Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Irish builder tells of NY construction’s mob ties

The Irish Emigrant

Giving evidence in the trial of Joseph “Rudy” Olivieri, Irish builder James Murray has told how the mafia remains firmly rooted within New York’s construction industry.

A Manhattan federal jury Wednesday found Olivieri (56), ex-executive director of the Long Island-based Association of Wall, Ceiling & Carpentry Industries guilty of perjury over a sworn deposition he gave three years ago in a civil RICO case.

Olivieri faces up to five years in prison plus prosecution on four related charges including conspiracy and fraud. He had long been suspected by investigators as the primary link between construction unions and the Genovese crime family.

As part of the racketeering probe, nine other defendants including former Carpenters & Joiners District boss Michael Forde and former head of the Local 608 union John Greaney have already pleaded guilty and been convicted.

Greaney, a once prominent member of the Irish American community in New York, pleaded guilty in July to thirteen felony charges including corruption, racketeering, embezzlement, bribery and perjury, agreeing to divulge all information regarding his former boss Forde and others.

Murray (45) told federal prosecutor Lisa Zornberg he came to the U.S. from Ireland some 20 years ago in search of work and steadily built a large construction firm by co-operating with various underworld figures, including those associated with the Genovese crime family.

"I was looking for work. I had an argument with my father, and I came to the States." he said.

He began work as a carpenter before starting a business renovating homes, On Par Contracting. Taking the advice that “you can't work unless you're union", he enlisted with the New York City District Council of Carpenters, pledging to use only union labor in order "to get the bigger jobs.”

With 700 people on its payroll at the height of its powers, On Par undertook major projects such as the Times Square Tower. Murray referred to On Par as being “everywhere”.

He chose to ignore the union contracts he had signed up to, paying recently-arrived Irish laborers $25 to $40 an hour instead of the union norm of $75. Profits-wise, this meant “a big cost savings”, with Murray pricing jobs as “the low bidder”. However it was a scam that also required pay-offs to union leaders, business agents, shop stewards and more.

He told of paying Olivieri over $1 million as a sub-contractor on two Riverdale apartment houses which he (Murray) was constructing with non-union labor. In return, Olivieri (along with Forde) helped Murray get a rescue plan together when investigator Walter Mack subpoenaed Murray to testify in March 2005. Murray refused to answer any questions and afterwards continued with the same labor practices. He said Forde received more than $100,000, with Greaney given sums of cash as well as tickets to the Super Bowl.

After a 2006 indictment Murray fled to Ireland, but returned two years later when his farm and other properties were seized. In a separate case to the other ten defendants, he pleaded guilty to charges including money laundering and embezzlement and agreed to testify against Forde, Greaney and others. His sentencing date has not yet been set.

The tenth defendant found guilty in the wide-ranging probe, Joseph Olivieri is the only one who went to trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 21st, with Greaney set to hear his fate on December 17th and Forde’s hearing set for November 19th.

1 comment:

  1. Shame on these men & their families.What a legacy they leave behind.Money can never come before the brotherhood.SHAME SHAME SHAME.


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