Federal and state
law enforcement agencies have charged 42 members of two New
York City area operating engineers' unions, and others, in
connection with racketeering by organized crime families.
The charges include no-show jobs and featherbedding on some
prominent construction projects, including expansion of a
Brooklyn, N.Y., postal service facility that will house local
offices of the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
Post Office no-show job alleged.
(Photo by Nadine M. Post for ENR)
The indictments, unsealed Feb.
26, claim that members of the Colombo and Genovese crime families
used extortion and intimidation to exert control over International
Union of Operating Engineers' Local 14, based in Flushing,
and Local 15, based in Manhattan. According to the charges,
Louis Moscatiello, an alleged Genovese family soldier, supervises
the family's criminal activities in the building trades. Carl
Carrara Sr., a Genovese associate, is mainly responsible for
the family's control over Locals 14 and 15, the indictment
Prosecutors claim that the defendants
reaped $2 million in profits from their schemes, and that
those affected reach far beyond contractors and developers
who paid union wages. "The influence exerted by the Colombo
and Genovese organized crime families over union Locals 14
and 15 victimized not only legitimate union members by corrupting
their union officials, looting benefit plans and denying them
the right to democratically govern their union," says
Kevin P. Donovan, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI
in New York City. "It also victimized real estate owners
and the public, which always ultimately bear the burden of
the mob tax.'" Investigations were also led by
the U.S. attorney's office and New York State Attorney General.
Beginning in 1999, prosecutors
investigated corruption at construction projects that included
the General Post Office building in Brooklyn; Kingsboro Community
College and the Marine Park Bridge, also in that borough;
and minor league baseball stadiums in Brooklyn and Staten
The probe also involved an addition
to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. With court permission,
investigators last year bugged a construction trailer at the
museum project where many defendants gathered. Many of the
charges are based on these intercepted conversations, prosecutors
Officials of Locals 14 and 15 could
not be reached for comment about the charges. A spokesman
for the international union says that its officials would
not comment until attorneys had finished reviewing the indictment.
In one alleged scheme described
in the indictment, four union members defrauded contractors,
owners and developers by submitting false information to contractors
on hours worked. They are former Local 14 Business Agent Joseph
Coriasco; Local 14 member Nicholas Lupari, who is Coriasco's
son-in-law; Local 15 delegate Thomas G. McNamara; and Local
15 member Anthony Polito.
According to the indictment, another
defendant, Lawrence Persico, claimed to be working at the
Brooklyn post office site during the same time that he was
on the payroll and receiving wages from Roadway Contracting
Inc. at another site. Among other contractors who allegedly
paid wages fraudulently recorded under the scheme were PT&L
Construction Co. Inc. and J.A. Jones GMO LLC. The firms are
not implicated in any crime.