“We’ll stay here every day with the coffin, until this is resolved,” Local 78’s representative Frank Ortega said this morning, as he stood with Elvis Pilaloa dressed in a hazmat suit, in front of Schweppe Burgdorff Realty in Montclair. “We’ve been doing this [kind of public protest] for years, in New York City and New Jersey,” says Ortega, “and with positive results.” Resolution means – first and foremost – the asbestos contracting companies [that Schweppe Burgdorff hires CORRECTION: that Jay Schweppe hires] must pay their workers health benefits, he told Baristanet. Yesterday, at the same location, there was a giant rat sighting.
When I arrived, a man, whom Ortega identified as a local asbestos remediator, was “trying to intimidate them” threatening a lawsuit, and telling them they should get a real job. Overheard when leaving, he said “you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

28 replies on “From Rats To Coffins”

  1. Shame on you Liz for promoting this fearmongering. This behavior is akin to a shakedown. They could give a crap about anyones safety. They are strong arming for the union and are being paid by union dues to make it happen.

  2. What on earth is a “local asbestos remediator?” As opposed to, say, a county or state asbestos remediator? And how does one even obtain such a position by any means other than sheer nepotism? How does one even join the Laborers Union, come to think of it? These were some of the questions a journalist might have attempted to answer for curious readers on this one.
    I have no idea of the sociological provenance of “Local 78” of the Laborers Union nor of the roots of this ‘dispute’ (though I think these guys are the same ones who were out alongside Rte.3 at Clifton Commons for weeks). But it certainly does seem as if the Baristas are giving way too much coverage (to the point of literally repeating themselves) of an instance of thughood. These guys are clearly not akin to Cesar Chavez during the heyday of the UFW. (More like Jesse Jackson’s extortion arm, PUSH, I suspect.)
    Ah, the demands of a slow news fortnight, eh, Annette?

  3. Round these parts “trying to intimidate them” is threatening to put their kids in Montclair’s asbestos filled educational palace– Renaissance!!

  4. The union doesn’t give a shit about safe abatement. It’s trying to pressure Schweppe into bringing them in to do the job instead of the allegedly non-union sub now contracted to do it.

  5. The union isn’t “handling” anything, they are in essence picketing.
    Shame they can’t be arrested for loitering or creating a nuisance or maybe bagged and remediated .

  6. If what the union is doing is held to be picketing — a big difference, legally, from handbilling or bannering (hence the legality of the rat in NYC) — they’ll be subject to much closer scrutiny than they would be otherwise. The cops won’t be able to do anything on their own, but Schweppe Burgdorff may be able to get a court to issue a restraining order.

  7. You are correct that they are bannering, a milder form of getting the message out to the public rather than a protest. NYC did make them put the rat on a legally parked vehicle and not block the sidewalk.
    I would still like to see them abated.

  8. I think it’ll really come down to whether or not they have any right to be doing what they’re doing — whatever it’s found to be — where they’re doing it at all. Schweppe is unaffiliated with Schweppe Burgdorff, but I believe he still owns the building in which it operates. I’m not sure if that’s enough to make the site a viable one for “primary” employer pressure. If it is, the office may have to endure the nuisance. If it’s not, and if the union is held to be unfairly applying secondary pressure, they might be found in violation of the NLRA and potentially subject to a restraining order. One thing’s for certain — they are absolutely barred from interfering with anyone — employee or customer — trying to access the building.

  9. In this economic depression the only secure jobs are union jobs. You should be knocking down the a union to get your work place unionized.

  10. As secure as jobs at, say, GM, Ford, Chrysler and US Steel have proven, laserlad? As unionized jobs have proven at the Star-Ledger? Or even at the New York Times? The Daily News? Newsday? At literally hundreds of thousands of manufacturing plants all across America which were union shops? On the railroads? In harbors and port authorities?
    Honestly, mikeypal, moments like these I realize that I have always pretty much underestimate the truly vast extent of your ignorance.

