Feature Articles

July 31, 2000

July 31, 2000
Round Up The Usual Suspects

By John William Tuohy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washingon, D.C.

compiled by John William Tuohy and Ed Becker (Las Vegas, Nevada)

NEW YORK: Harold Giuliani, the late father of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani served 18 months in prison for holding up a milkman at gunpoint in 1934, The Village Voice has reported.

     A call to the state Department of Correctional Services seeking confirmation of the report was not immediately returned.

     According to the report, after a police officer stopped the robbery, an indictment identified Harold Giuliani, then 26, as the man who pressed a gun into the milkman's belly. But the milkman later changed his statement, saying Giuliani's accomplice wielded the pistol.

     A prosecutor, Louis Capozzoli, said in court that the milkman had been told to change his story when "he was visited at about four O'Clock that morning by several people who threatened him".

     Giuliani, who told a judge his name was Joseph Starrett, was charged with four felonies, and pleaded innocent. After the milkman changed his statement, Giuliani was allowed to plead guilty to just one felony. He was sentenced to two to five years and released on parole after a year and a half.

     The Voice story portrayed Giuliani's father as a hot-tempered man who was quick to throw a punch and rarely held a legitimate job. In the late 1940s, he began working as a bartender at a tavern owned by his brother-in-law Leo D'Avanzo, who ran a loansharking and gambling operation out of the bar. Harold Giuliani wielded a baseball bat to collect debts owed to his brother-in-law, according to the paper.

     Giuliani moved his family from Brooklyn to Long Island in 1951, and left his bartending job in the late 1950s to become a school custodian. He was eventually fired for failing to show up to work, the Voice said.

PENNSYLVANIA: The Philadelphia Flyers submitted an $8.5 million qualifying offer to center Eric Lindros this month. Lindros' once reportedly left game tickets for reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph ``Skinny Joey'' Merlino.

BULGARIA: Bulgarian police have uncovered an antique smuggling ring which used Internet marketplaces to sell valuable coins and artifacts.

     The smugglers, who sold $12,000 worth of antiques, posted pictures of the artifacts on those websites and struck deals with the highest bidders.

     After receiving confirmation of payment in a local bank, they packed the antique coins in CD boxes and mailed them as compact discs containing Bulgarian folk music.

CHINA: The days of slipping immigrants into the United States by packing them into dilapidated wooden boats and slipping them ashore along deserted park of the coast line, may be over. In fact, according to the INS, no such vessels have been found this year.

     However, Chinese gangs are taking on increasingly varied and sophisticated means to smuggling illegal migrants into the United States.

     Due to tighter law enforcement along the boarders, the smugglers now take migrants overland or by air to Europe and south and Central America and are eased into the United States through major airports using doctored passports that are recycled and sold to others.

     According to the INS, about 200 illegal Chinese immigrants a week are stopped just at Los Angeles's airport. Most enter using stolen passports from Japan and Singapore, whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the United States.

     Still, despite fees of up to $60,000 charged by the smuggling who are mostly members of the Snakeheads, a large Chinese mob, the flood continues. To pay back their passage, some migrants are forced into prostitution.

NEVADA: John Pucci, owner of several Burger King franchises in Las Vegas, is one of a half dozen franchises owners and the Bellagio hotel-casino, who are involved in a noble and humane program called Work First.

     The program allows criminal offenders to be eased into the community by getting a chance to work at the resort or at one of the Burger King Franchises for eight months.

     The work isn't glamorous, and it only pays between $5.25 an hour to $11.47, but its a job and for many of those in the program, its the first time they've worked with benefits of health insurance and a pension plan. It also allows them chance to get his high school equivalency degree for free.

     The program will not accept workers jailed for a violent crime and anyone entered into the program must be willing to pass a drug test.

     Candidates are referred by several different agencies, including the police gang unit, a prison and the state parole and probation department.

MISSOURI: A local teamster supporter named Stanely Wright, has pled guilty to pulling an Overnite Transportation Company driver from his vehicle and assaulting him. The unprovoked assault is in connection to the Teamsters dispute with the carrier.

     Wright admitted he assaulted the driver, has received a suspended sentence, was placed on a year's probation, required to undergo anger management counseling and ordered to pay Overnite's court costs.

     More than 95 percent of Overnite's employees have ignored the teamster call for a walkout.

PALESTINE: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has divulged his administration's financial secrets. Among them is the fact that the government's largest holding, valued at $60 million, is a 30 percent stake in a casino in the West Bank town of Jericho.

     The Palestinian Authority has refused to acknowledge its involvement in the casino, fearing criticism by Islamic fundamentalists who oppose gambling on religious grounds.

PENNSYLVANIA: Prominent Philadelphia attorney John F. O'Brien III has joined its Board of Directors of a private firm in Philadelphia. O'Brien served as Chief of Narcotics and Drug Investigations, U. S. Department of Justice, Organized Crime Strike Force from 1967 - 1980.

BRAZIL: In a long overdue effort to clean up its police force, a state government in Brazil fired or suspended 353 police officers linked to such crimes as car theft, torture and murder. Many of the officers had been convicted but were allowed to keep working as they appealed their convictions.

     Corruption among Rio's 40,000 police officers has become a major issue after State Security Coordinator Luiz Eduardo Soares publicly accused high-ranking officers of links to extortion, torture and murder.

NEW ENGLAND: A flood of methamphetamine "The poor man's cocaine" is expected to hit the Mid-Atlantic and New England areas this fall, or sooner, according to informed sources.

     The inexpensive and popular drug has already filled the streets of Chicago and should hit New York, Philadelphia and Boston by early September.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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