February 17, 2004
United States Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald
Chicago. Illinois 60604
Dear United States Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald,
I am writing you regarding the failure of the Laborers International Union Internal reform endeavor and the misuse of Department of Justice sources and information.
Starting in 1969, I provided the Department of Justice and the FBI with information relating to the control of the Laborers International Union (LIUNA) and many of its Locals by Organized Crime (LCN). In 1991 together with United States Attorney Kenneth Lowrie and numerous FBI agents, we commenced in preparing the 1994 Draft Complaint. The sole purpose of the complaint was to remove all LCN control of LIUNA and its affiliates and not limited to those in Chicago and Buffalo and opponents of Arthur Coia Jr.
When I first learned that an agreement was reached by LIUNA and the DOJ, I was opposed and openly expressed my feelings. It was only after I was assured by LIUNA GEB Attorney Robert Luskin and Inspector General Douglas Gow that New England, New York and New Jersey LCN Control would also be targeted. In addition I would be an active paid investigator and allowed reasonable unfettered ability to follow through on investigative leads.
At first everything seemed to be in order and I believed that the process would be a success. It was only after I started developing sources (May 1996) that were close to Arthur Coia Jr., Armand Sabitoni, Philip Schwab and Raymond Patriarca that my investigative activity was called into question and I was ordered to cease because it was not authorized.
Immediately after I testified before Congress regarding LIUNA, I learned that an article appeared in the Village Voice News that reflected that I named former Congressman Jack Kemp as “mobbed up”.
Outside of the FBI, I never discussed Jack Kemp with anyone nor have I ever said that he was mobbed up. I did state that Jack Kemp did certain business favors for a mob associate and eventually I was asked by Kemp if this associate was connected to the LCN. I also stated that an assistant to Jack Kemp was heavily connected to the LCN and continued to be.
I was somewhat perplexed as to how the Village Voice obtained this previously unknown information but suspected Robert Luskin who had access to all my 302’s. I then received a phone call at my residence from Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff who left a recording asking me to call him back regarding the Kemp Story.
I immediately contacted the Justice Department as well as the FBI to report what I considered a very disturbing practice of someone giving out my unlisted number and a breach of security.As many know, my remarks and testimony has not created many friends in the LCN and my whereabouts could have lead to physical harm for me and/or my family.
I confronted Attorney Luskin over the Isikoff issue, because I firmly believed that he or someone in his firm initiated the publicity of my telephone number. Luskin answered by stating that he was a dyed in the wool democrat and that this information is vital and that the public has a right to know.
He never answered my questioning about who gave out my number. I explained to him that my previous comments do not hurt Jack Kemp. He asked me to let Isikoff decide and that he could be at Luskin’s office in minutes. I told him I would meet with him but this will be the last of it. After meeting with Isikoff, he agreed with me that my information did not affect Jack Kemp.
Mr. Fitzgerald, I wish to point out that this episode clearly shows that Robert Luskin has used his position as well as privileged FBI and DOJ information for his own personal gain as well as the utilization of his offices in the promotion of a agenda non beneficial to the matter they were intended for.. I also wish to have known that during this time and since 1994, I was in contact with high level LIUNA officials who provided me with critical information which included Arthur Coia’s role in the Luskin-Gow appointments.
Just prior to my testimony in Buffalo and Local 210, I learned from the FBI that LIUNA had conducted an intensive investigation of me in an effort to discredit my credibility. I explained that I was puzzled on why Luskin or his associates have kept this from me nor questioned me about it.
I then requested from Robert Luskin and Daniel Braun that they supply me with a copy because I was informed by the FBI that information contained in the investigation documents showed that my rights may have been violated by LIUNA as well as a probable breach of lawyer-client privilege. I was assured I could have them but that I would have to wait until my testimony was done. I was also assured that assistance would be given to help me with employment and my lost wages and pension credits owed me. Even though I repeated asked for the investigation documents to date I have never received them.
