1981 — Weehawken waterfront an albatross!

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The Riepe Letter — a Hudson County literary project

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United States v. Bertoli, 854 F. Supp. 975 (D.N.J. 1994)
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey – 854 F. Supp. 975 (D.N.J. 1994)
March 30, 1994

c. The Riepe Letter
On 7 March 1994, Bertoli submitted new evidence which he contends warrants a further hearing on the issue of Juror Six’s asserted misconduct.[206] This new evidence *1105 consists of a letter from John Riepe (“Riepe”) to Levitt, dated 4 March 1994 (the “Riepe Letter”). In the Riepe Letter, Riepe purports to be “engaged in a literary project focusing on the emotional impact courtroom proceedings have on jurors, and the way in which they reach decisions or verdicts.” Riepe Letter, attached to Levitt Aff. as Exhibit E, at 1.

Riepe states that, in connection with this “literary project,” he pursued and interviewed at least one juror in Bertoli’s case (“Juror Two”).[207] Attached to the Riepe Letter are notes of an interview between Riepe and Juror Two, held 1 February 1994 (the “Riepe Notes”).[208] It is the Riepe Notes which Bertoli relies upon in requesting a further hearing into Juror Six’s asserted misconduct. See 7 March 1994 Bertoli Brief at 8, 16.

According to the Riepe Notes, Juror Two disclosed to Riepe several details concerning the private deliberations of the jury in this case. Bertoli makes specific reference to the following passages:
In the beginning, we all felt that Bertoli was clean. After a while, I (and others) felt that Bertoli had to be a little dirty to be involved in all this, but not to the extent that the [G]overnment had proved in their case. There was one woman ([Juror Six]) who insisted that he was dirty and guilty from the very beginning. I don’t know why the [G]overnment was so intent on putting this guy away when the witnesses for the [G]overnment seemed to be far guiltier than he was. But this woman ([Juror Six]) didn’t like him from the beginning. And there were times during the trial when I felt that [Juror Six] wasn’t even listening. On occasion, there were multiple jurors sleeping. [Juror Six] was one of the ones who slept.

I got upset with [Juror Six]. We were repeatedly voting without conclusion and I thought the judge would think that we were brain-dead because we couldn’t reach a decision. …
[Juror Six] had three people thrown off the jury because she said they tried to influence the rest of us. She went to the *1106 judge to tell him that these jurors were saying that this man was innocent, and were prejudicial [sic], while she herself had been saying he was guilty from the beginning. She was pretty much guilty of all the things she said they were guilty of but she went to the judge first. The judge said he believed the statements of the accused jurors but released them for the sake of the court. The other jurors in the courtroom didn’t even know what was going on. If the judge was going to disqualify these jurors, he should have disqualified [Juror Six] as well.

[Juror Six] was a very dramatic person. She had to be the center of attention. She claimed she was taking medication for sugar and made a big production of everything. Some or us were under the impression that she was dragging out the trial for the $40 per day, and because she probably had nothing else to do.
Riepe Notes at 2-3.

Bertoli argues the comments of Juror Two, as described in the Riepe Notes, indicate misconduct on the part of Juror Six in that she “repeatedly expressed opinions regarding … Bertoli’s guilt to other jurors during the trial.” 7 March 1994 Bertoli Brief at 16. Bertoli argues, therefore, that the Riepe Notes warrant a new trial or, in the alternative, “a hearing at which all knowledgeable persons should be called upon to testify.” 7 March 1994 Bertoli Brief at 16.
Impeachment of the Verdict: Rule 606(b)

Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) provides, in full:
Inquiry into validity of verdict or indictment. Upon an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment, a juror may not testify as to any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury’s deliberations or the effect of anything upon that or any other juror’s mind or emotions as influencing the juror to assent to or dissent from the verdict or indictment or concerning the juror’s mental processes in connection therewith, except that a juror may testify on the question whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury’s attention or whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror. Nor may a juror’s affidavit or evidence of any statement by the juror concerning a matter about which the juror would be precluded from testifying be received for these purposes.

Fed.R.Evid. 606(b) (emphasis added).
As the Supreme Court has noted, Rule 606(b) “is grounded in the common-law rule against admission of jury testimony to impeach a verdict and the exception for juror testimony relating to extraneous influences.” Tanner, 483 U.S. at 121, 107 S.Ct. at 2748. The rule recognizes that a jury’s verdict may not be impeached by a juror’s testimony as to “`internal’ rather than `external’ matters.” Id. at 118, 107 S.Ct. at 2746.