  11. Maybe this coffin is there for all the people recently hit by cars on Valley Rd. Convenient transport.
    Gotta go, TLC has a special on dwarfs.

  12. Given the Laborers’ union’s history, it is ironic that they would use a coffin as a symbol. It would seem that if people knew the history of this union, they would be more inclined to protest against the union. Here’s just a few examples from this union’s history:
    ?LIUNA has been infiltrated at all levels by corrupt individuals and organized crime figures who have exploited their control and influence over the union for personal gain and to the detriment of the union. LIUNA union officers and employees at all levels, including the general presidency, have been chosen, subject to the approval of, had have been controlled by, various members and associates of organized crime.?
    United States? Department of Justice
    1972 – Feb.6th. Joseph Caleb, president of Laborers? Local 478 in Miami, Florida and a person gaining popularity amongst rank and file members in Miami, was murdered after returning to Miami following his attendance at a union function in Orlando, Florida.
    1974 – May 8th. John Cammilleri, a ?made? member of the Buffalo mafia and a member of LIUNA Local 210, Buffalo, New York, was shot and killed by unknown assailants as he emerged from a restaurant after celebrating his birthday. Prior to his murder, Cammilleri supported a successful slate of candidates for election to various offices in Local 210.
    1975 – Peter Fosco, only the second person to serve as president of LIUNA since 1926, dies. He is succeeded by his son, Angelo Fosco.
    1976 – Rollin P. ?Bud? Vinall is elected to LIUNA?s General Executive Board by the Board itself to fill the open position vacated by Angelo Fosco?s ascension to the LIUNA presidency.
    1978 – A report prepared on Organized Crime and the Labor Unions is prepared for the White House. Its chief author is Peter F. Vaira, serving as Attorney in Charge on the Chicago Strike Force. Vaira will later be hired as LIUNA?s Independent Hearing Officer to attempt to help rid the union of mob influence.
    1979 – Nov. 9th. John Paul Spica, president of LIUNA Local 42, St Louis, Missouri and an associate of the St. Louis mafia, was sitting in his automobile when the automobile exploded, killing him. The bombing was carried out by Raymond Flynn and an accomplice, after it was discovered that Spica planned to murder Flynn and take control of Local 42.
    ? Anthony Liberatore, business manager of LIUNA Local 860 was arrested as one of the FBI?s ten most wanted fugitives and was later convicted of bribery. Liberatore was a convicted murderer and had served time in prison from 1938 until his release in 1958 for murdering a police officer.
    1980 – March 7th. William Michael Sciolino, a ?made? member of the Buffalo mafia and a member of Local 210, and an informant to the FBI regarding the mafia?s control of Local 210, was murdered because the mafia suspected him of being an informant. His body was found hanging by his neck in a construction trailer.
    1981 – July 25th. Persons associated with the Chicago mob (aka ?the Outfit?) attempted to murder Alfred Pilotto because the persons thought Pilotto might cooperate with law enforcement officials regarding his activities as an official in Laborers? union and a ?capo? in the Chicago mafia.
    ? Arthur A. Coia (present LIUNA president), along with his father, Arthur E. Coia (then General Secretary-Treasurer of LIUNA), and Raymond L.S. Patriarca, reputed boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra were all indicted for bribery and racketeering. The charges were later dropped on a technicality. [Source: Washington Times]
    ? During the LIUNA convention, union dissident Dennis Ryan was punched, kicked, knocked down and struck by LIUNA sergeants-at-arms and other convention delegates from New York and Chicago while attempting to nominate another individual for LIUNA president. [Source: Declaration of Chris White]
    1982 – July 18th. Ben Medina, a reform candidate for office in LIUNA Local 332 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was beaten to death. Medina was a friend of then-LIUNA International Vice President, Robert Powell, who had considered challenging Angelo Fosco for the position of General President of LIUNA.
    ? John Giardiello, business manager of LIUNA local 767, West Palm Beach, Florida, and an associate of the Trafficante La Cosa Nostra family, is sentenced to 12 years in prison for agreeing to receive kickbacks relating to the sale of insurance-related employee benefit funds.
