The Colombo crime family’s leadership is breathing a little more easily – for now. The cause for guarded celebration was a jury’s statement in Brooklyn federal court that it could not reach a verdict in the murder trial of reputed family boss Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico and underboss John “Jackie” DeRoss. In a note to U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, jurors said they could not break a deadlock after five days of deliberations following a five-week trial. Persico, 52, and DeRoss, 69, had been charged with ordering the 1999 murder of Colombo family underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo, and the attempted 2001 murder of a Colombo soldier, Joseph Campanella. Cutolo’s body was never found.
Union corruption figures in this case. As reported here in the previous issue, Alphonse Persico is doing prison time for his role in masterminding a massive stock fraud scheme. He and various corrupt stock brokers, including his cousin, Frank Persico, had set up a bogus entity, DMN Capital Investments, Inc., to launder funds. Had not the FBI busted him and nearly 120 others in June 2000, the pension fund of Industrial & Production Workers Local 400 eventually could have been diverted into this mob-controlled “investment.” Local 400 just happened to be founded by William Cutolo. Thankfully, union pension fund administrator Kathleen Joseph refused to turn over the assets – some $50 million – when aggressively confronted in her office by union President Frank Gannone and Frank Persico, just days after Cutolo’s “disappearance” in late May 1999.
Alphonse Persico’s lawyer, Sarita Kedia, is relieved. “I had hoped for an acquittal, but it sure beats the other alternative,” she said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Seigel insists he’s got a strong case, and told the court he plans sometime next year to file a motion for a retrial. Persico and DeRoss remain in prison for money laundering and loan sharking. (New York Times, 11/4/06; New York Daily News, 11/4/06; New York Newsday, 11/4/06).