Elaborating on this distinction, the Court has explained that, under Rule 606(b), a juror can
testify as to the influence of extraneous prejudicial information brought to the jury’s attention (e.g. a radio newscast or a newspaper account) or an outside influence which improperly had been brought to bear upon a juror (e.g. a threat to the safety of a member of his family), but he [can]not testify as to other irregularities which occurred in the jury room.[209]

Id. at 123, 107 S.Ct. at 2749 (quoting H.R.Rep. No. 93-6450 at 9-10 (1973)) (emphasis added); see United States v. Black, 843 F.2d 1456, 1464 n. 7 (D.C.Cir.1988) (Under rationale of Tanner and Rule 606(b), a juror’s affidavit or testimony “is incompetent to impeach the verdict for internal error; juror affidavits [or testimony] may only be used for the narrow purpose of showing `extraneous influence,’ such as prejudicial publicity.”); Government of the Virgin Islands v. Nicholas, 759 F.2d 1073, 1080 (3d Cir.1985) (adopting identical reading of Rule 606(b) on *1107 rationale that “[i]t is obvious that the drafters of the rule were primarily concerned with jury tampering or improper communications to the jury …”).

Where allegations of juror misconduct are based solely on juror testimony as to `internal’ matters, which testimony would be inadmissible under Rule 606(b), a post-verdict evidentiary hearing is not required with respect to such allegations. See Tanner, 483 U.S. at 127, 107 S.Ct. at 2751; Gilsenan, 949 F.2d at 97; Nicholas, 759 F.2d at 1081; see also United States v. O’Brien, 972 F.2d 12, 14 (1st Cir.1992) (“Only communications between jurors and others which concern the case require further inquiry.”).

It has consistently been held that premature deliberations or improper jury discussions do not constitute “extraneous” irregularities, and testimony regarding such deliberations or discussions may not be received from jurors. See United States v. Cuthel, 903 F.2d 1381, 1382-83 (11th Cir. 1990) (“evidence of premature deliberation” could not be the subject of post-verdict inquiry because “there was no allegation of extraneous prejudicial information being brought to the jury’s attention; nor was there evidence of improper outside influence sufficient to warrant an inquiry”); Chiantese, 582 F.2d at 979 (juror’s remark during trial that defense attorney was “stupid” and “a pain in the ___ [sic]” did not require evidentiary hearing because “there was no outside influence”); United States v. Williams-Davis, 821 F.Supp. 727, 741 (D.D.C.1993) (juror discussions of case prior to deliberations did not require a hearing because such discussions were not extraneous influence under Rule 606(b)); United States v. Oshatz, 715 F.Supp. 74, 76 (S.D.N.Y.1989) (Juror’s testimony that other jurors “had made up their minds” after testimony of Government’s chief witness was inadmissible as internal matter under Rule 606(b)); see also United States v. Casamayor, 837 F.2d 1509, 1515 (11th Cir.1988) (“[T]he alleged harassment or intimidation of one juror by another would not be competent evidence to impeach the verdict under Rule 606(b)….”), cert. denied sub nom. Barker v. United States, 488 U.S. 1017, 109 S.Ct. 813, 102 L.Ed.2d 803 (1989).

Applying these principles to the facts at bar, none of the facts alleged in the Riepe Letter or the Riepe Notes would be admissible to impeach Bertoli’s guilty verdict. Every allegation supposedly made by Juror Two in the Riepe Notes concerns internal matters about which jurors would be incompetent to testify pursuant to Rule 606(b). As stated, Bertoli relies solely on Juror Two’s allegations as to comments made, and views held, by Juror Six prior to deliberations. See Riepe Notes at 2-3; 7 March 1994 Bertoli Brief at 16. Such comments and views do not constitute external influences under Rule 606(b). See Oshatz, 715 F.Supp. at 76. The testimony of Juror Two, or of any other juror, regarding such statements by Juror Six would be inadmissible to impeach the verdict. Id. Accordingly, neither a new trial nor an evidentiary hearing is warranted by Juror Two’s allegations as set forth in the Riepe Notes.

Bertoli does not appear to argue a hearing is warranted by Juror Two’s allegations that other jurors were sleeping and otherwise inattentive during trial. Riepe Notes at 2. To the extent he does, his argument fails on both factual and legal grounds. As a factual matter, any assertion that jurors were sleeping during testimony in Bertoli’s trial is simply inaccurate. All parts of the jury box are in plain view of the court and the parties; any juror sleeping while testimony was being taken would have been conspicuous and noticed immediately. The court observed no jurors sleeping, either while testimony was being taken or at any other time during trial. Nor did the parties bring any such occurrence to the court’s attention. Throughout trial, in fact, the jurors and alternates were observed to be alert and attentive. Any assertion to the contrary lacks credibility. See United States v. Hernandez, 921 F.2d 1569, 1577-78 (11th Cir.) (where trial judge found, in response to defense assertions of juror inattentiveness, that “no jurors had been asleep at trial,” refusal to investigate issue further was well within discretion of trial court), cert. denied sub nom. Tape v. United States, 500 U.S. 958, 111 S.Ct. 2271, 114 L.Ed.2d 722 (1991); see United States v.*1108Key, 717 F.2d 1206, 1209 (8th Cir.1983) (same).

