February 1. 1999

Honorable Janet Reno
United States Attorney General
Washington. D.C.

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 suggest.

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 letter..

Very truly yours.

Carmen Francella Jr.
6 Laurel Lane
Schenectady, NY 12304

(518) 346-9022
E-mail: SHELI28@AOL




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