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Irish contractor key figure in Mafia/union bust

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The most watched man in New York union circles these days is surely Co. Meath-born contractor Jim “Metal” Murray, who is the key witness in the Local 608 Union corruption scandal.

Murray recently returned from Ireland after the Feds put the heat on him to testify against the union bigs in a case that is straight out of 'The Sopranos.'

Court documents show a long time pattern of huge bribes, threats by Italians and Irish, and rigged job bids facilitated by 608, and Murray knows where all the bodies are.

He is all over the indictment as contractor No. 1, and holds the fate of many of those being pursued in his hands.

Murray had gone to Ireland hoping to escape the Feds, but it soon became evident that he could run but not hide.

His return has already played a role with John Greaney, former president of Local 608, who admitted sharing bribes with 608 leader Michael Forde. Greaney has turned evidence against Forde and fellow union official Brian Hayes while pleading guilty to a numerous crimes tied to 15 years of labor racketeering. Greaney, 50, admitted he took huge payoffs from four contractors. He also admitted lying under oath to deny the scheme and helping to obstruct a federal investigation of corruption at the carpenters union the District Council.

Forde served as secretary-treasurer there until he was busted last year. Ironically, Forde beat a similar rap a few years ago, but it hardly seems likely this time. Manhattan federal Magistrate Judge Henry Pittman had warned Greaney that he faces 155 years in the slammer for his 13 felonies, but now under terms of his deal, prosecutors will seek leniency if he cooperates fully.  Greaney will remain free on bail through August 20.

He is the seventh person to plead guilty in the case.

Forde, Hayes and contractors' rep Joseph Olivieri -- who Feds say is a member of the Genovese crime family –are set for trial in September.

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