A nationally acclaimed journalist specializing in labor affairs, Victor Reisel, at the peak of his popularity in 1956, had his syndicated column published in 193 newspapers. In a post-midnight radio broadcast in New York on April 5, 1956, Riesel attacked the abuses of racketeering in Local 138 of the International Union of Operating Engineers on Long Island.
He particularly went after William C. DeKoning Jr., the head of the local, and his father William C. DeKoning Sr., fresh out of prison after doing time for extortion. Riesel had also attacked Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, who was known in a moment of rage to have said that something had to be done about Riesel's probing columns.
After the broadcast the labor columnist dropped into Lindy's, a landmark Broadway restaurant at 51st Street. About 3 A.M. Riesel left the restaurant. As he reached the sidewalk a young man approached him and hurled a liquid into his face and eyes. The liquid was sulfuric acid; Riesel was left permanently blind.
A federal investigation determined that the assailant was 22-year-old Abraham Telvi, who had been hired by two ex-convicts long active in garment industry rackets. Most important, authorities arrested John Dioguardi, better known as Johnny Dio—a leading labor racketeer who traced back to Murder, Inc.—as the mastermind of the blinding plot. A few minor associates of Dio's were convicted. Two others were prepared to testify against Dio, but after receiving death threats, they refused and Dio went free.
Some three and a half months after the acid attack on Riesel, Telvi was shot to death on the Lower East Side. After he had seen how much heat was generated by the crime, he had been demanding more pay for his role in the matter.