Reputed Chicago Mobster Charged with Rigging Forklift Bids for Two Major Trade Shows

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – A suburban Chicago man who was identified by Federal prosecutors as a member of organized crime pleaded innocent March 12 to charges he took part in a bid-rigging scheme in 2006 involving forklift services provided by GES, then known as GES Exposition Services, for two major shows held at McCormick Place.

Rudolph Carmen Fratto, 66, of Darien, IL, was charged with one count of mail fraud along with William Anthony Degironemo, who owned MidStates Equipment Rentals and Sales, Inc. in 2006 when the alleged bid-rigging took place.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago said the pair allegedly used inside information from an unnamed consultant to GES Exposition Services now known as GES, Global Experience Specialists, to win forklift contracts from GES for the 2006 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS)and National Plastics Exposition (NPE). GES was not implicated in the alleged wrongdoing; neither was McCormick Place nor the two shows. GES told Trade  Show Executive  that they fully cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation.

The indictment stated that the unnamed GES consultant, referred to in the indictment as “Individual A,” had previously owned a trade show company in Chicago in which purported members of the Cleveland mob had invested around $350,000 in 2001 and 2002. When the firm went out of business in 2003, the Ohio mobsters re-characterized the investment as a loan and pressured the owner for repayment. Individual A contacted law enforcement and cooperated in the investigation.

Fratto allegedly told Individual A between July 2005 and October 2008 that he could use his position within the Chicago Outfit to fend off the mobsters in Cleveland. In return, Individual A would have to tip Fratto and Degironemo about the non-public bids other companies had submitted to GES for forklift services for IMTS and NPE. As part of his consulting job, Individual A was part of a GES committee that selected the winner of the forklift subcontract and had signed a confidentiality agreement prohibiting him from disclosing information about bids.

Based on information from Individual A, MidStates was able to submit the low bid and win the subcontracts despite having no previous track record as a forklift provider, the indictment said.

Trade Show Executive has learned from reliable sources close to the investigation that Individual A, a consultant for GES, was acting as a confidential informant under the direction of Federal law enforcement when he provided “confidential pricing information” from other vendors to Mid-States Equipment Rentals and Sales. Although MidStates was awarded the bid, sources told TSE that when GES completed additional due diligence on the company, GES decided not to sign the contract with MidStates.

Reach Assistant U.S. Attorney Markus Funk at (312) 886-7635 or markus.funk@usdoj.gov