Traits Of A Stand-Up Guy: One-Time Philly Labor Boss Steve Traitz Passes, Known As King Of Roofers, Friend To Mafia, Boxing Trainer

Former labor-union leader and Philadelphia mob associate Steve Traitz died last week of natural causes at 79 years old. A one-time well-respected boxer and boxing trainer, Traitz was the president of the city’s Roofer’s Union from 1985 until 1988 (Local 30 & 30B) when he was sent away to prison on racketeering charges, stemming from a judicial bribery scandal and intimidation tactics used by the union dating back decades. He served six years behind bars and was released in 1994.

The Roofer’s Union he headed boasted more than 2,000 men, spanning Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. His Montgomery County Boy’s Club was a hotbed of amateur prize fighting in the region and he was elected to the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 1984, having trained numerous state-title winning teams and Golden Gloves champions.

“Steve Traitz was the definition of a stand up guy,” said one source who knew Traitz for over 30 years. “They don’t make’ em like that anymore. He’d give you the shirt off his back. If you were his friend, there was nobody more loyal or trustworthy. The man was tough as nails, but also the most caring guy in the world.”

Traitz was mentored in labor politics by John McCullough, the Roofer’s Union president who was slain in a gangland-style hit in 1980. In the months after McCullough’s murder, Traitz met with then-Philadelphia mafia don Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo and earned his support in a fight for power in the union. According to trial testimony, Traitz became Scarfo’s “union guy,” doing his bidding in the local labor world and even collecting debts on behalf of the bloody Scarfo regime.

Traitz’s two sons, Steve and Joey, followed their father into the Roofer’s Union and were convicted alongside him in 1987, the same year Scarfo and most of his organization went down on a seperate racketeering indictment, which included numerous mob slayings. The Traitz brothers were also trained in the boxing ring by their dad, at one point in time holding hopes of slugging it out in the Olympics.

After serving five years in the union corruption case, the younger Traitzs dove back into the City of Brotherly Love’s underworld and were convicted on drug charges. Pleading guilty to the manufacturing and sales of speed and crystal meth in 2003, 56-year old Steve III (more commonly referred to as Steve, Jr.) and 55-year old Joey walked free in the summer of 2008.

At a 2001 trial, they were acquitted of killing a drug-peddling partner named Bobby Hammond in 1987. Hammond was shot at point blank range sitting behind the wheel of a Honda Civic station wagon in a secluded wooded patch of property near a Boy Scout camp in upstate Pennsylvania’s western Lehigh Valley, allegedly having fallen out of favor with the Traitzs over money fronted by Hammond for the purchase of P2P (used to make meth) and the belief that Hammond was cooperating with the FBI.

Besides the finer points of the boxing trade, violence in the workplace was something the Traitz brothers learned from their father. Steve Traitz, Jr. (more commonly referred to as Steve, Sr.) was tied to several acts of thuggery in his rise through the Roofer’s Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Here’s a list of some of his choice moments muscling his way up the ranks:

-In May 1972, he led a firebombing of non-union Kitson Brothers Construction. Subsequently, Traitz’s sons severely beat one of the Kitson brothers and an employee of his for not agreeing to join the union.

-In June 1972, Traitz spearheaded the destruction of job site belonging to non-unionized Altmose Construction

-In 1979, he told non-union roofer Richard Kaller to get out of the roofing business, warning him “you’ll find yourself in the hospital if you’re not careful.”

-That same year, Traitz and his son Joey assaulted non-union roofing contractor Doug Dardaris, breaking several of his ribs in a public beating on a job site

-In January 1985, Traitz beat up non-union roofer and German immigrant Hans Glang outside an American Legion hall, breaking his right hand and his nose.

Less than six months after taking the union presidency, the FBI bugged his Northeast Philadelphia office. The wire was operational from September 1985 through February 1986 and caught Traitz and his subordinates logging cash bribes to a series of area judges. When called to account for the bribes at his trial the next year, he told the court the $300-to-$500 cash-filled envelopes were Christmas presents.

Once he got out of prison in the early 1990s, Traitz stayed out of the government’s crosshairs and went legit. According to exclusive Gangster Report sources, his sons currently line up behind mafia figure George (Georgie Boy) Borgesi in the fragile, faction-sliced modern-day Philly mob landscape. Borgesi, 53, is the Bruno-Scarfo crime family’s former consigliere and said to be one of four leaders of subgroupings within the Philadelphia mafia right now.


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