April 9, 2006
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[From "Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi," Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, 100th Congress, Second Session, US Government Printing Office, Washington: 1988]
RESPONSES TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS FROM THE CLEVELAND DIVISION
Question. The field office summary submitted by the Cleveland Office also mentions the presence in Cleveland of members of the Camorra organized crime group. Could you more fully describe for us the makeup of that group and the extent and nature of their activities in the Cleveland area?
Answer. The Camorra is a centuries-old Italian criminal organization with its roots in Naples, Italy, and the surrounding countryside. Historically, the Camorra, which purportedly predates the Sicilian Mafia, has often been referred to as a second government. It now appears, like the Sicilian Mafia, that members of this group have emigrated from Italy to various European and Western countries to ply their criminal trade.
The Cleveland organized crime intelligence base has determined that certain individuals who were members of the Cleveland LCN were alleged Camorra members in Italy prior to emigrating to the United States. Cleveland currently, however, has no intelligence which would indicate that the Camorra exists as a criminal entity in the Cleveland territory.
Question. The Cleveland summary also states that LCN influence in the communications industry has been identified in the Cleveland area. Could you expand on that somewhat? Particularly, have you found any evidence of LCN influence in the recording industry in the Cleveland area?
Answer. Cleveland is aware that investigations conducted by the FBI in New York, Newark, and Philadelphia have demonstrated LCN influence in the recording industry. Angelo Lonardo, the former acting boss of the Cleveland LCN, provided information concerning the use of this LCN influence in New York to benefit a relative who operated in the industry in Cleveland, Ohio.
Question. Both the FBI and the Labor Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section have jurisdiction over criminal investigations in the labor racketeering area. How many joint FBI/Labor Department investigations have been handled by your office in the last three years? Are you satisfied with the cooperation between your office and department Agents in criminal investigations?
Answer. As a result of two joint investigations, a satisfactory relationship exists between the Cleveland FBI and the Cleveland Labor Department. There are regular meetings at the highest management levels. This has resulted in ongoing joint investigations in the Cleveland area.
Question. In your view, what should the role be of the Labor Department Inspector General's Office in the investigation of labor racketeering cases?
Answer. It is our opinion that the appropriate jurisdictional role for the DOL would be to investigate Federal labor law violations, such as ERISA.
DOL and the OLR should concentrate on fulfilling its mission of detection and preventing waste, fraud, and abuse within DOL. DOL/OLR when called upon by the FBI should render support and expertise to the FBI in cases relating to organized crime labor racketeering matters.
Question. Currently, unlike other Federal law enforcement Agents, Agents of the Labor Department's Organized Crime Section do not have statutory law enforcement authority—i.e., the authority to make arrests and carry a gun. They receive this authority only on a case-by-case, deputization basis, from the Justice Department. Do you know of instances where this lack of authority has delayed or impeded their ability to effectively investigate organized crime cases?
Answer. The Cleveland Division is not aware of any instances wherein this lack of authority delayed or impeded organized crime investigations of the Labor Department's Office of Labor Racketeering.
Question. Do you believe that Agents of the Labor Department Inspector General's Organized Crime Section should have statutory law enforcement authority? Why or why not?
Answer. No. The Labor Department Inspector General's Office of Labor Racketeering (OLR) does not need statutory law enforcement authority to accomplish their current responsibilities pursuant to Public Law 95-452.
Question. Did your Division use any state or local law enforcement agencies in its LCN investigations? If so, what agencies cooperated in these investigations, and what was the level of that cooperation? If not, why not?
Answer. Local law enforcement assistance from the Cleveland Police Department was successfully utilized in surveillances of subjects in these investigations. Excellent cooperation was also obtained from the Lyndhurst, Ohio Police Department in developing witnesses to the bombing which killed Danny Greene and in the development of physical evidence at the crime scene. The Bay Village, Ohio Police Depart-
ment provided lengthy assistance in the protection of several witnesses for the Government.
