The Chicago Syndicate: Unwise Guy, Ends Up as Mafia Hit
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Unwise Guy, Ends Up as Mafia Hit

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family, Lawrence Ricci, George Barone

A top Mafia capo who recently vanished during his trial was rubbed out by bosses because he balked at copping a plea to spare them embarrassing courtroom disclosures, federal probers now believe.

Reputed Genovese crime-family captain Lawrence Ricci, 60, had been on trial along with two high-ranking International Longshoremen's Association officials who were allegedly handpicked for their posts by the mob. Law-enforcement sources suspect that before the case went to trial, Ricci's Mafia higher-ups "long known for tight lips and low profiles" demanded that the rakish Ricci dodge an expected messy proceeding by copping a plea.

Ricci - charged with steering an ILA contract to a pharmaceutical company with mob ties - likely would have been able to negotiate a deal with just a couple of years in jail. Instead, authorities suspect that he was rolling the dice for an acquittal when he mysteriously vanished after borrowing a relative's car Columbus Day weekend.

"I do not consider my client's absence to be a voluntary one," his lawyer,Martin Schmukler, has warned the court. The new theory about why Ricci may have been killed surfaced amid the ongoing extortion and conspiracy trial of the two ILA officers, Harold Daggett and Arthur Coffey.

Daggett yesterday wept like a baby when describing early dealings with a former Genovese hit man and now elderly mob turncoat in the case, George Barone, 81. Barone accused him of trying to wrest control of the powerful union away from him in the early 1980s - and brutally interrogated him at one point, a tearful Daggett testified in Brooklyn federal court.

"I'll kill you and your wife and children if you take this local," Daggett said a seething Barone warned him. "He pulled out a gun and stuck it in my head here," Daggett said, pointing to his temple. "[Then Barone] cocked the trigger and said, 'I'll blow your brains all over the room.' "I prayed to the Blessed Mother he wouldn't do it. He said, 'Get the fuck out of here.' I was so nervous, I urinated all over myself."

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