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Longshoreman Removed from Waterfront for Frauds and Association with a Genovese Crime Family Associate, Career Offender and Convicted Racketeer

August 4, 2020

   Today, the Waterfront Commission unanimously revoked the temporary longshoreman registration of Robert J. Sumner, age 33, of Verona, New Jersey. The Commission also denied his application for permanent inclusion in the longshore register. The Waterfront Commission’s decision followed a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who found that Sumner violated the Waterfront Commission Act by associating with Albert “The Bull” Cernadas, a Genovese crime family associate and convicted racketeer who victimized members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), the union for longshoremen at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Cernadas had been Executive Vice President of the ILA and President of ILA Local 1235. He was twice convicted of racketeering activities – first, in 2006, he was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud in connection with his role as a trustee of the fund that provided health care benefits to ILA members, resulting in his expulsion from the ILA; more recently, in 2015, he was convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy in connection with his extortion of ILA members at Christmastime.

   Evidence presented during the hearing included a photograph posted on Instagram of Cernadas with his arm around Sumner’s shoulder while wearing matching soccer jerseys. The ALJ found that “the photograph … clearly depicts an association between [Sumner] and Cernadas, as a friend, companion or ally in a social relationship.” The ALJ noted that the association was particularly “insidious” because “the photograph exists indefinitely beyond a fleeting moment such as at a restaurant or social event.” The ALJ concluded that “[a] reasonably objective observer could believe that the criminal associate could influence the longshoreman in his role as a worker regulated by the Act.”

   The ALJ also concluded that Sumner committed multiple acts of fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in connection with his sworn 2019 request for prequalification to join the waterfront and a sworn interview. The ALJ found that, during the sworn interview, despite receiving “advance warnings that his interview would be under oath,” and a warning “during the interview … about telling the truth and the consequences of committing perjury,” Sumner testified falsely about his connections to Cernadas and Cernadas’ grandson, Brandon Garcia, who is currently the president of ILA Local 1235. The ALJ noted that, on his request for prequalification, Sumner “consciously avoided mentioning his friend Brandon Garcia … in order to conceal from the Commission that he had any connection to Cernadas, especially through his grandson, Brandon Garcia.” According to the ALJ, Sumner committed fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation by claiming that he learned about the waterfront position, for which he sought prequalification, from a union official (not Garcia) with whom he had, at the time, never met and to whom, at the time, he had never spoken. The ALJ concluded that, although “there was nothing unlawful about Brandon Garcia or associating with him … Respondent feared the exposure to questions about Garcia’s grandfather, Albert “The Bull” Cernadas - And the answers to those questions could lead to exactly the charges enumerated in the Amended Notice of Hearing.”

   The Waterfront Commission adopted the ALJ’s findings that Sumner’s presence on the piers represents a danger to the public peace or safety because of his association with Cernadas and acts of fraud. Accordingly, the Waterfront Commission ordered the immediate revocation of his registration as a longshoreman and denied his application for permanent inclusion in the longshore register.

Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor