Mob Control of NYC Construction Sites Alleged in Indictment: WTC Possibly Involved

A massive indictment alleging mob control of two engineers’ unions and construction sites throughout NYC was unsealed on Feb. 26. Forty-two men — members of the Genovese and Colombo crime families and officials of Locals 14 and 15 of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers — are charged with stealing at least $3.6 million from 1997 until this year.

Not mentioned in yesterday’s indictments are allegations that the collection of wages for no-show jobs and mob payments extended even to the clean-up at the fallen World Trade Center. At a press conference announcing the arrests, law enforcement officials would not say if those allegations were true or false. But James Comey, U.S. Attny. for the Sou. Dist. of NY, promised that any evidence of such a scheme would be “pursued very aggressively.”

The investigation was spearheaded by the NY State Organized Crime Task Force and the NYCPD, while the indictments will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attnys. for the Southern and Eastern districts of NY.

In the Eastern Dist. indictment, reputed Colombo bosses and associates Joel Cacace (also known as “Joe Waverly”), his son Joel “Jo Jo” Jr., John “Jackie” DeRoss, Jamie DeRoss, Lawrence Persico, Vincent Ricciardo and Paul Buckley, extorted union positions and wages and benefits at various construction sites. They are also charged with strangling free speech and democracy in Locals 14 and 15. Charged with collecting payments for no-show jobs and mail fraud are: Local 14 delegate Joseph Coriasco, Local 14 members Nicholas Lupari (Coriasco’s son-in-law), Richard Troy, Local 15 delegate Thomas “Tommy Mac” McNamara and Local 15 member Anthony Polito. Among the construction sites listed in the no-show scheme are the Brooklyn General Post Office, Yankee Stadium and Mets Stadium.

In the Southern Dist. indictment, 24 Genovese associates and delegates from Local 14 are charged with extorting job assignments for Genovese favorites, submitting false information to contractors to collect “no-show” payments, and collecting other unlawful payments through, for instance, a retirement dinner for Joseph Rizzuto Sr. According to the indictment, the Genovese chain of command included Louis Moscatiello as the general head of the crime family’s infiltration of construction unions, and Carl “Carlo” Carrara Sr. who ran Locals 14 and 15. Much of the conspiracy was apparently planned from a shed at the site of an addition to the Museum of Modern Art, and was recorded by investigators who got a bug into the shed in 2002.

Both indictments include charges brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, under which prosecutors are seeking the return of at least $2 million in the E.D., and at least $1.6 million in the S.D., from the defendants as compensation for their alleged thefts. In addition to the RICO charges, the defendants are charged with violating the Taft-Hartley Act’s prohibitions of unlawful payments, and are also charged with mail fraud.

In announcing the indictment and arrests, U.S. Attny. Comey stated: “By controlling Locals 14 and 15, the Genovese family harmed numerous real estate developers and contractors who are busy building, and rebuilding, our city. More importantly, the honest, hard working members of Locals 14 and 15 were repeatedly denied jobs and the right to participate meaningfully in the governance of their unions by the Genovese family.”

Rosslyn Mauskopf, U.S. Attny. for the E.D. of NY, stated: “Todays indictments are the product of our continuing efforts to rid labor unions of the corrupting influence of organized crime. With corruption on the job sites comes increased costs, which inevitably, albeit indirectly, get passed on to the public.”

NY Attny. Gen. Eliot Spitzer stated: “Through illicit activities to control two powerful unions, the Genovese and Colombo crime families have cost the city, and the state and federal governments millions of dollars, robbed the union pension funds of needed contributions, and prevented honest, hard-working union members from obtaining jobs,”

Gordon Heddell, Inspector Gen. of the U.S. Dept. of Labor stated: Todays racketeering indictments reinforce our continued commitment to clean up New Yorks construction industry from labor racketeering. Freeing unions from organized crime and corruption will allow qualified tradesmen to fairly obtain employment and enable contractors to conduct business without fear or intimidation. [U.S.A.O. E.D.N.Y. & S.D.N.Y., Attny. Gen. NY, 2/26/03: New York Post 1/19/03, New York Daily News 2/27/03]