Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Unions & the Mob...

Labor Racketeering defined: the infiltration, domination, and/or use of a union or employee benefit plan for personal benefit by illegal, violent, or fraudulent means. [Source: US Dept. of Labor]

All-too-often, the question is asked: Aren't unions controlled by the mob?

The answer is 'No. Not usually.'

But then a headline like this comes along from the U.S. Justice Department:

Indictment Unsealed Charging Colombo Family Administration Member Theodore Persico and Seven Other Defendants

Along with details [with emphasis throughout] like this:
An eight-count indictment was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging eight defendants – Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, Thomas Petrizzo, Edward Garofalo, Jr.,James Bombino, Louis Romeo, Alicia Dimichelle, and Mike LNU variously with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, extortion, and embezzlement of union benefit funds. The defendants, who were arrested earlier today, are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Orenstein, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, N.Y. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sandra L. Townes.
The indictment also charges Colombo associate Garofalo and his wife, Alicia Dimichelle, with embezzlement from the welfare benefit plan and pension benefit plan funds operated on behalf of union laborers of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 282. As described in the detention memorandum, Garofalo and Dimichelle engaged in a double-breasting scheme in which they used Colombo-controlled non-union shell companies, including DM Equipment, Big R Trucking, T&E Leasing, and Roman Sand and Stone, to circumvent Local 282 collective bargaining agreement union benefit contribution requirements.
The indictment is the latest in the U.S. Attorney Office's on-going efforts to dismantle the Colombo family. Those efforts have led in recent years to indictments and convictions of numerous members of the highest echelons of the crime family, including the 2007 conviction of former Colombo acting boss Alphonse Persico, Jr. and former Colombo administration member John DeRoss on murder in-aid-of racketeering and witness tampering charges, the 2008 conviction of Colombo captain Joseph Baudanza and others on stock fraud charges, and the 2009 indictment of former Colombo street boss Thomas Gioeli and other Colombo captains, soldiers, and associates on numerous racketeering-related murder charges and other crimes of violence.
"La Cosa Nostra continues to profit illegally in numerous sectors of our economy, allegedly including the World Trade Center construction site," stated U.S. Attorney Campbell. "Our Office is dedicated to eliminating these crime families, which take a significant economic toll." U.S. Attorney Campbell praised the outstanding investigative efforts by Special Agents of the FBI and DOL/OIG.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Demarest stated, "This case illustrates yet again that the mob's aim is to make money, and the means is almost always violence or the threat of violence. Historically, the FBI referred to the economic impact of mob schemes as 'the mob tax.' Our goal continues to be elimination of the mob tax." 
DOL/OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Franzman stated, "Today's RICO indictment represents a significant milestone in our efforts to eliminate the far reaching extortionate control of demolition trucking companies in New York City by the Colomboorganized crime family. Through their actions, two of the defendants allegedly caused the theft of International Brotherhood of Teamsters LU 282 employee benefit plan assets, directly impacting the welfare and retirement benefits of many union members. We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this type of labor racketeering."

Aren't unions controlled by the mob?  Well, sometimes...maybe.