Thomas Leonardis, the President of International Longshoremen's Association Local 1235 from 2008 to 2011, has been sentenced to 22 months in a federal prison for his role in extorting Christmas tribute payments from New Jersey dockworkers as reported by Steve Strunsky for NJ Advance Media:
His lawyer, Michael N. Pedicini, said in an interview later that Leonardis and his co-defendants were products of their environment: a waterfront where dockworkers are dependent for work on union bosses, who in turn are subject to the influence of organized crime. "This has been going on for 40 years, and they just stepped into a situation that they couldn't walk away from," Pedicini said. "He read a statement, he acknowledged his guilt, and he expressed remorse."
Law enforcement "say the collections were made at the behest of Stephen Depiro, a reputed soldier in the Genovese crime family" against whom charges are still pending as reported by Leonard Greene for the New York Post.
Genovese capo Michael Coppola was convicted in July 2009 for decades-long extortion against Local 1235, and is serving a 16-year term.