Question. Does your Division use the Task Force concept? If so, with whom, and what are the parameters of the Task Force?
Answer. Yes, in narcotics investigations. The primary agencies involved in the task force are the FBI, IRS, DEA, and U.S. Customs. Various local law enforcement agencies are utilized on a case-by-case basis.
Question. What is your Division's LCN family's involvement in drug trafficking, if any, and to what degree are they involved in the distribution of narcotics in your area?
Answer. The Cleveland family was involved in a large-scale narcotics network that distributed and sold marijuana, cocaine, quaaludes, and other controlled substances. The principal employee of this network was Carmen P. Zagaria, who was controlled in the operation by LCN "Lieutenants" Joseph Charles Gallo and Thomas Sinito. It is estimated that in 1981 alone Zagaria's drug network brought in approximately $15 million and was considered the largest narcotics network in northeast Ohio. The Cleveland LCN, through its associates, is still involved in the distribution of drugs in northeast Ohio. The extent of that involvement, however, is less than it was in the early 1980s.
Question. What are the industries that the LCN controls or influences in northeast Ohio, and how does that control or influence affect the citizenry?
Answer. The Cleveland LCN has had a direct effect on certain industries through its influence in the unions. The most direct influence held by Cleveland LCN members was felt in the vending businesses. This influence has resulted in the elimination of competition through the intimidation of independent vendors or the businesses to whom they provide their services. Once the vending business of a particular area becomes monopolized by LCN-controlled vendors, high prices and poorer service usually result.
To a lesser extent, the Cleveland LCN also influences the construction and waste disposal industries. As in the case of the vending industry, it is also believed that the end result is usually higher prices and poorer service.
Question. What investigative techniques were utilized in Cleveland's investigations into LCN, and which of those techniques proved most successful?
Answer. The most successful investigative technique used in Cleveland's prosecutions of the LCN has been the Title III wiretap. This technique highlights the importance of productive informants since informant information is usually necessary to develop sufficient probable cause to support the Title III affidavit.
Question. Is your Division fully committed to the Enterprise Theory of Investigation and the use of the RICO Statute?
Answer. Yes, the Cleveland Division is fully committed to the Enterprise Theory of Investigation and the use of the RICO Statute. This is especially true in those cases involving significant criminal groups and/or any enterprise whose criminal activities have a major impact on society.
Question. Does this commitment to the Enterprise Theory of Investigation include the use of the civil components of the RICO Statute?
Answer. The civil sanctions of the RICO Statute are integral and indispensable elements of the FBI's Enterprise Theory of Investigation. The utility of the civil aspects of the RICO Statute cannot be overstated. The overall objective of the La Cosa Nostra and other organized crime groups is to generate revenue through illicit means. Organized crime groups generate this revenue through a myriad of criminal activities including infiltration of legitimate businesses and labor racketeering which, often times, involves influence and/or control of legally institutionalized entities, such as unions. The FBI has determined that the conviction of prominent and/or influential organized crime group members, to include bosses, does not necessarily create a void within the organized crime group. In some cases, the convicted member is able to continue his criminal role from inside prison while in other instances incarcerated members' positions are assumed by others to continue the criminal activity.
It is safe to conclude that the organized crime groups are, for the most part, dynamic, not static. Civil RICO sanctions force organized crime out of union office and legitimate business, bar association between members of the organized crime group and labor union and legitimate business, and enable the seizure of assets acquired by organized crime through criminal activity. This, coupled with criminal convictions, can substantially disrupt or eliminate organized crime groups.
Question. Does the LCN family in your Division use any nontraditional or emerging organized crime groups in the conduct of its illegal enterprises or activities?
Answer. Past LCN investigations in Cleveland have determined that individual members of the Cleveland chapter of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club were used to perform contract murders for the Cleveland LCN.
Question. What influence does the LCN have in the labor unions in your area? Has your Division's organized crime successes had any effect on the LCN's influence on those labor unions?
