Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Carpenters EST Guilty in Union-Bribe Probe


The Executive-Secretary Treasurer of the New York District Council of Carpenters and a business agent for one of its locals were convicted yesterday of taking a bribe from a mob-run firm to let it use nonunion workers.

After a day of deliberations, a Manhattan jury convicted council boss Michael Forde and Local 608 agent Thomas Devereaux of accepting $10,000 in cash as part of a $50,000 promised bribe. The payment was made by a defunct construction company owned by Sean Richard in connection with renovations at the Park Central Hotel in midtown.

Richard, the former son-in-law of the imprisoned boss of the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family, was the key prosecution witness.

Forde, 50, of Woodside, Queens, and Devereaux, 53, of Cresskill, N.J., face anywhere from probation to seven years behind bars when they are sentenced by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Atlas on June 30.

They were among 38 people and 11 companies indicted on racketeering charges in September 2000 after a three-year probe by the Manhattan district attorney's office and the NYPD into mob-controlled contractors.

Richard, 39, said he put $10,000 cash in an envelope and gave it to Tony Rucereto to give to the union officials over a beer in Hooters, a restaurant across from the hotel on Seventh Ave.

Forde, who was elected head of the 25,000-member district council in 1999 after his predecessor was convicted of corruption charges, will have to relinquish his post because of the conviction.

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