8/16/08

RICO brings ex-Teamster big to heel

Hoffa faced with massive mob-corruption cleanup

A contempt-of-court hearing for accused video-gambling racketeer John Neal was canceled Friday after he agreed to mediation. Through a RICO lawsuit, Special Prosecutor Kit Crane is seeking forfeiture of millions of dollars in cash and other assets reportedly belonging to Neal. RICO is the racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations law.

Crane's attorney, Greg Garrison, asked Special Judge Steve Nation to find Neal in contempt of court after he did not appear for a July 17 mediation session that he had been ordered to attend.

A hearing on Garrison's motion was scheduled before the judge beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.

Neal and his daughter/co-defendant Vicky Massey appeared in court with their lawyers Richard Kammen and Donald McClellan.

But after lawyers for both sides met in a private room and reached an agreement, the hearing was canceled.

In an interview, Garrison said the parties agreed to ask the court to withhold a ruling on Garrison's renewed motion for summary judgment while the parties sought to end the lawsuit through mediation.

As a result of the agreement to go to mediation, the issue of contempt of court became moot, Garrison said.

No date has been set for the mediation.

In 2000, Neal, a rural Yorktown tavern owner and retired head of the Teamsters union in Indiana, pleaded guilty in federal court to operating an illegal gambling business, conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and money laundering, for which he was sentenced to 42 months in prison. He was returned to prison for violating supervised release but is now completing his sentence at a halfway house.

He is also defending himself against the racketeering lawsuit as well as 71 counts of gambling, money laundering and corrupt business influence in Madison County.

(thestarpress.com)

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