Allen Dorfman, who died in a hail of bullets in Chicago, was a financier for the Teamsters Union, a union with a long history of links to organized crime.
Dorfman, sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for trying to bribe a senator, was shot Thursday in a snow-speckled hotel parking lot.
The bushy-browed insurance man, linked to the crime syndicate for four decades, most likely died on the orders of underworld associates to 'shut him up,' law enforcement officials said.
Dorfman and four others, including Teamsters President Roy L. Williams and reputed mobster Joseph 'Joey the Clown' Lombardo, were convicted last year of conspiracy to bribe former Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada.
The legal problems of Williams and other leaders of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Wharehousemen and Helpers of America can be traced to the 1930s, when Congress began regulating the trucking industry.
The mysterious killing of Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa in 1975 was not the first Teamster link with the mob, but was perhaps the most sensational.
Hoffa left his lakeside home in Detroit that summer for lunch at a fashionable suburban restaurant and was never seen again, disappearing so completely that a $1 million search has turned up only thousands of phony tips and two skeletons -- neither of them Hoffa's.
A federally protected witness told Congress last year that Hoffa tried to kill his teamsters successor, Frank Fitzsimmons, and east coast trucking boss Tony Provenzano when he got out of prison, but his adopted son, Chuckie O'Brien, revealed the plot and Hoffa himself was murdered.
Charles Allen, a nephew of one-time gangster Charles 'Blinky' Palermo and himself a Mafia associate, said Hoffa enlisted him to shoot Fitzsimmons in the parking lot of Teamsters headquarters in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. But Provenzano and new Jersey mobster Salvatore 'Sally Bugs' Briguglio had Hoffa 'ground up in little pieces, shipped to Florida and thrown into the swamp, ' Allen said.
The names in Allen's testimony comprise a rogues' gallery of crime. Hoffa's 13-year sentence for mail fraud and jury tampering was commuted by President Nixon in 1971. Provenzano died in prison several years ago and Briguglio was killed in a gangland-style execution. Fitzsimmons died of cancer in 1981.
The Teamster's problems continued with the efforts to deregulate the industry, begun by President Carter in 1977. The decision caused a great uproar within the union.
Prosecutors in the Dorfman case said he and the others offered Cannon a choice piece of Las Vegas land at a bargain price in return for Cannon's agreement to scuttle deregulation legislation. Cannon did not buy the land, the legislation was passed, and the senator was not implicated in the conspiracy.