Colombo mob boss arrested over alleged construction union shakedown

Defendants allegedly demanded five-figure payments tied to union

New York /
Sep.September 15, 2021 10:40 AM
A crackdown on mob activity has brought to light the alleged shakedown of a construction union based in Queens. (iStock)

A crackdown on mob activity has brought to light the alleged shakedown of a construction union based in Queens. (iStock)

A construction union in Queens was squeezed by alleged mobsters who demanded monthly payments from a health fund tied to the union, according to an indictment unsealed in a Brooklyn federal court.

Prosecutors allege that defendants, including Andrew Russo, the reputed boss of the Colombo crime family, made threats to take control of the health fund and demanded $10,000-plus monthly payments beginning in 2019. The union wasn’t named in the indictment, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A senior labor official also allegedly faced threats and extortion demands from the defendants, though that person also hasn’t been named.

Through recordings and wiretaps, a federal investigation was able to catch defendants allegedly talking about the kickbacks, as well as personnel decisions involved in the union and health fund. One defendant, reputed Colombo captain Vincent Ricciardo, allegedly threatened to kill the labor official in June.

“I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Ricciardo allegedly said.

Additional allegations include selling fake Department of Labor cards for $500 each saying construction workers completed certain courses and falsifying paperwork at occupational safety training schools. Those schools allegedly served as a storage space for illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Fourteen people were arrested on Tuesday on fraud and racketeering charges that allegedly took place over the past two decades. The fourteen have been charged in connection to the alleged crimes and arrests took place in three states: New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.

Russo pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment on Tuesday, for which he appeared via video conference from a hospital where he was being treated.

Mob involvement in New York construction unions has been a longstanding issue. In November, the city’s largest construction union, the New York City District Council of Carpenters, announced it was taking steps to root out possible organized-crime ties within its membership. This January, a former HFZ Capital Group executive pleaded guilty in connection to a construction bribery scheme that skimmed funds from the developer’s projects.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    MR Property Builders' Rich Rauff and 45th Street between Pacific and Prospect Streets in Copiague (Getty Images, Google Maps, MR Property Builders)
    Honey, they shrunk the housing: Long Island project withers
    Honey, they shrunk the housing: Long Island project withers
    (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
    Lumber prices splinter amid rising interest rates
    Lumber prices splinter amid rising interest rates
    Village of Lawrence mayor Alex Edelman (Facebook, Getty)
    Shovels down! Hempstead Town halts development in two villages
    Shovels down! Hempstead Town halts development in two villages
    A photo illustration of Daniel Brodsky and 75 West End Avenue (Getty Images, Google Maps)
    Brodsky brings challenge to NYC Airbnb law
    Brodsky brings challenge to NYC Airbnb law
    (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    How illegal Airbnbs slip through the cracks
    How illegal Airbnbs slip through the cracks
    FSA Capital’s Benjamin Clyburn and 133-09 37th Avenue in Flushing (Google Maps, Breaking Ground, Getty)
    Brian Pun’s FSA Capital plans 173K sf project in Flushing
    Brian Pun’s FSA Capital plans 173K sf project in Flushing
    State senator Michael Gianaris with 21-12 30th Road (NY Senate, Marner Architecture, Getty)
    Astoria redevelopment gets intergalactic
    Astoria redevelopment gets intergalactic
    DOB NOW (NYC DOB, Getty)
    Buildings Department audits plunge as agency closes loophole
    Buildings Department audits plunge as agency closes loophole
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...