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October 08, 1987| Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Is a confessed former contract killer turned labor consultant adding to an "atmosphere of fear and intimidation" at a big Hollywood union? That question and others will be thrashed out at an International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees hearing on Tuesday to decide whether to suspend top officers of the Affiliated Craftspersons Local 44, the alliance's biggest local. Joe Franco, since last month a consultant to the 3,600-member craftspersons' local, wrote in his recently published autobiography "Hoffa's Man" that he committed contract murders in Detroit more than 40 years ago. The alliance is questioning whether Franco's association with Local 44 is intimidating to its members. The alliance has compiled a list of 21 other concerns with the local that reportedly include questions about the documentation of expense accounts and claims that the local is run in a "dictatorial manner." "We're expecting a kangaroo court," said Local 44 assistant business agent Joseph Basile. "They've been trying to break our local for two years. . . . They're working with management." Alliance spokesman Mac St. Johns could not be reached for comment.

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