union's withdrawal
from the racketeering suit came in a letter to Arcara from John
M. Curran, an attorney who serves as local counsel for the international
Curran said the international
still feels it has earned the right to bring the suit, as a result
of a cleanup that saw more than two dozen alleged mobsters bounced
from Local 210, but agreed to withdraw in order to move the case
U.S. Attorney Denise E. O'Donnell
said the government and the international reached the decision
together after Arcara questioned the partnership in two days of
hearings last week. She said it will have no effect on the government's
intention to have the suit settled and a court liaison officer
Copyright 1999 The Buffalo