Any testimony, moreover, by Juror Two regarding sleeping jurors would be incompetent to impeach the verdict. A juror’s testimony that other jurors were sleeping or inattentive during trial does not concern “extraneous” influences and is therefore inadmissible under Rule 606(b). See Tanner, 483 U.S. at 121, 107 S.Ct. at 2748 (“[U]nder Rule 606(b), `proof to the following effects is excludable …: that one or more jurors was inattentive during trial or deliberations, sleeping or thinking about other matters.'”) (quoting 3 D. Lousell & C. Mueller, Federal Evidence § 287 at 121-25 (1979)); see also Nicholas, 759 F.2d at 1078 (“[Q]uestions concerning the competency of a jury ordinarily are not entertained once the jury has rendered its verdict.”).

Only jurors could testify, based on personal knowledge, regarding the issues raised by Juror Two in the Riepe Letter and Riepe Notes. As stated, none of these issues concern “extraneous” influences within the meaning of Rule 606(b). Therefore, any testimony regarding the issues raised in the Riepe Letter and Riepe Notes would be inadmissible to impeach the verdict in this case.[210]See Tanner, 483 U.S. at 123, 107 S.Ct. at 2749. Under these facts, neither a new trial nor an evidentiary hearing is warranted by the Riepe Letter and Riepe Notes. Id.

[207] Both Riepe and Levitt have identified Juror Two by name. However, because this opinion is intended for publication, Juror Two’s name is withheld in the interest of her privacy.

[208] In introducing the Riepe Letter, Levitt certified that Riepe is “an independent writer….” Levitt Aff., ¶ 1. Levitt further certified the Riepe Notes reflect “interviews and related interviews independently conducted by Riepe with jurors. …” Id.

Evidence submitted by the Government, however, casts significant doubt on the representations of Levitt in this regard. Specifically, it appears Riepe has had significant prior contact with Bertoli. An investigation by the Government has revealed Riepe as the former press secretary to Wally Lindsley (“Lindsley”), mayor of Weehawken, New Jersey from 1980 through 1982. 16 Mar. 1994 Cahill Aff., ¶ 1. Riepe has also been identified as Lindsley’s “spokesman.” Id., Ex. 2. Lindsley was convicted of a violation of the Hobbs Act in this district in 1983 (the “Lindsley Prosecution”). Id.

Lindsley and Bertoli have an extensive and well-documented relationship. In 1984, Lindsley testified on Bertoli’s behalf in connection with the SEC Investigation. During this testimony, Lindsley stated that, as of 1984, he had known Bertoli for five years. 16 Mar. 1994 Cahill Aff., Ex. 3 at 23. Lindsley further testified he “admire[d]” Bertoli, and considered him a “God-fearing scholar.” Id. at 24. Lindsley also testified he borrowed $10,000 from Bertoli to finance his defense in the Lindsley Prosecution. Id. at 52. During the Lindsley Prosecution, Lindsley confirmed on cross-examination that Bertoli “was a family friend.” Id., Ex. 4.

Bertoli has continued to demonstrate his close relationship with Lindsley in the instant proceedings. In connection with his continuing efforts to introduce evidence of vindictive prosecution to the jury, Bertoli has made repeated reference to this relationship. For example, in the 19 January 1994 Bertoli Brief, Bertoli stated that, if permitted, he “would have introduced evidence that the [G]overnment targeted Bertoli because he … provided assistance to former Weehawken Mayor … Lindsley when Lindsley was prosecuted. …” Id. at 7; see Affidavit of Bertoli, dated 13 March 1992, in Support of Motion to Dismiss Indictment on Grounds of Vindictive and Selective Prosecution, ¶ 12A (“The affiant caused substantial family funds to be loaned to Lindsley to retain his counsel….”).

[209] An irregularity need not occur inside the jury room, in the physical sense, in order to be considered `internal.’ Rather, the distinction focuses on whether the irregularity or influence involves jurors alone, or other non-jury influences as well. Thus, in Tanner, the Supreme Court determined that “juror intoxication is not an `outside influence’ about which jurors may testify to impeach the verdict.” 483 U.S. at 125, 107 S.Ct. at 2750.

[210] The Riepe Letter and Riepe Notes themselves lack credibility. As indicated, Bertoli and Riepe have a substantial relationship through their close friendships with Lindsley. See supra note 208. It appears Bertoli, through Levitt, sought to conceal this relationship by representing that Riepe is “an independent writer” who conducted juror interviews on his own initiative. Levitt Aff., ¶ 1. In light of Bertoli’s extensive relationship with Riepe, it is highly unlikely that Riepe’s decision to interview jurors in Bertoli’s case was pure coincidence. Because it appears the Riepe Letter and Riepe Notes were the result of collusion between Bertoli and Riepe, these documents cannot be deemed credible.

Accordingly, the Riepe Letter and Riepe Notes cannot provide a basis for a new trial or evidentiary hearing. See Kelly, 749 F.2d at 1551-52 (where court found allegations of juror bias to lack credibility, it was within its discretion to deny request for evidentiary hearing to examine juror bias); see also Caldwell, 776 F.2d at 998 (“The more speculative or unsubstantiated the allegation of misconduct, the less the burden to investigate.”).

