By Jim Kouri
An 18-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, yesterday charging 11 suspects, including several made members and associates of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, with labor racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling, union embezzlement, and obstruction of justice, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
The defendants made their initial appearance Wednesday afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn (King’s County), the report stated.
As alleged in the indictment, Conrad Ianniello is a captain in the Genovese family. James Bernardone, the Secretary Treasurer of Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades (IUJAT), and Salvester Zarzana, the former President of Local 926 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Bernardone and Zarana are both soldiers in the Genovese family.
In addition, Ryan Ellis, Paul Gasparrini, William Panzera, and Robert Scalza, the Secretary Treasurer of IUJAT Local 713, are associates of the Genovese family. Also named as defendants are Robert Fiorello, Rodney Johnson, Felice Masullo, and John Squitieri.
During a press conference, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “As alleged in the indictment, the defendants’ extortion knew no bounds—in fact, one of the defendants allegedly even used the feast of San Gennaro to extort money from vendors involved in the celebration of the saint’s life. I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the federal agents and New York City detectives for this successful investigation.”
Ianniello is charged with, among other crimes, racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of illegal gambling; conspiring to extort vendors at the annual Feast of San Gennaro held in Little Italy, New York in 2008; and, along with Scalza and Ellis, conspiring to extort a labor union between April 2008 and May 2008 in order stop the union’s efforts to organize workers at a company on Long Island, New York.
Based on their threats, the mob members allegedly hoped to pave the way for Scalza’s union, IUJAT Local 713, to unionize the company instead.
One of those arrested was Salvester Zarzana, a former president of Carpenters Local 926 who is identified by the law enforcement as a soldier in the Genovese family.
Zarzana has been connected to a group of disgraced union officials who are organizing a alternate union that authorities believe is moving to take over the biggest construction union in the city, the District Council of Carpenters.
Zarzana was ousted as the president of the Carpenters Local 926 over questions about his abuse of union credit cards. He denied knowing anything about the Genovese Crime Family or the Mafia in general in a sworn affidavit made last year.