Feature Articles

January 21, 2001

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

The Magazines Network...

Chicago: William Hanhardt, the former Chicago chief of detectives who has been arrested for his role in a Mafia inspired jewel ring, was, according to sources in Chicago, long considered to be tied into the mob, even when he started his career in the 1950s.

Hanhardt was a consultant to producer Michael Mann's 1980s TV show "Crime Story."

Some Chicago mob watchers say Hanhardt may have been able to climb to the highest ranks of the department due to influence with politicians in Chicago's scandal-drenched 1st Ward Democratic Organization.

Among those links was a "black book" found on the body of mob figure Allen Dorfman after his 1983 gangland-style slaying. Hanhardt was among the names listed in the personal telephone book. Dorfman was murdered as he crossed an ice filled parking lot in Chicago. He was scheduled to testify before a grand jury investigating mob-Teamster connections in Las Vegas.

According to testimony by a government witness in 1975, Hanhardt had delivered a $2,200 check to pay for surveillance equipment for Ronald DeAngeles, a mob wiretapper. The equipment was installed in the home of bail bondsman Irwin Weiner, a friend of Hanhardt's. Hanhardt defended the arrangement, telling prosecutors he asked Weiner to install the devices to keep track of his children.

Weiner, who has deep contacts to the mob, was one of the last people Jack Ruby spoke to by phone before he murdered Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963.

Exactly how the FBI cracked the case is a closely guarded secret, although there reportedly was a wiretap on Hanhardt's phone for a year.

In a new turn of events, at least two Chicago police detectives are suspected of using department computers to funnel sensitive information about traveling jewelry salesmen to the theft ring.

During a yearlong federal wiretap of former chief of Hanhardt's home that began in 1996, investigators heard him ask the detectives for plate numbers and the make and model of the salesmen's cars.

Federal prosecutors have said they would not charge the detectives because they don't have evidence to prove they knew they were providing information being used in a criminal conspiracy.

However, the detectives could face discipline for violating department rules prohibiting employees from providing civilians with classified information, officials said.

Hong Kong: Three alleged gangsters, members of the Snakeheads triads, are being held for questioning in the smuggling of 26 Chinese immigrants discovered in a shipping crate bound for the United States.

The suspects were arrested in a raid by Hong Kong's organized crime unit.

Officials believe the illegal immigrants were from the southern Chinese province of Fujian, where many smugglers or so-called snakeheads are based.

Hong Kong press reports said each of the detained migrants paid $50,000 for the two-week voyage to the United States.

Camden: Milton Milan, the mayor of Camden, the poorest city in New Jersey and perhaps in the tri-state area, has been charged with corruption and the government's key witness against him is likely to be Jersey mob boss, Ralph Natale.

Natale, the former head of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob who has pleaded guilty to murder, extortion, gambling and drug trafficking, is cooperating with federal authorities.

Natale has admitted using an associate to bribe Milan, who became mayor in 1997 after pledging to reform City Hall, in return for favors to mob-influenced businesses.

Prosecutors say Milan, 37, laundered more than $60,000 in drug profits, and accepted money, vacations, automobiles and home improvement work from city vendors or businesses seeking contracts or favors.

The indictment against Milan alleges that contractors tore down his garage, installed new carpet, new windows and an air conditioner in his home, either for free or without charging him labor costs, in exchange for favors or help obtaining contracts.

Colombia: Colombia has extradited Jorge Asprilla, the alleged boss of a cocaine-smuggling operation to the United States, where he will face drug-trafficking charges in a federal court.

Surrounded by some 100 police officers, Asprilla departed Bogot´┐Ż's international airport on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration flight bound for New York after a stop in Miami.

The 45-year old Asprilla faces a federal court indictment in New York for his alleged role in shipping 230 pounds of cocaine to the United States in liquor boxes from Colombia.

Colombia police arrested Asprilla and 18 other suspected members of the "Los Niches" drug gang in a February 1999 sweep. The government sent another suspected member of the group, Orlando Garcia, to the United States in July.

Police suspect that the group smuggled more cocaine to the United States through Panama, Nicaragua, and Mexico, according to a statement issued by the Colombian National Police on Sunday.

Tehran: Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar says he intends to sign agreements with the Tehran government on fighting drug smuggling.

Iran is a main transit route for drugs smuggled from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east to lucrative markets in prosperous Western Europe.

Tehran says it seized 263 tonnes of drugs last year and that it accounts for 70 percent of all narcotics seizures by authorities worldwide. Nevertheless, despite that success, some drugs still get through.

Union Corruption Update

Washington: The federal government is probing the background of Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer for his alleged participation in two money-laundering conspiracies that involving $200,000 and aided the 1996 reelection campaign of ex-Teamsters' boss Ron Carey. According to the Washington Times, a federal grand jury in Manhattan has been impaneled and it has subpoenaed AFL-CIO records concerning the transactions in question.

Boston: A probe into Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, investigators are reportedly now probing allegations that Local 25 president George W. Cashman vetoed a plan to kill a member of another union, agreeing instead to have her beaten last month "to send her a message."