Levitt’s actions in concealing the relationship between Riepe and Bertoli from the court raise potential concerns of a different nature. Rule 19B of the General Rules for the District of New Jersey prohibits an attorney or party, either “personally or through any investigator or other person acting for such attorney or party,” from interviewing, examining or questioning any juror during the pendency of the trial without leave of the court. Though the issue need not be decided at this juncture, the facts before the court suggest this Rule may have been violated.

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Dave Friedland and Tony Pro’s Retainer

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Anthony Provenzano -- Local 560 Teamsters Boss -- is believed to have been responsible for the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Teamsters Local 560 Boss Anthony Provenzano (Tony Pro) is believed to have been responsible for the disappearance and presumed murder of Jimmy Hoffa.

In the 60s (I simply can not remember when.), I received a call from Tony Pro. He said “Kid, come over to the office right away. I have someone here I need you to talk to.”

I left my law office in Jersey City and drove to the Local 560 office in Union City. When I entered Tony Pro’s office, he was standing next to a giant man with a huge red beefy face. The guy looked like he weighed 350 pounds or more. It was KO Konigsberg. I had heard of him but never met him.

Tony said “Kid, I need you to do a favor for Mr. Konigsberg here.” I asked “What’s that Tony?” He said “You are suing some of his people, and I want you to drop the suit.”

I did not know what he was talking about, but I called one of the layers in my office and found out that we had two clients who came in and retained us to start assault and battery complaints against some of KO’s “enforcers” who had beat them up when they failed to repay a loansharking debt.

I thought about this and went back into Tony’s office. He was now sitting behind his desk with Konigsberg sprawled out on a big blue couch. I looked Tony in the eye and told him what I learned and I said “Tony, what you want me to do is to double-cross my own clients?” He said “No, Kid, I just want you to do Mr. Konigsberg this favor.”

I said “Tony if I did that, would you ever be able to trust me again?” and I turned and walked out of his office before anyone could reply.

That afternoon my father, who was my law partner, got a call from Tony. Tony said “Jake, your kid has got some gallunes! I never saw anything like it. I want him as my personal lawyer. I am going to put him on my payroll for $25,000 a year. He is my lawyer!”

That money was a lot in those days, but Tony told the story all over the place. Even Jimmy Hoffa mentioned it to me — at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami when he introduced me to and told the same story to Meyer Lansky. (We then all played gin. Lansky was a genius at gin. Remembered every card. No one could beat him. He had a cabana at the Eden Roc.)

David Friedland

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Hudson County connection to the Apalachin, NY La Cosa Nostra summit

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“…a bribe for Galante’s release. In response … Captain Gleitsmann, Sergeant Policastro, and a fifth defendant identified only as “John Doe.” Their case …”

I was shocked, shocked to learn that there was Hudson County connection to the Apalachin, NY La Cosa Nostra summit.

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The Life and Times Of Tony Pro

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The Life and Times Of Tony Pro


September 12, 1963
Max Ascoli’s “Reporter” magazine

UNION CITY, New Jersey

THERE was little ìn Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano’s past to prepare him for the battle now raging between U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Teamsters President James Riddle Hoffa. In the tough sidewalk world of New York’s Lower East Side, where Provenzano was born forty-six years ago of Sicilian immigrant parents, he had learned that the politician was a friend, not a foe. The friendship of the politician was easily bought by the really Important men in the neighborhood, who know and demonstrated that muscle earned money and respect. Brains, initiative, and raw courage were the ingredients of success along Monroe Street. And these were the lessons young Provenzano took with him in 1934 when he dropped out of P.S. 114 to drive a truck at ton dollars a week.

His relationship with the politicians he dealt with on his ascent to the twelfth vice-presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America was a reflection of his early training and experience. He numbered many politicos among his allies. He could depend upon them for aid and influence, and in turn he supported them generously. He had nothing to fear from politicians until 1959, when he had his first bitter encounter with the tenacious counsel to the Senate’s McClellan Committee, Robert Kennedy. It was a hard lesson for Provenzano, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment forty-four times. The hearings, which culminated in the passage of the Landrum-Griffin Act, touched off the events leading to Provenzano’s indictment and subsequent conviction on June 11 of this year for extorting $17,100 from a local trucking firm. Should his appeal fail, Provenzano will serve seven years in prison and pay a ten-thousand-dollar fine.

Provenzano doesn’t believe he will go to prison. “Thank God for the appellate courts in this country,” he says. But whether or not Provenzano goes to jail, he faces other problems that will test the raw courage, initiative, and brains of one who has risen from humble beginnings to be an international vice-president of the Teamsters, a trustee of the powerful Eastern Conference of the union, president of New Jersey’s Teamsters Joint Council 73, and the absolute ruler of Local 560, the third largest (13,000) Teamsters local.

