Mob's Thruway Detour

A major contracting firm is barred from state roadwork as crime ties are cited

Another question for the Pataki administration was how it came to pass that Pontoriero's son Michael had been hired in 1995 for a $50,000-a-year patronage slot at the state's Office of General Services. The younger Pontoriero's duties were vague: He was tasked with helping with "special events, such as fireworks," a spokeswoman explained at the time. At any rate, he didn't stay long, working just seven months for the state. He was then hired to work in the office of the city carpenters' union by its heavily mob-affiliated (and soon to be convicted) president, Fred Devine.

At the time, Devine was fending off criticism for having appointed a carpenter named Anthony Fiorino to oversee union workers at the state-owned Jacob Javits Convention Center. Fiorino was literally married to the mob: His sister was wed to Bellomo, the mob capo spotted driving a Worth Construction car. In addition, Fiorino's brother Gerald was partners in a company with Joe Pontoriero (their other partner was an alleged Genovese soldier and businessman).

In 1995, Joe Pontoriero stopped by the Javits Center to see state officials there. What he wanted, he explained, was for them to give Anthony Fiorino a break, and drop their efforts to remove him from his post. "You could do me a big favor here," Pontoriero said, according to sources. "This really means a lot to me."

The pitch didn't work. Anthony Fiorino was bounced from the Javits Center along with scores of other mob-tied employees. As for Michael Pontoriero, he left the carpenters' union in 1997. Since then he has worked for the family business. Records indicate he's done well, acquiring two multimillion-dollar properties in his hometown of Greenwich with financing help from Worth, and racing Ferraris in his spare time. He faces other potential problems, however.

In the midst of the Waterbury investigation, federal agents raided Michael Pontoriero's home, where, under his bed, according to law enforcement sources, some $100,000 in checks made out to a city carpenters' union local were discovered. At the time, Michael Pontoriero's girlfriend, whom he later married, was working in the union local's office. Although sources said the investigation is ongoing, no charges have been pressed. A spokeswoman for the Pontorieros did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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