Two members of Laborers Local 91 in Niagara Falls were convicted of attempted extortion on Jan. 21 after a trial in federal court. A jury convicted Steven Markle and Anthony Cerrone of involvement in a punching and stomping attack on tile setters who were working at a Wegmans supermarket site in Niagara Falls on Sept. 16, 1998.
Four members of the tile setters union were attacked, including one who was knocked to the ground and “kicked like a football,” and two required hospital treatment, said federal prosecutors William J. Hochul Jr. and Brett Harvey. As many as 20 laborers are alleged to have attacked the tile setters after a dispute over which union had the right to sweep floors at the construction site.
Markle and Cerrone could face maximum prison terms of 20 years. No sentencing date was set. Both were taken into custody by federal marshals after the convictions. The trial was the second of three cases focusing on labor racketeering allegations against Local 91 members and former leaders. Fourteen people were indicted in May 2002, following a lengthy investigation of the union by the FBI, U.S. Labor Department, State Police, Niagara County Sheriff’s Department and Niagara Falls Police. [Buffalo News, 1/22/05]