Judge refuses to block trustee's takeover of union



BY DAVE NEWBART Staff Reporter

March 5, 2004





A federal judge Thursday denied a powerful labor union's request to stop a trustee from taking over its leadership.


Saying he had "no grounds” to interfere, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman denied Laborers Local 1001's request to block enforcement of a ruling that places the 2,800-member union into trusteeship.


The ruling was entered this week by independent hearing officer Peter Vaira, who said the local continues to be infiltrated by organized crime. The union, which represents hundreds of city workers, is run by Nicholas Gironda, who was brought to power by his cousin Bruno Caruso and by Ernest Kumerow, son-in-law of mobster Anthony "Big Tuna” Accardo. Kumerow and Caruso were ousted from the union by Vaira in 2001 because of their ties to organized crime.


Local 1001 attorney Matthias Lydon argued the findings that the union was tied to organized crime were old. But a lawyer for the international union, Robert Shapiro, said the trusteeship was essential to clean up the union.


Hearings on a permanent injunction to stop the trusteeship will go forward later this month.

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