Mob target testifies


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A 400-pound former mob captain, and victim of an apparent rubout attempt, delivered damaging testimony on nine alleged cronies from a wheelchair in federal court in the marathon 'windows' case.

The government witness, Peter Chiodo, who was shot 12 times May 8 and has been recovering at an undisclosed hospital, testified Wednesday at the trial in White Plains. It had been moved from Brooklyn for his testimony.


He was expected back on the stand Thursday.

Chiodo, 40, married and the father of four, gave a first-hand account of the bid-rigging scheme in which he said the defendants, his alleged co-conspirators, were involved.

He was brought to the courthouse by ambulance, his arrival shielded by a phalanx of federal security.

Since the shooting, Chiodo agreed to testify in the 'windows' extortion case against nine alleged members of organized crime, including Peter Gotti, brother of John Gotti, the reputed head of the Gambino crime family.


The testimony of Chiodo, who has pleaded guilty in the case, centered on the defendants alleged conspiracy to monopolize the city's lucrative window replacement business.

During testimony he rested his bandaged forearms on a desk-like platform, lifting one to periodically wipe perspiration from his face.

Chiodo's two feet were in what appeared to be casts and his right arm shook continuously.

The shaking was so intense that about an hour into his testimony the microphone reverberated and the court session was briefly recessed. Twenty minutes after the session resumed, he faltered in mid-sentence and U.S. District Court Judge John Dearie asked if he wanted a break and Chiodo put his head down.

The judge called another recess and Chiodo bounced back from the break, apparently stronger.

Chiodo testified in a steady, clear voice, although with mostly one word answers to questions put by Charles Rose, an assistant U.S. attorney from Brooklyn.

Rose led Chiodo through testimony on how he was formally initiated into the Lucchese organized crime family and crimes he confessed to as part of his plea bargain agreement.

The jury was not told of the near fatal shooting.

Dearie only explained the witness was receiving 'post surgery medical treatment.'


However, Rose got Chiodo to admit there was an 'event' that caused him to renegotiate an agreement he had with the government and on July 11 agreed to testify before his former mob colleagues.

As part of the agreement he confessed to several homicides. The government agreed to relocate him and recommend a reduced sentence of no more than 20 years.

Chiodo has served time in the past, but not for any of the four murders and one attempted murder to which he confessed, although he tempered that by claiming, 'My job was to pass the information on to others to commit the homicides.'

Chiodo testified about a Feb. 24, 1989 meeting he attended with members of the city's four other crime families to discuss bid rigging and payoffs to union officials. He said attending the meeting were four defendants, including Peter Gotti.

Also at the meeting was John Morrissey, an official with Local 580, a defendant in the case who disappeared more than a year ago.

Last month Chiodo led authorities to Morrissey's bullet-riddled body which had been buried at a New Jersey construction site.

At the meeting the four other crime families agreed to control window contractors while Chiodo said the Lucchese family would handle the union.


Chiodo gave extensive tstimony about problems the mob was having in slow payments.

'They alone (mob-controlled companies) would bid on contracts to replace windows with the New York Housing Authority,' he said. 'If another company won a bid, union pressure would be placed until they were forced to withdraw the bid.'

Chiodo said half of the profits made from the bid-rigging scheme would go back to the union with the rest being split between Morrissey and the Lucchese crime family.

Four hours later he was pale and appeared drained.

Chiodo was expected to testify Thursday that reputed Lucchese crime boss Vittorio Amuso directed him to have Morrissey killed.

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