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April 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless

Part Two: "Boss Hog" Pleads Guilty

By J. R. de Szigethy


     Brian McLaughlin, the former President of New York City’s Central Labor Council, has pleaded guilty to all of the charges brought against him by the Feds in Manhattan. At the time of his arrest, U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Michael Garcia announced: "What we have here is a story of Greed!" Rose Gill Hearn, the head of New York City’s Department of Investigation also noted that McLaughlin perpetrated his various crimes against working people and their families so that he could "support his own version of ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous!’"

     The original charges, which Garcia termed "stunning in breadth and scope," were 2 on racketeering, 13 counts of mail fraud, 3 for money laundering, 10 for violations of the Taft-Hartley Act, 1 Travel Act violation, 12 conspiracy counts, and 2 for bank fraud. These crimes fit into three distinct categories, the first being in McLaughlin’s role as Labor Council President. The Central Labor Council is the umbrella organization that over 400 Local Unions in New York City belong to. Over one million New Yorkers are members of Unions and have Union Dues deducted from their paychecks, much of which is kicked up to the International Unions the Locals are affiliated with, as well as organizations such as the Central Labor Council.

     In addition to his position as President of the Central Labor Council, Brian McLaughlin served as an elected delegate in the New York State Assembly, and also acted as Business Agent for a division of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Union. Through his official capacity in all three organizations, McLaughlin stole over $2 million in Union and taxpayer funds.

     For the purposes of this narrative, Local 3 IBEW should not be confused with Local 3 UFCW, a Union of Department store employees whose President was the Treasurer of the Central Labor Council during the time McLaughlin stole Union money from that organization.

     Facing a staggering 500 years in prison if convicted on all charges, McLaughlin confessed to all of the crimes he was accused of. Among those crimes:

     *Through his position as President of the Central Labor Council, McLaughlin stole $185,000 in Union money which was used to pay for his personal expenses, including rent on his Queens apartment, mortgage payments for his suburban mansion, payments for a car for one of his children, and payments to a private school that one of his children attended.

     *Through his position with Local 3 IBEW, McLaughlin stole over $100,000 in Union dues, which was used to pay off his personal credit cards and the dues of his membership in an exclusive Country Club. Also, McLaughlin admitted to accepting kickbacks from electrical contractors in the amount of $400,000, money generated in part through a scheme by which McLaughlin conspired to the hiring of non-Union workers, who typically receive lower wages and no Union benefits such as health care. McLaughlin essentially confessed to being a hypocrite as well as a thief, given that as President of the Central Labor Council, McLaughlin often participated in Demonstrations outsides locations where non-Union workers were being employed. Outside those workplaces would often be placed the "giant, inflatable rat," a symbol of company greed that is popular with many New Yorkers in the Labor Union movement.

     *McLaughlin also confessed to the use of three vehicles owned by electrical contractors, one of which was used by his son and another used by a woman with whom McLaughlin had a "personal relationship." McLaughlin also pleaded to a scheme concerning the purchase of turkeys to be provided to Union members during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

     *McLaughlin also conspired to maintain a secret interest in a company that did business with companies that hired members of Local 3, an illegal activity which brought in to McLaughlin several hundred thousands of dollars. The scam also was provided over $60,000 for a Mercedes-Benz for McLaughlin’s wife.

     *McLaughlin also solicited bribes from members of Local 3, who turned over money to him out of fear of losing their jobs. McLaughlin also coerced members of Local 3 to act as servants - virtual ‘slaves,’ some would say - at his multi-million dollar mansion, which included taking out the trash, searching for rats in the cellar, shoveling snow, cleaning out the horse barn, as well as delivering cash to persons with whom McLaughlin had a personal relationship with.

     *McLaughlin also embezzled over $35,000 from the State of New York through scams perpetrated within his State Assembly office. McLaughlin, the founder and District Leader of the William Jefferson Clinton Democratic Club, a non-profit organization named after the former President, also stole over $19,000 from that club for personal expenses, which included the purchase of a wide-screen plasma television installed at the home of a person with whom the Union leader maintained a personal relationship.

     *McLaughlin also diverted over $330,000 from his political campaign committee for personal use, including the mortgage payments on his mansion, his Country Club Initiation fee, and the expenses of his son’s Wedding.

     *As if these charges were not bad enough, McLaughlin stole money from children. Specifically, McLaughlin stole almost $100,000 from a Little League baseball program sponsored by a non-profit organization that was part of a residential development program created to provide affordable housing to Union members.

