June 15, 1993
The next trip to prison for Cleveland Mafia
figure Anthony D. Liberatore Sr. will likely be his last.
A U.S. District Court jury took just three
hours yesterday to find Liberatore, 72, guilty of racketeering
and money laundering charges.
He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years.
It was the second time in 11 years that Liberatore has been convicted
He was taken into custody by U.S. marshals
after the verdict. He is expected to be sentenced in about two
months. U.S. District Judge Sam H. Bell revoked Liberatore's bond
after the verdicts.
The latest charges claimed Liberatore was
involved in a criminal enterprise that made illegal loans to contractors
and laundered drug money. Most of the illegal acts occurred while
Liberatore was in prison.
He was convicted in 1982 on racketeering
charges in connection with the bombing death of rackets figure
Daniel J. Greene. Liberatore was released from prison in March
Assistant U.S. Attorneys James R. Wooley
and Ann C. Rowland, who prosecuted the case, said it was important
that corruption in the Laborers union got a "public airing."
Liberatore is a former business manager of Laborers International
Union of North America Local 860 in Cleveland and continued to
control its affairs even from prison. The union hall at 4220 Prospect
Ave. is named after Liberatore.
He once served with the Cleveland Sewer Board
during the administration of Mayor Ralph J. Perk.
"It was an incredibly complex investigation,
and the FBI, especially Agent Jerry Personen, deserves a tremendous
amount of credit," Wooley said.
In closing arguments yesterday, prosecutors
said Anthony Liberatore used his status as a member of the Cleveland
organized crime family and his influence in the Laborers International
Union of North America to commit various crimes.
They said he continued to control the union
from prison, allowing contractors to not comply with union pay
rates and work rules so that they could make more money and pay
off loans they had obtained from Liberatore's brother, Chester
Chester Liberatore, former business manager
of Laborers Local 310 in Cleveland, had initially also been charged
with racketeering, but that charge was dismissed in March when
he pleaded guilty to two counts of having illegal financial relationships
Liberatore also was charged with helping
an Akron-area cocaine ring launder its profits through a Wickliffe
Albert Giuliani argued that Liberatore did
not know the money being invested in the building business was
drug money and that he did not continue to control the union after
he went to prison in 1982 on racketeering charges. He pointed
out that the builder, Robert J. Biondolillo, testified that he
did not initially suspect the money came from drug profits.
Giuliani attacked one of the government's
major witnesses, Gustav Kloszewski, who testified that Liberatore
concocted the money-laundering scheme while working in a prison
laundry. Wooley acknowledged that Kloszewski, who admitted dealing
hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in recent years, has a notorious
"You can hate Gus Kloszewski, and you
can call him a lot of names," Wooley said. "But when
you call him those names, you've also got to call him Tony's friend."