Answer. The FBI has identified individuals, who, because of their relationship with the LCN, influence leaders of labor unions. The FBI has been able to develop additional sources in the LCN and labor unions which are influenced by the LCN. Specific focus is on the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Laborer's International Union of North America.
Question. Can you identify any emerging or non-traditional organized crime groups that will be able to challenge—or fill a void left by—the LCN family in your Division?
Answer. The greatest influence of the Cleveland LCN family was formerly in the area of union corruption and the subsequent sharing of the "skimmed" profits from gambling casinos that this influence brought with it. The LCN and their associates are still involved in labor racketeering, and the Cleveland Division does not believe that any emerging organized crime groups are capable of gaining significant control in matters of union corruption. In other areas, such as narcotics, groups like the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and Jamaican drug networks are beginning to take control.
Question. Due to the recent convictions of Cleveland LCN members and the failure of Cleveland LCN to "make" any new members, can the FBI say that the Cleveland LCN has been eradicated?
Answer. No, the Cleveland LCN has not been eradicated. Some relationships with other LCN families remain which provide illegal finances to the remaining members. However, the family at this time does not enjoy the same influence that it once had. It must also be noted that a significant network of LCN associates remain in northeast Ohio. Consequently, the potential for a rebirth of LCN activity in the Cleveland Division is great if investigative pressure is diminished.
Question. What groups, either LCN or non-traditional, now control the rackets in Cleveland, Ohio? What are these rackets, and how are they operated?
Answer. Significant control of certain rackets in Cleveland is maintained by emerging organized crime groups, in areas such as illegal gambling, the Hells, Angel Motorcycle Club, in illegal drugs and extortions, and more recently, Jamaican group in the importation and sale of marijuana and cocaine. The non-traditional groups operate in much the same manner as traditional organized crime groups, that is, through the use of intimidation and force.
Significant control of certain rackets in Cleveland is maintained by emerging organized crime groups such as the Hells Angel Motorcycle Club who are involved in illegal gambling, narcotics trafficking and extortion. More recently, Cleveland has seen the emergence of Jamaican groups who are involved in the importation and sale of marijuana and cocaine. These non-traditional groups operate in much the same groups, that is, through the use of intimidation and force.
Question. In past hearings before this Subcommittee, we've had testimony about the LCN's longstanding influence in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. What LCN family now controls Youngstown and is their influence increasing or decreasing?
Answer. The rackets of the greater Youngstown area are controlled by both the Cleveland and the Pittsburgh families of the LCN. The Cleveland "percentage" of the illegal businesses there, however, has declined since the convictions of the LCN hierarchy.
Question. Have the successful LCN prosecutions in Cleveland resulted in any "gang wars" for the control of Cleveland?
Answer. Recently, there have been no significant violent confrontations by groups contesting the control of the rackets in Cleveland.
Question. The FBI's characterization of the Cleveland LCN revealed an extremely violent side of the LCN. Is this violence unique to the Cleveland family, or is it representative of LCN as a whole?
Answer. The use of violence is common throughout the LCN. The amount of violence seen over the past decade in Cleveland, however, may in part be attributed to the fact that the warring factions were the LCN family and other non-LCN groups. Decision regarding murders did not require approval above the Cleveland family level and often were made by LCN members without full approval of the LCN hierarchy.
Question. Did the extreme violence exhibited by the Cleveland family hinder or assist the FBI's ability to successfully investigate the Cleveland mob?
Answer. Generally, the extremely violent nature of the Cleveland LCN family made investigation of the crimes easier, due to the fact that it created significant instances of physical evidence and resulted in much public attention being centered on an organization that many professed did not even exist. In a few instances, the fear of reprisal made the development of witnesses much more difficult.
Question. How important was the cooperation of Cleveland Underboss Angelo Lonardo to the FBI's investigations of LCN in Cleveland, as well as the rest of the country?
