CHECKER APPLICATION DENIED FOR FRAUDS AND ASSOCIATIONS WITH ORGANIZED CRIME FIGURES
May 2, 2017
Today, the Commission unanimously denied the application of Angelo Ruggiero of Staten Island who sought longshore registration as a checker, a sensitive position on the ports of New York and New Jersey. After a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Ruggiero had associated with the following organized crime figures in violation of the Waterfront Commission Act:
John Brescio, a capo or captain of the Genovese crime family with convictions pertaining to forgery and illegal gambling. After filing his waterfront application, Ruggiero was in contact with Brescio who had inquired about his employment. The ALJ dismissed Ruggiero’s defense that Brescio had accidentally telephoned him.
Joseph “Joe Marco Polo” Chirico, a soldier of the Gambino crime family who was convicted of a money laundering conspiracy. Ruggiero has known Chirico since childhood. Ruggiero’s family received discounts at Chirico’s restaurant, Marco Polo Ristorante. The ALJ found that Ruggiero committed fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in connection with his sworn waterfront application and related interview by failing to disclose his association with Chirico.
Giuseppe “Joe the Baker” Generoso, an associate of the Gambino crime family. Ruggiero is a close friend of Generoso, whom he has known since childhood. The ALJ found that Ruggiero committed fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in connection with his sworn application and interview by failing to disclose his association with Generoso.
Matteo “Matty Square” Ruggiero, an associate of the Gambino crime family and former port worker. Matty Square was ultimately convicted of intentionally conspiring to import and distribute cocaine while employed on the waterfront. Matty Square is the applicant’s uncle and friend with whom he is in regular contact. The ALJ found that Ruggiero’s calculated association with Matty Square “clearly falls within the ambit of the anti-association statute.” The ALJ found that Ruggiero lied on his waterfront application by failing to disclose his association with Matty Square.
- John Staluppi, a soldier of the Colombo crime family. Ruggiero claimed that, while employed as a restaurant’s wine manager, he served Staluppi and then gave him his personal phone number. Ruggiero and Staluppi later exchanged calls with each other. Ruggiero offered the same defense that he made for calls from Genovese capo Brescio – he claimed that Staluppi called him by accident. The ALJ found Ruggiero’s defense as “incredible and damning.” The ALJ further found that Ruggiero lied during a sworn interview by failing to disclose his association with Staluppi.
The ALJ found that the checker job that Ruggiero seeks is “especially vulnerable to favoritism and no-show activity, a plum for organized crime on the Waterfront.” The ALJ noted that three of the five organized crime figures with whom Ruggiero associated were connected to “Sonny Ciccone, the point man for the Gambino family’s stranglehold on the longshoreman jobs in Brooklyn.” In addition to voluntarily associating with organized crime figures, Ruggiero “chose to lie in his application and lie under oath about his association with those individuals.”
The Commissioners, adopting the findings of the ALJ, found that Ruggiero had violated the Waterfront Commission Act by associating with organized crime figures and committing fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in connection with his sworn application and interview. The Commissioners adopted the recommendation of the ALJ to deny Ruggiero’s application for inclusion in the longshore register as a checker.