The NCS interviews gangland legend Bert Rossi, who is Britain’s oldest former mob boss at 93. Bert talks about his connections to the American Mafia through Angelo Bruno to his introduction to Carlo Gambino, Nicky Scarfo and John C. Berkery (Trailer).
“In his signature book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump boasted that when he wanted to build a casino in Atlantic City, he persuaded the state attorney general to limit the investigation of his background to six months. Most potential owners were scrutinized for more than a year. Trump argued that he was “clean as a whistle”—young enough that he hadn’t had time to get into any sort of trouble. He got the sped-up background check, and eventually got the casino license. …
Salerno, Castellano and other organized crime figures controlled the ready-mix business in New York, and everyone in construction at the time knew it. So did government investigators trying to break up the mob, urged on by major developers such as the LeFrak and Resnick families. Trump ended up not only using ready-mix concrete, but also paying what a federal indictment of Salerno later concluded were inflated prices for it – repeatedly – to S & A Concrete, a firm Salerno and Castellano owned through fronts, and possibly to other mob-controlled firms. As Barrett noted, by choosing to build with ready-mix concrete rather than other materials, Trump put himself “at the mercy of a legion of concrete racketeers.”
Salerno and Castellano and other mob families controlled both the concrete business and the unions involved in delivering and pouring it. The risks this created became clear from testimony later by Irving Fischer, the general contractor who built Trump Tower. Fischer said concrete union “goons” once stormed his offices, holding a knife to throat of his switchboard operator to drive home the seriousness of their demands, which included no-show jobs during construction of Trump Tower.
But with Cohn as his lawyer, Trump apparently had no reason to personally fear Salerno or Castellano—at least, not once he agreed to pay inflated concrete prices. What Trump appeared to receive in return was union peace. That meant the project would never face costly construction or delivery delays.
The indictment on which Salerno was convicted in 1988 and sent to prison, where he died, listed the nearly $8 million contract for concrete at Trump Plaza, an East Side high-rise apartment building, as one of the acts establishing that S &A was part of a racketeering enterprise. (While the concrete business was central to the case, the trial also proved extortion, narcotics, rigged union elections and murders by the Genovese and Gambino crime families in what Michael Chertoff, the chief prosecutor, called “the largest and most vicious criminal business in the history of the United States.”)”
“Trump Shuttle, Inc., doing business as Trump Airlines, was an airline owned by Donald Trump from 1989 to 1992. The landing rights and some of the physical assets necessary to operate the shuttle flights were originally part of Eastern Air Lines and known as the Eastern Air Lines Shuttle. It operated hourly flights on Boeing 727 aircraft from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., then known as Washington National Airport. Trump Airlines also had regularly scheduled flights between LaGuardia and Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida.
As the financial outlook for the original Eastern Air Lines became more pessimistic in the late 1980s, the carrier began to sell its routes and aircraft. It organized its profitable Northeastern air shuttle operation into a separate company headed by Bruce Nobles with the intent of selling it to raise cash. On October 5, 1988, amidst a prolonged threatened mechanics’ strike action, Donald Trump arranged to purchase the shuttle. In June 1989 the deal was completed, financed through a $380 million loan from a syndicate of 22 banks. The new airline began service as Trump Shuttle on June 23. Its IATA designator code, TB, has since been assigned to Jetairfly.”
“Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Domenico Scarfo (born March 8, 1929) is a member of the American Mafia who eventually became the Boss of the Philadelphia crime family after the death of Angelo Bruno and Phil Testa. During his criminal career, Scarfo was described by some as psychotic, cruel and vicious. From many accounts of his former criminal associates who testified against him, he would want to murder someone if he was shown the slightest bit of disrespect or even if he was stared at.
Scarfo orchestrated a particularly ruthless regime and ordered over a dozen murders during his time as boss. He was often described by informants as cold-hearted and narcissistic. He enjoyed the celebrity gangster lifestyle and was an admirer of Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone. Scarfo would scan newspapers for his name and made sure his soldiers carried out murders in public to create a constant atmosphere of fear. Scarfo had few scruples and approached organized crime activities such as drug trafficking to generate millions, while many other bosses avoided such activities known to attract law enforcement scrutiny. It was these methods that ultimately led to Scarfo’s downfall. Though Scarfo’s reign may have made him rich, in the long term, it almost destroyed the crime family that he dominated for a decade. After being convicted of multiple RICO charges including drug trafficking, loansharking, extortion, attempted murder, and first degree murder, and with damaging testimonies of several informants who used to carry out his murders and his top lieutenants including his second in command and nephew, Crazy Phil, Scarfo has since been in prison from 1988. His scheduled release from federal prison is on January 5, 2033, aged 103.
He is also the father of Nicky Scarfo Jr., a Lucchese family soldier, who most recently was sentenced to 30 years in prison for security fraud and racketeering. …
In 1954, Scarfo was proposed for membership into the Philadelphia crime family. He was inducted by then boss Joseph Ida at a ceremony held in New Jersey, alongside two of his uncles who were also inducted as full-fledged soldiers. Scarfo was reportedly arrogant and stubborn, having declined to marry the daughter of Consigliere Joe Rugnetta, leaving him embarrassed and disrespected, causing a brief friction within the family. In 1963, Scarfo plead guilty to murdering an Irish longshoreman with a knife over an argument at a Philadelphia restaurant, while he was withChuckie Merlino, he spent around 10 months in prison. After his release, he was sent to Atlantic City by Angelo Bruno to oversee the operations there.
In 1976, Atlantic City legalized gambling, and “Scarfo prioritized gambling as his main source of income. His cement contracting company, which was shared with his nephew, Scarf, Inc, received good business as developers built new casinos in Atlantic City; Scarfo would intimidate businesses into buying from his company, including Donald Trump. Criminal associate and contractor Vincent Falcone was shot twice and killed by Phil Leonetti on orders of Scarfo after making negative remarks about the company and Scarfo. In 1978, Scarfo and his associate Nicholas “Nick the Blade” Virgilio shot and murdered judge Edwin J. Helfant for refusing to cooperate with them and to help Virgilio receive a lighter sentence as he was facing murder charges, in exchange for $12,500. Scarfo acted as the getaway driver. Meanwhile, Virgilio fired numerous rounds into the judge as he dined with his wife in a restaurant. He made it a public execution and made him an example to anyone that wasn’t willing to give him what he wanted.”
Field McConnell, United States Naval Academy, 1971; Forensic Economist; 30 year airline and 22 year military pilot; 23,000 hours of safety; Tel: 715 307 8222
David Hawkins Tel: 604 542-0891 Forensic Economist; former leader of oil-well blow-out teams; now sponsors Grand Juries in CSI Crime and Safety Investigation