A newspaper publisher in Niagara Falls, New York has come to the defense of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club eight years after 20 members of the club were indicted for racketeering in the wacky Western Federal District of New York.
The Chosen Few case epitomized virtually every other motorcycle club racketeering case brought in the last decade – down to and including the current Rico case against Bandidos Jeff Pike and John Portillo in Texas.
The case was supposedly the fruit of an FBI and ATF investigation into an ongoing biker war between the Chosen Few, Kingsmen and Lonely Ones Motorcycle Clubs and, as usually happens, the case grew dramatically after all the accused were arrested. According to prosecutors, club president Alex “Al” Koschtschuk of built five “pipe bombs in his garage in 2004. The indictment accused a “conspiracy” of six club members of detonating one of the bombs to see if it would work. Then four of those outlaws, including an interesting member named David Ignasiak threw two of the “bombs” at the Lonely Ones clubhouse. Then two of the bombs disappeared. And, then anyone who has followed these cases for awhile can guess what happened next.
Course Of The Case
Five years later,on March 17, 2009, just in time to beat the statute of limitations, the Western District handed down a 10-page indictment. Then a 30-page superceding indictment was unsealed two weeks later. Then a 57-page second superceding indictment was unsealed on May 19. That indictment brought the total of the accused to 20 and most of them were considered so dangerous that they had to be apprehended by Swat. Then in September another, 76-page-long superseding indictment was unsealed. Prosecutors played the usual prosecutorial games for the next two and a half years. Evidence was concealed. Prosecutors lied. The accused were enticed to lie. The judge was repeatedly deceived.
Then on December 3, 2011 – which was a a Saturday afternoon, by the way – the government issued a press release that read: “U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that the Government applied to dismiss the presently pending Indictment in U.S. v. Kotschuk, et al., without prejudice, based upon recently received information. Chief United States District Court Judge William M. Skretny granted the Government’s application.
“‘Our Office moved to dismiss the presently pending Indictment in U.S. v. Kotschuk, et al. in light of information that recently came to light,’ said U.S. Attorney Hochul. ‘Judge Skretny granted our application without prejudice.’”
A massive coverup ensued. In August 2011 Phil Fairbanks of the Buffalo News reported the case had been dismissed because of the “grand jury testimony of FBI agent Kenneth Jensen Jr. and the questions posed to him by Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony Bruce. Defense lawyers contend Jensen and Bruce improperly influenced the grand jury by suggesting one of the government’s key witnesses, former Chosen Few member David Ignasiak, did not participate in an attack on a rival biker.”
What eventually became clear was that David Ignasiak had been an agent provocateur. The one defendant who was convicted in the case was Chad Koschuk who ran into Ignasiak at a convenience store in July 2010 and, according to prosecutors, threatened “to forcibly sodomize the witness because the witness had provided information to the FBI about his father and testified before the Grand Jury about his father.” Koschuk, who is Alex “Al” Koschtschuk’s son but spells his surname differently, was convicted of witness tampering.
The lead prosecutor in the Chosen Few case was (now) retired Assistant United States Attorney Anthony M. Bruce. And the reason why the newspaper publisher, whose name is Frank Parlato Jr., has become interested in the Chosen Few case is because shortly before his retirement Bruce orchestrated Parlato’s indictment on 19 counts including fraud and tax evasion. Parlato faces 20 years in prison.
Of course, the difference between Parlato and most federal defendants is that Parlato owns the Niagara Falls Reporter and is part owner of Artvoice, a free weekly newspaper based in Buffalo. So, Parlato can talk back
Shortly after his indictment, Parlato, who writes for his own publications, reported, “In the past, Bruce has been accused of suborning perjury and was almost disbarred, according to sources in the legal community, over his dishonest prosecution of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club in 2011.”
In this weeks edition of Artvoice, Parlato reports Bruce’s nickname is “Brucifer.” He also writes at some length about Ignasiak and the Chosen Few case.
• “Ignasiak was known to be unreliable by law enforcement long before the indictments of the 20 innocent men.”
• “Bruce brought charges against the president of the club, Alex Koschtschuk, and other members of the Chosen Few with conspiracy to possess, test and throw pipe bombs – charging some with attempted murder – at the clubhouse of the Lonely Ones, a motorcycle club in Blasdell. Bruce knew these ‘pipe bombs’ were m80 firecrackers, as we shall show in future stories. No one was injured by the firecrackers.”
• The FBI bugged the Chosen Few club house for years. “After years of listening, there was no record of drugs being sold.”
• “A law enforcement source told us they heard ‘Lots of ‘felony talk’ but no felonies. Guys talking tough. (Bruce) was trying to make something out of it. He wanted to get a motorcycle gang. One time someone’s girlfriend asked one of the guys to bring home a watermelon. An agent said, “that’s code for cocaine.” But it wasn’t. The guy really brought home a watermelon.’”
• “We were told by law enforcement – honest men disturbed by the criminal acts Bruce and Ignasiak conspired to do – that Ignasiak was paid on at least two occasions, $40,000 each time, in cash, in a bag.”
• “In the end – with Bruce facing disbarment and/or criminal charges, and the entire office ready to look like imbeciles or worse, Hochul made application to Judge William M. Skretny to dismiss the entire case. In the meantime, 20 men, their wives and their families had years torn out of their lives. People lost their homes, their jobs. Three men sat jail. Some relatives died while their loved ones waited to clear their names. Promotions were lost. People lived in tension and suspicion.”
• “As one law enforcement officer who worked on the case said, ‘I’m wondering why they didn’t criminally charge Anthony Bruce? He is a s—-. Our department had heard about him for years. He was corrupt. Bruce’s goal was to get a biker gang … The Hell’s Angels, the Outlaws, the Kingsmen, they were all much worse than the Chosen Few. But he didn’t care. He thought they would all take pleas and one would rat out the others.’”
You can read the complete Artvoice article here.