America's Most Powerful Labor Racketeer

Anthony Scotto, left, lawyer James LaRossa.

The son of TV news anchor ­Rosanna Scotto made news last week when he was arrested on charges of swiping an expensive designer purse. What garnered our interest was a note at the end of the New York Post Page Six story:

[Rosanna] Scotto, 58, is co-anchor of WNYW/Channel 5’s “Good Day New York” ... [and] is co-owner of her family’s restaurant, Fresco by Scotto, on East 52nd Street. She is also the daughter of Anthony Scotto, a former boss in the Gambino crime family....

Scotto, while never the boss of the crime family, was a powerful figure in his own right. His story heralds an earlier era of America's Cosa Nostra, when mobsters were able to discreetly rise high in big business. Scotto is considered to have been the most powerful labor racketeer in the entire country in his heyday in the 1960s-70s. He earned two additional distinctions nearly unbelievable today: He once lectured at Harvard and was considered by a sitting American President for the powerful position of U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Anthony M. Scotto (born May 10, 1934) was a labor racketeer who ruled the Brooklyn waterfront. He had mayors and even a governor or two in his pocket at one time or another and -- at his peak, before his first and only conviction at age 45, which ushered in his early retirement -- he was a vice president of the International Longshoremen's Association, as well as the head of Local 1814 in Brooklyn.

Time magazine described Scotto as a "personable and articulate man who favored $500 pinstripe suits and expensive Manhattan restaurants."

A 1979 New York Times article revealed a great deal of biographical information about the low-profile gangster. Scotto, who was raised in the Red Hook-Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, studied law and political science at Brooklyn College and, according to John H. Davis's Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family, graduated.

Lost in thought: Albert Anastasia (the "Lord High Executioner" himself)
with his wife at a social event.

In 1957, he married Marion Anastasio, whose father was Anthony Anastasio, then a capo in the Anastasia crime family under his brother, Albert Anastasia, the much-feared former organizer of Murder Inc.who assumed power by ruthlessly murdering Vincent Mangano, who'd been boss of the crime family from 1931 to 1951. Carlo Gambino launched his own coup against the "Mad Hatter" the same year "Young Tony," Scotto's then-nickname, married. (Appalachin took place as well.)

While Anastasio didn't mount a plot to avenge his brother's murder (as far as we know), he wasn't exactly on board with Gambino, either. "Tough Tony" even held back substantial sums of money from the wily new mob boss. Anastasio, as an officer of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and Local 1814 in Red Hook, wielded immense power because he effectively controlled the Brooklyn waterfront.

It wasn't until 1963, when "Tough Tony" died and Scotto -- who worked the docks with his father-in-law since Scotto's 1957 marriage to Marion -- took control of the ILA local that Carlo Gambino was truly in control of the Brooklyn waterfront. 

A grateful Gambino inducted Scotto into the family around the same time.

Scotto quickly rose in business and eventually counted politicians as part of his circle. His credo was to instill "harmony" on the waterfront. The press dubbed him a "new breed labor leader."

Scotto eventually attained the third-highest position in the labor union.

By the 1970s Scotto was considered to be one of the most powerful mafiosi in New York due to his political clout. He even enjoyed a friendship with U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, a man most mobsters considered a mortal enemy.

That same decade, Scotto was twice named as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He also was said to have raised millions for Democratic candidate Hugh Carey's 1974 gubernatorial campaign. Scotto reportedly dealt with Carey several time regarding political appointments and labor issues.

Scotto, under Gambino's orders, closed the docks so the workers could participate in Joseph Colombo's Unity Day rally. Around 150,000 people showed up in Columbus Circle in New York City on that June day in 1970. The participants included U.S. Congressmen and several prominent entertainers. 

About one year later, Scotto kept the waterfront open, also under orders, as Gambino had withdrawn his initial reluctant acceptance of Colombo's "civil rights" effort. Colombo was shot in the head during the second rally and lingered on in a coma before finally dying in 1978.
President Jimmy Carter considered Scotto a candidate for the position of U.S. Secretary of Labor. Carlo Gambino had been planning to make Scotto president of the entire ILA as well.

Gambino died and Paul Castellano ascended to the top in the fall of 1976. Big Paul, who believed he was made from the same white-collar mold as Scotto, was planning to go forward with Gambino's wishes of promoting Scotto. "We're gonna have a president," Castellano boasted on tape, referring to Scotto's taking control of the entire ILA, according to Mafia Dynasty.

Criminal charges tainted the man before he could reach the lofty pinnacle, however. On January 17, 1979, Scotto was indicted on 33 federal bribery and racketeering charges, including pocketing some $300,000 over five years from two businessmen who employed his union workers.

