An indictment was unsealed in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the East. Dist. of N.Y. on July 27 charging 2 officials of the Intl. Longshoremen’s Assn. — alleged associates of the Genovese Family of La Cosa Nostra — with extortion conspiracy aimed at placing Genovese associates as officers in the ILA, and controlling the operation of businesses on the piers in the N.Y., N.J. and south Fla.
Charged in the indictment were Harold Daggett, the asst. general organizer of the ILA pres. of N.J. Local 1804-1, and Arthur Coffey, an ILA vice-pres., vice-pres. of the ILA’s South East and Gulf Coast Regions, and pres. of 3 south Fla. locals. They are accused of using organized crime’s influence to gain their own jobs and to place other mafiosos as officers in the union, and also to control businesses on the piers for the benefit of organized crime. These charges follow the July 7 indictment of ILA vice-pres. Louis Saccenti, a Gambino crime family associate, for perjury, and brings to 3 the number of ILA Exec. Council members indicted this month in the East. Dist. of N.Y.
Daggett and Coffey are charged with conspiring to extort the current ILA president, John Bowers, to install Daggett as the next ILA president. In 1999, the Genovese family reportedly decided that Daggett should become the next president of the ILA. In furtherance of the scheme, it is alleged that Coffey brought Bowers to a meeting with a Genovese family soldier, who delivered the message that the Genovese family wanted to replace him with one of their own when Bowers left the presidency. At a deposition before the Waterfront Commission in October 2003, Bowers described the meeting:
“And he said to me, [the soldier] said – why he said what he said, I have no idea why he said it, but, ‘I am now in charge.’ Or, ‘I am the boss.’ What he meant by that, I have no idea. And he said, ‘You’re doing a wonderful job.’ And, he said, ‘We hope you stay forever…But if you ever leave, I would like to see Harold Daggett become president.'” When asked whether he asked the soldier for any explanation, Bowers stated: “I am alone, one on one. I know of his [the soldier’s] reputation, I am not going to ask a lot of questions. I am figuring now how the hell to get out of the place.”
The govt. pleadings also allege that during the spring of 2000, the Genovese family schemed to place Daggett in a position on the ILA Exec. Council to assist his ascent to the presidency. In July 2000, at the direction of a Genovese soldier, Coffey arranged a meeting between himself, the aforementioned Genovese soldier and a second Genovese soldier to discuss how to elevate Daggett to a higher position. Coffey was then instructed by Genovese family members to vote for Daggett as asst. general organizer of the ILA, a top position on the Executive Council. Subsequently, a Genovese associate passed the message to the ILA leadership that Daggett was to be elected to that position. Records of the ILA Convention on July 19, 2000, attended by Coffey, reflect that Daggett ran unopposed and was elected to the position.
Finally, Daggett and Coffey are charged with conspiring to control the business on the piers of N.Y., N.J. and sou. Fla. The Genovese family allegedly controls the container and chassis repair industries, and ILA operations, on the piers in N.Y./N.J., utilizing threats of violence to exclude legitimate companies from competing for business, and to extort money from those companies they permitted to work on the piers.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. [U.S.A.O. E.D. NY, 7/27/04]