IG Report: Waterfront Commission Rife with Corruption, Porn

Categories: Crime, Featured
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If only Budd Schulberg were alive for this! In the 50s he witnessed the New York State Crime Commission hearings that exposed the graft and kickbacks documented in his script for On The Waterfront. Another result of those hearings was the establishment of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor -- which is in the news today because of State Inspector General Joseph Fisch's report charging the Commision is "Plagued By Abuse and Corruption."

The report came out of an employee complaint in 2005, leading to the Commission's first serious investigation, and knocked around until Governor Paterson authorized it recently. Once the investigation was in full swing, he Commission, it is said, tried unsuccessfully to suppress it.

A number of commission members have in the interim resigned or been teminated, including New Jersey commissioner Michael J. Madonna.

The Times says the Commission was "employing the same corrupt, self-serving methods of the pier-based gangsters it was supposed to pursue." They don't quite add up to the harassment and beating of Terry Malloy, but they're still pretty bad:

The report charges, among other things, the coverup of a felon's record so he could do business on the docks, misuse of antiterrorism funds, misuse of office equipment and company time, and such like. Commissioner Madonna allegedly "forced unqualified applicants on the police department," and even slipped answers to one applicant who'd been having trouble passing the Waterfront Police entrance exam. Madonna also "had an employee deliver building materials from the port to his home," the report alleges, and Director of Audit and Control Frank Nastasi "conducted a private tax preparation business out of his Commission office and accessed pornography on his Commission computer."

More ominously, the Commission seems to have "abandoned" background checks on workers in sensitive areas.

"The abuses and mismanagement identified in this report are not simply a collection of individual bad acts," says the report, "but rather constitute a breakdown of agency functioning."

Our own Tom Robbins has often covered the waterfront and its grim doings; see his "Still On the Waterfront," "Pier Pressure," and "The Magician's Nephew."

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