Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gambino linked Brooklyn pier operator sues International Longshoremen’s Association

Piers ‘king’: Port Authority, dock union ‘colluded’ against me
The man once known as “king of the Brooklyn piers” says the Port Authority worked “in cahoots” with a reputed mobbed-up, dockworkers-union to dethrone him.
Sabato “Sal” Catucci, who filed a $160 million lawsuit in Manhattan federal court this year against the International Longshoremen’s Association, believes his former landlord, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, “colluded” with the dockworkers’ union to strong-arm his American Stevedoring Inc. out of both the Red Hook container terminal and Port Newark by driving up costs.
He claims the PA turned a blind eye while hotheaded union honchos allegedly threatened to carry him out “in a box” if he didn’t turn over Piers 8-10 in Red Hook to a new operator and then staged a workers’ “walk-out” that forced Catucci to sign out of a lease with seven years left.
“There’s no way I could stop [the PA] and union from what they were doing, but my redemption will be making them pay,” Catucci told The Post.
He claims the union pushed his company off the piers after he refused to provide them no-show jobs and go along with other racketeering schemes.
Meanwhile, the PA’s move to replace Catucci could prove costly to bridge-and-tunnel tollpayers, whose rates are affected by agency revenues, the Post has learned.
Catucci says the PA was “squeezing him” for roughly $10 million in yearly rent and jacked-up “user fees.”
But the PA is subsidizing the new operator, Red Hook Container Terminal LLC, so it could run Catucci’s old space at no cost, records show.
The agency gave RHCT a one-year contract in September 2011 that included an up-front $2 million “advance payment” to cover operating expenses. The contract continues to be renewed every 90 days.
“We’re just a temporary operator for now,” said Gregory Brayman, a principal for RHCT and vice-president of Phoenix Beverages.
Phoenix pays millions of dollars yearly under a separate deal to lease adjacent Piers 7 and 11.
The PA, which declined comment for this article, isn’t named as a defendant in Catucci’s suit, but sources said he plans to do add the agency in the coming months.
Sources said the PA cut the sweetheart deal so it could have the flexibility to immediately replace the working Red Hook port with mixed-use development — once there’s enough political support.
Catucci, 75, who took over as terminal operator in 1994, has long had an adversarial relationship with the PA.
His business grew in the mid-2000s after he successfully lobbied enough pols to fend off a lucrative Bloomberg administration plan to replace a port used to unload coffee and other cargo with luxury housing, eateries, marinas and an expansion of the local cruise terminal.
He got a new lease in 2008, but saw his rent more than double.
He claims he was promised federal assistance if he signed that deal – but never did and then lost more than $20 million trying to keep the company afloat.
The PA has claimed American Stevedoring owes the agency millions of dollars in back rent, but Catucci contends that debt has been resolved.
Catucci in the suit also names as defendants ILA President Harold Daggett, ILA VP Louis Pernice and Michael Farino, a portside power broker whose company handles trucking for Phoenix.
The suit alleges Farino and Pernice in August 2011 threatened to take Catucci out of the port “in a box” if he didn’t back out of his PA lease.
Catucci says he wasn’t “phased because I’ve been hearing that bulls—t all my life” — but still hired an ex-cop to “chauffer and guard” him “all day.”
Calls and emails to the ILA, Daggett and Pernice were not returned.
Farino also didn’t return calls, but he did file an $18 million counter-suit in May against Catucci accusing him of various racketeering activities on the Red Hook piers, including illegally charging trucks a $10,000-a-month “tax” to park for pickups between 2000 and 2011.
Farino estimates the alleged scheme earned Catucci and relatives more than $1.2 million.
Catucci has previously been questioned by the feds of having links to the Gambino crime family but he has never been convicted of a crime.



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