-- New Yorks Rudolph Giuliani has been a law-and-order mayor, but a new book probing his life alleges that his father served prison time and was tied to the mob.
By Peter Dizikes ABCNEWS.com NEW YORK, July 6 — New York’s law-and-order mayor, Rudolph Giuliani has long credited his father with passing on the values that have made him a success. But a new book now claims that Giuliani’s father served time for armed robbery and had ties to organized crime.
The book, Rudy: An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, by Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett, contains a string of claims about Gotham’s controversial mayor and his family.
According to Barrett, Harold Giuliani served a one-and-a-half year term in Sing Sing prison after robbing a milkman at gunpoint in 1934, a decade before his son, the mayor-to-be, was born.
Rudy also alleges that Harold Giuliani served as the “muscle” for a loan-sharking outfit, claiming that he “broke legs, smashed kneecaps [and] crunched noses” in the 1950s — even taking part in a gunfight on a Brooklyn street in the 1960s.
But Barrett did not find any direct dealings between the mayor and organized crime figures.
“I think Harold Giuliani went out of his way to protect his son from that environment,” Barrett told ABCNEWS. “Rudy has said he was taught to hate the mob when he was growing up.”
Barrett’s book also chronicles Giuliani’s romantic life and relationships with two women that led to a very public separation from his wife, actress and television host Donna Hanover.
Mayor Refuses Comment Mayor Giuliani became irritated with reporters when asked about the book on Tuesday, and defended the memory of his father.
“He taught me enormously important lessons, including the lesson of being honest, which I’ve practiced all my life,” Giuliani said.
Asked about Barrett’s book Wednesday, the mayor’s spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, said that “The mayor hasn’t seen this and therefore he has no comment.”
But Giuliani did not specifically deny anything reported in the book. The Web site The Smoking Gun has since posted a document showing Harold Giuliani’s prison record. (See Web links at right)
Giuliani has invoked the memory of his father in public before. On April 27, while announcing that he had prostate cancer — the same illness that killed Harold Giuliani at age 73 in 1981 — Giuliani said the thought of cancer “brings up very painful memories, and I miss my father every day of my life.”
Timed for Abandoned Campaign Barrett’s book is one of two intended to have been released during Giuliani’s attention-grabbing New York Senate campaign against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The other, Rudy Giuliani: Emperor of the City, by Andrew Kirtzman, a television reporter for the cable channel NY1, is also scheduled to hit the bookstores next week.
However, Giuliani withdrew from the race on May 19, citing the need to treat his prostate cancer. Many political observers felt the mayor’s marital problems played a role in his decision as well. Giuliani was quickly replaced as the Republican candidate by Rep. Rick Lazio of Long Island.
Barrett thinks that Giuliani’s Senate ambitions were fueled by his life-long goal of ultimately becoming president, and notes, “The fastest way for him to get there was to beat Hillary Clinton.”
There has also been speculation that Giuliani, whose tenure as mayor will end in 2001 due to term limits, is interested in a gubernatorial run in New York the following year — assuming Gov. George Pataki elects not to run again.
“His fate is now in the hands of other people,” says Barrett. “There is no way he could beat Pataki in a state-wide primary.”