By Selim Algar
A Brooklyn federal judge blasted a Genovese crime family soldier for helping to hike city construction costs by mobbing up work sites, before sending him to prison for mire than two years.
“Every little bit of extortion affects the cost of doing business,” Judge Nicholas Garaufis told James Bernardone, 47, of The Bronx, in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday. “This is part of the big rip-off that goes on in this town day after day, year after year.”
The hoodlum, a former business agent for Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades, pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort a subcontractor on construction projects in Queens and Manhattan so he could line the crime family’s pockets.
With several teary-eyed relatives sitting in the court gallery to support him, Bernardone apologized to the court and to his union before being sentenced.
“I just want to apologize to the court for letting my members down,” he said. “Now I know what I did was wrong — which I didn’t know then.”
Bernardone’s lawyer said that his client’s judgement had been clouded by drug addiction.