John Cody, 79, who federal investigators said helped organized crime figures extort the construction industry from Montauk to Manhattan in the 1970s and 1980s, died Apr. 3 of Alzheimer’s disease at his home in Seaford, N.Y. Cody was the longtime boss of Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 282 in Elmont, now in Lake Success. The local’s members drive the trucks that deliver concrete and building supplies to many construction sites in the metropolitan area.
While reformers fought Cody for control of the union for decades, FBI agents and federal prosecutors sent him to prison, once in the 1980s for racketeering and once in the 1990s for plotting to murder a rival who had taken over the union during Cody’s earlier imprisonment.
Cody grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and began working as a trucker’s helper at age 15. He was released from prison the first time in 1947, after serving 7 years in reform school and then state prison on burglary charges, according to court records. Michael Cody said his father was released from federal prison after several months in 1993 because of his Alzheimer’s condition. Cody had faced up to 30 more months in prison for hiring someone to murder his successor at the Teamster’s local. The murder plot was never carried out.
In 1995, a court-appointed officer and counsel were installed by a federal judge to oversee the union with the aim of eliminating organized crime influence. Federal prosecutors had charged that the Gambino crime family controlled the union, ignored labor agreements and extorted money from contractors in return for labor peace. [Newsday (N.Y.) 4/6/01]