A union representing Atlantic City casino workers is controlled through mob killing, extortion, embezzlement and bribery, the Justice Department said in court papers filed today.
U.S. Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh said at a morning news conference that the local has been controlled for 20 years by the Bruno-Scarfo organized-crime family, which controls Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
“Through their brutal and often deadly acts of violence and intimidation, members of the Bruno-Scarfo families have destroyed the integrity of the union and its leadership,” Thornburgh said.
Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo has been controlling the local from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for his 1988 conviction on Racketeer Influenced, Corrupt Organizations Act charges, according to the complaint.
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court, the Justice Department is seeking to take control under civil racketeering statutes of the 22,000-member Local 54 of the Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees International Union. The local represents hotel, bar and restaurant workers in Atlantic City casinos and in other southern New Jersey cities.
The suit seeks court-ordered control of the local, the restriction of the union’s international president from the local’s affairs, the removal of the local’s president and five other officials and the forfeiture of illegally obtained profits.
Also named was Edward Hanley, president of the Washington-based international since 1973. The suit said he was an associate of senior members of the Chicago-based organized-crime family.
Citing alleged dealings with organized-crime figures in New Jersey, New York and Las Vegas, prosecutors are seeking to bar Hanley from further association with Local 54.
Thornburgh said the organized-crime families earned perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars through sweetheart contracts and kickbacks.