Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department Unanimously Confirms the Commission’s Revocation of Longshoreworker’s Registration for Association with Members of Organized Crime
February 26, 2019
On February 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department unanimously affirmed the decision of the Waterfront Commission to revoke the registration of longshoreworker Joseph Ferdico.
Ferdico’s registration was revoked on August 14, 2017, after the Commission found that he had improperly associated with Anthony Calabrese (“Calabrese”), a convicted racketeer who was a member of the Bonano crime family, and John Castellucci (“Castellucci”), a convicted racketeer who was a capo in the Lucchese crime family. The Commission further found that Ferrara had committed fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in connection with a sworn interview in which he falsely denied associating with anyone who is a member or associate of an organized crime group. Based on the foregoing, the Commission found that Ferdico’s presence in the Port was a danger to the public peace or safety.
On appeal, Ferdico argued that the Commission’s decision was unsupported by the record, and that the penalty of revocation was harsh and unwarranted. He also argued that his due process rights were violated when the Administrative Law Judge drew an adverse inference against him for his failure to testify at his administrative hearing.
In affirming the Commission’s decision, the court found that there was substantial evidence that Ferdico had violated the Waterfront Commission Act by improperly associating with members of organized crime. Ferdico had worked for Calabrese for seven years, had been to his home, had his phone number, had recently spoken with him, and Calabrese had his car serviced at the auto repair business where Ferdico worked. Further, Ferdico purchased cigars from Castellucci’s store, and Castelluci had Ferdico’s personal cell phone number, which he had previously called. The court found that “[s]uch associations, which petitioner had failed to disclose, ‘potentially undermine [the Commission’s] continuing efforts to ensure public safety by reducing corruption on the waterfront.’” Based on the foregoing, the Court held that the penalty imposed was not a shock to one’s sense of fairness.
The court further rejected Ferdico’s claim that his due process rights had been violated, and upheld the ALJ’s application of an adverse inference against him for failing to testify during the administrative hearing.
A copy of the Court’s Decision and Order is attached.
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