FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR

HOW DID A BIG CLINTON SUPPORTER MANAGE TO DODGE RACKETEERING CHARGES AND GET TO CLEAN UP HIS UNION?

Both documents were dated Nov. 4, 1994. One was a four-line, handwritten note from President Clinton to Arthur Coia, signed "Bill" and thanking Coia for the gift of a handcrafted golf club ("It's a work of art!"). The second was a draft 212-page complaint from the Justice Department, previewing a lawsuit to place the Laborers' International Union of North America under federal control and oust Coia as general president, on grounds that he had knowingly let mobsters run the 750,000-member union.

After three months of negotiations, however, the Justice Department persuaded the union to sign a consent decree acknowledging Mob influence...

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