A Sept. 9 trial date has been set for three ex-presidents of a large International Longshoremen’s Association local and nine others charged with participating in a mob-run “Christmas tribute” racket on the New Jersey docks.
U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh scheduled the trial after a hearing this week in Newark, N.J. He delayed rulings on defense motions to sever charges or defendants from the case, and to bar the introduction of wiretaps or other evidence.
A federal indictment charges that for more than 30 years, ILA local officials participated in a conspiracy to extort annual “Christmas tribute” payments from members of ILA Local 1235 in Newark, and to funnel the money to the Genovese crime family.
Defendants include Al Cernadas, Vincent Aulisi and Thomas Leonardis, all former presidents of ILA Local 1235, and Nunzio LaGrasso, former secretary-treasurer of Local 1478 in Newark. Cernadas is a former ILA international executive vice president.
Edward Aulisi, a former ILA checker at Port Newark and son of Vincent Aulisi, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Jan. 29 after pleading guilty to conspiring to extort Christmas payments from Local 1235 members.
The younger Aulisi admitted discussing Christmas payoffs in 2007 with Michael Coppola, a Genovese captain who was a fugitive at the time. Coppola is serving a 16-year sentence after a 2009 federal conviction for racketeering and conspiracy related to waterfront extortion and wire fraud.
Edward Aulisi invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent during a 2010 Waterfront Commission of New York hearing that highlighted his no-show job as an ILA checker at APM Terminals.