A nephew of the late boss of the Genovese crime family testified that he receives hourly pay for 168 hours a week, even when he's home sleeping, while collecting $400,000 a year as an International Longshoremen's Association shop steward at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Ralph Gigante Jr., a shop steward at the maintenance unit at Port Newark Container Terminal, said he's paid whenever ILA workers are on the job. He said he gets the regular $33 an hour for 40 hours, double pay for three hours a day of meal breaks, and time-and-a-half for each week's remaining hours, plus two yearly bonuses, including one for 16 paid holidays. He said he doesn't claim pay for the 10 to 12 times a year when he plays golf.
Gigante testified Thursday in the second of a series of hearings by Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor to highlight what commission officials say are no-show jobs, favoritism in hiring and organized-crime influence at the East Coast's busiest port.
The commission, which dates to 1953, is trying to show it's still needed to combat organized crime. New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak has introduced legislation to abolish the agency, which was harshly criticized last year in a New York state inspector general's report. Since the report, the commission's top leaders and much of its staff have been replaced.
Jason Szober, the commission's assistant counsel, testified that several ILA shop stewards at the port have family or other ties to organized-crime figures. Gigante's uncle, Vincent "Chin" Gigante, headed the Genovese mob family before his death in 2005. Szober said others who have held the lucrative ILA shop steward jobs at the port include the late mob boss's son, brother-in-law and sons-in-law.
Gigante, a member of Local 1804-1 said he became shop steward for an unlimited term in an unopposed election in 1995. Szober said 15 of the 17 ILA shop stewards at the port took office in a similar manner. The chief exception is Local 1588 in Bayonne, N.J., which for six years has been under a federal monitor.
Szober said the 17 shop stewards averaged $230,000 in pay last year, led by Gigante with $375,000. Gigante said his expected higher pay this year reflects a raise in the current contract. He defended his work and pay arrangements, saying he's on call around the clock and often comes in at night to handle problems.
Commission member Ronald Goldstock said the hearings have shown that labor contracts and practices at the port encourage racketeering. "We have heard allegations of widespread no-show and no-work jobs, favoritism, abuse of the collective bargaining agreements, unfair hiring and a concomitant racketeering tax on the industry," he said.
At the commission's initial hearing last week, Eddie Aulisi invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked whether he received nearly $100,000 a year for a no-show job as an ILA checker. Aulisi and his father, Vincent, were expelled from the ILA two years ago after FBI wiretaps caught the younger Aulisi in a phone conversation with Michael Coppola, a Genovese capo and convicted waterfront racketeer who was a federal fugitive.
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