Monday, January 21, 2008

Bus drivers union boss admits shakedowns

Salvatore "Hot Dogs" Battaglia (right), 60, admitted last week to extorting three New York-area bus companies out of tens of thousands of dollars, according to a story by Thomas Zambito and Greg B. Smith of the New York Daily News. The admission came just days before Battaglia was scheduled to go on trial for racketeering.

Battaglia served as president of the 15,000-member Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers union. He faces between 57 and 71 months in prison when sentenced on May 16.

A federal investigation into the local's activities resulted in charges against Battaglia, other union officials and Genovese Crime Family bigshot Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello. An independent investigation of the union local decided that "organized crime has infiltrated and controlled it."

Ianniello acknowledged in 2006 that he had arranged illegal payoffs for the union leadership. He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Ann Chiarovano, who served as the local's pension fund director, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about mob influence in the union local. She was sentenced last January to five months in prison. Julius "Spike" Bernstein, secretary-treasurer of Local 1181, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and cooperated with the federal investigation.

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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.