In May 2012 a Manhattan federal jury convicted three former union leaders Anthony Fazio Sr., Anthony Fazio Jr. and John Fazio Jr. for demanding cash payments from business owners in exchange for labor peace, and last month an appellate court rejected their argument that Mafia references should have been excluded at trial.
The three Fazios were top dogs with Brooklyn's Local 348 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and according to trial evidence summarized by the appellate court the Fazios "cultivated a reputation that they and Local 348 were connected to organized crime" which their extortion victims believed in acceding to the payment demands. The defendants argued that this evidence should have been excluded "because there was no proof that any of the defendants were in fact connected to the mafia." However, the appellate court squarely rejected this absurd argument in affirming the defendants' convictions:
Whether the Fazios were actually connected to organized crime is not dispositive of the admissibility of reputation evidence that tends to show the reasonableness of the victims' fear. The government may use the evidence to demonstrate that a victim's belief that the Fazios were connected to organized crime was reasonable and that the Fazios exploited this belief.
Anthony Sr., Anthony Jr. and John Jr., are serving prison terms of 151 months, 60 months, and 135 months, respectively.
Do any of the Fazios actually have any mob connections? According to court papers the FBI uncovered suspected ties between the union and the mob including alleged meetings between John Fazio Jr. and reputed Genovese capo John Barbato as previously reported by Bruce Golding for the New York Post.