During the period that I worked for LIUNA and Inspector Generals Office I have been asked to reveal my sources which I have done. In 1998 when I realized that that the true purposes of the investigations were not against Coia or his supporters, did I start to refuse to reveal them. I was ordered to name them or I would not be paid. I decided that I no longer desired to be part of a scam and quit. Outside of my complaints to the DOJ and FBI, I have remained silent in the hope that a miracle would happen. It is 2004 and I no longer expect miracles. All I can do is ask that an investigation of the investigators take place and that the United States Department of Justice exercise its rights and place this union under Federal Trusteeship.
There is no question in my mind that all of us have been the victims of a game that has allowed certain privileged LCN members and associates as well as political figures to avail this process to put on a show so that their power remains in place.
Substantial replacement of LCN control has taken place in Chicago, Buffalo a few New York City and New Jersey (certain family) locals and district councils. If you take a closer look at these you will see that without them (need to show something) the internal reform program would have been placed in the garbage.
Many LCN locals and International Union representatives have remained unscathed and where success has been achieved the positions and posts have been filled with Coia lackeys. I could go on and on about the lack of investigations with Coia controlled locals and benefit funds which include many that I have personal and direct knowledge about.
Even though Coia has been removed in name? His presence remains via his law partners, cohorts and appointed overseers. Anyone familiar with the LIUNA investigation will tell you that I stated prior to its happening that Armand Sabitoni will be placed in a high LIUNA position. I also stated that Coia Sr. was close to Terry O’Sullivan Sr. and that his son or another close non-Italian will be named as General President or General Secretary Treasurer.
I was at the funeral of Peter Fosco Sr., and present at the discussions to remove O’Sullivan Sr. as Secretary Treasurer because he wanted to be the next LIUNA president (which had Coia seniors blessing). Ask anyone in the know about Coia Sr., and Coia Jr’s role in the Hauser – O’Sullivan Insurance swindle and who brought it to the attention of the Chicago LCN?.
Most of us know the truth about who investigated the New York City Mason Tenders as well as the Concrete Workers. Why does Luskin take credit for this or Local 91 in Niagara Falls. The bare truth is: this whole consent decree program has been a sham. A vehicle to remove Coia opponents and replace them with Coia loyalists, a vehicle where certain Genovese family controlled officials have been allowed to escape prosecution and allowed to strengthen their position.
As we know the LCN has mutated and has been restructured. The children of the made are well educated. They know that to pull a Gotti is to find a cold jail. If anything we have smartened them up. Money remains the key and since the consent decree was issued little has been done to recover and protect the pensions and health benefits of the membership.
I am still aware of crimes that continue and I have pointed them out to Coia appointed Investigators. Arthur Coia Jr. stated and I quote: “There is no goal more important in our Union than eliminating all traces of improper influences and past corruption and thereby restoring true autonomy and democracy to our hardworking members.” On this we both agree.
Bob Luskin has alluded that the millions of dollars that the taxpayers have saved is profound and should be considered in any judgment of the process. Many of us should have known better!!! How could we allow a Coia appointed cleanup team to remove questionable elements from this infested union.
We praised, including yours truly, the process even though we had every reason to be skeptical. When I stated to Luskin’s office as well as to Peter Vaira that I do not like testifying over the telephone (almost impossible for me) and that I would rather face my detractors. I was told we are trying to save money and in 1 known instance (Pittsburgh) my testimony was not critical to the case.
I know I have substantial unused or explored information that can reveal the truth. I am sure and I point it out that the Doctors of Spin will find someway of painting me as bad and influenced by events not relative to the honesty, sincerity, worthiness and pious efforts of those appointed by Coia.
I have testified in numerous cases involving LCN control of LIUNA, The Teamsters and Hotel Restaurant Employees Unions. I have done so at great risk to myself both physically and financially. I am no saint but I believe in the little guy who needs a voice and needs to live just like the rest of us.
I have tried and I tried to work with Robert Luskin and Doug Gow. I know now that I should have followed my convictions and been more vocal earlier. I didn’t but I am now.
We still have time to curtail this cancer and we still have time to help good decent workers who are mostly unaware of their losses. I know that any effort will be difficult to initiate especially since our main priority is to combat terrorism. I am confident that I can prove my case and I am sure that there are others that will participate in exposing this scam for what it is.
Ronald M. Fino
Thomas J. Kneir, Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Office
AUSA Craig Oswald
AUSA David Buvinger
Special Attorney J. Kenneth Lowrie