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U.S. v. LOCAL 1804-1

January 29, 2003

UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF, VS. LOCAL 1804-1, INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: John S. Martin, Jr., District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

On January 3, 1992, Local 1588 of the International Longshoremen's Association ("ILA") entered into a consent decree with the United States of America, which permanently enjoined its current and future officers, agents, representatives, employees and members from "engaging in conduct which constitutes or furthers an act of racketeering activity. . . . [and] knowingly associating with any member, associate or other individual involved in a La Cosa Nostra Organized Crime Family or any other organized crime group. . . ."

By the Union's own admission, from the date of the signing of the decree, officers of Local 1588 blatantly and repeatedly violated the terms of the consent decree. As a result of these violations, the Government seeks a modification of the decree's permanent injunction to provide for the appointment of an Administrator to govern the affairs of the Local. The Union opposes the application, arguing that the Court lacks the power to impose such a drastic remedy and, in any event, there is no need for a Court appointed monitor because the International has appointed its own Trustee to operate the Local.

The Facts

A. The Corruption of Local 1588

At a hearing conducted on January 16, 2003, John Angelone, who served as President of the Local from October 1994 until January 2002 and who was its Secretary Treasurer from December 1990 until he became President, testified that until some time in 1999, the Local was totally controlled by Joseph Lore, a known associate of the Genovese crime family. During this period, Angelone took orders for Lore and he and all of the other officers of the Local kicked back the major portions of their salaries to Lore. In addition, contracts were awarded at Lore's direction and his girlfriend was employed by the Local and provided with a BMW at union expense.

Lore's control over the Local ceased only because of a federal investigation which resulted in the convictions of Lore, Angelone and five other officers or employees of Local 1588. At the trial of some of the defendants in that case, Eugene G'Sell, the former Executive Vice-President of Local 1588, testified that, even before the consent decree was signed in 1992, Lore was picking the individuals who would serve as officers of the Local.

Angelone was replaced as president of Local 1588 by John Timpinaro in January, 2002. In May of 2002, Timpinaro and four other officers or members of Local 1588 were indicted in New Jersey on charges that they conspired to commit racketeering offenses with organized crime figures. While Timpinaro has pleaded not guilty to those charges and testified at the hearing in this matter without invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege, he acknowledged that in a conversation on January 29, 2002, which was tape-recorded by the Government without his knowledge, Nicholas Furina, a Genovese associate, told Timpinaro what to tell the members of the Local about the changes in its leadership. At the hearing, Timpinaro also acknowledged attending social functions with Furina and other organized crime figures.

B. The Oversight by the International

On June 6, 2002, the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors were considering instituting a lawsuit to take control of the ILA because it was under the control of the Gambino and Genovese crime families. On June 27, 2002, John Bowers, the President of the International, appointed three of its officers as a committee to investigate Local 1588 and directed them to work with the ILA's General Counsel and its special counsel, Professor James Cohen.

On December 5, 2002, the committee sent its report to President Bowers, detailing the corruption within Local 1588 and 3 recommending the appointment of a trustee to take control of the Local. On December 9, 2002, President Bowers appointed John D. Baker, an ILA Vice-President, to serve as Trustee of Local 1588.

Discussion

Despite the admitted evidence that the officers and members of Local 1588 repeatedly and flagrantly violated this Court's injunction, the International insists that this Court lacks the power to apply an appropriate remedy. The International also argues that there is no need for a court appointed Administrator because the International has appointed a Trustee to operate Local 1588.

There may have been some merit to the International's original argument that Rule 60(b) does not give the Court the power to expand the remedies of the consent decree, see 12 JAMES W. MOORE, ET AL., MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICES, 60.25 at 60-80 (3d Ed. 1990). However, at a conference with respect to the Government's application, the Court noted that the evidence presented by the Government indicated that the Union had violated the decree and that the relief sought appeared to be an appropriate remedy for this contempt of court. The Union was put on notice that the Court would treat the Government's application as one to find the Union in contempt of the 1992 decree and to appoint an Administrator as a remedy for that contempt. The matter was adjourned to allow the ...


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