The Mafia and the Building Trades: The Current Problem of Case Abusive in Sicily

Mitchel Roth, Sam Houston State University

Among the more unusual Mafia endeavors today in southern Italy is the ongoing problem of case abusive, or abusive houses. Since the end of World War II, the illegal construction of houses has become epidemic throughout the Mezzogiorno. Most authorities believe that the Mafia is behind the construction, which is used to launder money from the drug trade. The author of this paper will examine this phenomenon, using Mafia involvement in the building trades as a historical backdrop. On a recent visit to Sicily the author visited the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento and was present when the first demolition of abusive housing began in January 2001. Although the government in Rome has promised to eradicate this problem since the 1960's, it has not been until rather recently that any action has been taken. This paper will examine the role of the Mafia in the building trades in both America and Sicily during the second half of the twentieth century.

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Updated 05/20/2006