Chicago Boss' Indictment Taints Wisconsin Casino

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A possible Indian casino in Kenosha, Wis., faces a new roadblock because of a party's links to a Laborers' Int'l Union of No. Am. scandal in Chicago. State regulators -- who have almost absolute authority to approve or deny the casino -- said they'd investigate whether Morgan Murphy, the casino's driving force, is too closely linked to recently indicted LIUNA boss John Serpico. At issue is the fact that Serpico and Murphy once owned a Chicago TV studio later sold to Oprah Winfrey. Serpico, was charged in Aug. with money laundering, racketeering and fraud.

The federal investigators allege that in 1987 the studio owned by Serpico and a person identified as "Individual A" received about $2 million in allegedly corrupt bank loans. In 1987, Murphy was the president of Studio Network Inc., and Serpico was the firm's only other officer listed on its annual report. Murphy is presumed to by Individual A. Robert D. Boyle, Murphy's law partner, said Aug. 25 that Serpico was the firm's only other investor. A year or two later, Boyle said, he bought Serpico's share of Studio Network. It seems Murphy, ex-Democratic Congressman from Ill., was bothered both by Serpico's inability to contribute needed capital and with his well-publicized testimony about his mob connections. Reportedly, when Serpico and Murphy bought the studio in 1983, the investors included John Crededio, who was jailed in 1984 for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating his ties to top syndicate bosses. Murphy later bought out Crededio.

Murphy is not charged with any wrongdoing, and Serpico is not an investor in NII-JII Entertainment, Murphy's current enterprise that wants to finance and run the Menominee Indian casino. [Milwaukee J.-Sent. 8/26/99]