CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

 

Ex-Union Boss Found Guilty

 

 

 

BY CURTIS LAWRENCE STAFF REPORTER

July 16, 2001

 

 

A federal jury today found former union boss and alleged mob associate John Serpico guilty of five of six criminal counts in connection with a kickback scheme to spin union funds into lucrative personal loans.

 

Two of Serpico's associates--Maria Busillo and Gilbert Cataldo--were also found guilty of three criminal counts each for their role in the scheme.

 

“We're quite satisfied with the verdict,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Glockner. “The jury clearly worked hard and conscientiously and we're pleased with their decision.”

 

“[Serpico] was a corrupt union official as was Ms. Busillo, and they misused union assets for their personal benefit,” Glockner said.

 

Glockner was not sure how much time the defendants could serve, but stressed that Serpico and Busillo would be “out of the labor union business for life as they should be.”

 

Serpico, 70, president emeritus of the joint board, and Busillo, the current president, used their power as leaders in the Central States Joint Board, a union umbrella group, to receive $5 million in personal and business loans at favorable terms in return for depositing union funds with certain banks, according to prosecutors. They dubbed the pair “the king and queen” of the labor group.

 

Cataldo, a consultant, was charged with scheming with Serpico to obtain $33,850 in kickbacks in exchange for a $6.5 million loan commitment made by a pension plan that Serpico controlled.

 

Sentencing for all three defendants, who left the Dirksen Federal Building without comment, is set for Nov. 1. Attorneys for the defendants said they would appeal the verdict.

 

“We don't want to talk about it now,” said Serpico's attorney, Matthias Lydon. “We have to file motions and we will talk about it then.”

 

Last week, U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning dismissed charges that Serpico took part in a scheme to use a $100,000 kickback from a real estate developer getting a union loan to buy a $900,000 Glenview house for Busillo.

 

One of two charges Busillo faced in connection with the deal also was dropped. And while charges stood against Cataldo, Manning ruled that the jury couldn't consider whether he passed along any cash kickbacks to Serpico.

 

“Obviously we disagreed with the judge's ruling, but we respect it,” said Glockner who noted that prosecutors were able to get convictions on all but one of the remaining counts.


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