Thursday, October 21, 2010

I was mob stooge, former union boss Joseph Rizzuto says during Joseph Olivieri trial

BY Brian Kates

A former union boss on Wednesday fingered the once-powerful head of the city's largest contractor's association as the Genovese crime family's go-to guy in corrupt construction unions.

Joseph Rizzuto, former head of Operating Engineers Local 14, said Joseph Olivieri was a messenger who carried capo Louis Moscatiello's orders to the unions he controlled in the late 1990s.

Olivieri, ex-director of the Wall-Ceiling Association of drywall contractors, is on trial in Manhattan Federal Court for allegedly lying about his ties to Moscatiello, who maintained the crime family's grip on city construction unions.

Rizzuto, who pleaded guilty to bribe-taking in 2004, testified he complied with Olivieri's orders to give mob favorites union cards.

"I felt I had no choice," he told Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Zornberg.

But when he balked at making a "totally corrupt" low-level union official Local 14's assistant business manager - a job his son held - Rizzuto said Olivieri warned him, "If you don't, you're going to be in a world of hurt."

Angered by Rizzuto's refusal, Olivieri drove him to a meeting with "the boss" at a hotel near LaGuardia Airport, Rizzuto testified.

"I knocked on the door and it was opened by Lou Moscatiello," Rizzuto testified.

"I was patted down. ... He said, 'Don't take it personal, but I had problems in the past with wires.'"

All the while, Rizzuto said, Olivieri was standing within earshot.

Rizzuto, who retired from the union two months later, said he eventually convinced Moscatiello to keep his son in the job. Moscatiello died in prison last year at 73.

Olivieri is the last construction bigwig to face judgment in a case that saw District Council of Carpenters chief Michael Forde and seven cohorts plead guilty to charges in a 29-count federal racketeering indictment.

Olivieri also is under indictment for his alleged role with Forde and others in a scheme to steal millions from the carpenters union and its benefit funds, of which he was a trustee.

At the time, the district council was operating under a federal monitor, and funds trustees and other union officials were under court order to have no contact with organized crime figures.

1 comment:

  1. Dennis Walsh, Lawrence D'Errico has a new go to guy.M&M And the golf game continues. With the remaining 3 stooges Paul Laryy and the Inspector general


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