- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) | Investigators in New York City raided circulation offices at some of the nation’s largest newspapers Tuesday as part of a union corruption probe, a law enforcement official said.

Police officers working with the Manhattan district attorney’s office searched circulation offices of the New York Times in Queens, the New York Post and the Daily News in Manhattan, and El Diario in Brooklyn, the official said, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators were seeking paperwork related to the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union, which packages and delivers newspapers across the region.

Calls to the union’s headquarters were not answered Tuesday. The news deliverers’ parent union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, referred inquiries to the local union.

The New York Times issued a statement saying that the office of an employee at its plant in Queens’ College Point area had been searched but that its news side was not part of the investigation.

Rosana Rosado, publisher of El Diario-La Prensa, also said that the Spanish-language newspaper is not a subject of the investigation and that the search warrant was seeking information into allegations of corruption at the union.

The Daily News and Post declined to comment on the raids or whether their news operations were involved in the investigation.

The 1,600-member union wields considerable power over news companies that rely on their drivers to deliver hundreds of thousands of papers each day, and allegations of connections to organized crime are not new.

District Attorney Robert Morgenthau once charged that the union was under mob control for decades and sought to have a court-appointed trustee take it over in 1992, after an investigation that also involved a search of the Post and Daily News offices.

“The mob has been in control so long that it will take a special master with special powers to clean up the union,” Mr. Morgenthau said then. The union rackets ultimately raised operating costs for newspapers, prosecutors said.

The probe led to criminal charges against union members including President Douglas LaChance, whom authorities accused of being an associate of the Lucchese crime family. He had been convicted of federal labor racketeering charges in 1980 and served about five years of a 12-year sentence.

He was acquitted in the 1990s of strong-arming the Post into switching delivery companies.

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