     One might think that, given such horrific allegations, McLaughlin’s parent Union, Local 3, would have turned their backs on the man who stole from their Union members, including some of their own children. Instead, Local 3 provided McLaughlin with employment as an electrician during the months between his indictment and guilty plea, providing the tarnished Union leader with a Union job in Manhattan that paid $46.00 an hour.

     Why would such a Union stand by one of their own accused of a multitude of anti-Union crimes? That answer is not clear, but just as the man termed "Boss Hog" by the New York Post received leniency from his Union, so did McLaughlin receive a literal ‘slap on the wrist’ by the Feds who indicted him. The Southern District officials allowed McLaughlin to plead to reduced charges that would carry a prison term of no more than 10 years - 490 years less than what he could have received had he been convicted on all counts at trial. Also, the Judge in this case allowed McLaughlin to remain free until sentencing in September - 6 months after his guilty plea.

     After his guilty plea, McLaughlin disappeared, according to a published report. All available evidence points to McLaughlin having given up his corrupt fellow co-horts in the Labor movement in order to earn his "get-out-of-jail FREE-card," the sort of which was first popularized by turncoat Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

     Who could these Union leaders be? Recent history in the labor Union movement in New York City provides a veritable ‘rogues gallery’ of Labor Union officials, all of whom were closely involved with McLaughlin, who have in recent years been convicted of crimes against working people and their families. Those cases include:

     *Indictments in 1999 against labor leaders of DC 37, New York City’s largest Union of Public employees. Among the allegations brought by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau were his claim that the Union leaders had used Union members Dues to pay for male prostitutes. Over 30 DC 37 officials have been convicted in recent years on crimes ranging from vote rigging to the disappearance of $19 million in Union dues money, to a scam involving the purchase of Thanksgiving turkeys for Union members. The Thanksgiving turkey scam involved "Wild Bill" Cutolo, a hitman for the Colombo Mafia Family and "Turkey Joe" DeCanio, the former driver for DC 37 boss Vinnie Parisi.

     Earlier this year, "Little Allie Boy" Persico, the son of imprisoned Colombo Godfather Carmine "The Snake" Persico, was convicted for the murder of Cutolo, who was Vice-President of Local 400 of the Production Workers Union. Cutolo was one of the key players in the Colombo Family War that raged in the late 1980s and early 1990s that left at least 12 people dead. Other corrupt leaders of DC 37 have included Al Diop, who was convicted of stealing more than $2 million in union funds.

     The fact that Brian McLaughlin used stolen Union dues to pay for his house is not unprecedented. In 2000, Charles Hughes, who for 30 years headed Local 372 of DC - 37, pleaded guilty to stealing over $2 million in Union dues. That money was used to help finance his $400,000 home in Georgia, in addition to paying off his American Express personal credit card, as well as vacations for family and friends to Paris and London, and strip club excursions of his son.

     An early warning of Brian McLaughlin’s true self came in 1998, when he threw the support of the Central Labor Council behind the legal woes of Gus Bevona, whose salary of $500,000 as President of Local 32 B-J, which represents thousands of building workers in New York City, made him one of America’s highest-compensated Union leaders. Bevona had been sued in Federal Court by a young Dissident in his Union, a janitor named Carlos Guzman, who claimed that Bevona’s hiring of a private investigator to spy on him violated his rights to Freedom of Speech. Corrupt Unions have a sad history of attempting to silence critics of Union corruption, and as a consequence, Congress has passed legislation to strengthen the rights of rank-and-file workers, notably the Taft-Hartley Labor Act of 1947 and the Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959. That Act strengthens the Constitutional rights to Freedom of Speech of Union rank-and-filers, protects members from reprisals for exposing corruption, and strengthens the ability of a Union member to sue their Union.

     In Guzman’s case, a Federal jury decided in his favor, imposing a fine of $100,000 against Bevona. Also, Federal District Court Judge Robert Patterson issued a ruling that prohibited Local 32 B-J from using Union funds to finance the Appeal by Bevona of Guzman’s legal victory. Bevona would then turn to Brian McLaughlin for help in his legal fight against Guzman. McLaughlin then ordered his Central Labor Council lawyers to assist Bevona in his fight against the Union Dissident.