    1983 – Feb. 10th. Ken Eto, an associate of the Chicago La Cosa Nostra, is shot three times in the back of the head by John Gattuso and Jasper Campise. Eto is shot because it is suspected he may become a government informant relative to his knowledge about Vincent Solano, president of LIUNA local 1, Chicago, Illinois and a ?territorial boss? of Chicago?s La Cosa Nostra. Surprisingly, Eto lives, only to later become an informant. [Source: President?s Commission on Organized Crime]
    ? July 14th. The mutilated and strangled bodies of John Gattuso and Jasper Campise (see above) are found in the trunk of a car in Naperville, Illinois. Without their testimony, the government has little chance to convict Vincent Solano of Ken Eto?s attempted murder. [Source: President?s Commission on Organized Crime]
    1984 – The government wins an appeal filed by four LIUNA bosses, including father and son, Arthur E. Coia and Arthur A. Coia that allows the government to pursue racketeering charges. The charges allege that the four used their influence in LIUNA to funnel insurance business to a company they set up, bilking workers out of insurance premiums. [Source: The Miami Herald]
    ? Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra, who controlled the activities of Arthur Ettore Coia, dies of cancer.
    1985 – Paul Castellano, boss of the Gambino La Cosa Nostra family in New York, is murdered outside a restaurant. Castellano was quoted as having said, ?Our job is to run the unions.? Castallano is succeeded in the Gambino family by John Gotti (aka ?the Teflon Don?).
    1986 – The U.S. Department of Justice?s Commission on Organized Crime, a report naming four unions, the Teamsters, the Longshoremen?s union, H.E.R.E, and LIUNA as being dominated and/or controlled by organized crime. According to an FBI official each of the unions? presidents were ?hand-picked by La Cosa Nostra.?
    ? Tony ?The Ant? Spilatro, who worked in Las Vegas for the Chicago mob, and his brother Michael, a Chicago restauranteur, are brutally beaten to death with baseball bats, then thrown into a shallow grave in Northwest Indiana, where they died as their assailants buried them. The assailants allegedly included Laborers? officials Nick Guzzino and Dominick Palermo, as well as other mafiosos named Albert ?Chickie? Roviere and Albert Tocco. This incident was the inspiration for the final scene in the movie Casino, which starred Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci.
    ? Joseph Aiuppa (aka ?Joey O?Brien? and ?Joey Doves?), the boss of the Chicago mafia from 1978 to 1985, is convicted of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering. As head of the Chicago La Cosa Nostra, Aiuppa controlled local LIUNA affairs in Southern Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri, and Chicago.
    ? Gennaro Langella (aka ?Gerry Lang?), a ?capo,? underboss, or acting boss of the Colombo La Cosa Nostra family, is convicted and sentenced to 65 years in prison for RICO and RICO conspiracy, extortion, and labor bribery involving the LIUNA Cement and Concrete Workers District Council in exchange for labor peace and the use of non-union labor.
    1987 – Raymond Flynn, business manager of LIUNA local 42, St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced to serve 45 years in prison for RICO and RICO conspiracy relating to his participation in a scheme to commit multiple union-related murders.
    ? Carmine Persico (aka ?Junior? or ?the Snake?), a boss of the Colombo La Cosa Nostra family, was convicted and sentenced to serve 100 years in prison for RICO and RICO conspiracy for extortion and labor bribery in exchange for labor peace and the use of non-union labor. This follows a 39 year prison sentence in 1986 for similar offenses.
    ? Samuel J Caivano, an associate of the DeCavalcante and Genovese La Cosa Nostra families, becomes the regional manager of the New York-New Jersey Regional Office of LIUNA is elected to the General Executive Board by the Board. Caivano is currently the Fourth International Vice President of LIUNA.
    ? Christopher Furnari Sr. (aka ?Christy Tick?), a consigliere of the Luchese La Cosa Nostra family, was convicted and sentenced to 100 years in prison for RICO and RICO conspiracy for extortion and labor bribery involving LIUNA Cement and Concrete Workers District Council in exchange for labor peace and the use of non-union labor. Furnari had previous criminal convictions for assault and sex offenses.
