Acquitted Union Official Is Elected
To Top Job
June 19, 1996
Less than a week after he was acquitted of
bribery charges, a senior official with one of Metro's most powerful
union locals has been elected to its top job.
Members of Local 183 of the Laborers International
Union have voted by a large margin to make Tony Dionisio business
manager, capping a remarkable comeback by a man who was in deep
trouble only a few months ago.
"I'm relieved, happy and pleased,"
Dionisio said in an interview from his North York office yesterday.
Dionisio, who had been president of Local
183, defeated Tony Rodrigues for the business manager's position
by a vote of 2,568 to 1,719.
Dionisio and John Colacci, former administrator
of Local 183's training centre, were charged last year with offering
a secret commission and defrauding the federal government.
The charges were laid after stories in The
Star about renovations done at the home of a federal bureaucrat
who was involved in approving grants for Local 183's training
The bureaucrat, Eric Ferguson, was charged
with accepting a secret commission and defrauding the government.
He pleaded guilty last fall and was fired from his job. But the
judge handling the case against Dionisio and Colacci ruled last
week that the crown prosecutor had failed to prove the charges
and acquitted them.
The entire slate of candidates who ran with
Dionisio for positions on Local 183's executive board, which
included Colacci, also were elected.
The Star articles also sparked three internal
investigations at Local 183 - two by chartered accounting firms
and one by the inspector-general's office of the union's international
headquarters in Washington.
Dionisio remained as president after the
charges were laid, but was stripped of most of his power by Joe
Mancinelli, the international union's director of eastern Canadian
Mancinelli fired the entire executive board
that called the shots at Local 183 and ran the union on a supervisory basis
until the elections last weekend.
He also fired Dionisio last February, claiming
that he had been a disruptive influence to Local 183 and could
no longer do the job.
On some of the coldest days of the winter,
Dionisio and supporters picketed at the laneway of the union's
Wilson Ave. offices, demanding that Mancinelli call elections
for new officers.
After a month of picketing, Mancinelli suddenly
reinstated Dionisio to the presidency of Local 183.
When asked why, Mancinelli would only say
that it was done to "restore stability."