By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Prosecutor Andrew Genser left no doubt that these are references to Grodman when he argued in his rebuttal summation that "Nasso is talking about the money from Joel Grodman who is down in Florida" at an ILA meeting. Later, Nasso reiterated "how he had to get the money from the Jew, who we know is Grodman," concluded Genser. The prosecutor also told the jury that Nasso said he wanted "Joel Grodman to" get the
money from Valentino and "give it to me." Ciccone was upset because he had "to lay out" any payments Grodman missed rather than skip paying Gotti his "tribute." The government called this scheme "one of the most disturbing crimes" in the far-reaching case, because "a few greedy gangsters ripped off a health plan that was supposed to provide quality drug benefits to thousands of active and retired members."
Pointing out in a letter to the judge that Grodman, not Nasso, pocketed $2 million of the $2.4 million paid in fees to GPP/VIP, Levin told the Voice that Grodman and his father "controlled the ILA's prescription business in New Jersey for 30 years," well before GPP was created. Since Jersey's ILA was as dominated by the Genovese crime family as Brooklyn's was by Gambino, Levin contends that its longstanding relationship with a pharmacy owned by the Grodmans shows that they have "always had a relationship with the Genovese family," suggesting that Joel Grodman could have gotten the ILA contract without Nasso.
That's what Levin will argue at Nasso's upcoming trial, where Grodman may well finally appear as a witness. The Nasso trial will also involve his brother Jules, who is charged with using Ciccone to shake down actor Steven Seagal for $3 million in payments associated with their onetime movie partnership.
The myriad ties between the union funds and Grodman entitiesincluding the placement of the son of onetime transit union boss Sonny Hall on GPP's payrollare another indicator of the patronage bastions some of these funds have become. With prescription contracts often their biggest prize, city unions have spurned the nation's premier benefit managers to reward smaller firms like GPP and National Prescription Administrators (NPA), another Jersey company enriched by its relationships with labor power brokers.
The city's largest union, DC 37, saved $7 million a year when it finally put its NPA contract to bid after 14 years of no-bid renewals, and the ILA saved $4 million when it dropped GPP. That's some measure of what might be saved if Bloomberg took over the 104 funds and made central contracting decisions himself, conforming to regular bid procedures.