The battle to keep mafia wiseguys off the NY-NJ waterfront

The battle to keep mafia wiseguys off the NY-NJ waterfront

It was like a scene from “The Sopranos.”

New Jersey mobster Manny “Guitarbarr” Rodriguez cornered a person who owed him cash in a Newark restaurant in 1995, aiming to ship a message on the implications of not paying up.

The “extremely violent” enforcer, nightclub proprietor and mortgage shark on the New Jersey ports ordered a pal to carry the arms of fitness center proprietor Gilberto Rubio. Then Rodriguez ripped a gold chain from the person’s neck and stabbed him as soon as within the chest, in accordance with police sources and investigative information.

“It was a ‘don’t f–okay with me’ damage,” a law-enforcement supply accustomed to the incident instructed The Put up.

The supply stated that Rubio, who survived the bloody assault, had fallen behind on mortgage funds and playing money owed to Rodriguez, an affiliate of the Genovese crime household. Rodriguez — who’d simply gotten out of jail for capturing one other man whereas attempting to gather unpaid sports activities bets in 1991 — was by no means prosecuted within the alleged stabbing.

Manny Rodriguez’s affect on the docks over the previous three many years has tormented the Waterfront Fee.Fb

Rodriguez’s affect on the docks over the previous three many years has tormented the Waterfront Fee, a Mafia-fighting unit now dealing with a disaster within the wake of Gov. Phil Murphy’s bid to drag New Jersey from the joint, two-state company. New York, in the meantime, is suing to attempt to forestall that from occurring.

The Genovese affiliate has been a key goal of the fee, which has lengthy sought to maintain him and his circle of linked friends from turning their entry to port enterprise and the longshoreman’s union into illicit money, in accordance with investigators.

They describe the duty as almost inconceivable, on condition that the individuals who run the docks and the union that represents its staff proceed to award six-figure jobs to wiseguys, their associates and family — together with the nephew of late Genovese godfather Vincent “The Chin” Gigante — all whereas offering alternatives for theft and corruption.

Gov. Phil Murphy desires to drag New Jersey from the Waterfront Fee, the joint, two-state company that oversees ports. Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York state are suing to attempt to forestall that from occurring.Pacific Press/LightRocket through Getty Photographs

“Regardless of the fee’s notable successes, organized crime nonetheless very a lot continues to exist on the waterfront,” stated its government director, Walter Arsenault, in a press release within the case involving New Jersey’s try and withdraw from the company, which the New York State Supreme court docket has briefly stopped. A ruling is anticipated early subsequent 12 months.

The knifing of Rubio, investigators stated, illustrates the issue of retaining goodfellas out of the ports. Rodriguez beat the case in opposition to him with just a little assist from his pal Benvenuti Pugliese, in accordance with fee investigators who seemed into the alleged crime.

Pugliese, a former dock supervisor who misplaced his job after he defrauded the union’s pension fund, got here ahead and claimed that the alleged sufferer, Rubio, grabbed Rodriguez by the testicles and punched him within the face. He stated he didn’t see any weapon or any gold chain being yanked from his neck.

A part of the Waterfront Fee’s purpose is to maintain mob corruption out of the ports.Getty Photographs

“He was saying it was self-defense,” stated a law-enforcement supply, noting that as a result of no different witness might again Rubio’s account, or refute Pugliese’s, prosecutors determined to not proceed with their case in opposition to Rodriguez. Regardless that detectives concluded that Pugliese “was not telling the reality.”

“[He] modified his solutions quite a few instances all through the interview,” the investigating detectives’ report stated. “He was evasive, agitated and self-contradicting.”

Pugliese — who additionally positioned bets with Rodriguez and borrowed cash from him — lately utilized for reinstatement, and obtained the assist of the Worldwide Longshoremen’s Affiliation union, regardless of his registration as a port checker having been revoked in 2018. A decide discovered that he’d helped himself to $30,000 from the union’s Prudential Pension Fund to attempt to purchase property “at an deal with that didn’t exist.”

Rodriguez was barred from the docks following his responsible plea to cash laundering fees in 2019, however runs a cleansing firm contracted to serve ILA workplaces.Fb

Rodriguez, 64, who calls himself “Guitarbarr” after the identify of his now-shuttered membership, was himself barred from the docks following his responsible plea to cash laundering fees in 2019.

Even so, investigators say, he continues to money in from his waterfront connections: He runs a cleansing firm with a contract to service two ILA workplaces, has a brand new nightclub in Newark frequented by dock staff and stays a valued affiliate of the Genovese household, though Rodriguez can’t be an official member resulting from his Hispanic ancestry.

“He’s a part of Mikey Cigars’ crew,” stated a supply accustomed to Rodriguez’s felony historical past, referring to infamous Genovese capo Michael Coppola — who went on the lam in 1996 after allegedly killing a fellow mobster at a New Jersey motel in 1977, a case that languished for almost 20 years earlier than cops caught a break and issued a warrant for Coppola’s arrest.

Rodriquez is claimed to be linked to Michael Coppola, went on the lam in 1996 after allegedly killing a fellow mobster at a New Jersey motel in 1977.AP

He finally was apprehended, and tried for the homicide and for extorting the ILA in 2009. A jury acquitted him on the murder however discovered him responsible of a RICO crime associated to the extortion. He’s set to be launched from jail in October 2023.

“Manny is as revered as any of the made guys,” stated the supply. “If he have been Italian, there’s little question he’d get made.”

Rodriguez, who served simply 11 months of his four-year money-laundering sentence and obtained out in 2020, proudly advertises his friendships on his “Guitarbarr” Fb web page — a priceless supply of data for the Waterfront Fee, which has the ability in addition hires on the ports in the event that they lie about their crimes or cozy dealings with gangsters of their functions.

Sources say the individuals who run the docks and the union that represents its staff proceed to award six-figure jobs to wiseguys, their associates and family.Getty Photographs

It’s taken motion 9 instances this 12 months in opposition to dock staff, one in every of whom, Farid Amado, is friends with Rodriguez however claimed in his job interview that he didn’t know why the ex-con had been locked up.

Fee investigators then found that the 2 males had six years of interactions on Fb, the place Amado, a Port Elizabeth longshoreman who labored transferring transport containers, was “constantly expressing fawning love and devotion” to the mobster. Rodriguez even attended Amado’s brother’s funeral.

Primarily based on all that, they discovered Amado’s purported ignorance of Rodriguez’s crime “easy unbelievable” and had him fired.

About Muji Sakawari

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