Judge Joe Kendall

Racketeering Indictment Reinstated

A state racketeering indictment against the Newspaper & Mail Deliverers Union of N.Y. that was tossed out of court in 1996 has been reinstated. The indictment of NMDU resulted from a 1992 probe by Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau which led to charges against 29 bosses for crimes including systematic theft, extortion and beatings. In an unprecedented legal move, Morgenthau charged the union itself with "pervasive and extreme" criminal conduct. Reportedly, NMDU top boss Douglas LaChance and others made deals with the Bonanno and Luchese crime families.

Initially, the case was dismissed by the late trial court judge, Harold Rothwax, who held that a union wasn't a "person" under the law, and it couldn't be charged.  But an appellate court overruled Rothwax in Dec. 1998, and in Mar. 1999, N.Y.'s highest court declined to reconsider it. Top Morgenthau prosecutor Daniel Castleman said the ruling is an important legal victory: "It gives us the authority to indict a union." NMDU lawyer Kenneth O'Conner claims the union would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Daily News 4/19/99]

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