An executive who led what was once one of the country's biggest electrical wiring companies pleaded guilty Friday to making secret payments to a disgraced New York labor boss.
Santo "Sandy" Petrocelli Sr., 74, of the Queens based Petrocelli Electric Company, told a judge in federal court in Manhattan that he gave bags of cash to Brian McLaughlin to keep peace with his work force.
Petrocelli had been accused of making "repeated cash payments to a business representative" of the electrical workers union and letting him drive a leased Crown Victoria for two months, officials announced.
McLaughlin, a former state assemblyman and head of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, "asked for it," Petrocelli said. "He controlled all the labor.''
For years, Petrocelli Electric was New York City's biggest street light contractor, but it was shut out of city work two years ago after the city Department of Investigation and federal officials began investigating corruption and bid-rigging allegations.
"The charges expose the relationship between the contractor and union official for what it was - a long-running partnership of corruption," Rose Gill Hearn, commissioner of the city's Department of Investigation, said earlier this year. "That conduct is unacceptable and the contractor has not held a City contract for more than two years."
McLaughlin was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to racketeering charges alleging he secretly skimmed $2.2 million from various sources.
Petrocelli faces up to 12 months in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 5.