The Cleveland Plain Dealer



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 of racketeering.

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 1990.

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 J. Liberatore.

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 with contractors.

Liberatore also was charged with helping an Akron-area cocaine ring launder its profits through a Wickliffe builder.

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 background.

"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."


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