Las Vegas Sun

November 14, 2018

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LV Culinary Union target of mob

Slain labor leader Bramlet ordered beaten

Chicago mobsters ordered slain Culinary Union boss Al Bramlet roughed up because he resisted and international union takeover of the rich local's health-and-welfare fund, a man serving a life prison term for Bramlet's murder said Monday.

Andrew Gramby Hanley, 42, the son of one0time labor organizer Tom Hanley, said Bramlet contacted his father after being beaten and stomped at a Las Vegas bar in 1976.

"They knocked his a-- off the stool and stomped him," he said. "Bramlet then went to the 'old man' (Hanley's term for his father) to see if he could offset and counter the violence. "The old man' told Bramlet no, that it was out of the question. He wasn't about to take on Chicago."

Hanley, currently in the federal secret witness protection program, said Chicago mobsters issued the orders for Bramlet to be roughed up and the "the muscle was provided" through the mob's Las Vegas contacts.

The federal prisoner made the statements to UPI in a telephone interview from Washington, where he is waiting to testify before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation this week. The federal prisoner said he would be uncooperative unless guaranteed his First Amendment rights and an opportunity to talk to new reporters.

Sen. William Roth, R-Del., chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement last week the purpose of the Senate Subcommittee hearing would be to probe operations of union locals in Reno, San Diego, San Jose and Oakland.

The Delaware senator said he was concerned about "recent activities" of the four Nevada and Culinary locals.

"For instance, we would like to know why the international has seen fit to maintain Reno Local 86 under trusteeship for the past eight years," he said.

Hanley said he wanted to be questions by reporters "because their questions will be broader than those of the politicians and because I believe this hearing is part of the systematic demise of organized labor in the United States which started with the air traffic controllers and now the railway union."

"I am not enthusiastic about being party to the demise of labor. I am not saying certain figures of labor don't warrant being removed and some safeguards being put on them because of terrible abuses on members at teh hands of the people that are absconding with millions of dollars. If the members don't know it they have their head in the sand."

One of Hanley's attorneys said Monday that questions provided in advance to be asked the secret witness during the Washington Senate hearings covered:

-Attempts by the international union president to get control of the health-and-welfare fund of the Las Vegas Culinary Local five years ago.

-How or if Anthony Spilotro was involved in the plan.

-Whether a contract existed to kill Bramlet.

-Knowledge about union loans Bramlet made to Morris Shenker.

-Whether Tom Hanley dealt with culinary officials other than Bramlet.

-Elaboration of the elder Hanley's acquaintance with slain mobster Bugsy Siegel.

-And elaboration on information that Bramlet wanted the Hanleys to blow up the Merry-Go-Round at Circus Circus Hotel-Casino because he (Bramlet) was not getting enough of a kickback.

Tom Hanley, who died in federal custody, and his son pleaded guilty in 1978 to first-degree murder in the 1977 slaying of Bramlet. The elder Hanley blamed the murder on drunkenness during his Las Vegas court appearance four years ago. Bramlet, secretary-treasurer of Culinary Local 226, was shot numerous times, stripped of his clothing, and the body was placed under a pile of rocks. He disappeared Feb. 24, 1977. The body was found the next month. The Hanleys were arrested more than a month later at a Phoenix, Ariz., hideout.

Bramlet was murdered the year after a major culinary strike virtually closed the Strip. International Culinary Union President Ed Hanley, no relation to Tom or Gramby Hanley, pressured Bramlet to settle the strike and threatened to put the Las Vegas local into receivership or trusteeship unless he complied, sources who participated in strike negotiations said.

The Labor Department stripped control of the pension fund from culinary trustees in 1977 for allegedly making improper and unsafe loans totaling about $30 million.

Gramby Hanley, a key figure in the bombing of several Las Vegas restaurants that the Culinary Union sought to organize, said Monday he was sitting in the kidnap van when Bramlet was shot.

"I didn't know of a contract (to kill Bramlet). To this day I am dubious," Hanley said Monday.

The Hanleys testified during the federal court trial of Ben Schmoutey, Bramlet's Culinary Union successor, on charges connected with the bombings. Schmoutey was acquitted.

"I am definitely going to go for my First Amendment rights at the Senate hearings and it might get sticky," Hanley said. "I want to be able to meet with the press and be cross-examined by the press and interviewed in a timely fashion. I don't want to participate in anything that is a star chamber in that they hide me from the public."

"If I can't be assured of my freedom of speech then I will be uncooperative. They want me to testify. I didn't volunteer to testify. My rights are all I have left."

"It (the hearing) is one of the steps along the road to deter labor and diminish the viable bargaining process for the working man. I think the (Senate) committee is trying to bring known facts to the public. At the same time, I want to be crossed by the press because they will bring stuff out that the committee won't. Reporters will not be shooting a narrow framework."