LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Chicago mobsters ordered slain Culinary Union boss Al Bramlet roughed up because he resisted efforts by the international union to take over the rich Local's health and welfare fund, a man serving a life prison term for Bramlet's murder said Monday.
Andrew Gramby Hanley, 42, the son of labor organizer Tom Hanley, said Bramlet contacted his father after being beaten and stomped at a Las Vegas bar in 1976.
'They knocked his ass off the stool and stomped him. Bramlet then went to the 'old man' (Hanley's father) to see if he could offset and counter the violence. 'The old man' told Bramlet no, that it was out of the question. He wasn't about to take on Chicago.'
Hanley, currently in the federal secret witness program, said Chicago mobsters issued the orders for Bramlet to be roughed up and that 'the muscle was provided' through the mob's Las Vegas contacts.
The federal prisoner made the statements to UPI in a telephone interview from Washington D.C., where he is waiting to testify before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Tuesday. The federal prisoner said he would be uncooperative unless guaranteed his First Amendment rights and an opportunity to talk to reporters.
Sen. William Roth, R-Del., chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement last week the purpose of the Senate subcommittee hearing would be to probe operations of union locals in Reno, Nev., San Diego,San Jose and Oakland, Calif.
Hanley said he wanted to be questioned by reporters 'because their questions will be broader than those of the politicians and because I believe this hearing is part of the systematic demise of organized labor in the United States which started with the air traffic controllers and now the railway union.
'I am not enthusiastic about being party to the demise of labor,' Hanley said. 'I am not saying certain figures in labor don't warrant being removed and some safeguards being put on them because of terrible abuses on members at the hands of the people that are absconding with millions of dollars.
'If the members don't know it they have their head in the sand.'
One of Hanley's attorneys told UPI Monday that questions provided in advance to be asked the witness during the Senate hearings covered:
-attempts by the international union president to get control of the health and welfare fund of the Las Vegas Culinary Local five years ago.
-if Anthony Spilotro was involved in the plan.
-whether a contract existed to kill Bramlet.
-union loans Bramlet made to Morris Shenker.
-whether Tom Hanley dealt with culinary officials other than Bramlet.
-the elder Hanley's acquaintance with slain mobster Bugsie Siegel.
-a report that Bramlet wanted the Hanleys to blow up the Merry-Go-Round at Circus Hotel-Casino on the Las Vegas strip because Bramlet was not getting enough of a kickback.
Morris Shenker is a former St. Louis attorney who once represented slain teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa and currently owns the Dunes Hotel and Country Club in Las Vegas. Shenker received millions of dollars in loans from Culinary Local 226.
Tom Hanley, who died in federal custody, and his son pleaded guilty in 1978 to first degree murder in the 1977 slaying of Bramlet. The elder Hanley blamed the murder on drunkeness during his Las Vegas court appearance four years ago.
Bramlet, secretary-treasurer of powerful Culinary Local 226, was shot numerous times, stripped of his clothing, and the body was placed under a pile of rocks. He disappeared Feb. 24, 1977. The body was found the following month. The Hanleys were arrested more than a month later at a Phoenix, Ariz., hideout.
Bramlet was murdered the year after a major Culinary strike virtually closed the Las Vegas strip. International Culinary Union President Ed Hanley, no relation to Tom or Gramby Hanley, pressured Bramlet to settle the strike and threatened to put the Las Vegas Local into receivership or trusteeship unless he complied, said sources who participated in strike negotiations.
The Labor Department stripped control of the pension fund from culinary trustees in 1977 for allegedly making improper and unsafe loans totaling about $30 million.