Answer. Angelo Lonardo is generally thought to be the most significant witness developed in the LCN since Joe Valachi initially testified about its existence. His testimony appreciably enhanced the prosecutions in the "Strawman" trials in Kansas City and the "Commission" trial in New York. He provided insights into the internal affairs and interrelationships of numerous LCN families that previously were either unknown or unconfirmed. His willingness to come forward and testify dealt a very serious blow to the previously unshakeable tradition of "Omerta" and will greatly enhance the development of future witnesses within the ranks of the LCN.
Question. What has been the relationship of the Cleveland family to other LCN families nationwide since the conviction of its hierarchy? What is the Cleveland family's current role in the nationwide criminal activity of LCN? Currently, does the Cleveland family have a minor role in illegal activities of LCN?
Answer. The Cleveland family's role in nationwide LCN activity has been diminished by virtue of the fact that its entire hierarchy has been convicted and, to date, no permanent replacements have been made. John Tronolone, aka, Peanuts, has remained as an interim overseer of the Cleveland family's LCN activities from his base of operations in Miami, Florida. He is a close associate of Anthony Salerno, former boss of the Genovese LCN family. Attempts are being made to replenish the ranks of the Cleveland family. The Cleveland LCN will remain in a minor role in national LCN activities unless they are successful in reorganizing the family.
Question. Were there any significant cultural or social problems endemic to northeast Ohio that impeded the FBI's investigation into LCN? If so, what were those problems, and how were they overcome?
Answer. High unemployment in a number of sections of northeast Ohio appears to provide an impetus to the establishment of various illegal gambling businesses in the very areas most affected by a faltering local economy. The successful use of the civil forfeiture provisions of the RICO Statute has been most effective against gambling and numbers operators in the Cleveland Division.
Question. The FBI has done fine work against LCN. The obvious question now is, "what is next?" That is, who is filling the LCN void, and what are we doing about it?
Answer. We are monitoring our intelligence base and constantly working to expand that base of information in order to immediately identify those organized criminal groups who would seek to fill the void created by our recent successes. We believe that the LCN itself is working to fill that void. When identified, we will employ the same investigative techniques that proved to be successful in the past. We will employ the Task Force concept whenever necessary and work closely with other Federal investigative agencies such as the Department of Labor's Office of Labor Racketeering, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Question. In our 1984 Subcommittee Report on the Status of Organized Crime in the Mid-Atlantic Region, we concluded on page 67 of the report that: ". . . emerging crime groups such as outlaw motorcycle gangs should be investigated fully by law enforcement and immobilized before they become entrenched." Do you agree with that assessment of the Subcommittee? If so, what is your office doing about them? Specifically, how many cases have you brought, and what resources have you allocated to them? Where do you take such investigations for prosecution? U.S. Attorney? Strike Force?
Answer. We wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion that emerging crime groups such as outlaw motorcycle gangs should be investigated fully by law enforcement and immobilized before they become entrenched. In fact, from 1982 through 1987, we vigorously investigated the Pagan motorcycle gang. That effort resulted in numerous convictions and the incarceration of the leaders of the Ohio chapters of that organization. Today, the Youngstown chapter of the Pagan motorcycle gang consists of about seven or eight members. The Columbiana County, Ohio chapter consists of about six or seven members. We do not consider that organization to be the threat to the community that it once was. Our commitment of resources to the investigation varied over time but we were always committed to applying as many resources as were available to the investigation. The prosecutive side of the case was
handled by the United States Attorney's Office. Presently, matters involving motorcycle gangs are handled through the FBI's Drug Program.
Question. In the same report, our Subcommittee criticized the Department of Justice and the Organized Crime Strike Forces for focusing their attention almost exclusively on the LCN. We stated on page 67 of the report: "For too long, the Strike Forces have addressed the subject of organized crime as if the problem were only limited almost exclusively to La Cosa Nostra. The LCN is an important factor in organized crime, but it is not all there is to the problem." Do you agree with this 1984 assessment of the Subcommittee? Has it changed based upon your own experience with your local Strike Forces and U.S. Attorney Offices?
