Sunday, October 28, 2007

CT panel mulls DeLuca's future

A six-member bipartisan committee of the Connecticut State Senate is considering what action should be taken with regard to State Senator Louis C. DeLuca's (left) admitted link to organized crime, according to a story by Christine Stuart of the New York Times.

DeLuca pleaded guilty June 4 to a misdemeanor charge of threatening and acknowledged asking a Danbury-area trash hauler with reputed ties to the Mafia to threaten his granddaughter's husband in April 2005. Through a plea deal, federal agents dropped their investigation of the legislator. DeLuca claims his granddaughter was a victim of domestic violence. DeLuca also asserts that he repeatedly informed Waterbury Police Chief Neil O'Leary of his granddaughter's plight but received no help. Chief O'Leary insists that DeLuca never mentioned the abusive relationship.

The granddaughter's husband, Mark Colella (right), has denied the allegations of abuse, according to a Sept. 10 story by Paul Hughes of the Waterbury Republican American newspaper. He insists that DeLuca disapproved of the granddaughter's marriage and approached organized crime to have him eliminated. Colella also charged that DeLuca was prepared to his influence as state senate's Republican leader to pay back the favor.

As it looks into DeLuca's relationship with a reputed underworld figure, the senate committee is mulling four options for DeLuca's future: expulsion, censure, reprimand or no action. DeLuca has stepped down from his leadership of Senate Republicans but has dismissed suggestions that he should resign from his legislative position. DeLuca has served in the senate since 1990 and is a ranking member of the Banks, Executive Nominations, Insurance and Real Estate, and Legislative Management committees. He is also a director of the Connecticut General Assembly's Italian-American Legislative Caucus.

When questioned by the committee on Oct. 15, DeLuca refused to answer questions under oath. The committee took hours of unsworn testimony and then asked DeLuca to review a transcript and submit written verification or correction for his answers. DeLuca reportedly submitted an affidavit with some corrections.

The committee is probing DeLuca's relationship with trash hauler James Galante, who is awaiting federal trial. Galante was one of 29 people named in a 117-count federal indictment related to the monopolistic waste disposal industry in western Connecticut. He is accused of running a "property rights scheme" and of making large payments to Genovese Crime Family bigshot Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello (left). Many of his codefendants, including Ianniello, have already reached plea deals with prosecutors.

According to the Republican American, "federal investigators determined that DeLuca and Galante (right) had a close and confidential relationship." A heavily redacted FBI report implied a greater connection between the two men than that described by DeLuca.

When DeLuca reached out for help from Galante, the legislator did not realize that federal agents were nearing the end of an investigation of the trash hauler. The April 2005 meeting between the two men came to the attention of investigators. An undercover agent posing as a Galante associate was sent to meet with DeLuca on Sept. 5 and 6, 2006, three months after Galante had been indicted. During the meetings, DeLuca reportedly pledged political assistance to Galante but rejected a $5,000 bribe offer.

DeLuca has stated that his promise of assistance was merely an effort to placate a frightening visitor.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.