“This isn’t the first time a thing like this has been said against me, and I guess it won’t be the last time as long as my name is Scotto and not Schwartz or O’Hara,” Mr. Scotto said in rejecting the allegation.
Undeniably, Mr. Scotto was vulnerable to guilt by association. Although his father-in-law, Mr. Anastasio, was never convicted of a serious crime, no one disputed that he had earned his nickname, Tough Tony. And Mr. Anastasio’s older brother was the much feared Albert Anastasia, a mob boss and hit man who was said to have run the Mafia’s Murder Inc. gang and who had also worked on the docks. (Albert spelled his surname with an “a” at the end.)
Anthony Michael Scotto, a son and grandson of dock workers, was born on May 10, 1934, in Brooklyn. He graduated from St. Francis Preparatory High School there and began working on the docks while attending Brooklyn College. He had his eye on law school until dropping out of Brooklyn after his second year.
He also began dating Anthony Anastasio’s daughter, Marion, whom he married in 1957. The guests at the Plaza Hotel wedding reception included Joseph Profaci, founder of what became the Colombo crime family; Carmine Lombardozzi, a top Gambino lieutenant; and Albert Anastasia, who months later would be shot dead in a Manhattan hotel barbershop.
Mr. Scotto befriended politicians in New York City, Albany and Washington and toured Brooklyn with Jimmy Carter during Mr. Carter’s successful run for president in 1976. Yet he remained under suspicion. In 1970, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right by refusing to answer questions before a committee of the New York State Legislature on whether he was a member of the Mafia.
In the mid-1960s, when he managed social activities at a New Jersey country club after it was bought by a real estate company co-owned by his wife, he became uncomfortable when suspected mobsters, including Thomas Eboli, a reputed underboss in the Genovese crime family, would show up. He would ask them to tee off elsewhere.
In 1979, federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained a 70-count indictment charging Mr. Scotto and others with labor racketeering and tax evasion. He was accused of extorting more than $200,000 from executives of waterfront companies in return for steering business their way and reducing the number of accident claims filed by longshoremen.