Answer. We must agree with the Subcommittee's statement that "the LCN is an important factor in organized crime, but it is not all there is to the problem." However, we must note that the LCN continues to be the most significant threat to American society. Even though we have made significant progress against the LCN in Cleveland, the LCN as a national organization continues to be extremely powerful and influential. In fact, the four international unions that have been identified as significantly influenced by the LCN have a presence in Cleveland. Until the LCN's influence over the international unions is eliminated or significantly diminished the LCN as a national organization is eliminated as the most significant threat to American society, we must address the LCN as our first priority.
Question. In our 1984 hearings on the status of organized crime in the Great Lakes region, the Subcommittee conducted a confidential survey of 30 past and present Strike Force attorneys and investigators. Twenty-six of the 30 respondents said they had first hand, direct knowledge of instances in which they had gathered sufficient evidence to demonstrate a major organized criminal activity that was not part of or associated with a La Cosa Nostra family. But in each instance their requests for Strike Force assistance were denied because there was no LCN involvement. (Page 13 of the Hearings, and page 3 of the Report.)
Are such observations accurate based upon your office's experience? In such a case, what does your office do with the investigation? Do you have problems taking it to a U.S. Attorney's Office after it was rejected by the Strike Force? What should be done about this?
Answer. Any problems which we have experienced with the Cleveland Strike Force are a thing of the past. At the present time, we enjoy an outstanding working relationship with the Strike Force. By mutual agreement only organized crime cases involving the LCN are presented to the Strike Force for prosecution. Any cases which we considered worthy of prosecutive merit have been given prompt attention by the Strike Force. All organized crime cases not involving the LCN are handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office. If LCN involvement in the case is identified subsequent to bringing the case before the U.S. Attorney's Office, then the matter is transferred to the Strike Force Attorney's Office. This arrangement has proven to be quite successful.
Question. In our report on the Status of Organized Crime in the Great Lakes Region, we noted that there appeared to be no agreement within the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Justice Department, which supervises the Strike Force, as to what constituted organized crime. Do you agree with this assessment? How does your office define organized crime for prioritizing investigations? Do your priorities agree with the Strike Force's U.S. Attorneys? If not, where do they differ? What do you do when they differ?
Answer. In accordance with the FBI Organized Crime National Strategy, the FBI in Cleveland sustains an investigative strategy that addresses the LCN as a national criminal conspiracy. The thrusts of this strategy is the elimination of the LCN and other organized crime groups as significant threats to American society. Along with the recent success against the traditional LCN family in Cleveland, the FBI in Cleveland has identified non-traditional groups such as the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, Jamaican and other drug gangs. These non-traditional groups are being addressed and investigated using the same strategy as that employed to investigate the LCN. A top priority within this program is the determination of the extent of influence and control the LCN has established within the labor community.
Question. In the same report, our Subcommittee (on page 47) recommended that ". . . the Justice Department consider using the Strike Force mechanism in communities such as Youngstown, Ohio, and other smaller communities where there are serious organized crime problems." Do you agree with such a recommendation? Specifically, has the Cleveland Strike Force and the Cleveland FBI done anything about Youngstown?
Answer. The recent FBI Cleveland case entitled "Strongarm" exemplified the utilization of the Strike Force mechanism in smaller communities which have orga-
nized crime problems. "Strongarm" successfully targeted LCN elements operating in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. The FBI in Cleveland continues to pursue an aggressive investigative strategy to identify and eliminate the LCN and other organized crime groups operating in the Youngstown area.
