Just Like Old Times: Garbage Hauler Linked to Gambinos Gets Grilled

New York City's private carting industry is the focus of ongoing probes of two garbage haulers following a number of fatal accidents caused by garbage trucks either losing tires or crashing into people.

Joe Gallo, former Gambino consiglieri 

New York City's Business Integrity Commission (BIC), which licenses and regulates private sanitation companies, is investigating New Jersey-based Century Waste Services, which was once linked to an associate of the Gambino crime family.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey also is investigating Century Waste Services to learn how it scored $2.7 million in contracts since 2014.

Century Waste’s headquarters are located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on property owned by Frank Savino, the father of the current owner of Century, raising questions about to what extent Frank Savino may be involved in an industry that BIC expressly barred him from in 1998 as part of a plea agreement with the Manhattan district attorney.

Savino got caught up in a major crackdown of the New York Mafia's influence and corruption of the private waste hauling business, as ProPublica reported. The probe found that he had employed Vito Pesce, an alleged associate of the Gambino crime family, as director of operations. (An uncle of the current owner also was banned.)

Pesce admitted during testimony that he “had a close relationship” with reputed Gambino member Joseph C. Gallo, according to BIC records. Gallo’s late father, Joseph N. Gallo, was once the Gambino crime family’s consigliere until Salvatore (Sammy The Bull) Gravano replaced him following the 1985 assassination of Paul Castellano. Pesce testified that he used his friendship with the younger Gallo “to obtain waste removal accounts for the Savino companies,” according to a 2015 BIC report.

Savino and "other members of his family" ran several trash hauling companies in New York City two decades ago. "In the late 1990s, as part of a racketeering case brought by the Manhattan DA’s office, prosecutors charged Savino with conspiracy to form a monopoly. Savino eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor — criminal facilitation. In order to sell the family companies, he agreed to a lifetime ban from the private trash industry," ProPublica reported.

The probes of Century Waste Services follow BIC's emergency suspension last week of Bronx-based Sanitation Salvage, another carting company, which was involved in two deadly crashes since November 2017. Sanitation Salvage's record also includes some 58 collisions involving its trucks since March 2016.

New York City's BIC has conducted several organized crime investigations in recent years, including the 2010 murder of Luchese associate James Donovan for which Luigi Grasso and Richard Riccardi were found guilty and given heavy prison time. They were convicted primarily because of the testimony of another wiseguy who flipped -- and was the one who actually fired the shot that killed Donovan in what was allegedly supposed to have been a robbery. (While in jail  Grasso actually saved another inmate's life while awaiting sentencing for a gun charge. You can't make this stuff up, honestly.)

And despite law enforcement's efforts to keep mobsters out of New York's sanitation business, in 2013, the FBI and NYPD rounded up mobsters connected to three of New York's five crime families in a series of predawn raids based on indictments charging extortion and other federal crimes related to the garbage-hauling business.