U.S. Attny. Calls for Court Takeover of Mob-Riddled Union in NY & NJ

U.S. Attny. James B. Comey asked Fed. Dist. Judge John Martin (S.D. NY, G.H.W. Bush) on Dec. 10 to appoint an administrator for a local union he described as “a cesspool of union corruption” that “for decades…has offered a hospitable environment for mobsters.” Comey asked Judge Martin to appoint the administrator before union elections on Dec. 27.

Six current and former bosses of Local 1588 of the Intl. Longshoremen’s Assn. (ILA) were indicted last May in a N.J. state court for racketeering and extortion at Jersey City’s Global Terminal. Among those indicted was John Timpanaro, President of the Local, based in Bayonne, NJ, which represents longshore workers in NY and NJ.

These indictments were the last straw for the U.S. Attny’s. Ofc. in Manhattan, which has worked for 12 years to break the grip of the Genovese crime family on 1588. In 1992, The U.S. Attny. agreed to settle a racketeering lawsuit against 1588, based on the replacement of two mob-controlled officers by Eugene G’Sell and John Angelone, who promised to keep organized crime out of the union. In fact, both would later admit that a Genovese associate, Joseph Lore, ordered the two to run for union office in place of the two known mob-controlled officials. According to the FBI, Lore inherited control of Local 1588 after Genovese family member John DiGilio was murdered in 1988.

Lore was supposed to have no influence in the union, or contact with local officials, under the terms of the consent decree settling the fed. lawsuit. But at his 2001 trial, G’Sell and Angelone detailed Lore’s control of the union. The two pled guilty in 2000 to embezzling between $1.3-$2.3 million from the union for the benefit of Lore and his girlfriend and ofc. mgr., Denise Bohn. At Lore’s trial, the two admitted transferring half the salaries of various officers and employees to Lore instead.

They also testified that Lore controlled all hiring and firing decisions in the union. When then-president Angelone attempted to fire Bohn, Lore summoned him to a diner and said, “You don’t fire anybody unless I tell you to fire somebody, you know, and I’ll make your life miserable.” When Angelone later tried to negotiate a lower rate for a contractor and friend of Lorre to renovate the union hall, Lorre reportedly told Angelone that if anyone who didn’t go along with him, Lorre would take a blow torch to his pubic hairs.

Lorre and Bohn were convicted by a fed. jury on Dec. 17, 2001 of conspiracy to embezzle. But as reported above, four current union officials, one ex-official, a terminal hiring agent, and a Genovese associate were indicted this year for extortion and bribery, using job assignments and promotions on the Bayonne waterfront.

Included in the indictments is current 1588 president Timpanaro, who is still planning to conduct officer elections this month. “Under these circumstances,” U.S. Attny. Comey argued, “the appointment of an administrator is essential to ensure that the Local is run for the benefit of its members, that Local 1588 funds are not further dissipated by its officers, and that organized crime cannot dominate the Local as it has in the past. The administrator should have the power…to discipline union officers and members; to manage the finances of the union; and to supervise union elections. Given its history of corruption, this union needs an outsider to clean house.”

Judge Martin will hear arguments on Comey’s motion today. [U.S.A.O. S.D. NY 12/10/02]