Question. During those hearings in 1984, we heard testimony from the Pennsylvania Crime Commission that Youngstown was the ". . . traditional capital of organized crime and professional crime in the Ohio Valley." Also testifying about the strangle-hold of organized crime on their city were the Mayor, the Honorable Patrick J. Ungaro, and the leaden of the bipartisan Citizens' League of Greater Youngstown. All of them echoed the words of John W. Powers of the Citizens' League that: "Federal law enforcement agencies are the only present hope the community has for addressing the problem. Yet we believe that Federal agencies, particularly the FBI, have not committed resources or techniques commensurate with the pervasive presence of organized crime and public corruption." (Page 10, Report).
What has the Strike Force and the FBI done since our 1984 hearings? Can you provide us with a list of the cases? Have you assigned any additional men to Youngstown? Has the Strike Force of U.S. Attorney's offices assigned any resources to this problem?
Answer. The FBI has committed sufficient resources to address the organized crime problems in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. In 1984, the FBI began to investigate illegal gambling and police corruption in Youngstown, Ohio. This case was entitled "Strongarm."
In April 1988, the following individuals were indicted for violations of Title 18, USC, Sections 1961 and 1962 (RICO), Title 18, USC, Section 1955 (Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses), Title 18, USC, Section 1511 (Obstruction of State and local law enforcement): Lenine Strollo; Dante Strollo; Lawrence P. Garono; Bernard Altshuler, Kenneth Bragalone; Lt. Michael Terlecky, Commander Vice Section, Mahoning County Sheriff's Office, Youngstown, Ohio; Former Chief of Police Joseph Rinko, Beaver Township, Ohio; Vincent Serman Jr.; Lauon Hahn; Joseph P. Van Oudenhove; and Calvin Butler.
As a result of the "Strongarm" investigation, substantial forfeitures have been obtained as well as information being developed leading to a number of new subjects and violations in Youngstown, Ohio.
There have been no additional personnel assigned to Youngstown, Ohio. Present resources are adequate. The Strike Force assigned resources in the "Strongarm" investigation and continues to assist the FBI in Youngstown with sufficient resources to address ongoing investigations.
Question. Along with this recommendation, in that report, the Subcommittee also recommended that all Strike Forces should establish formal lines of communication with law enforcement agencies in outlaying communities within their jurisdictions in order to better determine the extent of the organized crime problems in their area with such a recommendation. Do you know if the Strike Forces have initiated such a program? Has your office? Particularly, has Mr. Griffin of the Cleveland FBI office talked to Mayor Ungaro and the Youngstown Citizens' League?
Answer. The FBI is not aware of liaison procedures established by the Cleveland Strike Force to assess the organized crime problem in the community. The FBI does provide such an assessment to the Strike Force on a regular basis. The Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division, or his designated representative, is always willing to speak to any civic group or elected official. Although I am not aware of any representative of the FBI personally speaking to Mayor Ungaro in Youngstown, Ohio, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) did speak to the Youngstown, Ohio, Citizens' League. In addition to the ASAC, a Supervisory Special Agent assigned in Youngstown, Ohio, has spoken to numerous elected officials in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties, Ohio.
Question. On the first day of the hearings, the General Accounting Office (GAO) recommended to the Subcommittee that our organized crime efforts need to be based upon "careful strategic planning" that establishes clear objectives, assigns responsibilities and allocates our finite law enforcement efforts. Do you agree with such an analysis? And if you do, who do you recommend should establish such a well thought out plan for all Federal law enforcement agencies involved in the fight against organized crime?
Answer. The FBI, through a continuous review of its intelligence base, maintains and revises its national organized crime strategy as necessary. This strategy also incorporates state and local law enforcement elements into the plan and is coordinated with these agencies through established liaison. Although the goals of all Federal law enforcement should be uniform, the investigative strategy of each agency is con-
tingent upon their availability of resources, intelligence bases, jurisdiction, and technical capabilities.