Provenzano insists he spends hours in meditation. His favorite spot is stop the former bank building purchased by Local 560 for its headquarters. There, on the roof is a massive coop to house Tony Pro’s racing pigeons the feathered symbols, of a less complicated youth on the East Side. The birds help Provenzano forget his various troubles: a pending Federal trial for bribery; a suit by the U.S. Department of Labor challenging Local 560’s election last December; the local’s insurgent. United Ticket, which nearly succeeded in retiring Provenzano in that election and prompted the ballot litigation; the murder of a young shop steward; the unsolved disappearance of the local’s secretary-treasurer; the constant presence of Federal agents; the local’s growing financial troubles; the desertion of his political allies; and, most important, the reaction to all this of his friend and boss, Hoffa, whose sense of loyalty to his friends is eclipsed only by his stronger sense of survival.

Democrat Provenzano seems puzzled by the zeal the Attorney General and his subordinates display in their efforts, which, according to the Department of justice, have led to 199 indictments and eighty-five convictions of Teamsters and their associates since the advent of the New Frontier. But he knows at first hard the tenacity of Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, whose agents have questioned Provenzano’s friends, neighbors, and, he claims, his children in an exhaustive study of his lite and works. At the local’s headquarters, a records investigation is continued daily by the Labor Department’s Thomas Gilmartin, who spends his evenings explaining the intricacies of the Landrum-Griffin Act at St. Peter’s Institute of Industrial Relations in Jersey City. (The Institute’s student body numbers most of the United Ticket’s leaders.) Also nearby is Internal Revenue Agent Geoffrey Cheasty, whose brother, John Cye Cheasty, was the key witness in the government’s abortive attempt to convict Hoffa of bribery in July, 1957.

Provenzano’s extortion conviction by a Federal jury in Newark genuinely shocked the Local 560 leader, who last year was acquitted of a similar charge in neighboring Hudson County. He still faces a bribery charge of accepting his $27,000 Clifton, New Jersey, home as a gift from another New Jersey trucking executive. The jury’s decision also surprised many veteran courthouse observers who held little affection for Provenzano but thought the government’s case weak. They had predicted that the cherished judicial concept of reasonable doubt would save Provenzano. It did not. Teamster attorneys from the local to the international level used the jury’s decision to reiterate their belief that a prejudicial campaign is being waged from Washington to condition both press and public against the Teamsters, thus ail but eliminating their clients’ right to take advantage of reasonable doubt, even though they have managed to win more cases than they have lost.

The Glockner Myth
Washington, however, was not the dateline on the publicity explosion that occurred May 24, the third day of the trial, when a truck driver was murdered ten miles away in Ho­boken. The police of that brawling waterfront city had no trouble identifying the twenty-seven-year-old man found sprawled on a sidewalk with three bullets in his back. A month before, they had questioned Walter Herman Glockner, Jr., about his role in the-stick beating of another citizen. It was the latest entry in a bulky police dossier dating, back to when he helped beat tip an off-duty policeman. At that time Glockner had been AWOL from the Marine Corps, which he had joined after quitting high school. He was then thrown out of the Marines with an undesirable discharge.

It was more difficult to recognize Glockner in the portrait in Life two weeks after his death. “His family called him Sonny; his friends know him as Hans,” the magazine reported. “He graduated from high school in Hoboken, served in the Marines and married his boyhood sweetheart.- This wholesome approach was unspoiled by the mention of his police record, his loansharking activities, or his tainted Military record. Instead Life justified devoting several pages to the murder by blandly announcing that Glockner was “the leader of a reform group” within Local 560 and printing opposing photographs of a weeping graveside widow and a chortling Provenzano, who has instructed his lawyers to start what he terms a “suitcase” against the magazine for eleven million dollars.

Life merely completed the public canonization of Glockner that began immediately after his death, when the afternoon newspapers described him as a “Provenzano foe.” This initial description was magnified edition by edition, broadcast by broadcast, to “bitter foe,” “out­spoken foe,” “martyred Teamster,” “key member of the United Ticket,” and the like, until Life ultimately elevated him to ‘ the leader” of the anti-Provenzano f forces. His certification as “a victim A’ the struggle for clean unionism” was provided the day after the murder, when government attorneys handling the Pro­venzano trial announced that Glock­ner, who was a shop steward at the truck terminal involved, was to have been questioned the next. week. No one explained why Federal officials had not talked to Glockner during the two years of pre-trial investigation.

No official at the local, state, or Federal level attempted to arrest the growth of the Glockner myth. Some even encouraged it. The normally tight-lipped Hudson County prosecutor, for example, was reluctant to reveal the slain man’s police involvements, plus his “limited loansharking” activities. He insisted that the information had no bearing on the case and asked that it remain unpublished for “the sake of the family.” He also stated, without prompting from the reporters and Life representatives present, that Glockner had been “honorably discharged from the Marines.

