Family Ties Pay in New York’s Local 282

Michael Menechino, son of an admitted mob figure, collected more than $500,000 in pay during the six-year renovation of Erasmus High School in Brooklyn amid allegations from the contractor and others that he was rarely on the job. Payroll and union records show that from Jul. 1992 to Mar. 1999, Menechino was listed as the onsite steward for Teamsters Local 282.

Reportedly, veteran stewards earn as much as $100,000 a year. But Menechino never worked as a driver and owed his appointment to the Gambino crime family, according to court documents. The documents detail how his father, Peter Menechino, Sr., who was ousted from the Teamsters for mob ties, admitted to delivering shakedown payments and information between corrupt union bosses and ex-Gambino boss, Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano. The father told prosecutors how he arranged onsite steward posts for mob-approved members and reportedly his sons, Michael and Peter, Jr., were included. Gravano, now a government informant, said the mob desired friendly stewards who could be bribed to overlook contract violations.

The union acknowledges that the project contractor complained that Menechino was collecting large payments but was rarely on the job. But Local 282 trustee Gary LaBarbera and court-appointed corruption officer Robert Machado claim that the charges were false. LaBarbera claims the contractor complaint was “a maneuver” to avoid paying Menechino.

The charges were echoed by three union members at the site. Lee Olson, a long-time union dissident, said, “The mob’s system remains largely intact.”

Note further that after the Erasmus job ended in Mar. 1999, LaBarbera and Machado immediately got Menechino another steward job where he earns $29 an hour plus benefits and overtime. The Daily News asked Menechino how he got the new position; he said: “I can’t give any interviews at the moment.” [Daily News 4/19/99]