We spoke to the Mafia lawyer as the sun set blood red out his office window over Hoboken

Tommy Patrizzo was an indicted murderer from Northern New Jersey whose legitimate company built the little subway in the Newark Airport. Larosa called Patrizzo from his office. Larosa had represented Paul Castellano, who was the overall Boss of the New York crime families and was gunned down by John Gotti’s men at Sparks Steakhouse in 1985. I looked out the office and saw the distinctive, very bald head of Bruce Cutler, the lawyer who kept John Gotti from being convicted on multiple murder charges in multiple trials earning Gotti the Knick name “the Teflon Don”. That was a little scary to see Bruce Cutler’s bald head.

We were explaining to Tony Larosa that we needed the transcripts for use in our defense of Arthur Coia, the President of the Laborers’ Union. We were defending Coia against charges brought in an internal disciplinary proceeding in a process that Coia, the reformer of the Union, had initiated at the suggestion of Williams and Connolly, to expel all those who, in the language of the code that had been adopted for the process, had associated with known mob figures. Coia’s own process had come after him and was trying to remove him from the Union because he had allegedly associated with organized crime figures. Patrizzo responded that he would release the transcripts to us if we could do something for him. The familiar Quid Pro Quo which itself would clearly have violated the Union code; and to which we responded “No”. The judge in our Union process was the respected former US Attorney of Philadelphia, named Peter Vira. At the end of our meeting as the sun set over Hoboken in the distance, Larosa leaned over the desk (and I always believed that Larosa who was not a tall man was somewhat elevated when he sat behind that desk, didn’t know why, but perhaps a small ramp behind the desk) so Larosa leaned to me and Howard (retired Ambassador to Belgium – Howard Gutmann ) and said; “Your guy from Philadelphia is going to F—- you.” At that point I wanted to say: “Howard, could we go now?” The transcripts we were looking for were the cross examination of the witness who the Union prosecutors-retired Assistant United States Attorneys -were using against Arthur Coia.

The name of the witness was Sal Michiotta. His nickname was “Fat Sal”. Fat Sal had successfully testified in trial after trial of Mafia murder cases. He had been put on the stand by a Federal prosecutor – Andrew Weissman- who would later be one of the lawyers in the team that Bob Mueller put together and is now a commentator for MSNBC.

The Union prosecutors dropped the charge relating to the New York Mafia when they learned that one of the participants at the alleged meeting with Coia was dead at the time.

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