Chicago Duff Family Tied to HERE Corruption

Kurt W. Muellenberg, the former-court-appointed monitor over the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union, banned Chicago boss John Duff III Feb. 11 from HERE office for life.  Muellenberg issued a report that said Duff cheated HERE out of $172,000, knowingly associated with organized crime figures, and ran an illegal Fla. bookmaking operation while on the union payroll.  Duff remains a boss in the Liquor & Wine Sales Reps., Tire, Plastic & Allied Workers Union, Local 3, a union founded by his father.

Duff is a son of John Duff, Jr., the head of a family whose companies have won $100 million in government business from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (D). The U.S. Atty.’s office is reportedly investigating several Duff contracts with the city as well as Muellenberg’s allegations.

Muellenberg reported that in 1996, Duff pocketed over $202,000 — including $35,000 as a HERE organizer and $88,333 from the liquor union.  He also drew salaries from Duff firms. The Duffs and the family of the late, corrupt HERE boss Edward T. Hanley have allegedly been friends for years.  Hanley testified that he hired Duff in 1991 to organize a casino in Alton, Ill.  But by 1992, the report said, Duff was living in Fla., where he was running an illegal bookmaking ring with organized crime figures.

When Duff was in Chicago, he gambled at riverboats while on HERE’s payroll, the report said.”Of the 80 visits [Duff] made to Chicago area riverboat casinos during 1993-1996, at least 30 of these visits occurred during Local 1 office hours when [Duff] was allegedly in staff meetings and making office calls at…Local 1,” the report said. In four trips to the boats, Duff used cash to buy $36,300 in chips.

Muellenberg said that because of his time in Fla., his trips to the boats, and overseas travel, Duff wasn’t working when he filed reports saying he was. “I find that [Duff] embezzled approximately $172,930 from [HERE] in the form of salary received for services not performed.”

Reportedly, Duff’s association with organized crime  dated to 1988. The report said Duff testified in the 1992 trial of reputed mafia boss Rocco Infelice. Testifying under immunity, Duff said he often bet with bookmakers and had two meetings with Infelice over a debt. In Nov. 1993, Duff was arrested by Fla. police and reportedly boasted of his ties to Chicago mafia leaders, threatening to have a police officer and his family killed. [Chi. Trib. 2/12/00]