     Another warning about McLaughlin that went unheeded was the notorious instances in which his Union, Local 3, crossed picket lines of other Unions, such as the strike against NBC in 1987 and the strike against Essex House in 1991. If a Union can be compared to a "cult," as many Union members claim, then the "mantra" that is chanted by it’s followers is: "Never cross a picket line!" For many years, that dictatum was never violated by the majority of Union members, but in today’s world, given precedents set by Unions such as Local 3, crossing a picket line of one Union by another is commonplace and does not carry with it the stigma nor repercussions that would have occurred just 2 decades ago.

     Union members crossing it’s own Union picket line was the plight of another associate of Brian McLaughlin, Frank "Red" Scollo, the former President of Local 1814 of the International Longshoremen’s Union, a corrupt Union forever immortalized on celluloid in the classic film "On the Waterfront." In 1999 Local 1814 formed a picket line outside the Domino Sugar plant in Brooklyn. The picket line was not crossed for over a year, but eventually more than half of the Union’s own members crossed their own picket line out of protest of the Union’s domination by the Gambino Mafia Family.

     Red Scollo was indicted by the Feds in 2002, along with Peter Gotti, Richard Gotti, and other members of the Gambino Family, on charges including racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, money laundering, misuse of Union Health Care Plan funds, a kickback scheme regarding the Participants in the Union’s Prescription Drug Plan, and the operation of illegal gambling operations. Scollo accepted a plea bargain and testified against Peter Gotti, the brother of former Gambino Family Godfather John Gotti. Actor Steven Seagal also testified for the Feds in that trial in regards to a Gambino extortion plot against the Hollywood actor.

     The rip-off of Union Pension Funds, Union Health Care Plan funds, and kickback schemes regarding the Participants in Union Prescription Drug Plans has been a staple source of income for Unions and the Mafia ever since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which facilitated the formations of labor unions throughout America.

     If Brian McLaughlin is to be ‘defined’ by his associates in the Union movement, such as "Wild Bill" Cutolo, "Turkey Joe" DeCanio, Vinnie Parisi, Al Diop, Charles Hughes, Gus Bevona, and "Red" Scollo, then he must also be ‘defined’ by his enemies. One curious story regarding McLaughlin is now being told here for the first time. This story regards McLaughlin’s utilizing the resources of the Central Labor Council in an attempt to bring down a man McLaughlin perceived to be a political rival, Congressman Vito Fossella, a Republican who has represented the Borough of Staten Island since 1997.

     This story begins in the year Fossella first took office in Washington. At that time, Rudolph Giuliani was seeking re-election to a second term as Mayor of New York City. The vast majority of Labor Union leaders in New York City have always been stalwart members of the Democratic Party. Thus, it was just a ‘given’ that the New York City Central Labor Council would endorse the Democratic candidate for Mayor that year, Ruth Messenger. To the shock and dismay of the Union labor leaders of the Council, Brian McLaughlin endorsed Giuliani for re-election.

     At the time, Giuliani’s administration was taking heat for a number of scandals, not the least of which was the brutal torture of prisoner Abner Louima by New York City police officer Justin Volpe. McLaughlin’s endorsement has thus never been adequately explained to many Union leaders. However, by 2001, just a few years later, McLaughlin and some of his closest associates were actively involved in a campaign to bring down Congressman Fossella, along with Giuliani and former Congressman Guy Molinari.

     The actions taken against Congressman Fossella began in the Summer of 2001. At that time McLaughlin made a case to key members of the Central Labor Council that Fossella was not a friend of "working people and their families" as evidenced by his voting record in Congress, and that, given the demographics of his District, in which blue-collar workers who belonged to Unions were a substantial segment of the voting population, Fossella was thus deemed a vulnerable target for re-election. McLaughlin challenged his Union associates to make the defeat of Fossella in the coming year’s election cycle a top priority of organized labor, promising the full resources of the Central Labor Council in accomplishing such an agenda.

     What "Boss Hog" did not acknowledge in his actions regarding Fossella was the fact that the vast majority of the rank-and-file members of Unions throughout the New York City area have, for many decades, harbored hostile attitudes towards the Unions they are forced to belong to in order to obtain employment. These attitudes are the results of decades of widespread, systemic corruption in most of the New York area Unions. Thus, the endorsements of Labor Union leaders of political candidates simply do not have a significant impact on the voting habits of the rank-and-file. Such a situation would be exhibited just a few months later after McLaughlin’s directive during the Mayoral election in New York City that year. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-1 in New York City. In the 2001 race for Mayor, Mark Green, a popular Democrat, received the endorsement of the leaders of every Union in New York City, with the single exception of the Corrections’ Officers Union, which endorsed Green’s opponent, Michael Bloomberg, a businessman with no experience in government who was running on the Republican ticket. Despite the enormous investment of people and resources by the Central Labor Council affiliate Unions to elect Mark Green, Michael Bloomberg was easily elected. In the following year Vito Fossella was re-elected by substantial margins, as would be the case for all of Fossella’s re-election campaigns to date.

