Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unions Were His Game

Louis Moscatiello, an innovative wiseguy who for four decades has embodied the sophisticated labor racketeering prowess that is the hallmark of the powerful Genovese crime family, died this week while serving a 78-month sentence for bribery and other racketeering charges. He was 73.

Moscatiello, whom the feds labeled an acting Genovese capo when he was charged with being the family’s point man in its control over Locals 14 and 15 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, died Monday at a federal prison hospital in Butner, North Carolina. He was transferred there from a federal prison in Ft. Dix, N.J. last month, but officials declined to release any information about his illness, or cause of death. He was slated to be released in December.

Moscatiello was a politically connected real estate and insurance broker from the Bronx who once even ran for New York’s City Council. He gravitated to the construction industry in the 1970s and ended up controlling unions that represent the city’s operating engineers, carpenters and plasterers.

Politicians were glad for his fundraising help. When prosecutors won wiretaps for his phones in a 1980’s labor racketeering case, detectives listened in on long and friendly discussions the mobster had with state senators and congressmen.

Following his indictment in the Operating Engineers case in 2003, Moscatiello mused about the good old days before the FBI and federal prosecutors began its all out assault on the mob.

“I don’t know what the government wants from us,” he said, according to one source. “They take away the unions, they take away the gambling, the loansharking…What do they want us to do, go stick up liquor stores?” 

Lawrence HochheiserHis attorney, Lawrence Hochheiser, (left) told Gang Land he was saddened by the news. “He pleaded guilty but he never put any money in his pocket. He was a modest man of modest means who lived in a modest house. His interest was in getting jobs for people who wanted to work.”

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