Magazine article The American Enterprise

Beating Back the Mob

Magazine article The American Enterprise

Beating Back the Mob

Article excerpt

Steven Malanga, "How to Run the Mob Out of Gotham," in City Journal (Winter 2001), Manhattan Institute, 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, New York 10017.

The crime-fighting efforts of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani have not only made his city safer, but more economically vibrant as well. Manhattan Institute fellow Malanga looks at how tough city and state prosecutors have weakened mob-controlled unions and improved competition in critical city services.

Consider the Jacob Javits Convention Center: According to Malanga, when the center was opened in 1986, "mobbed-up unions" forced the city and New York state to sign contracts which paid electricians, laborers, and carpenters up to three times as much as they would be paid in other cities. Absurd rules dominated; only $80-an-hour electricians, for example, were allowed to plug equipment into sockets. According to the police, the center annually lost nearly $1 million in theft.

By 1995, the center was a money-draining boondoggle that was losing most of its major clients. Republican Governor George Pataki appointed Gerald McQueen, a tough-minded new inspector general. Working with district attorney Robert Morgenthau, McQueen implemented criminal background checks for new employees, restricted the power of most unions to hire new center staff, and renegotiated contracts to eliminate costly work rules. As a result, center revenues have gone from $36 million in 1995 to $100 million in 2000, and it is now profitable. …

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