OBITUARIES / John Cody, 79, Teamsters Union Leader, Crime Figure

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John Cody, who federal investigators said helped organized

crime figures extort the construction industry from Montauk to Manhattan in the

1970s and 1980s, died Tuesday of Alzheimer's disease at his home in Seaford.

He was 79.

Cody was the longtime head of Teamsters Local 282 in Elmont, now in Lake

Success. The union's 3,000 members drive the trucks that deliver concrete and

building supplies to many construction sites in the metropolitan area.

"I believe he did a lot for the union...His union membership made a good

living," said Cody's son, Michael of Greenport.

While reformers fought Cody for control of the union for decades, FBI

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agents and federal prosecutors sent him to prison, once in the 1980s for

racketeering and once in the 1990s for plotting to murder a rival who had taken

over the union during Cody's earlier imprisonment.

Yesterday, however, at least one longtime Cody foe was reluctant to say

anything against him. "We were no friends, but any remarks would not be

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appropriate´┐Ż" said Lee Olson, a former member of the local.

Cody grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and began working as a

trucker's helper at age 15. He was released from prison the first time in 1947,

after serving 7 years in reform school and then state prison on burglary

charges, according to court records.

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Michael Cody said his father was released from federal prison after several

months in 1993 because of his Alzheimer's condition. Cody had faced up to 30

more months in prison for hiring someone to murder his successor at the

Teamster's local. The murder plot was never carried out.

In 1995, a court-appointed officer and counsel were installed by a federal

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judge to oversee the union with the aim of eliminating organized crime

influence. Federal prosecutors had charged that the Gambino crime family

controlled the union, ignored labor agreements and extorted money from

contractors in return for labor peace.

Besides his son, survivors include his daughter, Theresa, and another son,

John Jr., both of Seaford, and six grandchildren. Services are scheduled for 9

a.m. tomorrow at St. William the Abbot Roman Catholic Church in Seaford. Burial

will follow at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.

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