U.S. Dist. Judge Garrett M. Brown, Jr. (D.N.J., Reagan) Apr. 17 appointed a monitor to purge organized crime influence from Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 69 in Secaucus, N.J. Brown signed a consent order giving monitor Kurt Muellenberg broad powers to oversee Local 69. Muellenberg was the monitor over the int’l HERE when it was under DOJ control from 1995-2000. HERE recently removed all of Local 69 bosses and installed a trusteeship, alleging that some $642,000 was wrongfully diverted.
Prosecutors now allege that Local 69 has been influenced by the Genovese crime family for at least 15 years. Prosecutors filed a civil complaint under the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Orgs. Act that said the local’s bosses had embezzled funds, extorted money from an employer, and “fostered a climate of intimidation.” Asst. U.S. Atty. Michael Chagares said, “The purposes of this action are to rid Local 69 of corruption and organized crime influence, and to return this union back to its honest, hard-working members.”
Brown has previously barred several officers from Local 69, including John Agathos, who served as president from 1983-98, and his son, John Jr. Both allegedly allowed the Genovese family to influence the local. [Bloomberg News 4/17/02]