February 1. 1999
Honorable Janet Reno
United States Attorney General
Dear Attorney General Reno:
"Independent counsel" are words
I am sure you are tired. even sick of hearing. But an independent
counsel is the one thing that hundreds of thousands of hardworking
members of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).
AFL-CIO need the most. As a LIUNA rank-and-file member for more
than 25 years who has suffered the consequences of daring to challenge
the iron-clad authority of LIUNA leaders. I urge you to take the
courageous step of appointing an independent counsel or an independent
committee to investigate the corruption and mob connections of
high-ranking LIUNA leaders, beginning with LIUNA International
President Arthur A. Coia. who heads the most notorious labor union
in this country.
The internet and the nation's leading newspapers
are filled with documented articles detailing the corruption within
this union, the rape of our pension funds and dues money totaling
millions of dollars and the connections between LIUNA leaders
and known mobsters. I urge you and your staff to review this information
and take all necessary steps to bring those responsible to justice.
The Justice Department is fully aware to
Mr. Coia and the allegations of mob connections and corruption
with LIUNA. In fact. top Justice Department of officials urged
that racketeering charges. commonly known as a RICO complaint.
against Coia and LIUNA be dismissed after Coia apparently bought
protection and influence with the White House and others by giving
more than $4.5 million of union members' money to Democrats during
Bill Clinton's time in the White House. That's why I said it will
take personal courage on your part, being a member of the President's
cabinet. to do the right thing. the proper thing, and appoint
an independent counsel to investigate high corruption within LIUNA.
Thus far Mr. Coia has made a mockery of any
attempts to cleanup this once-great union. He winked at Justice
Department officials and named three personal cronies to look
into any wrong doings within LIUNA. Those cronies - LIUNA GEB
Attorney Robert D. Luskin, Independent Hearing Officer Peter F.
Vaira and Appellate Officer W. Neil Eggleston. have absolutely
no working knowledge or experience that relates to the day-to-day
operation of a major labor union and were totally unqualified,
no matter how distinguished their personal individual backgrounds,
to properly conduct a meaningful investigation of this magnitude.
Given that, and their close relationships with Coia. the results
were entirely predictable and the investigation itself was nothing
but a farce. In the end these three cronies scapegoated a handful
of lower-level LIUNA officials and wacked them, gently. on the
wrist with removal from offices for short periods of time - a
couple of years or so. Most. if not all, of them will retain control
during their absence from offices and reclaim their power and
office as soon as the restrictions are lifted. No one at the higher
levels of LIUNA leadership have been found guilty of anything,
even though corruption and improper use of power is most rampant
there. This half-hearted internal investigation is a joke and
a whitewash. Unfortunately the joke is on the rank-and-file LIUNA
members who continue to see their future pensions and financial
stability of the international union itself remain in grave jeopardy.
I care about my union because it represents
my livelihood and the future of my family. I speak out at local
union meetings whenever I witness injustice against the rank-and-file.
I have run, against great odds, for local office in an attempt
to begin cleaning up LIUNA by starting at my local level and at
the local worksites.. I have suffered loss of work and income
for my efforts. and I and my wife have been threatened because
of my efforts. The corrupt leaders of LIUNA. at any level, will
not silence me or intimidate me from doing whatever I can to break
the mob control and end the corruption and rape of my union. I
urge you to show similar personal courage and convictions by undertaking
the investigation I am requesting and by appointing an independent
counsel to root out the corruption that exists within LIUNA.
To assist you and your staff in this undertaking
I offer to present any information I am aware of concerning allegations
of wrongdoing within LIUNA, to talk with any staff member about
my personal knowledge of improper conduct within the union and
if requested, to testify before any individual or committee you
A growing wave of outrage is sweeping through
the rank-and-file members of LIUNA. A campaign of letter-writing
to our representatives in the House and the Senate from hundreds
of thousands of LIUNA members across the country is one way this
outrage may be reflected. And rewarding those who support and
help us with our collective votes on Election Day is another.
In closing I ask that you show your support
of our cause by taking the appropriate steps to appoint an independent
counsel to begin the process of cleaning up this great union once
and for all. I respectfully await a response from you to this
Very truly yours.
Carmen Francella Jr.
6 Laurel Lane
Schenectady, NY 12304