Later that year, he was convicted on all charges.

At his sentencing US District Judge Charles E. Stewart, Jr. remarked that he was "extremely impressed" by letters from former New York City mayors Robert Wagner and John Lindsay, as well as major businessmen, and labor leaders -- all of whom had requested leniency for Scotto. On January 22, 1980, Stewart bypassed a 20-year imprisonment sentence and was handed five years instead.

Scotto was released in 1984 and has not been indicted since then. A reliable source told us he decided to retire. Still, turncoat Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano named Scotto as a member of the Gambino crime family in the 1990s.

After Castellano's assassination in 1986, John Gotti appointed Red Hook mobster Anthony Ciccone to be his chief on the Brooklyn waterfront. Ciccone was visibly in power until December 19, 1991, when he was compelled by the feds to resign his posts with the ILA.

He remained the "unofficial power" though for quite some time, in fact long after Gotti was off the streets. On June 4, 2002, Ciccone was indicted on charges of exerting illegal control over two ILA locals.

Ciccone, also accused of attempting to extort actor Steven Seagal, was released from prison on April 24, 2013.

PS: Former Rep. Michael Grimm obviously had no idea who that NY1 reporter was when he threatened to throw him from the US Capitol balcony and “break [him] in half. Like a boy.” The journalist, Michael Scotto, is Anthony Scotto's nephew.


  1. What a nice story.I especially like the PS on the former rep. and bully Mr. Grimm. Wonder if he knew then what we know now about the young reporter. What fate would await Mr. Grimm if the young reporter were to be "broken in half like a little boy". Anyway, what is Mr. Scotto doing these days ?

  2. Yes, great article Ed. I know who the Scottos are. There's more of them involved in CN though then mentioned here too I think. Isn't there another one active with the Gambinos Big Billy Scotto?

  3. That's a serious family tree right there! Bet Grimm shit bricks when he found out who he had threatened. Another good read Ed

  4. Thats Anthony anastasio not Anthony scotto

  5. Change the pic ed , it's not scotto

  6. I appreciate your feedback. I'll double check but Anastasio died in 1963 and the pic appears to be much more contemporary. Thanks.

  7. Just in case, I did change. I appreciate your comment.

  8. Interesting pic of a seemingly contemplative Anastasia. In my opinion, anyway. Yes, Scotto has relatives in the mob. And in my field, journalism..... if there's enough interest I'll follow up but a mobster who lectured at Harvard and was considered a possible contender for a position in an American President's cabinet is what made this of interest to me.....

  9. Thats why Greg and Rosanna make such a great male one female one irish one italian one the daughter of a former mob boss and the other the son of a former police commissioner. THATS new york for ya.

  10. But is the scotto who Grimm threatened even connected? How many full or half or quarter Italians in this country have a mobster in their background? Here in az our governor Doug doocey had a liberal rag do a hit job on him because his great uncle had ties to the Milwaukee family sixty years ago or something equally absurd. I read an article last year about these kids who won the amazing race tv show and they had a grandfather who was part of the outfit. Looks at that gay football player whose boyfriend's dad, uncles and grandad as were leaders of the Kansas city mob? Think of the kids and grandkids of old man bonnano who have absolutely nothing to do with the family that still bears the family name. I bet this scotto kid, no disrespect to hi, but probably has an Irish or Jewish mom and would get eaten alive if thrown into the mob world that spawned his great uncle and grandfather or whoever was in the mob. I might be wrong, of course....

  11. Sometimes I think the intermarriage of Irish and Italians actually formed a whole new race it seems to have been and still is so common....

  12. Anthony Scotto is a class act, he became almost invisible when John Gotti became boss, because John had an obsessive hatred of Tony Scotto. Jealousy was the obvious reason. He happens to be a nice nice guy

  13. I'm a lifetime New York guy. I watch Rosanna scotto forever and I had no clue .... Am I alone here or what?

  14. You were 100% correct. Toto Anastasio ....

  15. No. He isn't... I was making a joke... A lame one but still a joke....

  16. Didn't that guy Toto kill himself after he received a couple of years in a racketeering case some years back? And Big Billy Scotto was part of the same case if I remember right. Also seems the relatives of the guys that we're shaking down the ports 60 or 70 years ago hold important positions in the unions today. Guess once you get a foot in the ports your sons and nephews will forever have high paying gigs. Just a thought

  17. Says at the end of the article that the reporter is his nephew.

  18. And a thought I agree with. Toto committed suicide while on trial. I heard something about Billy I need to confirm before I write.

  19. I have no idea what I was referring to either, Mike. LOL! It was to Hawkman, not you, but I still don't get it!!!!!



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