    1988 – Feb. 14th. William Benham, owner of the B & S Pallet Company was shot six times and killed by James DeForti, a lieutenant in the Chicago mafia and ?number two man? in LIUNA Local 5, in Chicago. DeForti avoided arrest until 1997. [Source: Illinois Police and Sheriff?s News]
    1989 – Sept. 13th. When Joseph Bova, a newly-elected secretary-treasurer of LIUNA local 81, in Valparaiso, Indiana, went to start his Ford pickup truck, a bomb exploded. Bova?s wife ran out of their home and found her husband crawling across the lawn towards the house. He died a few moments later. [Source: Reader?s Digest]
    ? In New York, Genovese crime family boss, James Massera, appointed Frank Lupo to run LIUNA?s Mason Tenders District Council. Together, Massera and Lupo drained $20 million from the District Council?s welfare fund. [Source: Reader?s Digest]
    ? Louis Anthony Manna (aka ?Bobby Manna?), a consigliere of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra family and principal leader of the Genovese family activities in Norther New Jersey, is convicted and sentenced to serve 80 years in prison for RICO and RICO conspiracy involving to conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit labor bribery involving LIUNA local 21, Jersey City, New Jersey.
    ? John Serpico, an associate of the Chicago La Cosa Nostra is elected to LIUNA?s General Executive Board by the Board itself. Serpico is currently Second International Vice President.
    1991 – LIUNA member and dissident, Fred Noon (who had been present at the1981 LIUNA convention) finds a woman?s purse in his front yard. Inside the purse he finds a dead rat. According to Noon, the dead rat was a mob message to not make trouble at the convention [Source: Declaration of Chris White]
    1992 – Anthony Joseph Accardo (aka ?Joe Batters? and ?the Big Tuna?), the consigliere or boss of the Chicago mafia, dies of old age. Accardo engineered the selection of Angelo Fosco as general president of LIUNA. In the late 1960s, Accardo succeeded Sam Giancana, who succeeded Frank Nitti, who succeeded Al Capone, in the running of the Chicago mafia.
    ? John Riggi, the 67-year old head of the New-Jersey based DeCavalcante crime family and an executive in LIUNA local 394, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for extortion and ?other labor law violations.? According to the sentencing judge, Riggi had brought about the ?merger of organized labor and organized crime [in New Jersey].? [Source: Newark Star Ledger]
    1993 – James B. Castaldo, business manager of LIUNA Local 1030, Elizabeth, New Jersey and an associate of the DeCavalcante La Cosa Nostra family was sentenced to 18 months in prison for demanding bribes from employers in exchange for labor peace and the use of non-union labor.
    ? Angelo Fosco, the third person to serve as LIUNA president since 1926, and who had succeeded his father in becoming LIUNA president, dies. He is succeeded by Arthur Armand Coia. Coia?s father was Arthur Ettore Coia, who had been general secretary-treasurer of LIUNA until his death in 1993.
    1994 – The United Stated Department of Justice files a 212 page complaint in U.S. District Court, alleging, among other things that 1) four consecutive General Presidents of LIUNA, Joseph V. Moreschi (1926-1968), Peter Fosco (1968-1975), Angelo Fosco (1975-1993) and Arthur Armand Coia (1993-present), have associated with, and been controlled and influenced by, organized crime figures; 2) the rights of members of the union to control the affairs of the union have been systematically abused; and, 3) members who opposed the corrupt state of affairs, either at the local, district council, regional, or international levels have been intimidated by violence, threats of violence, economic coercion, and by the known ties of corrupt local, district, regional and international officials of the union with organized crime.
    As part of the complaint, the Justice Department states: ?LIUNA has been infiltrated at all levels by corrupt individuals and organized crime figures who have exploited their control and influence over the union for personal gain and to the detriment of the union. LIUNA union officers and employees at all levels, including the general presidency, have been chosen, subject to the approval of, had have been controlled by, various members and associates of organized crime.?
