Gambling infiltration by organized crime, financial irregularities, and kickbacks are targets of an investigation being conducted into Laborers Local 230, based in Hartford.
This was confirmed today by James Steele of the International Union of Laborers of North America, which put Local 230 into trusteeship on Aug, 28.
Steele said disclosures by The Hartford Times into links between key officers of the union and La Cosa Nostra Mafia force the trusteeship.
In May , The Times learned that elements of organized crime infiltrated the Hartford local and disclosed that several of the union's officers have been convicted for book-making and the union strong man was linked in federa court testimony to La Cosa Nostra. The Times reported that testimony stated that Mike Balesano "apparently only hires people with criminal records."
He reported that Michael (Kingfish) Balesano of Manchester, secretary-treasurer and business representative, "has left the scene and cannot be contacted for any kind of answer to the questions that exist right now."
He said his brother, Thomas Balesano, of West Hartford, an assistant business representative, is also unavailable for interviews.
"Kingfish" Balesano, the undisputed union strongman prior to the Trusteeship, was reported aligned with Raymond (R.S.) Patriarca, the reputed head of the New England based La Cosa Nostra "family".
His brother, Tommy Balesano, has an extensive gambling record.
Steele told The Times, "every effort is going to be made and its not just a matter of making an effort but everything is going to be done to knock out of that union and to eliminate from it the influence that apparently has exised fron the Balesano brothers and several other characters.
"No gambling is being permitted. This is now stopped. These kinds of activities have been brought to a halt or if they haven't will be shortly. You can't stop something in one day," Steele said.
He also said, "there are two or three guys who are still around, from the old days but this is on a temporary basis."
Dominic Lopreato, of New Britain, whom Balesano installed as president of the Connecticut District Council of Laborers, two wekks ago identified himself as heading the local.
Arthur Coia of Boston, international representative, has been named trustee pending the investigation.
Steele said that "Kingfish" Balesano, a one-time prize fighter, has also "been unseated from posts in the district council and of a special assignment with the International Union of North America.
Further, secretaries in the local's office on Wawarme Avenue, have been fired.
A certified public accountant has been employed to audit the unions financial records for the past several years "to determine if there was any money missing or if persons used the money for their own gains."
A report by Coia to General President Peter Fosco in Washington, D. C. is expected next week on the affairs of the local.