     Among the tactics of members of the Central Labor Council against Congressman Fossella back in 2001 was an elaborate, well-funded ‘smear campaign,’ the basis of which was the dissemination to Union members, as well as the Media, of an allegation that Congressman Fossella, along with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, and Governor George Pataki, had all taken kickbacks from a Staten Island bus company, Atlantic Express, in exchange for the awarding of lucrative contracts between the bus company and the City of New York. The only ‘evidence’ being offered to support such a grand conspiracy theory was a single letter from the Chicago Crime Commission, which stated, in an inquiry from a Chicago public official, that one Dominick Gatto was the son of a man alleged by the FBI to be an associate of New York’s Gambino Mafia Family. Gatto was, at the time of the letter dated May 25, 1999, as well as now, a principle owner of Atlantic Express.

     Without any substantiation of these allegations, the story never received serious treatment by the Media in New York. Then, all these years later, the story was resurrected when Salvatore Battaglia, the corrupt President of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union, pleaded guilty to extorting kickbacks from several bus company owners, including Dominick Gatto. Battaglia has been identified by authorities as an associate of the Genovese Mafia Family. Suddenly, New York reporters were scrambling to determine what, if anything, in the Union’s original claims against Fossella/Molinari/Giuliani and company might be true.

     Of equal importance was this unanswered question: Did Brian McLaughlin’s allegations of Mafia corruption against Fossella and others in 2001, lead, in some way, to both the investigation of his own corruption, as well as the investigation that led to the admissions of Gatto regarding his being shaken down by the Mob?

     While the answers to these questions are only known at the moment by those Feds involved in these investigations - and they are not talking - this story does not exist in a vacuum. The fact is that at the time the allegations were made in 2001, Guy Molinari had already been the target of an FBI investigation a few years earlier. In 1993, the Feds in the office of the U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York had launched an investigation of Molinari, who had championed a member of law enforcement accused of civil rights violations by drug dealers who belonged to the Cali cartel. The Feds tried to convince a government Informant to wear a wire on Molinari and convince him to offer her a job in exchange for information she had provided on the Cali cartel and their corruption of New York officials. The woman, however, refused and reported the attempted set-up to Molinari. Other New York residents at that time came forward to complain to Molinari of similar intimidation by the Feds to set-up the Borough President. The female Informant in question later proved her credibility by working for the Feds in another State in successful prosecutions of drug trafficking syndicates.

     A furious Molinari went public with the actions of the FBI, and in April, 1995 the New York Post ran the story: "Guy Molinari Fumes: FBI Tried to Set Me Up!" "It’s outrageous!" Molinari said. "If they will do this to me, an elected official, I hate to think what they might do to a member of the general public!" The Post article also quoted a source from the Justice Department that attempted to downplay the significance of the actions taken against Molinari by the FBI.

     The attempt by the Feds to set-up Molinari would be just the first of several corruption scandals to emerge in the 1990s regarding the Feds in New York and their protection of drug dealers. During that time, three Federal trials prosecuting the participants of the Colombo Family War would be de-railed because of the FBI’s improper relationship with Greg Scarpa, a drug dealer and hitman for the Colombo Family who had been protected for decades by the FBI because of his status as an FBI Informant. The first troubled Colombo war trial began in June 1994. Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico was acquitted of charges he instigated the war - from prison - after Greg Scarpa, on his deathbed due to AIDS, issued a sworn Affidavit that exonerated him. In the second Colombo War Trial, William "Wild Bill" Cutolo and 6 members of his crew faced racketeering murder charges. "Big Sal" Miciotta testified under cross examination that while ‘protected’ as an FBI Informant he continued his loan sharking and extortion rackets, as well as trafficking drugs. The defendants in the case claimed they were only acting in self-defense against a renegade FBI informant/Mafia hitman, Greg Scarpa. Cutolo and the members of his crew were acquitted. The New York Times then joined the chorus of those questioning the relationship between Scarpa and the FBI. The Times noted that during his 35-year life of crime and 10 arrests Scarpa had spent only a total of 30 days in jail.

     The third trial featured Defendants Vic and John Orena, steel company executive Thomas Petrizzo, and four associates, all charged with murders committed during the Colombo Family war. The jurors acquitted all defendants on all charges, with several jurors complaining to the Media about the corrupt relationship between the FBI and Greg Scarpa.

