It’s not clear just what the New York mob had in mind, but this much is clear: The beleaguered newspaper industry doesn’t need this.
Federal charges unsealed in New York on March 27th allege that five men conspired to fraudulently help the son of a reputed underboss of La Cosa Nostra’s Colombo family join the union that delivers The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News and the New York Post.
They also got Benjamin Castellazzo Jr. a job with a company that employs the union drivers, according to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York. The complaint erroneously identified the company as Hudson News, which operates a chain of retail outlets at airports and other transportation hubs, but it is actually Hudson Media Corp., whose union drivers deliver the papers, a spokeswoman for a former Hudson News spinoff said.
In addition, federal prosecutors say that Rocco Miraglia, an associate of the Colombo family, was a foreman at the Daily News for several months in 2009.
Truth is, maybe da bosses at New York’s biggest newspapers are quietly cheering an attempt to clean up the 1,500-member Newspaper and Mail Deliverers’ Union that delivers their papers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Management at the papers has long had struggles with the union. Some 4 ½ years ago, Manhattan’s District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, directed raids on the offices of several of the major newspapers in an investigation of corruption at the union that he years earlier alleged was controlled by the mob.
Asked about the charges of mob infiltration, Daily News spokesman Ken Frydman said, “The Daily News doesn’t comment on personnel matters.” A spokeswoman for the Times also declined comment A spokesperson for the independent union could not be reached.
The new complaint alleges that Castellazzo Jr., son of the alleged Colombo family boss Benjamin Castellazzo, conspired with Rocco Giangregorio, Glenn LaChance, Miraglia (aka “Irving”) and Anthony Turzio (aka “the Irish Guy”) to commit mail fraud by obtaining a union card and employment for younger Castellazzo at the company later identified as Hudson Media.
Prosecutors accused Miraglia, who was a foreman at the Daily News between June 2009 and October, 2009 and whose father was described as a deceased soldier in the Colombo family, of conspiring with union officials and with Turzio, an employee of the Latin newspaper El Diario, to get a union card for Castellazo and land him a job at Hudson. The government said that Giangregorio and LaChance, who are business agents with the union, also participated in the scheme.
A separate indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn accuses Thomas Leonessa, aka “Tommy Stacks,” of wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and theft and embezzlement from employee benefit plans in an unrelated scheme. It alleges that Leonessa, who delivered newspapers by truck for the New York Post from a warehouse in the Bronx, had a “no show job” at the newspaper, for which he received wages and benefits without doing any work, from December 2010 to about September 2011.
When Leonessa didn’t complete his deliveries, he was paid anyway based on his false representations, the indictment said.