A reputed Gambino captain was among two dozen people busted in a sprawling, multi-million dollar construction kickback scheme that affected several significant high-rise construction projects in Manhattan, authorities said Wednesday.
Frank Camuso, 59, was busted alongside ringleader Robert Basilice, who as the vice president of a construction management firm illegally steered property developers to subcontractors he was conspiring with, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.
As part of the plot, Basilice gave inside info about competitors’ bids to his co-conspirators and directed subcontractors to raise their offers to an amount that would allow him to pocket a kickback.
A portion of the payoff made its way to companies owned by Camuso “and his family,” according to a statement from District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Projects touched by the eight-year scheme include the FiDi Hotel, the citizenM New York Bowery Hotel and the Fifth Avenue Hotel, according to the statement.
A source familiar with Camuso told The Post he’s a well-respected member of the Gambinos who has been involved in the construction business for years.
“He has remained under the radar,” the source said. “He is not flashy.”
The wiseguy previously worked for Joe “Joe the Blond” Giordano, a former Gambino capo and close confidant of John Gotti who died in prison in 2013, the source added.
The arrests were made after an investigation by the DA’s Rackets Bureau, the Department of Investigation, and the NYPD.
“Bribery and kickbacks should not be costs of doing business in this City,” DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber said in a statement. “This Indictment shows that construction firms in this City must operate with honesty and integrity or face the consequences.”
Bragg added: “When the bidding process is rigged, we all lose. The market suffers from a lack of quality competition, developers are prevented from hiring the best companies at fair prices, and – importantly – honest, law-abiding companies are pushed out by those that broke the law.”
Additional reporting by Ben Feuerherd
This article was originally posted here