How Could I Tell If My Trash Collection Company Is Mob-Owned/Controlled?

Having become a “Sopranos” junkie, I wonder how I could go about researching the firm that my city hires to do the trash collection?
There are a couple of giants in the industry (Waste Manangement is one), but my city has a smaller firm.
If it is a corporation, what would I look for in its filings with the state?
Would an owner like Tony Soprano be able to hide his ownership of a corporation?
Incidentally, the Mob does have a strong presence in this industry-I read once about a guy in NJ-who decided to get into this line of work-he put in bids, and got some contracts…but later “decided” NOT to do this-evidently, he received a visit from a guy who “convinced” him that entering the business would not be a good idea!:smiley:

You can hide ownership of a corporation, but not your status as a principal or registered agent. Every state I’m aware of requires that entities incorporated in that state include that information on their annual reports.

The easiest way is to go around accusing them of being mob-controlled/owned, and see if you end up taking a ride in the back of one of their trucks.

I think the horse head in your bed when you’re overdue with your fees would be a dead giveaway.

When the garbageman mentions, “That’s a nice house you have there…You wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.”

The “Registered Agent” is simply a person, usually an attorney, who is recorded as the official point of contact when any entity, government or otherwise, needs to make official contact with the corp.

My wife is RA for a hundred or so corps, all pretty small. Her office gets served with subpoenas and court paperwork all the time. Likewise official-looking letters from various government entities like the State Licensing Board for Taxidermists.

Finding the RA wouldn’t necessarily get you any closer to whoever owns the corp, nor whether any of the owners have “unorthodox” business practices. Now if the RA was an attorney well known for his/her mob connections, that might be a clue.
The “annual reports” of a non-publicly traded corporation are pretty useless to an amatuer sleuth. There’s no financial info at all. It’s possible to hide or at least obfuscate a bunch of the ownership information completely legally. Not to mention that a criminal enterprise need not actually distribute profits acording to the legally registered shareholdings; they’re crooks, they’ll do what they want & write the books to look good enough to pass muster. The shareholder register can be cooked just as thoroughly as the P&L.

Is it really true that organized crime is particularly heavily involved in the garbage collection industry, or is this just an urban myth?

If it is true, why? Why should the mob be more heavily invested in the perfectly legitimate business of garbage collection rather than, say, the business of selling fancy baked goods, or shipbuilding, or dry cleaning?

The answer seems to be partly that garbage is an industry where corruption is a way of significantly increasing profits. Municipalities engage garbage contractors on large very well paid contracts, thus corruption of the tender process is a good start, which can start with elected and unelected officials in government. Then garbage is heavily regulated. Especially hazardous and toxic wastes. Disposal to meet the ever tightening regulations becomes ever more difficult and expensive. So the cost of having your waste and garbage correctly disposed of goes up and up. However if you have a totally corrupted system, trucks simply dump any waste in whatever disposal they can find, the various inspectors are paid off, and everyone involved knows they are acting criminally. But the profits become huge. Thus a classic target for organised crime. Indeed a perfect exemplar.

ooooo I can answer that =)

See, garbage collection goes on, and we ignore it. We put it out at the kerb and it goes away. Home disposal is very different from commercial disposal.

What happens when you are Sicilian Gardens in Brooklyn? You just bought this spiffy little spaghetti joint. Ignoring making contracts with food suppliers, laundry companies to wash your uniforms and table linens [another mob type business] waiters union, kitchen staffing … WASTE DISPOSAL The city department of health has decreed that [for sake of argument] you have got to have your kitchen waste hauled 3 times per week, but it is OK to haul the cardboard only once. You have to make a separate contract with a grease hauler for the fry oil removal.

So you call around. Funny, Waste Management seems to be the only commercial hauler available in your area. So you need to arrange a cardboard dumpster and a food dumpster. You get given a price that covers 1x cardboard and 3x garbage. You need to arrange a lockbar for them to keep dumpster divers out, and also people randomly dumping their garbage into your can. If the city wanders past and your can overfloweth, you need to arrange another haul off schedule. If you want to redecorate, you need a C&D rolloff.

Going by my random memory from 3 years ago, when I last wrote contracts with a hauling company, you may get charged $150 a month for the cardboard and trash basic haul, with $45 per extra garbage haul, $35 per cardboard haul, if the cardboard has food mixed in with it, it gets hauled at garbage rate because it can not go to a recycler. A C&D would be a base $250 with a charge of $150 per haul, and if someone dumps an appliance or mattress that needs to get hauled, that would be a different set of charges.

Now, if you are shaking down the owner of Sicillian Gardens, all you need to do is mark down a few extra hauls. If you are shaking down a total stranger, you mark down a few extra hauls here and there, slipping them into various customers files.

If you need to launder a few hundred thousand, you just add a few virtual pickups or contract modifications and additions scattered around your files. Who can remember if they got a 4th pickup last May?

I was actually on the phone with a hauler when the FBI came into his office and arrested him … I heard him tell the secretary to have his lawyer come and bail him out :eek::dubious::smiley:

I don’t know. But I had a female friend in high school whose mother worked for the city’s trash collection company. It may have been Waste Management; I forget. Anyway, she said matter-of-factly that her company was run by the mafia. She said to be thankful for this, since trash collection would triple in price if it were a straight-n-legal company.

I’m actually involved in the garbage business, and I’ve got to say, this is not the place I would want to go if I wanted to illegally make a really large amount of money. The corporation for which I work labors under too much scrutiny from too many eyes to get away with very much for very long. If it’s not too much of a hijack, I would like to ask how exactly the Soprano family’s trash company fits into its criminal enterprises (I’ve never seen the show, but I’ve got the first season somewhere on my NetFlix queue).

For the record, to the best of my knowledge the company for which I currently work has no involvement with organized crime. Given my position at Cecil’s Sanitation, I suppose a relationship with the Soprano family could exist without my knowledge, though I find this doubtful. From my perspective in the business (and admittedly, this perspective is not from the top), it seems that we on the inside watch each other even more intently than those on the outside watch us.

THE Cecil? Oh, chum, it’s worse than you could possibly imagine.

Never been with one of the big boys like Waste Management, or Wasteless [Canadian company] or Violia?

Actually if I wanted to launder a bunch of money, I would get a franchise to a company like 1 800 got junk. just add a few runs that didn’t actually exist, and you are golden.

Depends on where you live. If it is Connecticut, then until recently, yes, your trash company was mob controlled.

CS a big boy? Not sure. Medium boy would perhaps be fair.

I found it absolutely hysterical that Violia has a european presence … I found Violia cans in Germany and Holland, and just after I got back a Romanian buddy sent me a picture of a Romainan Violia can =)

I have a bit of a different viewpoint, having worked for a brokerage in contract compliance [and then as a forensic accountant] I worked with every type of company from a one town mom n pop to the big dogs - waste management and violia just as examples. I will admit I really liked working with smaller companies up to midrange companies. You got to be really customizable with the contracts, they were much nicer to negotiate with.

If you live outside NY,NJ and CT I think the odds are not good the mob is involved.

It’s because garbage is the one resource no one ever thinks to protect!

Mr. Sender: Yet, without it, every Hefty bag, every trash compactor, every rubbish bin in America… would be useless!

Similarly, if you DO live there, it’s the mob.

Well, Waste Management was forced to divest in CT … there are now [theoretically] 6 or 7 haulers that bought the different CT divisions of WMI.