05 May

Mafia Economics: The connection between the mafia and the garbage industry, in cities like New York, and Chicago with Mafia families, including the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, and Bonanno crime families, have historically sought to control various industries for profit, including waste management. The mob got their start into trash in the mid-20th century when many cities stopped collecting commercial waste and left businesses to find private haulers. 

These men saw an opportunity, and either started or took over hauling firms. Within a city, crews would divvy up routes, rig contract bids and convince non-mob haulers and customers in order to control the industry. Soon, gangsters, mostly from Italian- and Irish American crime families, had monopolies on trash collection all over the Northeast and upper Midwest.

 The so-called “garbage mobsters” who ran these operations often falsified paperwork and tampered with waste scales, sometimes to skim profits from the business, and sometimes to hide dirty money . Crew bosses and members often got no-work, no-show “consulting” positions at the firms, which gave them a legit job to put on their tax return and explain their income. 

They would find a business that’s easy to enter and lucrative to control. The mob created a monopoly on garbage collection, an attractive because the business itself is legal, and public contracts return big profits. Compared with something like running a casino, the management of taking trash from Point A to Point B was a straightforward decision. Anyone with a truck and a couple of healthy guys can make good money, and there’s always a demand for the service. 

The organization took part in many other legal businesses, such as funeral homes, labor unions, and employee associations. The mob is a business, and, like any other business organization, they always look for the best opportunities and the best bang for their buck.

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