    The government?s suit names the following individuals as defendants: Jospeh Aiuppa, Arthur Bierne, Louis Casciano, James Castaldo, John Catanzaro, Raymond Flynn, James Gallo, John Giardiello, Michael LaBarbara, Jr., Gennaro Langella, Anthony Liberatore, Chester Liberatore, Louis Anthony Manna (aka ?Bobby Manna?), James Messera, Rocco Napoli, Carmine Persico, Alfred Pilotto, John Riggi, Joseph Rosato, Daniel Sansanese Jr., Jospeh Todaro, Sr., Joseph Todaro, Jr., Salvatore Tricario, Matthew Trupiano, Jr., Peter Vairo (aka ?Jocko?), Peter A. Vairo (aka ?Butch?); The General Executive Board of LIUNA: Arthur A. Coia (Gen. Pres.), Rollin ?Bud? Vinall (Gen. Sec-Treas.), Mason ?Max? Warren (1st V. P.), John Serpico, (2nd V.P.), Vere Haynes (3rd V.P.), Samuel Caivano (4th V.P.), Enrico Mancinelli (5th V.P.), Chuck Barnes (6th V.P.), Jack Wilkinson (7th V.P.), George Gudger (8th V.P.), Michael Quevedo, Jr. ( 9th V.P.), Armand Sabotini (10th V.P.), and Robert Connerton (Gen. Counsel).
    ? Dominick Lopreato, a LIUNA official and pension plan trustee, is given an eight-count indictment for arranging to have $8 million in union pension funds to be invested in a realty company in return for $345,000 in bribes. [Source: Hartford Courant]
    1995 – After months of negotiations between the U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys representing LIUNA, the parties agree to allow the union to establish its own inter reform program in an effort to rid the union of organized crime, while under government-supervision. [Source: LIUNA News Release]
    1997 – LIUNA Convention delegates pass Coia-backed measures to:
    1) Raise the president?s salary and benefits anytime, based on ?factors deemed appropriate by the board,? 2) increase monthly dues by 27 percent over four years; and 3) eliminate a $1,500 death benefit to help cover a shortfall in the $8 million convention fund. According to one convention-goer, ?At least nobody got hurt. At least none of us got beat up,? referring to the 1981 LIUNA convention (where current president Coia?s father presided) wherein a union member was brutally beaten for attempting to address the convention delegates.
    1998 – LIUNA?s internal ?reformer,? Robert Luskin, agrees to forfeit $245,000 of the $624,296 ($505,125 was in the form of gold bars) in ?legal fees? to the U.S. Justice Department. The money was obtained through an individual who was convicted of money laundering for two South American drug cartels and the New England Patriarca crime family. Raymond Patriarca was a long-time friend and associate of Arthur E. Coia, the father of Arthur A. Coia. In 1998, Luskin?s law firm bills $1.4 million. [Source: Providence Journal-Bulletin]
    ? LIUNA General President, Arthur A. Coia, is charged by the internal reform officer/prosecutor, Robert Luskin, with 16 counts of ?associating with organized crime individuals and knowingly permitting such individuals to influence the activities of the union and its members.? [Source: LIUNA press release, et al.] The internal ?Independent Hearing Officer,? Peter Vaira bills LIUNA approximately $900,000 for his services [Source: Providence Journal-Bulletin]
    ? The Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) expels LIUNA for setting up a ?multi-craft? union to steal work from other construction crafts at a lower rate of pay. [Source: The Voice of the Rank and File]
    ? The U.S. Justice Department extends the government?s oversight of LIUNA for another year.
    ? Steve Manos, a union dissident and LIUNA Local 230 vice president, in Hartford, Connecticut, testifies before Congress about an assault he endured in 1997 at the hands of Local 230’s business manager, while the rest of the local?s executive board looked on. Manos testified that the government-supervised effort of LIUNA to purge itself of organized crime is a ?total sham.? [Source: The Providence Journal-Bulletin]
    1999 – Feb. 5th. John Stefanini, is jumped and beaten by four to five men armed with metal bars as he arrived to work. Stefanini, a former business manager of LIUNA Local 183, in Canada, had been marked for murder in 1990 by the mafia in Buffalo, New York over different ?union philosophies.? [Source: Toronto Star]
    ? The U.S. Justice Department extends the government?s oversight of LIUNA (the second time it has done this) for another year.
    ? ?Independent Hearing Officer? (IHO) dismisses 15 of the 16 complaints against Arthur A. Coia. Of the 16th, the IHO fines Coia $100,000 for improperly using his influence for personal gain?to purchase a $450,000 Ferrari automobile. James K. Robinson, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department?s Criminal Division and Scott Lassar, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, state: ?We believe the opinion contains serious factual and legal errors.? [Source: The Providence Journal-Bulletin]
