Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Local 157 Shop Steward Busted

Runnin' Scared Big-Mouth Blockhead Busted
Or, How not to address your arresting officer

New York--March 20th, 2007 --No one likes opening the door at 6:40 a.m. and finding three federal agents on the stoop with an arrest warrant. But even veteran tough guys accustomed to such unexpected breakfast meetings will tell you: Don't aggravate the situation.

Especially not the way a carpenters union shop steward named Michael "Mickey" Annucci did last September 29, when he was arrested in New Jersey for conspiring with a crooked contractor to cheat dozens of union members out of thousands of dollars in wages and benefits by leaving them off his reports to the union.

In a court hearing this week in Manhattan before U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, Annucci's attorney, Joseph DeMatteo, is seeking to get his client's post-arrest statements suppressed. For good reason.

According to federal officials, Annucci greeted the arresting agents with a request to "fuck off." For good measure, he added: "You can all go fuck yourselves." Annucci, 54, thenreally hit them below the belt when they advised him of his Miranda rights. "I thought you'd be better than this, you can't read it," the carpenter allegedly opined, adding that "this wasn't the way it was done on television," according to court filings by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Zornberg.

The feisty Annucci kept up this patter as the agents drove him from his Port Monmouth home to Manhattan for arraignment. "You've never met a man like Mickey Annucci," he boasted. "Mickey Annucci's never been to college, but he has more life experience than any of you."

The cockiness appeared to evaporate moments later, though, as Annucci complained that everyone was picking on him. "I'm the little guy," he moaned. And although he had brushed off the agents' suggestion back at his house that he could help himself by cooperating with the investigation (that part apparently was just like TV), Annucci couldn't resist asking exactly what the agents wanted to know.

According to prosecutor Zornberg, Special Agent Ryan Gibbs of the Office of Labor Racketeering told him they'd be interested in information about a powerful union official named Bill Hanley. Annucci allegedly scoffed that Gibbs should get his "facts straight." He kept mum for a few minutes after that, but then did himself real damage by offering some self-incriminating information: He'd been told to "leave guys off the sheets," he admitted, referring to the steward reports. What's more, he'd "had to play ball" or lose his job.

Annucci's alleged schemes involved a massive, years-long renovation of the old Metropolitan Life complex on Madison Avenue, now the offices of Credit Suisse. According to the indictment, the project was carried out by a New Jersey-based firm called L&D Installers, Inc., whose owner, Gary DiMaria, recently passed away. "Gary," Annucci divined for the officers, "is probably in hell."
Annucci was still cracking wise when the car pulled up at the Department of Labor's offices on Varick Street in Manhattan.

To be on the safe side, agents read him his Miranda rights a second time. "You know what? I only understand Spanish," Annucci said. The officers were happy to comply—Special Agent Marcus Rivera read the warning once more, in the requested language.

While being fingerprinted, Annucci took yet another shot. "You look like you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth," he informed agent Stephen Donnelly.

Annucci later pled not guilty and is awaiting trial (while widely protesting his treatment). Meanwhile, the grand jury probing the corruption case heard testimony from one top carpenters union official last week, and an attorney for union big Hanley said his client expects to be called shortly.