Death On NYC Train Station Platform: Who Is William Coyman?

on May 03 2012 12:30 PM
Who is William Coyman?
The mysterious death of William Coyman, a retired teamster from Boston, Mass., has raised many questions about the circumstances surrounding the deadly incident. In August, the Beantown Teamster stepped off an Amtrak train in New York City and collapsed on the platform at Pennsylvania station. Jeff Lyons/NH Dept of Correcti

The mysterious death of William Coyman, a retired teamster from Boston, Mass., has raised many questions about the circumstances surrounding the deadly incident.

In August, the Beantown teamster stepped off an Amtrak train in New York City and collapsed on the platform at Pennsylvania station.

While medics were in the process of trying to revive Coyman, police were investigating the scene and searching his backpack for identification.

In doing so, they discovered contents that would elevate the case to CSI proportions -- $179,980 in cash, bundled with rubber bands and tucked inside two plastic bags, was found inside Coyman's backpack.

Having discovered the suspicious amount of money, investigators decided to dig deeper in to the deceased man's background.

William P. Coyman, a 75-year-old Charlestown man, had a criminal record dating all the way back to 1955, according to the Associated Press. Prison time in New Hampshire for being caught with a pile of cocaine and $20,000 that had just been stolen from a department store, is among some of characteristic material that makes up Coyman's history.

According to the report by AP, Coyman's old union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25, was notorious for its organized crime ties in the 1990s.

A key discovery in the current investigation, Coyman's name was mentioned in news articles about allegations that union officials were shaking down Hollywood film crews and forcing producers to give cushy film set jobs to gangland hoodlums. He'd worked as a driver on some of the films in question.

As authorities continued their investigation, ties to a company called 180 Entertainment were revealed that Coyman, who had been working as a courier for the company, was supposed to have been delivering cash from Boston to Philadelphia when he died.

Agents discovered the headquarters of 180 Entertainment to be in Philadelphia and also found the appearance of the HQ to be quite suspicious.

The small house in a blue-collar section of Philadelphia, with personal watercraft and two luxury cars parked in the driveway, raised the suspicions of the Drug Enforcement Administration especially, since drug-sniffing K-9 dogs picked up traces of narcotics in both Coyman's backpack and briefcase, according to a court filing.

Coyman's ties raise even more questions as Steven D. DiLibero, A lawyer from Providence, R.I., has filed court papers claiming the cash on behalf of 180 Entertainment.

To take it a step further, DiLibero's representation of 180 Entertainment is really a representation of a man named Joseph Burke.

Court records obtained by The Associated Press show that Burke is another longtime Charlestown resident with a colorful past.

In 1988, he was sent to prison for a string of six bank robberies in Florida. At the time, he told FBI agents he had been involved in as many as 18 heists of banks and armored cars, in several states, before being captured in Minnesota.

Contacted by The AP, DiLibero said he wouldn't talk about Burke or give any information about the mysterious $180,000.

In addition to Burke's alleged ties to Coyman, Real estate documents show that the Philadelphia house listed in some records as the headquarters of 180 Entertainment is owned by Anthony Fedele, a former business partner of the late Philadelphia music producer Stephen Epstein, according to AP.

Before his death, Epstein was known for being a close friend and occasional business partner of Joseph Skinny Joey Merlino, the onetime boss of the Philadelphia mafia.

As it is a total coincidence, A&E announced in March that it had teamed up with Boston-born actor Mark Wahlberg to make an unscripted docudrama about Coyman's old union, Teamsters Local 25.

A&E is partnering with executive producers Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Kevin Harrison and Bill Thompson on the unscripted pilot 'Teamsters' (working title), featuring the Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, Bob DeBitetto, President and General Manager, A&E and BIO Channel, said in a statement.

Teamsters will give viewers a first-hand glimpse of the infamous union Boston, Mass., according to the statement.