You know a commodity must be big when the mob muscles in for a piece of the action. A recent New York Daily News article reported that over the past thirty years the Colombo crime family extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from construction site coffee orders. Through their control of the union they forced the coffee boys to pay them huge percentages of the coffee order profits.
The mob also eventually put its members into the job; no one besides their chosen person was allowed to do the job of filling beverage orders from the workers on the New York construction sites under this union’s control. The coffee boys were able to buy their coffee and other beverages at a quantity discount and sell for much more, yielding profits up to $1000 a week for some.
Many a barista with an espresso wagon could tell you there is a large profit margin in coffee drinks. But it’s a labor intensive business and the successful barista puts in a lot of hard work. On the other hand, these mafia coffee boys weren’t doing anything but procuring the coffee. Still the crime family saw the profits and it just shows how coffee has made it as big business. Long gone are the 25 cent cups of coffee, when even black coffee is over a dollar a cup at McDonald’s.
The FBI is now exploring criminal charges against the Colombos for this and other crimes of extortion committed through their union control.