The myth of Glockner’s importance to the United Ticket vanishes with the statement of the insurgent leader, George Phillips, who reduces Glockner’s role in the bitter December election to that of an active “sympathizer.” Moreover Phillips, who claims to have been severely beaten twice in the past by Proven­zano enthusiasts, holds that the slaying was not a “union killing.” Phillips’s feeling- were never published, even though most reporters assigned to the Glockner case began to suspect within t few days that the role of the slain man in the anti-Provenzano movement had been exaggerated. Some tried unsuccessfully to alert their superiors, who had started linking the coverage of the murder with that of the extortion.

trial. Their apparent unconcern about putting Glockner, the murder, and the trial into perspective added weight to the brotherhood’s charge of mass conditioning. Weeks later Hoffa put it succinctly when he was asked if the press was still giving him trouble. “I never have any trouble with the working press,” he replied. —But these rewrite men and editors who never get out to see what’s happening well, I get hell from them all the way.”

The impact of the Glockner murder on the extortion trial was immediate. The defense asked for a mistrial. The prosecution renewed its request for a sequestered jury, which was granted. Provenzano now argues that the murder led to his conviction. Government sources close to the trial maintain that the murder forced the judge to approve the sequestering motion, thereby removing the jurors from outside “influences.” As for the possibility of the jury’s hearing about the slain Teamster, they point out that the sequestering¬ was under the export supervision of Deputy U.S. Marshal J. M. Jordan of Indiana, who was dispatched by Washington to New Jersey. Jordan had performed similar duty during Hoffa’s recent Nashville trial, which resulted in an indictment against the Teamster boss for jury tampering.

The jury’s decision to convict Provenzano was basically a choice between the word of Provenzano and that of trucking executive Walter Dorn. A nervous, reluctant witness, Dorn testified only after receiving a safe-conduct writ to enter New Jersey without fear of prosecution. He said he had given Provenzano $1,500 in 1952 to buy labor peace at a new trucking terminal and then made monthly payments of $200 for six and a half years to maintain it. He swore he gave the monthly payments to Michael Communale, then an assistant Hudson County prosecutor, a figure in the local Democratic Party, and a friend of Provenzano’s. Since the statute of limitations had run out on whatever happened in 1952, the jury had to decide whether Communale passed the money on to Pro­venzano. Communale, who was fired as assistant prosecutor after his appearance before the McClellan Committee in 1959, said he did not pass the money on to Provenzano. He claimed that the $200 monthly payment was a retainer for his legal services, which he conceded were limited. Pressed by the prosecution, Communale said that he had once checked “superficially” on whether a proposed trucking tax would be passed by the New Jersey legislature.

Provenzano denied receiving any money from either Communale or Dorn. His appearance as a witness may not have done him much good, although lie would be recognized immediately as an important man back on Monroe Street in the Lower East Side. His flashy silk suits are expensive, his linen immaculate. A diamond sparkles on the little finger of his manicured left hand. His short, squat body still boasts more muscle than fat. But his face, unless graced by a smile, can be a masterpiece of malevolence. His eyes are hooded by drooping lids, and his mouth often contorts into a sneer. During the trial lie had several arguments from the witness stand with his attorney, and spent the recesses regaling the press by giving daily odds on his acquittal. He obviously charmed the reporters more than the jurors. They believed Dorn.

Attorney General Kennedy, of course, had taken a personal interest in the case from the beginning. Dur¬ing the trial he called his attorneys frequently to learn how it was going. What was said then is not known, but Kennedy did telephone his warm congratulations when Provenzano was convicted. His praise was duly reported. However, it would be foolish to exaggerate either the importance of Provenzano to the Teamsters or the significance of his conviction in the Justice Department’s drive against Hoffa. To describe Tony Pro as the Number 2 man in the Teamsters, as United Press International did during the trial, is to seriously overestimate him. And to suggest that Provenzano’s downfall would be a prelude to Hoffa’s is to vastly underestimate Hoffa.

During its deliberations the jury did wonder aloud once about the absence of one Anthony Castellito, whose name appeared several times in Provenzano’s testimony. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed that he was not available. Castellito has not been available since the night t of June 5, 1161, when the popular secretary-treasurer left Local 560 headquarters am drove off in his brown Cadillac into the missing persons files. Few believe that either Castellito or the car will ever turn up again. Castellito, whose police record dates back to Prohibition, had also sought refuge behind the Fifth Amendment b -fore the McClellan Committee in 1959. The United Ticket’s George Phillips hints that Castellito vas numbered high among Provenzano’s intra-union opponents.

Pro and Cons
Even without Cassellito, whose son has become a standard bearer in the United Ticket move Went, Provenzano has formidable troubles within Local 560, which he has headed since 1958 and controlled since the death that August of John J. Conlin, founder and ruler of the local. Several months after Conlin’s death. Provenzano soundly defeated an insurgent election challenge, despite his “coincidental” Federal indictment for extorts in two weeks before the polls opened. The balloting was marked by violence, including shotgun blasts into the house where the insurgents were conducting an election-eve session. Provenzano’s opponents reorganized as the United Ticket .and spent the next three years marshaling their workers and arguments. With a little more than half the membership voting last December, Provenzano was re-elected by a majority of 577, hardly a reassuring vote of confidence for the leader of a Teamster local with one of the best contracts in the nation.

