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U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney

Western District of New York

Further Inquiries:  716/843-5814

PRESS RELEASE 

May 17, 2002

 

RE:     UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. MARK CONGI, et al. 

United States Attorney Michael A. Battle announced today the unsealing of a 7‑count Indictment charging 14 members of Laborers Local 91, based in Niagara Falls, New York, with engaging in a violent scheme to extort both local and out-of-town businesses of their right to hire and retain workers of their choice at construction projects in Niagara County.  The Indictment specifically accuses the defendants, including several high-ranking officers of Local 91, with conspiracy to commit racketeering in violation of Title 18, United States Codes, Section 1962(d), five counts of extortion in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, and destruction of a motor vehicle engaged in commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 33.  Charged in the Indictment were: 

MARK CONGI, age 41

DOMINICK DELLACCIO, age 56

SALVATORE BERTINO, age 50

MICHAEL “BUTCH” QUARCINI, age 71

ALBERT CELESTE, age 60

ANDREW SHOMERS, age 39

SALVATORE SPATORICO, age 55

ANDREW TOMASCIK, JR., age 36

PAUL BELLRENG, age 48

BRIAN PERRY, age 41

ANTHONY CERRONE, age 37

MARK LOSTRACCO, age 32

STEVEN MARKLE, age 41

JAMES McKEOWN, age 45 

All of the charged offenses are punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Additionally, the defendants will be ordered to forfeit any interest maintained or acquired in Local 91, including their management positions within the union, should they be convicted of the racketeering charge.  It should be noted that the fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime ... is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  (Disciplinary Rule 7-107(B)(6)). 

Mr. Battle indicated that the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice will be advising the Laborers’ International Union of North America — which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. — of the return of the Indictment and that because the Indictment relates to the conduct of the affairs of Local 91, the International’s Ethics and Disciplinary Procedures mandate that the current officers who are named in the Indictment — Mark Congi, Salvatore Bertino, Michael Quarcini and Albert Celeste — be placed on a temporary leave of absence with full pay pending a disciplinary hearing before the International’s Independent Hearing Officer.  That Independent Hearing Officer must then hold a hearing to determine whether and for how long to continue the suspension.

Mr. Battle noted also that if they are convicted, these officers would be barred from holding any official position within the union for up to 13 years. 

According to U.S. Attorney Battle, the Indictment alleges that from at least 1996 to the present, high ranking officers of Local 91, including current Business Manager Michael “Butch” Quarcini, Assistant Business Manager Albert Celeste, President Mark Congi, and now retired, past-President Dominick Dellaccio, directed Local 91 members whose principal objective was to force employers to hire workers selected by the defendants.  The Indictment alleges that the defendants tried to enforce and enforced their demands by threatening to commit and by committing acts of bodily harm, destruction of property, and workplace sabotage. 

The Indictment also alleges that the violence committed by the defendants was not confined to construction sites, and included violence perpetrated against innocent bystanders and persons suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. 


U.S. Attorney Battle reported that the Indictment was the product of a 4-year investigation coordinated by Assistant United States Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr.  Mr. Battle also praised the tireless efforts of the investigating agencies and agents who actively participated in this long-term investigation:  the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Peter J. Ahearn, the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge John McGlynn, the New York State Police under the leadership of Captain Thomas M. Fresenius, Detail Commander, Special Investigation Unit, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department under the leadership of Sheriff Thomas Beilein, and the Niagara Falls Police Department under the leadership of Superintendent Christopher Carlin. 

Additionally, the investigation into additional suspected criminal actions committed by Local 91 members and others is continuing.

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