Three additional defendants and dozens of counts were added to a federal racketeering indictment accusing mob figures and ex-International Longshoremen’s Association officials of extorting New York-New Jersey dockworkers for “Christmas tribute” payoffs.
A 103-count superseding indictment added to charges against a group including Albert Cernadas, former ILA international executive vice president and ex-president of Local 1235 in Newark, and Nunzio LaGrasso, former vice president of Local 1478 in Newark.
They and others, including reputed Genovese mobster Stephen Depiro, were accused last year of what prosecutors said was a longstanding racket that extorted dockworkers for annual holiday payoffs funneled to organized crime.
The expanded indictment accuses Cernadas of 61 additional acts of extortion against ILA members and LaGrasso of 12 additional acts. The latest version of the indictment alleges extortion of 28 dockworkers during the last two decades.
Also charged with additional counts of extortion were five other, including Cernadas’ two immediate successors as Local 1235 president, Vincent Aulisi and Thomas Leonardis, and Local 1235 delegate Robert Ruiz.
Ruiz also was charged with obstructing justice by impeding a grand jury investigation. He was charged last year with extortion conspiracy after federal agents said they dug up $51,900 in alleged payoff cash from a dockworker’s back yard.
The expanded indictments added three new defendants, Michael Nicolosi, Julio Porrao and Rocco Ferrandino. All were charged with extortion and extortion conspiracy. Ferrandino was charged in a separate indictment with making false statements to law enforcement agents.
Ferrandino was head timekeeper at Maher Terminals until his Waterfront Commission license was suspended last February after New Jersey authorities charged him with conspiracy, extortion, commercial bribery and money laundering. LaGrasso also was charged in that case.
Nicolosi, head foreman at Port Newark Container Terminal, was suspended by the Waterfront Commission after his indictment Thursday. Porrao was identified by the commission as a retired longshore supervisor at APM Terminals.