“It’s the sort of news leak that can get someone killed.” That’s how the N.Y. Post summarized what William C. Barthold says about recent media accounts of his purported role in a 137-count federal indictment in which he and 25 bosses and members of Int’l Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1 were charged in a massive no-show job scheme. Even before the indictments were returned, The Post reported that a “little black book” belonging to Barthold, jammed with explosive evidence that includes telephone numbers and lists of no-show workers on the pad, was in the hands of prosecutors. Barthold and 15 others on the list have been charged with collecting money for work they did not perform.
Barthold and his lawyer, James DiPietro, downplayed the importance of the book in the feds’ case. DiPietro said there are much more innocent explanations for the “smoking gun” evidence. Reportedly, the book contains a computer-generated list of 41 names with the words “members taking” in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. But DiPietro says the list isn’t a coded reference to 41 union members taking no-show jobs, as the feds maintain, and that the mention of “members taking” relates to the time it took to download the list from a computer. “Law enforcement never informed the media that after the word ‘taking’ appears 12 seconds of elapsed time,” DiPietro said.
The list, Barthold said, was provided to him by the union at a Manhattan job site. The names were out-of-work colleagues whom officials asked him to call in the event positions opened as the project progressed. Authorities say the fact that Barthold has a jobs list may be reason enough to suspect he was circumventing union hiring rules to further the no-show jobs scam. Union regulations say only the union secretary can give out jobs.
DiPietro said he will confront the no-show charges in Brooklyn federal court, and insisted that newspaper stories about the list could lead to violence against Barthold. “All of these people have their jobs, their homes, their pensions, health coverage and even more at stake, which can cause anyone to act irrationally,” said DiPietro, who has reportedly defended some of N.Y.C.’s biggest mobsters. He added that the “leaks” about the list to the press came at a time when prosecutors hoped targets of the probe would cooperate before the indictments were obtained. “This reckless conduct was designed to cause other targets of their investigation to dislike my client and get them to cooperate with the government,” he said. [N.Y. Post 3/22/02]