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Ex-Carpenters Union official Zarzana, Atlantic Yards cheerleader, charged with extortion and identified as soldier in Genovese crime family

Salvester (Sal) Zarzana, former head of a Carpenters Union Local and a prominent cheerleader for Atlantic Yards, has been charged with extortion and identified in a federal indictment  as a soldier in the Genovese organized crime family.

An announcement yesterday from the FBI (also embedded below, along with the indictment):
An 18-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging 11 individuals, including several made members and associates of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Genovese family”), variously with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, illegal gambling, union embezzlement, and obstruction of justice. .

...As alleged in the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government today, Conrad Ianniello is a captain in the Genovese family. James Bernardone, the Secretary Treasurer of Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades (IUJAT), and Salvester Zarzana, the former President of Local 926 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, are both soldiers in the Genovese family. Ryan Ellis, Paul Gasparrini, William Panzera, and Robert Scalza, the Secretary Treasurer of IUJAT Local 713, are associates of the Genovese family....
The indictment charges Bernardone and Gasparrini with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of conspiring to extort a subcontractor related to work performed at construction sites in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn from approximately 2006 to 2009, including work performed at a Hampton Inn located on Ditmars Boulevard in Queens. Zarzana is also charged with extortion related to one of those construction sites.
There's no mention of Zarzana's role in Atlantic Yards, and he has no known criminal record, according to prosecutors. (The big story, according to the New York Post and the New York Times, involved alleged mob involvement in the San Gennaro feast.)

From the indictment

Regarding Zarzana, the indictment describes an extortion conspiracy charge and an extortion charge relating to a construction site "located at the intersection of Gold Street, Johnson Street and Flatbush Avenue" in Brooklyn--which could be the sites for the Oro or Avalon Fort Greene towers.

Who to work with

Then again, another union official, indicted in August 2009  for racketeering and bribery, had a basic philosophy, according to the Daily News: "We are going to work with the people who will work with us."

Here's a comment from a union member on the Local 157 blog this morning:
I don't see how it Matters. Sal put more People to work than alot of the Others in Place Now. I want to work. Don't give a (#_#( what the leader does or did. If He can get People work I'm with Him
Zarzana at rallies

Photo by Adrian Kinloch
The Daily News reported today, America’s most powerful Mafia family active in unions: indictment:Feds say Salvester Zarzana, former head of Carptenters Local 926, is a Genovese family soldier, court papers show. The associated picture of Zarzana is almost certainly from the same rally shown at left, with the now-disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger behind him.

Zarzana has testified at Atlantic Yards hearings and spoken at rallies. As I wrote 6/6/08, covering the "Brooklyn Day" rally,  Zarzana (right) was the only speaker to target elected officials who were opponents or critics of the project. “There’s a bunch of politicians we need to straighten out, like [City Council Member] Tish James,” he nearly screamed, near apoplexy.

(Below, a video produced by the Carpenters Union, including Zarzana, Borough President Marty Markowitz, and radio host Curtis Sliwa.)

Another episode

As I wrote 7/23/09, at a public information session, Zarzana interrupted and began shouting about non-union projects: “They build with out-of-towners, and illegals.”

Photo by Adrian Kinloch
(In photo at right, AY opponent Robert Puca, at right, has a colloquy with Zarzana, center, and Carpenters Union rep Anthony Pugliese. Local 157's John Musumeci reported 3/16/11 that "Pugliese was pushed into retirement because he refused to cooperate and sign a declaration under penalty of perjury pertaining to mob influence over the affairs of the District Council, an informed source said.")

The video above, shot by Jonathan Barkey, at that July 22 Atlantic Yards informational meeting hosted by Community Boards 2, 6, & 8, is an excerpt from a longer video that includes an orchestrated disruption.

"Leave that guy alone; we like him," bellows Zarzana, defending a pro-project heckler, who's intervening even as a Forest City Ratner official speaks. "If you guys go against him, we go against you." (Zarzana happens to be standing next to FCR VP Scott Cantone, who's wearing a jacket. Cantone recently left Forest City after testifying in a federal corruption trial.)

Previous criticism
In January 2011, Zarzana, among other union officials, faced severe criticism and sanction for suspected and confirmed improprieties, according to a report by a court-appointed monitor.

According to the First Interim Report of the Review Officer, Dennis M. Walsh:
Shortly after I was appointed, I received notice of over $30,000 of inappropriate expenditures made by Salvester Zarzana, the business manager of Local 926 [in Brooklyn]... The trustees in place ... during the time of such expenditures did not do their duty and in some cases, knew about the improper expenditures. All of these trustees will soon be held to account when time allows for charges to be prepared by my office...
That does not appear on the Local 926 web site, though a 6/9/10 letter from the Department of Labor on the web sites describes how Zarzana (referred to as "Zarzano") made personal purchases on the union's credit card totaling $38,496.52 over three-and-a-half years, and that, while he either reimbursed Local 926 or paid the card company directly, such payments "were not always timely made." The letter indicates that such loans violated the law, as did the failure of the Local to report indirect loans over $250 in a fiscal year.

Local 157 also reported on the 12/5/11 Third Interim Report of the Review Officer:
Organized crime, predominantly through the Genovese family (though other families continue to have interests and "turf") remains active in its efforts to corruptly influence the District Council and particularly some of its local unions. My office spends considerable time addressing this threat and I employ a broad range of investigative techniques. My staff and I have gathered significant evidence of criminal conduct engaged in by persons affiliated with the Genovese family, some of whom are members of the Union. I and members of my staff meet and confer regularly with law enforcement authorities in this regard. As the investigation is ongoing, I am constrained to say nothing further on the subject.

FBI — Eleven Individuals, Including Members and Associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family, Indicted

Bernardone/Ianniello/Zarzana Indictment

Bernardone/Ianniello/Zarzana Bail Letter


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