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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

United Hispanic Construction Workers Chief, Aide, Indicted

David Rodriguez (center in gray shirt), was indicted on charges that he and top deputy Daryll Jennings strongarmed contractors into hiring black and Hispanic workers

United Hispanic Construction Workers chief, aide indicted on charges they threatened contractors

The boss of a Bronx based construction coalition and a top deputy have been indicted on charges of strong-arming contractors to get Hispanic and black workers jobs, the Daily News has learned.
United Hispanic Construction Workers chief David Rodriguez and field director Daryll Jennings threatened contractors with violence and labor unrest if they didn't hire their members at job sites in Manhattan and the Bronx, sources told The News.
Rodriguez and Jennings will surrender to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. on Monday, their lawyer, Murray Richman, confirmed. They are expected to be charged with enterprise corruption and could face 25 years behind bars if convicted.
The DA's office would not comment, but a source familiar with the case said it was spearheaded by Vance's Rackets Bureau.
The indictment comes seven years after a jury cleared Rodriguez of racketeering charges in Brooklyn Federal Court. He'd been accused of collecting more than $300,000 in kickbacks.
At the time, investigators secretly taped a phone call in which Rodriguez said of a slow-paying contractor: "$11,000 worth killin' for, brother."
"This is a continuing attack on the coalition," said Richman, who defended Rodriguez in the federal trial.
"When white guys do this, they call it a union, but when persons of color do it, they call it a crime."
"I was acquitted [in 1994] because I did not commit any crime," Rodriguez said Friday. "I have done nothing wrong."
United Hispanic was formed in 1982, ostensibly to give minority groups a toehold in the city's white dominated building trades.
Rodriguez, a veteran of the Savage Skulls and the Dirty Dozen street gangs in the 1970s, has been president since 1988.
The group has a violent history.
United Hispanic members with pipes and bats clashed with members of a rival minority-worker coalition at a Times Square job site in 1995, authorities say.
The next year, 33 people were arrested after a dustup between the group and another competing coalition.
In 2002, police fingered the group in a turf battle that sent three men to the hospital.
"These kinds of groups have been dormant for quite a few years," said Louis Coletti of the Building Trades Employers' Association.
"But in this time of unemployment, it's ripe for them to resurface."



United Hispanic Construction Works Inc. (UHCW), its president, DaVid Rodriguez, 54, and his chief lieutenant, Darryl Jennings, aka DJ, 50, have been indicted for running a criminal enterprise that lasted for at least 17 years.

UHCW, founded as a minority labor coalition, was allegedly used by Rodriguez andJenningsas a vehicle to extort money and jobs from builders in the construction industry, typically in return for labor peace at the builders’ job sites.

The defendants are charged with first degree enterprise corruption, second degree grand larceny, attempted second degree grand larceny and fourth degree grand larceny.

Acting as the head of the criminal enterprise, Rodrigue controlled and directed all daily activities of the organization, according to the indictment.Jennings, who acted as Rodriguez’s enforcer on the ground, in turn controlled the activities of 20 to 50 UHCW members who travelled with him in vans to construction sites.

Their collective presence was meant to intimidate builders, and coerce them into hiring coalition workers, or else pay the coalition up front in exchange for what was termed “labor peace”, prosecutors said.  “Labor peace,” in the context of coalitions, means freedom from assault, property damage, vandalism, or harassment from other coalitions.

Between October 2006 and March 2011, both Rodriguez andJenningsare charged with directing and participating in the extortion of builders at more than 15 job sites throughoutManhattanand in theBronx. According to documents filed in court, Rodriguez would giveJenningsa list of sites to visit with coalition members, and the two were in frequent daily contact by phone. UHCW vans would transport the coalition members to job sites designated by Rodriguez and the vans were equipped with large duffle bags containing pick axe handles. Often, the members would carry these pick axe handles, as well as bats and tools, to intimidate and harm workers at the construction sites, prosecutors sasid.

At times, dozens of coalition members would enter construction sites, using intimidating tactics and sometimes physical force to bring work to a halt and demand money and jobs for coalition members, it is alleged. At other times, the coalition members would leave the vans and remain on the street en masse, as a show of potential force.Jenningswould allegedly demand jobs and money from the builders or contractors in charge of the sites and, depending on the perceived threats, contractors often hired UHCW workers, or else simply paid the coalition for “no-show” jobs or for services that were not provided.

The payments that the victims in this case made to UHCW varied. Most payments started at a few hundred dollars per week, but that amount could be increased at any point. By the end of a construction project lasting many months, the total payment made to UHCW by a builder could range from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, prosecutors said.

According to documents filed in court, some of the payments that were made in addition to or in lieu of hiring UHCW workers included:

–$100-200/week in exchange for “good will”
–$250/week to “coordinate laborers”
–$300 monthly contributions to UHCW
–$360/week for “security”
–$400/week to ensure “labor peace”
–$500/week to be left alone
–$750 biweekly payments for no work completed
–$1,000-1,200/month for “security”
–$4,000 over a six month period to prevent UHCW from stopping construction  9-27-11