Chicago Tribune


By Ronald Koziol.

January 16, 1985

THREE AREA labor unions that have been linked to mob bosses will be the focus of spring hearings in Chicago by the President`s Commission on Organized Crime.

Investigators for the commission, established by President Reagan in July, 1983, have been in Chicago in the last two weeks interviewing dozens of potential witnesses for testimony, possibly in late March. The 18-member commission, which includes Samuel Skinner, former U.S. attorney here, was formed to study organized crime and to recommend ways to combat it.

It is expected that the commission will offer Chicago-area witnesses grants of immunity from prosecution in return for testimony, panel sources said. The commission`s subpoena and immunity powers have resulted in testimony from several narcotics traffickers and underworld money launderers at hearings in New York and Washington.

THE UNIONS reportedly targeted by the commission are:

-- The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union. A U.S. Senate subcommittee concluded last year that organized crime interests in Chicago have exerted substantial influence over the union, which has more than 400,000 members nationwide.

-- The Teamsters union and its Chicago-based Central States Pension Fund. Federal court records show that Chicago mobsters have used their influence to obtain loans from the pension fund for Las Vegas casino operators. Allen Dorfman, an ex-convict and businessman, was an administrator for the union`s health and welfare fund for several years. He was killed gangland-style in January, 1983.

-- Local 1 of the International Laborers Union, headed by Vincent Solano since 1956. Senate testimony described Solano as the boss of the Chicago underworld`s gambling, prostitution and extortion rackets on the city`s North Side.

Jeffrey Kent, chief of special prosecutions in the Cook County state`s attorney`s office, said that Local 450 of the hotel and restaurant employees union, in Forest Park, originally was chartered in 1935 by Joseph Aiuppa, whom Kent recently described in Congress as being the "boss of Chicago`s mob."

KENT SAID THE local was formed to maintain underworld control of speak-easies, which were legalized with the repeal of Prohibition. Secretary- treasurer of the local is Anthony Spano, "who oversees day-to-day operations for Aiuppa," Kent said.

The Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee issued a report last fall after a three-year inquiry into the hotel and restaurant workers union. The report quoted an underworld witness as testifying that Aiuppa and Anthony Accardo, retired mob boss, "exert great influence over the union and its president, Ed Hanley." The report also concluded that union members were cheated through payroll padding and indiscreet loans made by union leaders.

Hanley, of Antioch, was among several of the union`s leaders who refused to testify before the subcommittee. He exercised his constitutional right against self-incrimination 36 times. But in a written statement, union officials denied that the union was connected to organized crime. It said that the subcommittee`s investigation "was not a fair and impartial inquiry into the union`s operations."

Copyright 1998, The Tribune Company.

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