Local 560 truckers earn from S6,000 to $10,000 a year, depending on their particular job, the steadiness of the work, and the amount of overtime. Most average about $7,000 annually in the tractor-trailer and switchers classifications. Sick Teamsters draw $65 a week for a maxi¬mum of twelve months, and the medical and dental plans extend to their immediate families. A driver with twenty years’ service can retire at fifty-seven with a $200 monthly pension. Death benefits start at $5,000. (Mrs. Glockner received a double-indemnity payment of $10,000, since the union ruled that her husband’s death was accidental.) Other fringe benefits include free eyeglasses for members and full college scholarships each year to four children of Local 560 members.

Since individual Teamsters are usually more concerned about salaries, fringe benefits, and job protection than the character of their officers and agents, the growing infra-union opposition to Provenzano indicates more deep-seated problems. Whatever the excellence of its provisions, a labor contract is only as good as its enforcement. About four hundred terminals are covered by Local 560, and some Teamsters claim that their terminals haven’t been visited by a business agent in three years. Provenzano denies this, but it remains a source of rank-and-file friction. Perhaps the explanation of the discontent is to be found in the rather arbitrary way Provenzano manages his huge local, Provenzano’s whim often becomes Local 560 policy. And often his whim leans toward nepotism and the unsavory associations Robert Kennedy had in mind when he spoke of Provenzano’s “Underworld connections.” After his close re¬election last December, Provenzano allowed the local—or at least the several hundred members who attended the meeting—to vote him a pay increase from $19,500 to $14,500. (He draws an additional $18,000 a year from his other Teamster posts.) But apparently a stronger gesture of confidence was needed. Several weeks later he was voted another $50,000 annually, which brought his total remuneration to $112,500, more than Hoffa’s or even that of the Attorney General’s elder brother. Provenzano then hired his brother Nunzio and a Salvatore Brugiglio as business agents at $18,500. Both have been convicted of arranging a “sweetheart” contract for a New York City employer. Another Provenzano brother, Salvatore, is also one of Local 560’s business agents.

Provenzano rejected the $50,000 raise at first and said lie had not made up his mind on the $25,000 one. Now lie says that lie has not rejected either, an indication that his personal legal expenses have been heavy. Moreover, the cost of defending the local against the legal actions brought by the United Ticket and the Federal government under the Landrum-Griffin Act has exceeded $300,000 since 1960 and threatens to spiral more as the pressure increases. With the addition of the lucrative salaries of the local’s officers and numerous agents (which the United Ticket’s opponents state are a greater incentive to the United Ticket leaders than the cause of clean unionism), the local’s fiscal situation is rapidly nearing the point where Provenzano may be forced to increase the $5 monthly dues substantially. Since the Landrum-Griffin Act requires a secret ballot on any revision of dues, this could be a moment of ultimate peril for Provenzano, not only in Local 560 but in his relations with the head of the Teamsters.

The Limits of Friendship
Hoffa has always been a good friend of Provenzano’s. It is said by some—but denied by Provenzano — that the friendship ripened in the days when Hoffa was making his bid to take control of the 1.4-million-member International Brotherhood. He enjoyed the support of both the Mid¬western and Western Conferences but not that of the Eastern, which is the largest. Provenzano, though a relatively unknown business agent at the time had valuable contacts in the Eastern Conference. He reportedly introduced Hoffa to some of its leaders, including one who controlled a ream of “paper locals” in New York City. Paper locals are important in Teamster politics because they vote as unit, without concern for the reactions of their members, if any.

The accuracy if this description of the beginning of the Hoffa-Provenzano friendship is not too important. By 1960, then were close friends. It was then that he ill-fated Board of Monitors, whit] was put in charge of the Teamsters following the 1959 revelations, ordered Hoffa to purge Provenzano and two others from Teamster officialdom. Hoffa replied by promoting Provenzano to an international vice-presidency. But increased opposition to Provenzano over financial problems and charges of mismanagement might strain this friendship.

An episode in Philadelphia this spring cannot be of much comfort to Provenzano. Raymond J. Cohen, an international trustee, was the boss of Philadelphia’s big Teamsters Local 107 until charges of mismanagement resulted in a serious movement to pull the local out of the Teamsters altogether. The rebel Voice of the Teamsters, a group backed by several AFL-CIO unions, proved a formidable threat. Hoffa quickly threw himself into the Philadelphia contest, and it was he, not Cohen, who succeeded in beating down the revolt. Then, while offering amnesty to Teamster rebels who might see the error of their ways, Hoffa cut Cohen’s salary and effected some instant reforms within the local’s administration. At the moment of victory, Cohen received no medal Instead he was virtually cashiered.

The Cohen incident seems to con¬tradict the post-trial predictions that Provenzano’s fall from power would, as the Ne-w York Times put it, “be a major setback” for Hoffa. Indeed. Hoffa might find the Local 560 situation easier to deal with. The United Ticket, which finds its Unity in its Opposition to Provenzano, entertains no such radical ideas as did the Voice group. There is even evidence that some of the insurgents have made informal attempts at a rapprochement with the international. The departure of Tony Provenzano might not make as much difference to the truckers of New Jersey as some of the more enthusiastic editorial writers have optimistically predicted.

