On trial for extortion and fraud, reputed Genovese crime family capo Larry Ricci stopped showing up for his trial, fueling speculation that the Cosa Nostra (Italian mafia) meted out its own style of justice. Ricci, along with International Longshoremen Association (ILA) officials Harold Daggett and Arthur Coffey, are on trial accused of extortion and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. The Genovese and Gambino crime families exert their influence over the waterfront through controlling the union and its various employee funds. "I do not consider my client's absence to be a voluntary one," said Ricci’s attorney Martin Schmukler in federal court after the alleged wiseguy was absent for the second day in a row.

Ricci has claimed he is a dairy salesman, though feds say he controls parts of the New Jersey docks for the Genovese crime family. In a series of articles in 2004, The Indypendent reported that Newark Local 1235 President Al Cernadas rigged the troubled union’s master contract vote and was a mob associate of Ricci. The paper also reported on a meeting between ILA International President John Bowers and veteran “made man” George Barone. After being arrested in 2001 for extortion, Barone turned state’s witness and sung a canary’s song, ratting out his former mob pals. The meeting took place in a Florida restaurant between Ricci’s co-defendant Arthur Coffey and Barone-who muscled Bowers into choosing Daggett as the next ILA President. “I know [Barone’s] reputation, I am not going to ask a lot of questions. I am figuring now how the hell to get out of the place,” said Bowers, according to federal court documents.

A mob hitman, Barone allegedly whacked so many people he couldn’t keep track. “I didn’t keep a scorecard, but it was probably ten or twelve,” Barone testified in Gambino boss Peter Gotti’s trial.

According to mob historian Jerry Capeci, Coffey was installed in the leadership of the ILA’s Miami locals by his uncle and Genovese member, Douglas Rago. Apart from the Italian mafia, Irish gangsters infiltrated the docks decades ago and both Daggett and Bowers are relatives of these “Irish OG’s.”

The entire leadership of the union was indicted by the feds in July in a far reaching RICO suit and the government is seeking a trusteeship of the union. Rank and file union members have been battling to have a seat in any negotiations between the feds and top union leadership. Currently, Bayonne, New Jersey Local 1588 is under trusteeship and its former president John Timpanaro recently copped a plea in a kick back for hire scheme.