Feature Articles

July 17. 2000

July 17, 2000
A Round Up Of 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

WASHINGTON: Two United States congressmen want Al Gore to answer allegations that federal contracts were handed to the Teamsters as a means to influence their endorsement in Gore's presidential race.
     The New York Times quoted a close Gore advisers as saying projects had been directed through federal agencies that would use Teamsters in an effort to keep the union from endorsing Green Party contender Ralph Nader.
     The House subcommittee on oversight and investigation, said they had sent letters to Gore, Education Secretary Richard Riley and Labor Secretary Alexis Herman asking for all records of work going to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters recently and all correspondence to that organization.
     Subpoenas might be requested if answers aren't forthcoming.
     Former Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa was believed to have been murdered by member of organized crime. The union is currently under control of a federal mandate board.

JAPAN: An estimated 7,800 police officers were dispatched across Japan to provide security for a total of 2,161 corporate shareholders meetings.
     The companies include farm machinery maker Kubota Corp., which has recently been suspected of paying off corporate racketeers, and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., whose subsidiary, JCO Co., caused Japan's worst nuclear accident last September.
     The National Police Agency (NPA) said about 2,000 companies sought police protection against disruptions of their shareholders meetings by gangsters known here as "sokaiya."
     The NPA estimates there are about 400 sokaiya gangsters in Japan. Police also believe such corporate racketeers are becoming more active as a result of a rise in corporate scandals as well as turmoil companies have encountered in the process of restructuring.
     Sokaiya purchase a minimum amount of shares in companies to gain access to corporate shareholders meetings. They then threaten to disrupt the meetings by asking questions embarrassing to management unless they are paid off. Some companies bought silence with payoffs which is a violation of the Commercial Code.

GUATEMALA: As the government prepares to execute two gangsters who kidnapped a liquor-fortune heiress, many citizens here fear a backlash of a criminal retaliation from the hoods gangs.
     Terror has gripped this tiny country. The family of his victim fled the country and Police have taken steps to protect the head of Guatemala's court system and President Alfonso Portillo sent his mother, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews to Canada last week because of signs that gangsters had targeted his family.
     A handful of schools were closed last week because of rumors that the crime syndicate planned to kidnap all the children at a primary school and hold them ransom until the two jailed gangsters were released.
     Gangsters Luis Amilcar Cetin Perez and Tomas Cerrate Hernandez, both members of the notorious crime Los Pasco syndicate, are scheduled to die by lethal injection for the January 1997 kidnapping of Bonifassi de Botran, one of the heirs to the sizable Botran liquor distillery fortune. De Botran's family paid a ransom for her safe return, but days later her body was found in a shabby home outside the city.
The executions would be the first in two years.

DENMARK: A court has ordered the mother of a slain Hell's Angels member to remove her son's tombstone becuase the inscription is sacrilegious and can scare visitors.
     The tombstone of Louis Linde Nielsen includes the international motorcycle gang's name, its winged skull insignia and the words "the ultimate sacrifice"
     Nielsen was one of two people killed in October 1996 when an anti-tank grenade was fired into the Hell's Angels headquarters compound in Copenhagen at the height of a three-year feud between the gang and the rival Bandidos.
     Nielsens mother originally placed a neutral tombstone at the grave, but the Hell's Angels replaced it two years later with one they had customized and placed it in the cemetery without the consent of the parish that owns the land.

NEW YORK: Dallas based American Realty Trust Inc, the giant property management and real property holding company caught up in the recent $50 million Mafia-stock market scam, said it repaid its $2.46 million margin call debt relating to its affiliate Income Opportunity Realty Investors, part of a total $35 million in margin debt the Dallas-based real estate investment trust is negotiating to repay.
     Lenders demanded American Realty pay back loans used to buy shares in affiliated companies after two of the company's advisers, Gene Phillips and Cal Rossi were implicated in the fraud scam. Phillips and Rossi denied they are affiliated with the Genovese or Gambino crime families.

WASHINGTON: Maritime piracy was rampant in Asia in 1999, with nearly two-thirds of the 285 reported cases worldwide occurring in Asian waters, says the Washington based think tank, the Heritage Foundation.
     Indonesia's waters and ports accounted for the largest share of cases, at 113 while attacks against commercial ships around the world have tripled over the past decade, rising last year alone by 40%.
     Many of the pirates carry military-style weapons. The pirates include fishermen, common criminals, Asian Mafia and in some cases members of maritime security forces responsible for safeguarding shipping.