Investigators are reportedly probing an Aug. attack on Susan Christy, a snack truck driver on the movie set of "What's the Worst That Could Happen" and a member of the International Association of Theater & Stage Employees.

Allegedly, James P. Flynn, a reputed mobster and ex-con who runs the Charlestown-based Teamsters' movie crew, ordered Christy to quit so Teamster Robert Martini could take over her concession contract prior to the start of filming this summer. When Christy refused, Flynn reportedly threatened that her equipment would be "severely damaged" if she continued to work, investigators have been told.

Flynn -- whose house was searched and whose records were confiscated by federal agents in June -- allegedly told Martini that Christy would have to be "killed" or others would "lose respect" for Flynn. Flynn allegedly selected Martini to do the killing because Martini would be the one to benefit. Martini is an ex-policeman who was removed after being convicted of insurance fraud in 1989.

On August 15, Bartley Small, a Teamster driver on the set, allegedly pulled Christy from her truck by her hair, tossed her against the vehicle, and slapped and scratched her face while the movie was being shot. Christy's truck was allegedly vandalized by Small several times before she was attacked.

Christy is the second IATSE member reportedly beaten for refusing Local 25 demands. During the filming of "Cider House Rules" in 1998, an IATSE technician was brutally assaulted by several Teamsters for refusing to allow Local 25 members to drive his personal van.

Convicted Massachusetts bank robber James McCormack was arrested recently on charges that he plotted to sell cocaine and, along with two friends, kidnapped and beat a former drug dealer in a bid to extort $1 million.

McCormack, while not a Teamster, has strong ties to Charlestown-based IBT Local 25, which is under investigation for allegedly extorting moviemakers who film around New England. McCormack's alleged partner in a cocaine deal is Philip Myers, a Charlestown crime figure and ex teamster turned government informant who has been reportedly aiding the federal probe involving Local 25 and the movie industry.

McCormack was allegedly involved but was never indicted in the trial of five men convicted in a string of bank robberies, including a 1994 armored car heist in Hudson, N.H., in which two guards were killed. Four of the men convicted in the case were members of Local 25 who worked on movie sets.

Chicago: Kurt W. Muellenberg, the former-court-appointed monitor over the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int'l Union, banned Chicago boss John Duff III from HERE office for life.

Muellenberg issued a report that said Duff cheated HERE out of $172,000, knowingly associated with organized crime figures, and ran an illegal Florida bookmaking operation while on the union payroll.

Duff remains a boss in the Liquor & Wine Sales Reps., Tire, Plastic & Allied Workers Union, Local 3, a union founded by his father.

Duff is a son of John Duff, Jr., the head of a family whose companies have won $100 million in government business from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The U.S. Attorney's office is reportedly investigating several Duff contracts with the city as well as Muellenberg's allegations.

Muellenberg reported that in 1996, Duff pocketed over $202,000 -- including $35,000 as a HERE organizer and $88,333 from the liquor union. He also drew salaries from Duff firms. The Duffs and the family of the late, corrupt HERE boss Edward T. Hanley have allegedly been friends for years.

Hanley testified that he hired Duff in 1991 to organize a casino in Alton, Illinois. However, by 1992, the report said, Duff was living in Florida, where he was running an illegal bookmaking ring with organized crime figures.

When Duff was in Chicago, he gambled at riverboats while on HERE's payroll, the report said.

Reportedly, Duff's association with organized crime dated to 1988. The report said Duff testified in the 1992 trial of reputed mafia boss Rocco Infelice. Testifying under immunity, Duff said he often bet with bookmakers and had two meetings with Infelice over a debt.

New York: The Manhattan District Attorney has made public some of the names of the 38 union officials charged with bribery, bid rigging or other racketeering schemes that allegedly siphoned millions from construction projects in the last two years.

Reputed boss of the Lucchese crime family, Steven L. Crea has allegedly played a role in construction racketeering schemes for decades.

The indictment also charged Michael Forde, who heads the District Council of Carpenters in New York City and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 608. Forde's father ran the local and was convicted of taking bribes in 1990. Forde and Local 608 business agent Martin Deveraux were charged with taking bribes to allow contract violations.

Gerald Woods, the secretary-treasurer and business manager of UBC's northern New Jersey Regional Council, was indicted for taking bribes to allow contract violations and improperly signing agreements to let N.J. contractors work on New York City job sites without having to sign contracts with Local 608.

District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau said the racketeering diverted millions to the Lucchese family and its partners, corrupt union officials and contractors. He explained the scheme as a 5% "mob tax."

Others accused included Santo Lanzafame, the president of Builders & Allied Craftsmen Local 1, which represents bricklayers. He is charged with appointing union stewards at job sites knowing that they would file false union documents to cover up contract violation. Three Local 1 business agents and three shop stewards were also indicted.

Also indicted was Giuseppe Palmieri, a shop steward with Laborers' International Union of N. Am. Local 20, known as the Cement & Concrete Workers. He allegedly participated in a bid-rigging scheme and falsifying union reports on a public school construction project.

Also charged was Joseph Martinelli and his company, the N. Berry Corp. Martinelli has been involved in the construction business for more than three decades, and has been identified as an associate of the Lucchese family and of Crea's since 1990, according to FBI reports.

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