The Melbourne papers were full of stories about gangland figure Mick Gatto beating his murder wrap yesterday, but you’ve got to hand it to the Herald Sun’s tough photographer Peter Ward who got himself inside the heavily fortified Gatto compound last night for a series of photos of the ensuing freedom party.

Gatto lives just down the road from the immediate past Crikey bunker and very close to where Jason Moran killed Alphonse Gangitano almost ten years ago, allegedly triggering the unprecedented gangland war that’s gripped Melbourne.

Given the suggestion that allies of slain hitman Andrew Veniamin might take the law into their own hands now that Gatto has walked free, it was amazing that so many allies of the Carlton Crew leader were prepared to line up at Gatto’s party last night and pose for the Herald Sun.

However, Crikey hears that a new flare-up is not likely because Veniamin’s family wants to move on and most of his key allies are either dead or in jail.

Despite rumours during the trial that Gatto was having trouble getting dividends out of his Elite Cranes business, his partner Matt Tomas, who beat a murder charge a few years back, was one of the first to hug Gatto outside the Supreme Court yesterday, and Gatto was pictured on the front of today’s Herald Sun wearing his Elite Cranes hat, so relations are obviously good. You can see a picture of Tomas and Gatto hugging at the freedom party last night on the Herald Sun website here.

The Elite Cranes business has apparently been booming, and Gatto’s role as a “building industry consultant” will once again draw attention to alleged connections between the underworld, construction unions and, by extension, the ALP. All this while bullets are being placed in letter boxes of unionists during the current factional battle. Which faction is Mick Gatto aligned with?

Tomas caused a stir last year when he attended a Labor Party fundraiser as you can see here and the company’s website claims the following:

Elite Cranes was established in August 2003, its founder and sole Director Mathew Tomas joining forces with a highly skilled management team and crew aiming to become Australia’s quality leader in the Crane Industry. In the short period of its operation Elite Cranes has already built its reputation as a provider of top quality service, punctual teamwork and high safety standards.

Elite Cranes is listed as being headquartered in Brooklyn, which is a big drive from Gatto’s home in East Doncaster. Given that the former proprietor of La Porcella, Michael Choucair, was also pictured at Gatto’s party last night, it will be interesting to watch where the former heavyweight boxer establishes his new “office” given that La Porcella closed its doors just days after Gatto shot Benji in what we now know was an act of self defence.

There’s some space in the old Crikey bunker if Mick needs some temporary office accommodation to get his construction industry empire back on the road. The biggest threat to be faced out here would just be a rampaging Andrew Bolt paying us a visit.