NEW YORK: Brooklyn federal prosecutors dropped charges against Bosko Radonjich, who had been accused of paying a juror $60,000 to help acquit John Gotti at his trial.
     The feds still think Radonjich paid juror George Pape $60,000 to vote to acquit Gotti, but the recent arrest of Sammy Gravano's arrest on charges of running an Ecstasy ring in Phoenix killed his credibility as a witness.
     At Pape's 1992 trial, Gravano had testified that he gave Radonjich $60,000 to give to the juror. Pape was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
     Radonjich, the former head of the Westies and a confidant of Radovan Karadzic, the accused Bosnian Serb war criminal, remained in custody, however, on charges of lying to a federal agent in Miami about his address when he was arrested Jan. 1.

MASSACHUSETTS: Howie Winter, formally of the Winter Hill gang that produced Whitey Bulger, has lost a fight to have his 10 year sentence for cocaine possession reduced.
     U.S. District Court Judge Edward Harrington rejected Winters argument that prosecutors and police colluded to catch him with just enough cocaine to qualify him for a mandatory 10-year sentence.      Government agents admitted they hoped Winter would rat out his pals. But he never did.
     Winter, age 70, pleaded guilty to six counts - including one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Winter has served seven years of hi sentence and with good time, should be freed in about two years.
     Winter was convicted in 1979 of masterminding a multimillion dollar race-fixing scheme at East Coast tracks and for attempted extortion for making bars use his pinball machines. Winter was released from jail in the late 1980s and was free until convicted on the drug charges in 1993.

California: Mark Illsley is set to direct Intermediate's college-set dramatic comedy "Bookies."
     The project, described as a character-driven drama with comedic moments, centers on four college friends who become small-time bookies, only to find their world spinning dangerously out of control when their greed attracts the attention of organized crime.

WASHINGTON: For the second time in two months, eight term Congressman from Ohio Rep. James A. Trafficante took to the House floor and alleged a connection between organized crime and the FBI.
     The Congressman also repeated a prediction that he will be indicted as part of a Justice Department corruption investigation.
     Traficant repeated his allegation that an FBI informant in Ohio once told him the agency had asked the informant to commit murder.
     "There may be an indictment any day. But during this period of time where I have been targeted I have been investigating the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department in the northern district of Ohio. "Trafficante said " FBI agents in the northern district of Ohio have been on the payroll of the mob,'' They have been bankrolled by the mob.''
     The FBI said Trafficante should turn over any evidence so it can be investigated. Traficant said he will give evidence to a congressional committee ``with full subpoena powers to back up the affidavits that I have before me.''
     During a speech on the House floor in March, Trafficante noted he was acquitted once before when charged with corruption and dared prosecutors to ``bring it on.''
     Federal authorities have not said whether Traficant is a target of a corruption investigation in his hometown of Youngstown that has produced about 50 convictions, including a guilty plea from one of Traficant's longtime aides.
     In 1983, Traficant beat federal charges of taking bribes from mobsters.

NEW JERSEY: The son of jailed mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and another man have been indicted on charges of running a gambling and loan-shark business.
     Alleged Philadelphia mob soldier Nicodemo "Nick" Scarfo Jr., 35, and Frank Paolercio, 31, were partners in Merchants Services, of Belleville, N.J., where authorities said the sports gambling business operated. Merchants Services sells and leases credit-card-transaction machines to businesses.
     Scarfo was in jail until July 1998, serving a 13-month sentence for pulling a knife, threatening, and attempting to stab William Morton, the manager of the Deja Vu bar, in Atlantic City, on March 24, 1996. Scarfo was on parole at the time after pleading guilty to state racketeering charges for possession of gambling devices.
     The judge set bail at $75,000 for Scarfo. Poalercio's bail was set at $100,000.

MASSACHUSETTS: The U.S. Attorney's office in Boston announced that the third skeleton unearthed from a field last January is Deborah Hussey, the "Step daughter" of Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemi.
     Flemi lived with Hussey's mother and called himself her "stepfather." having first met Deborah when she was 14 or 15 year old. Authorities claim that Flemi and his partner Whitey Bulger murdered the 26 year old in 1984 and buried her body.
     Police say that Flemmi deflowering Deborah while she was till a teen and paid for her silence with new cars for her 16th birthday, jewelry, money, clothes, and trips.
     Deborah eventually became a junkie and then a prostitute and started to make noise about telling the police what she knew about the Flemi-Bulger operations and murders.
     A reputed Winter Hill mobster-turned-informant Kevin Weeks, told authorities that he believe Hussey was murdered by "Whitey" Bulger.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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