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.

Additional charges filed against Montreal mobsters

Alleged Montreal mobsters face up to 100 additional charges, as a result of paperwork filed in a Canadian court last week, reported the CBC News of Canada.

More than 100 people were arrested in the Montreal area in November 2006, including several alleged leaders of the local Rizzuto Crime Family. "What we did in November 2006 is lay a general account [of charges]," prosecutor Yvan Poulin explained on Thursday. "Today, we focused on specific events that occurred during the investigation."

The additional counts are related to extortion, bookmaking and possession of the proceeds of crime. A dozen additional charges were lodged against alleged crime family bigshot Nick Rizzuto (left), 83. He is the father of crime boss Vito Rizzuto, now jailed in the U.S. after admitting a role in the murders of three Bonanno Crime Family capos in 1981.

Sicilian Mafiosi sentenced to 400+ years

Palermo Judge Piergiorgio Morosini sentenced 38 Sicilian Mafiosi today to a total of more than 400 years behind bars, according to a story published by the Makfax daily Internet newspaper.

The defendants, arrested in 2006, included the alleged leaders of 13 Sicilian Mafia clans. The longest prison sentences - 20 years apiece - were given to Antonio Rotolo, boss of the Pagliarelli organization, and Franco Bonura, boss of the Uditore organization.

Both organizations are based in the outskirts of Palermo. Uditore is a community to the northwest of the center of Palermo City. Pagliarelli lies to the southwest of the city center. The Uditore clan was known to be close to Corleone-based Sicilian boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano, who was captured by Italian authorities in 2006 after four decades as a fugitive.

According to a report from Independent Online in South Africa, the leaders of the Sicilian crime families were caught through a combination of Provenzano's records and electronic surveillance at a Palermo garage where the bosses regularly met.

Sicily's governor, Salvatore Cuffaro (right), was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for aiding Mafia leaders by supplying information about ongoing investigations, according to a report by Reuters.

Cuffaro, member of the right wing Catholic political party, pledged to remain on the job during the appeal process, which could take years. He has served as governor for seven years, winning reelection to the post two years ago. His trial has gone on through the past three years. If the conviction is upheld, Cuffaro will be barred from holding public office.

A co-defendant, Michele Aiello, was sentenced to 14 years for associating with members of organized crime, leaking classified information and illegally accessing law enforcement computers, according to a story by the BBC.

About Me

My photo
Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; 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.