    2000 ? Feb 22nd. The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am. is liable for LIUNA Local 496’s racially discriminatory membership and job referral practices. Under a settlement agreement on damages, a class of 52 black workers who were denied union membership or job referrals by Local 496 will be entitled to $1.8 million in damages, $300,000 of which was already paid. (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    2001 – Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am.’s “in-house judge” Peter F. Vaira permanently barred three Chicago bosses Jan. 10, finding that they were trusted members of organized crime and used their union positions to achieve Mafia objectives such as rigged union elections. The Jan. 10 decision should end the Caruso family’s long-running control over two LIUNA locals and the Chicago Dist. Council, which oversees the pension, training, and health-welfare funds of 21 Chicago locals.
    The decision removes: Bruno Caruso, the business manager of Local 1001 and the former president and business manager of the CDC; Frank “Toots” Caruso, Jr., a member of Local 1006 and the former president and business manager of the local; and Leo Caruso, the president and business manager of Local 1006. Bruno and Frank are brothers and Leo is their first cousin. The decision permanently revokes the Carusos’ LIUNA membership and bars them from holding any office or employment with LIUNA or any affiliated entities. (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    2003 – Mob-Infested Chicago Local Suggests Ex-AG Roland Burris* as Temporary Supervisor
    Reeling from the expulsion of three organized crime members from its hierarchy, the new president of a Chicago Laborers union has asked that a frmr. state attny. general be appointed to oversee the union. But with Roland Burris* having been a character witness for a Teamster expelled from office for associating with organized crime, it remains an open question whether Burris will be approved.
    In January, the “in-house judge” of the Laborers’ Intl. Union of N. Amer. permanently barred three relatives from holding office in Local 1001. Based on the testimony of law enforcement officials, frmr. mob associates, and informants under witness protection, Peter F. Vaira concluded that Bruno Caruso, his brother, Frank “Toots”, and their first cousin, Leo, had been associates of the mafia, known in Chicago as the “Outfit,” for more than 40 years.
    LIUNA officials in Wash. D.C. are still accusing Local 1001 of corruption and other connections to the “Outfit” — a charge that, according to a news release, Local 1001 officials “stridently refute.” But on Jan. 17, Local bosses met with an unnamed “national union official” and “agreed to enter into a voluntary supervision agreement if Burris is appointed to that role.”
    This is not Burris’s first involvement with allegedly corrupt unions. While serving as attny. gen. in 1994, Burris was a character witness for Robert T. Simpson Jr., frmr. pres. of Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters (IBT) Local 743. In spite of that testimony, the fed. Independent Rev. Bd. (IRB) ruled that Simpson had allowed Donald Peters to continue his influence of the Chicago local after Peters had agreed to have nothing to do with the union. Peters was named as a defendant in the 1988 fed. racketeering lawsuit against the IBT.
    ? Note: In Dec. 2008, scandal-scarred and disgraced Illinois Governor Ron Blagojevich appointed former Illinois Roland Burris to fill President-Elect Barack Obama?s U.S. Senate seat.
    2004 – Acting Lucchese crime family boss Steven Crea was sentenced on Jan. 8 to 34 mos. in fed. prison for extorting payments from Scalamandre Construction Co. in exchange for assurances of labor peace. He was sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Kimba Wood (S.D. NY, Reagan).
