Italian mafia ties revealed to New York Irish construction firm
Irish informer spills the beans on mob ties
An Irish contractor delivered a detailed account of the Italian mafia's involvement in New York's construction industry in a Manhattan courtroom last month.
James Murray, the immigrant builder, told the court how he climbed the ranks to success with help from the mob before crashing and losing everything. Murray addressed the court in a low voice as federal prosecutor Lisa Zornberg questioned him according to the Village Voice.
Murray had immigrated from Ireland in the prime of his youth twenty years ago.
"I was looking for work. I had an argument with my father, and I came to the States."
He dropped out of school at 13 the reason being, he told the court he had a difficulty reading. When he got to New York he started work as a carpenter before he started up his own business renovating homes. A fellow Irish man then helped him develop his modest business into a bigger operation.
To get the bigger jobs he signed up with the New York City District Council of Carpenters, pledging to build his projects with the union labor: "You can't work unless you're union," he reminded the court.
Things were going well for Murray, who called his company “On Par Contracting” and soon had 700 workers on the pay roll courtesy of the union and some shady background figures . Their extensive list of projects included the Times Square Tower, high-rises, hospitals and university projects.
We were everywhere," he said. "We were all over the city, all over the tri-state area." And money was rolling in for the Irish firm.
By ignoring union agreements he had signed he increased profits by employing fellow Irish men illegally, who were just off the boat. He payed these young men $25 to $40 an hour as opposed to the $75 demanded by union workers. "We didn't pay the benefits," he said. "We paid the guys in cash."
This gave the company the upper hand when pricing jobs. “You could be the low bidder," he said. Construction expenses, he said, run roughly "one-third materials, two-thirds labor." It was "a big cost savings."
Murray also bribed every union official he could, shop stewards for leaving workers off the books, business agents were paid not to come snooping and the top union leaders were paid to keep everyone in line.
More than $100,000 was given to District Council chief Michael Forde."He would help me get the shop stewards," explained Murray.
The president of the Local 608 union, John Greaney got cash and tickets to the Super Bowl.
All the corruption and bribery took place under the eyes of the Genovese crime family. Which has had a significant stronghold over the city's building trade for decades.
One of the mob's biggest liaison to the construction business Joseph Rudy Olivieri proved to be Murray's right hand man. Olivieri worked as the head of the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries of New York. The court heard that the pair looked after each other.
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