Former NJ union head gets 22 months in Christmas bonus extortion plot

A former longshoremen’s union president at New Jersey’s ports is going to prison for an extortion plot that targeted dockworkers’ Christmas bonuses.

Thomas Leonardis received a 22-month sentence in federal court in Newark on Tuesday. The 57-year-old Glen Gardner resident had pleaded guilty to extortion conspiracy.

Leonardis and others admitted they used violence and threats to extort payments from union workers at the end of the year when they received “Container Royalty Fund” checks, similar to bonuses.

At the time of the arrests in 2011, the U.S. attorney’s office said the extortion plot began in the early 1980s.

Charges are pending in New Jersey against Steven Depiro, a reputed soldier in the Genovese crime family who is charged with racketeering conspiracy.

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