Question. GAO recommended that the current Strike Force planning vehicle, the National Organized Crime Planning Council (NOCPC), be expanded and intensified to accomplish this goal. NOCPC was established in response to prior criticism by this Subcommittee that the Justice Department's organized crime program lacked "formal standards to measure effectiveness, lacked a national strategy and definition of organized crime." Although NOCPC is supposed to annually visit every Strike Force and discuss local problems with the various law enforcement agencies, it is our understanding they rarely do so. Do you get any guidance from NOCPC? When was the last NOCPC meeting in your town? I understand, for example, that there hasn't been a NOCPC in Cleveland for three or four years. What is the system in existence in your city to discuss and lay out local strategies and allocate resources between agencies? What was the last time you met? Who attended? Who chaired the meeting?
Answer. The last NOCPC conference was held in Cleveland in 1983. Others had been planned, however, due to budgetary constraints and the development of Angelo Lonardo, former acting boss of the LCN in Cleveland as a cooperating witness, and the resulting "spin-off" investigations, the Department of Justice cancelled the meetings. A NOCPC conference is scheduled for the Fall of 1988.
Cleveland's organized crime program and investigative strategies and prioritized in compliance with the FBI National Organized Crime Strategy. This strategy was developed to eliminate the LCN and other organized crime groups as significant threats to American society. Utilizing the Enterprise Theory of Investigation in cooperation with other field divisions that have LCN families which criminally interrelate, Cleveland establishes its investigative priorities. Cleveland has prioritized investigations of LCN infiltration and control of labor unions through labor racketeering. The FBI and the Organized Crime Strike Force Chief then coordinate these investigations through the Strike Force with other Federal agencies.
In conclusion, the FBI's investigative strategies emanate from a national strategy which is supported by a national intelligence base. The FBI's unprecedented investigative successes against the LCN and other significant organized crime groups originated from Bureau investigations.
Question. I note in Mr. Griffin's testimony that, ". . . the FBI recently charged the last active made member of the Cleveland LCN family." In light of such success, is there still a LCN in Cleveland? If so, who and what type of organization does it have? Also is there a need for an Organized Crime Strike Force in Cleveland in light of such a success? If so, what will it be doing that will justify its existence?
Answer. The Cleveland LCN is in the process of rebuilding its ranks through the initiation of new members. These new LCN members and an existing network of associates will require a sustained investigative effort. The Cleveland Strike Force will also be required to sustain their prosecutive efforts against the LCN.
Question. As you know, on January 2, 1988, Attorney General Meese signed an "Order Directing New and Expanded Initiatives in the Federal Organized Crime Effort." As I read the order, it really addresses only the division of authority between the U.S. Attorney and the Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Forces. As I understand it, prior to this order, the Strike Forces, under the direction of the Strike Force Chief in Washington, exercised control of their investigations, while keeping the U.S. Attorney advised of their activities in order to avoid possible conflicts. By contrast, this new order apparently gives the U.S. Attorney principal control of Strike Force investigations and prosecutions. The order even names the U.S. Attorney, as opposed to Strike Force superiors in Washington, as the "rating official" for the performance rating of the local Strike Force Chief. Now, the FBI has obviously worked organized crime cases with both the Strike Forces and the U.S. Attorney's offices. Do you feel this order was necessary and, if so, why? What is its impact in your city? Especially in Cleveland where the former U.S. Attorney was recently indicted for leaking Grand Jury material, wouldn't this new control over the Strike Force cases be potentially dangerous.
Answer. This order, by establishing clear non-duplicative lines of prosecutorial authority, should be a continuing benefit. The FBI in Cleveland does not anticipate any problems relating to this "rating official" change. The Grand Jury material leak by the former U.S. Attorney is regrettable, but could have occurred in various environments within the Federal law enforcement system. Federal prosecutors are extremely careful and concerned about the security of Grand Jury material.
Question. As you are aware, this Subcommittee conducted an inquiry into the Justice Department's handling of the Jackie Presser ghostworker case. Without going into the guilt or innocence of Mr. Presser and other defendants, our prior hearing
reveals apparent problems with the cooperation between the Cleveland FBI Office, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department. Do you agree that there were such problems? If so, what were they, and have they changed?
