Sins of the Father

Rudy's Double Standard

"A parental skeleton in the family closet would beyond question serve as legitimate grounds for speculation about motivation," said Wallace.

If anyone made the mayor's father a worthy subject for further exploration it was the mayor himself. He has cited his father's influence to every journalist undertaking a profile of him since he first made headlines as a prosecutor in the mid-1980s.

As recently as this April, when he announced his prostate cancer, he described Harold Giuliani as "a very, very important reason for why I'm standing here as the mayor of New York City."

But the mayor has declined to discuss the book's specifics beyond suggesting that his family has fallen victim to negative stereotypes of Italian Americans.

"I think I'll stand on my record of having prosecuted and put in prison more members of the Mafia than probably any United States Attorney in history," the mayor said. In the course of his pursuit of organized crime, he had been threatened with death "at least three times," he added. "And if that's not enough to remove the Mafia prejudice, then there probably could not be anything you could do to remove it."

Those mob prosecutions are well-detailed in Barrett's book. So are the assaults Giuliani undertook as U.S. Attorney on mob influence in the Teamsters union, and later as mayor on the Fulton Fish Market and the private carting industry. Those efforts have yielded a far more democratic union in the case of the Teamsters and lower prices in the carting and fish wholesale businesses.

But in the course of those probes, investigators have routinely asked uncomfortable questions about family connections.

"It certainly is not automatically disqualifying, but asking about family members is certainly a relevant question," said Michael Moroney, a veteran federal mob investigator who was charged with investigating dozens of Teamster locals under the court consent decree that resulted from Giuliani's RICO case against the union.

Yet there were many sons and daughters of alleged racketeers who, while never accused of committing crimes themselves, were banned from the union.

"It's still a painful chapter. An injustice was done to my family. I don't want to go into it," said the son of the former head of a large New York City Teamsters union local who was removed from his own union post for failing to investigate his father's mob ties.

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