     Despite the corruption scandals emerging with the Feds in New York, investigations continued of those among Guy Molinari’s inner circle. In 1996, the Feds in Brooklyn opened an investigation into a stock "pump and dump" scam being run by various associates of the Colombo and Gambino Mafia families. The Feds utilized the services of a new FBI Informant, Lawrence Ray, who would eventually be hired by a waste management company called Interstate Industrial, owned by two brothers, Frank and Peter DiTommaso. The brothers were the sons of a retired NYPD Detective who was among Guy Molinari’s closest friends.

     During the next three years, Ray developed a close friendship with Bernard Kerik, who headed the Security team for the 1993 campaign of Rudy Giuliani and had risen by that time to the position of Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. At Kerik’s urging, Frank DiTommaso hired Ray at $100,000 a year to provide lobbying services. By 1998, Ray had become so close to Kerik that he served as Best Man at his Wedding. The Daily News reported that Ray lavished thousands of dollars worth of gifts upon his pal Kerik, donations that Kerik did not report as required by city guidelines.

     In March, 2000, Lawrence Ray was indicted by the Eastern District of New York for his participation in a Mafia ‘pump and dump’ stock scam. At that time the DiTommaso brothers and Interstate Industrial Corporation were the subjects of a Federal, New York City, and New Jersey Casino Control Commission investigation into allegations of ties to the American Mafia.

     The City investigation was prompted by a $30 million contract sought by the DiTommaso brothers’ business to assist in the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, an illegal Mob-controlled landfill that had brazenly operated until Giuliani was elected Mayor. However, the City of New York canceled the $30 million contract with Interstate Industrial.

     The Federal investigation of the DiTommaso brothers concerned their purchase of a Staten Island waste station controlled by Edward Garafola, who was married to the sister of former Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Garafola was among those indicted in March 2000 along with Lawrence Ray and Daniel Persico, nephew of Colombo Family Godfather Carmine "The Snake" Persico. Interstate Industrial Corporation was also denied a contract by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 2000 to perform work on an Atlantic City gambling casino.

     Contemporary with these events were investigations into the income tax filings of another of the Republican elite in New York, Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. Ms. Pirro had racked up one of the most impressive records in America as a tough, no-nonsense Judge who relished in sending the "bad guys" to jail. The problem was, however, that Ms. Pirro’s husband was a criminal. Albert Pirro and his brother Anthony were indicted in 1999 on various charges relating to income tax evasion. Prosecuting the case was Elliott B. Jacobson, an Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The Pirro brothers were convicted and sent to prison for one year. What the Judge in that case, however, did not allow the jurors to hear was the fact that Al Pirro had secretly taped his brother Anthony, asking him leading questions in an apparent attempt to exonerate himself from the charges. The secret tape-recording incident was an ironic precursor of events that were to follow in the lives of the Pirros.

     Although Jeanine Pirro was not charged, it did not escape the public’s attention that she had signed the joint tax returns that were the case against her husband. Thus, her constituents were presented with the options of believing that she herself was corrupt, or that she was so blindly in love with her husband that she overlooked what should have been obvious to an experienced prosecutor such as herself. The latter scenario would later be reinforced by two secretly-recorded conversations that would eventually doom the marriage between the Pirros. The first was an FBI tape upon which Gambino Family capo Gregory DePalma told other ‘wiseguys’ that Albert Pirro had shared information with the Mafia regarding an investigation by Jeanine Pirro of a police officer with alleged connections to Mafia associate Robert Persico. From a legal standpoint, DePalma’s statement was nothing more than ‘hearsay.’ Thus, when the taped conversations were made public, Albert Pirro denied the allegations and threatened to sue DePalma and Persico. Pirro had previously worked as a business consultant for Persico, who was indicted in 2005 on charges he bribed officials of two International Operating Engineers Unions. Named also in that indictment was Gregory DePalma, who, along with John "Junior" Gotti, had pleaded guilty in 1999 to various crimes, including the extortion of the Upper East Side "SCORES" strip club. DePalma was also captured on FBI wiretaps illegally accepting large amounts of the prescription drug Viagra from 3 Westchester County doctors, which were used by DePalma and members of his crew.

