The Newspaper and Mail Deliverers' Union is a criminal racket that for more than 16 years has held a "stranglehold" over the distribution of magazines and newspapers in New York City, the district attorney charged Monday.
In a series of indictments, Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau took the unusual step of seeking forfeiture of the union's rights to determine its membership and to enforce its collective bargaining agreements.
"Corruption in the NMDU is so pervasive and extreme that it was necessary to take the extraordinary step of charging the union itself," Morgenthau said.
Labeling the union the "Newspaper Delivery Mob," the indictment charged it was a criminal enterprise, containing some members linked to organized crime.
The district attorney alleged that the union engaged in a host of crimes, including bribery, extortion, theft, padding of payrolls, beatings and sabotage--often with the acquiescence of some people in management. The indictments named three current and former union officials and 13 others associated with the deliverers. Defendants included Michael Alvino, the union's former president, who served in office during a five-month strike against the Daily News last year.
The union has about 3,000 members and represents drivers at the New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post, El Diario, the Daily Racing Form, the Metropolitan News Co. and other media concerns.
According to the indictment, corrupt union officials even stole several thousand dollars from a fund set up by the Allied Printing Trades for strikers at the Daily News and gave the money to the girlfriend of the union's business agent and other unauthorized people.
"We will be asking the court to appoint a receiver to take charge of the union's affairs, to get the bad apples out and keep them out," Morgenthau said.
One of the indictments made public Monday charged that union members conducted rackets preying on employees of the Metropolitan News Co., a primary wholesale deliverer of the New York Times. Authorities charged the defendants stole money from Metropolitan by padding the payroll with "ghost" employees and taking paychecks, medical insurance and sick and vacation pay for the "ghosts."
Court papers charged members of the Luchese and Bonanno crime families were associated with the union.
The defendants allegedly created an atmosphere of fear by bringing organized crime members to union meetings and Metropolitan's offices. The defendants were associated with James Carmine Galante, who pleaded guilty to an earlier indictment, and is to report in January to begin serving up to 12 years in prison.
Galante is the nephew of Carmine Galante, the former boss of the Bonanno crime family who was murdered in 1979 by rival mobsters.
"Certain members of the enterprise were affiliated with La Cosa Nostra," the indictment said.