    From 1994 until 2001, brothers Guisseppe “Joseph” and Fortunato “Fred” Scalamandre paid the Lucchese crime family $40,000 a year. The Luccheses then paid bosses and employees of Laborers Intl. Union of N. Amer. Local 66, Blasters, Miners & Drill Ruunners Union Local 29 and Intl. Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftwrkrs. Local 1 to avoid contributing to union benefit funds and paying union dues on behalf of Scalamandre employees. In 2001, the brothers pled guilty to reaping $5 million in illegal income from the scheme. Scheduled to begin his fed. sentence on Mar. 11, Crea still faces bid-rigging and labor racketeering charges brought by Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau in 2000. [(The Westchester County) Journal News, 1/9/04] (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    2005 ? Feb. 10th. A member of Local 91 of the laborers Intl Union of N. Amer. has admitted that he lied to a federal grand jury looking into charges of extortion and racketeering in 2001, reports David Staba of the Niagara Falls Reporter. Robert Alecks pled guilty to one count of perjury in a Buffalo federal court on Feb. 10, giving prosecutors their 5th conviction in the case, with nine members and former officers of the Niagara Falls-based union facing trial in the fall.
    On March 6, 2001, Alecks — who is also known as Bodan Aleksiejuk and Robert Aleksiejuk, according to court records — said he didn’t know of any harassment by Local 91 members of non-union workers employed by a company called Sansla on an asbestos-abatement project at the Niagara Falls Drinking Water Treatment Plant in 1997. Alecks also said “no” when asked if he knew of any non-union workers being followed home after work by Local 91 members, or if he knew anything about a lock being placed on a gate at the site to prevent Sansla workers from performing their duties. (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    2006 – In May 2002, an FBI predawn raid netted more than a dozen people affiliated with the terror of Niagara County, N.Y., Local 91 of the Laborers International Union of North America. The arrests were the first stage of putting the violent and corrupt leadership of that union out of commission. Prosecutors now have secured convictions ? and sooner than expected. On Tuesday, August 1, all four remaining defendants ? Mark Congi, Albert Celeste, Paul Bellreng and Joel Cicero ? pleaded guilty in federal court. It was only the third week of a trial slated to last about two months. Congi, Celeste and Bellreng, respectively, the union?s president, assistant business agent and steward, admitted to engaging in a racketeering conspiracy; Cicero, Local 91 training director and a member of the powerful Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, pleaded guilty to extortion.
    The guilty pleas, for all intents and purposes, end a long reign of intimidation. Not long ago Congi?s lawyer, Joel Daniels, had asserted his client was innocent. Acts of violence, he emphasized, were committed at the behest of the union?s business agent, Michael ?Butch? Quarcini, also a defendant in the case until his death in 2003. But in the end, Daniels, the other defense lawyers and their clients read the tea leaves: There was no way out. Virtually everyone who had been indicted either pleaded guilty or had been convicted by a jury, and stood ready to testify for the feds. Witnesses only days into the trial described how union leaders shook down contractors, and threatened and assaulted nonunion workers and their family members. Local 91 bosses and their hired guns, among other things, slashed tires, vandalized construction sites, and bombed an apartment. (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    2007 – Last Member of Niagara Falls, N.Y. Local Goon Squad Sentenced
    Randall Butler wasn?t among the ringleaders of an extortion racket operating through Local 91 of the Laborers International Union of North America in Niagara Falls, New York. But his date with justice was inevitable all the same. On April 19, Butler was sentenced in federal court to two years and 10 months in prison for his role as an enforcer. He was the last of a dozen and a half union members and associates to be sentenced for crimes against persons and property. Butler, 40, a resident of Lockport, N.Y., pleaded guilty last April to felony extortion.
    Federal prosecutors charged that Butler drove a getaway car after union members firebombed a home where nonunion members employed at an asbestos-removal project were sleeping. The attack caused more than $200,000 in property damage and injured one man. In January, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara handed down a 51-month prison term to former Local 91 President Robert Malvestuto for participating in that firebombing plus other acts of vandalism and violence. Another ex-union president, Mark Congi, had been sentenced to 15 years in prison last December for his role in leading the goon squad. Evidence suggests that the real power behind this racket was former Local 91 business manager Michael ?Butch? Quarcini, who had been indicted, but died of cancer in 2003 before he could go on trial. U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn praised the dismantling of the goon squad as the result of a joint effort by the Labor Department, the FBI and various state and local agencies. (Buffalo News, 4/20/07). (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    2008 – July. There wasn?t much of a difference at the top between Local 734 of the Laborers International Union of North America and Local 911 of the International Union of Production, Clerical and Public Employees. And that was the way August Vergallito liked it. But when a federal grand jury handed down a series of indictments last year, the end was in sight for him, his family and associates. Union Corruption Update earlier this year had reported Vergallito, his wife Rhoda, and their daughter, Kim, all residents of Ocean County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court on February 5 to various thefts adding up to more than $250,000. An associate of Mr. Vergallito, Isaac Barocas, also pled guilty. Add two names to the list: Charles Purcel and Bernard Dwyer. Purcel, a Wayne Township, N.J.-based accountant for LIUNA Local 734 and Production Employees Local 911, pleaded guilty on February 27 to knowingly creating false documents. And Dwyer, Kim Vergallito?s ex-husband, pleaded guilty on January 15 to conspiracy to embezzle more than $65,000 from the Local 734 Welfare and Educational Fund. (Source: National Legal & Policy Center, Union Corruption Update)
    Dec. This might not be the end of the Gambino crime family, but it?s certainly a good facsimile. On February 7 of this year, FBI agents fanned out throughout the New York City area, arresting around 60 people for crimes dating back to the Seventies. Those offenses included racketeering, murder, extortion, theft, mail fraud, loan sharking and money laundering. The raids, coordinated with raids that produced arrests of some two dozen organized crime figures in Palermo, Sicily, were the culmination of an investigation called Operation Old Bridge. After the arrests, dominoes toppled quickly. By the end of September, fully 60 of the 62 Gambino members and associates named in the 170-page indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court had pleaded guilty, with three dozen already sentenced. Two locals affiliated with the Laborers International Union of North America figure heavily in this.
    The belated conviction of Gambino boss John Gotti Sr. in 1992 didn?t stop the family from imposing its brutal will upon the competition. Initially under son John Jr. and then under (Gotti Sr.?s) older brother Peter, the Gambino organization continued to be an underworld force, and remained as such even after those two successors went to prison. The family exerted special influence over the construction industry, giving ?permission? to contractors and unions to operate freely in return for payments. The February raids nabbed Gambino street boss John ?Jackie the Nose? D?Amico, underboss Domenico Cefalu, consigliere Joseph Corozzo, three capos, three acting capos, 16 soldiers, four trucking executives and various allied members of the Genovese and Bonanno crime families.
    Much of the probe centered on LIUNA Locals 325 and 731. Louis Mosca, business manager for Local 325, pleaded guilty on May 5 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud as part of a scheme to buy a book containing the names of union members on behalf of the brother of Gambino captain Lenny Dimaria. Michael King, former contractor project supervisor and shop steward for Local 731, pleaded guilty on August 1 to extortion for having threatened trucking contractors with the loss of contracts. ?This investigation exposed the alleged grip that the Gambino organized crime family has had over one of the largest construction markets in the United States, from small private projects to large-scale public works contracts,? said U.S. Labor Department Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell. ?This involved the trucks that move construction material and debris throughout the entire New York City region ? the cement that is poured to build house foundations out in Staten Island, the general contractors who are responsible for building condominiums over in New Jersey and even a proposed NASCAR raceway.?

  13. People think they are so clever with the coffin and rat…
    This is Montclair, and I thought it was part of a movie shoot.
    Didn’t think another thing about it.

Comments are closed.