Answer. A view of the relationship between the Department of Labor (DOL), FBI, and Cleveland Strike Force in the DOL investigation of Jackie Presser determined that the cooperation and coordination between the entities was less than effective. It is hoped that management efforts within each agency will reduce any potential for coordination problems in the future. The DOL and FBI are now pursuing mutual investigative targets via the Task Force concept with the prosecutive assistance of the Cleveland Strike Force.
Question. What is the current procedure for coordinating labor cases with the Strike Force and Labor Department? How can we be assured those problems won't occur again?
Answer. The FBI in Cleveland coordinates certain labor-related cases with the Strike Force and appropriate DOL Agents. Per an agreement between the DOL and the Department of Justice (DOJ), DOL is required to provide DOJ and the FBI with prior notification before initiating an investigation in order to avoid any unnecessary duplication of investigative effort by the FBI and Office of Labor Racketeering with respect to organized crime and labor-management racketeering.
Question. The "task force" concept has been very successful in facilitating prosecutions of organized crime figures. Yet, testimony before this Subcommittee two years ago revealed major problems with task force operations in Cleveland during our investigation of the Jackie Presser ghostworkers case. Mr. Griffin, you were the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland Division at that time. I would be interested in your view of what went wrong in the Jackie Presser investigation.
Answer. While Mr. Presser is deceased; other defendants remain and it would be inappropriate to comment on this pending litigation.
Question. As you know, Mr. Presser's indictment is pending trial and one of your former Agents in Cleveland, Robert Friedrick, is also under indictment for obstructing justice in the Presser investigation. I am not asking you to comment on specific pending cases, but I would like to know whether it is true that there was, in 1986 and earlier, tension between the FBI and the Department of Labor investigation in Cleveland and what caused these tensions.
Answer. While some general tensions existed, the relationship has now improved dramatically. We have regular meetings at the highest office levels using the task force concept. This has resulted in ongoing joint investigations in the Cleveland area.
Question. A Labor Department memo cited in our hearings two years ago asserted that the FBI was actively obstructing the Labor Department's investigation of labor racketeering. What comment do you have regarding those allegations?
Answer. It is inappropriate to comment on another agency's document except to say that the policy of the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been and presently is not to engage in activities which would obstruct another investigation.
Question. Have any FBI employees, other than former Special Agent Robert Friedrick, been disciplined for their conduct in the Presser manner?
Answer. FBI Headquarters advises that no other Special Agents have been disciplined for their conduct in this matter as of this date. The matter continues under review.
Question. Have any changes been instituted since PSI's hearings in May, 1986, to ensure that the FBI cooperates fully and shares relevant information with the Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies which are part of the organized crime task forces so as to prevent a recurrence of the Presser situation?
Answer. The Cleveland FBI has established an excellent working relationship with the department of Labor (DOL) and currently has more than one joint investigation with them. The current relationship is such that the two offices have combined as a task force to pursue common matters. Formalized periodic liaison has been established with the DOL and the Cleveland Strike Force.
Question. You stated that the last active member of the Cleveland Family is currently being prosecuted. do you have any indication of any efforts to recruit new members?
Answer. Yes, and the FBI is currently investigating these allegations. Current intelligence indicates an attempt in this regard may be made. A strong infrastructure with numerous LCN associates remains in place. Only continued attention by the FBI can prevent the LCN from reestablishing their dominance over criminal activities in Cleveland.
Question. With the Cleveland family in disarray, is there evidence that any other non-LCN criminal groups are trying to move in and take advantage of this situation? If so, which groups are they and what types of illegal activities are they engaged in?
Answer. There are indications that non-LCN groups are becoming more active and traditional LCN associates are expanding their illegal activities now that tribute payments to the LCN are not being made. Intelligence indicates the LCN is attempting to replace the structure in Cleveland which was eradicated through prosecutions before other groups become entrenched.