Monday, December 12, 2005

Mob Ties to Hired Truck Scandal

Friends of ours: James "Jimmy I" Inendino and Nick "The Stick" LoCocco

A trucking company owner from Lockport was sentenced to six months in prison Wednesday for lying to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the city's scandal-ridden Hired Truck Program. U.S. District Judge John Grady said Salvador Alvarez's decision to pay city employee John "Quarters" Boyle a bribe to join the program and later cover it up was a textbook case of "a decent man participating in a very evil enterprise." But probation, suggested by Alvarez's attorney Russell Green, would be too mild a punishment for the crimes, Grady said.

Although Grady was sorry for the toll that imprisonment would take on Alvarez, he said he needed to set an example for the community and deter others who might be tempted to walk down the same path. "The matter of official corruption, bribery and shakedowns is an endemic problem. The Hired Truck Program was a disgrace to the City of Chicago and to everyone who knew about the dishonest way it was conducted," Grady said. "The public needs to know that paying bribes and lying to a grand jury about paying bribes is conduct that will lead to serious punishment."

Alvarez, the owner of Sarch Hauling Ltd., also was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine. Before he was sentenced, Alvarez, 54, tearfully recalled how he immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1969, earned his GED and worked hard to make a living. Alvarez apologized to city residents, the government and his family, who joined him in court on what he said was a very "black" day. "I did something here that was very wrong," Alvarez said in a wavering voice. "It was a terrible mistake. It was a mistake I'll never make again."

Boyle, the politically connected former city employee at the center of the Hired Truck probe, told Alvarez he needed to pay $30,000 up front to get into the program and $2,000 per truck per season and an additional $1,000 per truck as a bonus every Christmas, according to Alvarez's plea deal with prosecutors, which calls for his cooperation in the investigation. Boyle, who also pleaded guilty, took $4,000 in shakedown money from Alvarez for a trip to Acapulco, Mexico.

There was no discussion of Sarch's ties to reputed mobsters during Wednesday's hearing. The company leased garage space for its trucks from mob loan shark James Inendino, who was recommended to Alvarez by Nick "The Stick" LoCoco, a mob bookie and city employee who also was charged in the Hired Truck investigation. LoCoco died in an accident before going to trial. Sarch also bought a truck from Mayor Daley ally John Cannatello, who also has pleaded guilty to paying bribes for Hired Truck business.

Thanks to Rummana Hussain

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