Prosecutor cites Kattar crime ties; family, friends tell different story1
by Michael Foley
BOSTON — Assistant U.S. Attorney Brackett B. Denniston said Methuen businessman George Kattar is tied to an organized crime family in Providence, R.I., and was given permission by “La Cosa Nostra” to murder a key government witness against him.
His friends said, however, that Kattar is not a violent man.
U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Cohen listened to both sides yesterday at a hearing to decide whether Kattar could be released on bail or held to protect the community. Judge Cohen took the case under advisement, leaving Kattar behind bars at least over the weekend. He did not say when he would issue a decision.
Kattar, 67, 131 Jackson St., and disbarred lawyer Harvey Brower, of Swampscott, were arrested Wednesday on charges they tried to defraud the Church of Scientology of $100,000. Brower was released on $50,000 bail.
An affidavit based almost entirely on tape-recorded conversations asserted that Kattar:
* TALKED EASILY OF MURDER. “You know they make a big deal out of a whack, but it’s the easiest thing in the world, especially if you don’t know the guy,” he is quoted as saying.
* CLAIMED UNCHALLANGEABLE POWER in the Merrimack Valley “rackets.”
* THEATENED a representative of the Church of Scientology. He told a representative of the church if he challanged Kattar in the future “his name would be put in a hat.”
* USED BODYGUARDS to Intimidate a representative of the Church of Scientology. Kattar is quoted a saying: “You’re lucky I’m going to let you walk out of here, my friend.”
* PLANNED TO KILL a man named Irwin Swartz, who testified against an associate. No attempt was made on Swartz’s life.
* KEPT BOMBS, two machine guns, a sawed-off shot gun, and three silencers at his Meredith, N.H., summer home.
Two character witnesses for Kattar painted a different picture of the man.
Phillip De Fusco, 66, 112 Fox Hill Road, said Kattar is a peaceful man with colorful way of talking.
“He would say that ‘if you don’t come to see me I’ll kill you,'” De Fusco testified. “That was his expression.”
George S Naddif, 2 Landau Lane, Andover, said “He’s one of the most honest guys on two feet.”
Judge Cohen asked if De Fusco’s opinion of Kattar changed after weapons were siezed in a raid at his summer home April 29.
“Those aren’t the sort of things that one goes bird hunting with,” said Judge Cohen. De Fusco said his opinion remained unchanged.
Defense attorney Michael Avery also gave the court about 100 letters in support of Kattar from friends of the family and prominent citizens throughout the Merrimack Valley. An inventory of the letters was not available yesterday.
Denniston said 10 conversations were recorded by FBI informant Larry Reservitz in the fall and winter of 1984. Two of the conversations referred to in the affidavit took place at the Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover.
Reservitz agreed to wear “a wire” in return for a lighter sentence on convictions in two fraud schemes and a marijuana deal.
According to the affidavit, Kattar talks of his relationship to Providence, R.I., crime boss Raymond Patriarca Jr. The affidavit states Kattar indicated he heard from Patriarca every day and the Rhode Island family was the “sponsor of my outfit.”
The affidavit also states “a reliable confidential informant” told the FBI that the New England Cosa Nostra “had given approval to Kattar to kill Larry Reservitz.”
Avery argued that if Kattar wanted to kill Reservitz he could have done it before his arrest.
About 25 Kattar family members filled the small hearing room to show support for him. His three sons, three daughters and his wife Phyllis sat together. The women cried and comforted each other. The men sat quietly.
As Kattar Sr. was removed from the courtroom his duaghter Kimberly gave him a farewell kiss.
“Don’t cry, I said,” said Kattar raising a finger in a mock threat. Then he winked and said “See ya.”
Excerpts from tapes
The following are FBI excerpts of the affidavit submitted by the U.S. District Attorney:
“Kattar described in the meeting how easy it is to murder someone. He referred to a woman whose husband had been beating her. He then stated that he had a guy ‘whack him’: ‘You know they make a big deal out of a whack, but its the easiest thing in the world, especially If you don’t know the guy’.” Kattar is quoted. “He then stated ‘I take care of a hit for you,’ (speaking of no particular person) and ‘you take care of a guy for me.’ He added that then, ‘I George Kattar have no problem with alibis.’ “
“Kattar talked about the new stucture of the La Cosa Nostra in New England in the wake the Angullo indictments. He refers to Raymond Partriarca Jr. of Providence, R.I.
Reservitz: Who’s running things now?
Kattar: …The boy is boss.
Reservitz: Junior is?
Kattar: Oh Year… Guarantee all the way… New York, all the way down …”