Surprisingly, U.S. Magis. Judge Leslie G. Foschio (W.D.N.Y.) released three ex-bosses of Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am Local 91 in Niagara Falls from jail May 23 after, ruling that federal prosecutors did not give him enough information to prove the men would be a danger to the community. Nevertheless, Foschio warned Mark Congi, Andrew Shomers, and Salvatore Bertino, that they would be put back in jail if they harass witnesses or anyone else connected to their case. Congi, ex-president, Bertino, ex-vice president; and Shomers, ex-job steward, were among fourteen Local 91 bosses who were indicted by a federal grand jury May 17 on racketeering and extortion charges. Held without bail since the arrests, they appeared in court in orange jail uniforms. The other eleven bosses indicted with them were released May 17, the day of their arrests.
Asst. U.S. Atty. Charles B. Wydysh tried to convince Foschio the three must stay jailed for the safety of witnesses and people who allegedly had run-ins with them. Wydysh said the three men are charged with making death threats and, in some cases, physically attacking workers and contractors who had disagreements with Local 91. Wydysh said Congi boasted that he was the “strong arm” for Local 91, and that Shomers and Bertino “did his dirty work.” But Foschio said the information presented by Wydysh — who did not name the alleged victims — was “dated and inconclusive.” [Buffalo News 5/24/02]