Governor McGreevey – Reaching New Heights in Low Class.
Just when we thought our governor could not be more of a national embarrassment, it gets even worse. It turns out that the International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”), the labor organization that paid for the six-day vacation in Puerto Rico for the Gov and his family (see yesterday’s post), is under investigation by four (count ‘em) four federal and state agencies for possible connections with the Genovese crime family.
The President of the ILA, John Bowers, announced at the start of the organization’s convention in Puerto Rico (the event attended by our governor) that he expects that the ILA may soon be named in a federal racketeering suit. Presumably the suit he referred to is an outgrowth of the investigation being jointly conducted by the New York Statewide Organized Crime Task Force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, and the FBI.
This certainly is not the first time that organized crime has been linked to the ILA. In the 1970’s fully 117 ILA officers, dockworkers and shipping executives were successfully prosecuted, fined or jailed for racketeering. In fact, reports The Star Ledger, “Four straight general organizers, the third-ranking post at the ILA, were toppled by racketeering or corruption charges.”
Mr. Bowers, prior to the current investigation, was no stranger to law enforcement agencies. In 1990 Bowers settled a suit brought by the Justice Department to remove the influence of the Gambino and Genovese crime families from New York and New Jersey’s ports. Bowers settled the suit and relinquished one of his three presidencies.
Much of Bower’s current trouble apparently stems from the testimony given by a former Genovese crime family member who turned state’s evidence and testified about the cozy relationship between Bowers, the ILA and the Genovese crime family.
McGreevey’s press secretary (not an enviable job these days) issued the following spin, “The governor’s trip is not about whether one officer is under investigation. The governor’s trip is about the thousands of people who work in the ports of New Jersey.” I guess if you get paid to be the governor’s press secretary, you have say something.
However, in a twisted sense, he is partially correct. The governor’s trip is not about one officer being under investigation. Rather it is about the governor’s shamelessly accepting large gifts from an organization with a long, sordid history of close ties with organized crime families, whose members over the years have been successfully prosecuted for racketeering, shakedowns and various other crimes including conspiracy and arson.
In the end, it won’t matter. He’ll get a pass from New Jersey’s democrats.