Hoffa reported y rejected the insurgents’ offer. But negotiations can always be reopened if the local’s deficit spending, as indicated by financial reports filed with the Labor Department, forces Hoffa into immediate direct action. Many do not believe that Hoffa would risk disapproval of other large locals’ leaders by partitioning Provenzano’s barony. However, such a move might also serve as a warning to others to avoid hazards like those which snared Provenzano. At any rate, the Attorney General would surely be mistaken to overestimate either Hoffa’s loyalty to his old friends or his dependence on them.

On the other hand, many months of legal appeals still separate Provenzano from a Federal prison cell. And he is confident that the local’s attorney, David Friedland, will succeed in turning back the Labor Department’s assault on the December election and simultaneously compel the government to reveal the extent and cost of its investigation of Local 560. Provenzano, whose rapid rise in the Teamster hierarchy paralleled Hoffa’s, denies vehemently that his boss had anything to do with his local election or has any say in its current opposition. This is less than accurate. A local Teamster leader without a friend in the international’s hierarchy is highly vulnerable. He might, say, find himself cut off from the brotherhood’s financial largesse, such as the huge political slush-fund grants that do not have to be accounted for. Or he might
I-find a petition submitted to the international by some of his own members, asking that his local be split up into smaller units. Should this happen, then Local 84, the five-hundred-man unit Provenzano reactivated last year during the United Ticket up¬rising as a possible refuge, could be¬come his Elba.

Hoffa must have the support of a strong, united international if he is to withstand the onslaughts of Robert Kennedy. He will do what is necessary in order to survive, and any¬one from the Lower East Side knows that it is sometimes necessary for a friend to get rough when the organization is threatened. Provenzano understands full well the dangers of becoming expendable.

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Jersey City 1949: Past Is Prologue ~ Mini-Documentary on the End of The Hague Era

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Past Is Prologue: Jersey City in 1949, End of The Hague Era from Proscenium on Vimeo.

This mini-documentary surveys the demise of the infamous political machine of Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague. For 35 years, Boss Hague ruled New Jersey. His influence reached the highest levels of the Democratic party up to and including the FDR White House. In 1949, a team of opposition candidates known as the Freedom Ticket brought down the Hague machine by winning election to the City Commission. A former Hague lieutenant, John V. Kenny, became mayor. But unlike Mayor Hague, Kenny presided over a fractious City Hall. Challenges to his authority from fellow commissioner James F. Murray, Sr. led to divisions and conflicts within the new administration that would have been unimaginable during the Hague Era.

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Bob Dylan’s Tweeter and the Monkey Man

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Remember the line ” … the souvenir stand by the old, abandoned factory” in The Bob Dylan Song, Tweeter And The Monkey Man, off of the first Traveling Wilburys Album? Dylan sets the scene in Jersey City. Could he have been aware of Daisy’s open air Shop? It’s on Pacific Avenue, just off of Grand Street, Under the Turnpike, On the way to Liberty State Park and the Liberty Science Center.

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James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 – 1952)

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James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 - 1952)

By Joseph M. Murray

According to newspaper accounts, Murray was alone in City Hall. Mysteriously, all the city officials had left and the building was shorn of police protection. Many suspected Kenny of ordering the evacuation so as to put Murray on the spot, thinking he would panic and flee the scene. Instead, when the angry mob stormed the steps, Murray confronted them directly. He moved a desk into the entrance doorway, mounted it and declared: “That’s as far as you go.” In fact that was the headline of the article in the newspapers. He shamed the mob to a halt, demanding the leaders identify themselves. Then he instructed the leaders to come forward and follow him into the Commission chambers to state their grievances in a civilized manner. It was also a remarkable coincidence that the press were already on the scene, camera at the ready. It’s fair to say the whole event was staged by Kenny, but it backfired to Murray’s advantage.

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Steven Fulop reviews Hudson County Facts

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Below is the review that Steven Fulop gave my local folklore, Hudson County Facts. Though the booklet is sold on Amazon, you can read everything — plus lots more — at the Web Site.
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An absolute great read! February 7, 2006
By Steven Fulop
I found myself constantly in disbelief that these cast of characters could actually exist even though each story is 100% true. This is a real quick and easy read that captures the reader with quick facts and stories from Hudson County’s colorful past from the first page. A great read and I’m looking forward to Anthony writing a sequel!

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After I sent a copy to then Councilman Fulop, he emailed to relate that he’d received the envelope — without the booklet. He’d seen the sealed packet, so someone at City Hall was following the advice that I’d often heard as a child: “God helps those who help themselves.” Steve offered to pay for a replacement. As prestidigitation is the highest form of compliment in Jersey City, I just sent another.

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BBC documentary covers Anthony Provenzano, Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters and Organized Crime.

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BBC documentary discusses Anthony Provenzano of Hudson County, Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters, and the Mafia.

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