     The other tape that impacted on the Pirro’s marriage was made by an FBI wiretap on the phone of Bernard Kerik. As the last Century drew to a close, Kerik had risen from celebrated narcotics officer, to the position of Driver for Rudy Giuliani during the 1993 campaign, to Commissioner of the Corrections Department and then Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. The two men became national heroes for their determined leadership during the chaos of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

     Then came the debacle of Kerik’s brief tenure as Nominee to be Director of Homeland Security. Kerik quickly withdrew his nomination, citing his failure to pay taxes on a Nanny hired to take care of his young child. Then, the Media turned on their former favorite, relishing in a wide variety of disclosures regarding Kerik’s personal life, as well as his finances. One of the most sensational was the FBI wiretap on Kerik’s phone in which he was caught talking to Jeanine Pirro, who wanted Kerik to plant a "bug" on her family boat in an attempt to document the perceived extra-marital affair her husband was engaging in. Although Kerik and Pirro were never charged for the wiretapping plot, the disclosures of the tape of the two revealed that Kerik was in fact the target of an investigation that included not only Federal prosecutors, including Elliott B. Jacobson, who had successfully prosecuted Albert Pirro, but also Rose Gill Hearn, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation. It was Ms. Hearn and Mr. Jacobson, among others, who brought the multi-count indictment last year charging Bernard Kerik with a slew of charges centered around the theme of income tax evasion. Kerik has denied all charges and indicated he intends to fight the case in Court.

     Kerik’s attorney is Barry Berke, who is perhaps best known as the attorney for Thomas R. Stevens, a Republican operative who was indicted by the Southern District in 1993 on charges he tried to hire a Mafia hitman to murder a political rival. On the eve of the trial, this reporter turned over to the Feds - and Berke - tape-recorded conversations of two FBI Informants who threatened my life for not agreeing to offer Perjured testimony in the case. The trial was then adjourned and the Judge in the case threw out the indictments - "With Prejudice" - citing obvious evidence that Stevens had been framed.

     Supporters of Bernard Kerik claim that the charges against him are politically motivated, in part to injure the candidacy of his colleague Rudy Giuliani, who sought the Republican nomination for President. Cynics of this notion would point out that Rose Gill Hearn, the investigator who made the case against Kerik is also the one who made the case against Brian McLaughlin, and thus has established her non-partisan credentials. Kerik’s trial is to be preceded by that of the DiTommaso brothers, who are charged with a single count of Perjury in regards to the investigation as to who was responsible for paying for the renovations of Kerik’s New York apartment.

     Bringing this story full circle, the saga of Dominick Gatto continues. Gatto has admitted, in papers revealed in Court proceedings, that he was the victim of an extortion racket by the Mafia, who wanted a ‘Mafia tax’ on his lucrative, multi-million dollar bus contract negotiated with the City of New York during the Administration of Rudolph Giuliani. Gatto played hardball, instructing his lawyer to sue GANGLAND host Jerry Capeci for allegedly defaming his character in Capeci’s writings about this case. Gatto’s lawyer then took the unheard of tactic of suing Capeci and asking the Judge to keep the proceedings secret. The Judge in the case did not agree so the lawyer Appealed the Judge’s decision. This resulted in a "circling of the wagons" as reporters and editors from around the New York City area joined Capeci in his fight against this lawsuit. The Appeals Court upheld the original Judge’s decision and the lawsuit was quietly withdrawn.

EPILOGUE

     Although many Union members in New York are angry that Brian McLaughlin was given such a lenient sentence, there have been some positive developments as a result of the taking down of "the man who stole from the kids." McLaughlin’s crimes were so brazen, so flagrant, and so outrageous that they have fanned the flames of the Labor Dissident movement that has taken hold in New York in recent years. Dissidents such as Roger Toussaint have shown how Local unions can be taken over by reform movements from within, while veteran Union organizers such as Eddie Kay have achieved success in taking on both Local Unions and their parent International Unions, such as, in Kay’s case, the Amalgamated Transit Union. Thus, Brian McLaughlin’s legacy may be that he helped to wake up the rank-and-file of Unions in New York as to the fact that the greatest threat to working people and their families are in fact their very own Union leaders.

Related Features by this author:

Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless, Part One:
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_367.html

DEATH ON THE WATERFRONT
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_266.html

THE TRIALS OF TRAFICANT
Part Four: How Congressman Traficant and a Labor Union Found Their Way Into The Court of U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_199.html

Additional sources and suggested reading:

SOLIDARITY FOR SALE:
How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America’s Promise

By Robert Fitch Pegasus Books Group, 2006

City Limits Magazine

 

 


James Ridgway de Szigethy can be reached at:
writer10021@aol.com

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