U.S. v. Kopituk, No. 80-5025

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore HILL and CLARK; CHARLES R. SCOTT
Citation690 F.2d 1289
Docket NumberNo. 80-5025
Decision Date04 November 1982
Parties95 Lab.Cas. P 13,873, 11 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1679 UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dorothy O. KOPITUK, Raymond C. Kopituk, Oscar Morales, Fred R. Field, Jr., Cleveland Turner, James Vanderwyde, Landon L. Williams, William Boyle, George Barone, Defendants-Appellants.

Page 1289

690 F.2d 1289
95 Lab.Cas. P 13,873, 11 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1679
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Dorothy O. KOPITUK, Raymond C. Kopituk, Oscar Morales, Fred
R. Field, Jr., Cleveland Turner, James Vanderwyde,
Landon L. Williams, William Boyle,
George Barone, Defendants-Appellants.
No. 80-5025.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eleventh Circuit.
Nov. 4, 1982.

Page 1294

S. Michael Levin, Sp. Atty., John F. Evans, Alexander S. White, Attys., U. S. Dept. of Justice, Miami, Fla., William C. Bryson, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., for U. S.

Leib & Martinez, Karl J. Leib, Jr., Coral Gables, Fla., for Kopituks & Morales.

Kogen & Kogan, Geoffrey C. Fleck, Loren H. Cohen, Miami, Fla., for Field.

Flynn, Rubio & Tarkoff, Michael H. Tarkoff, Miami, Fla., for Turner.

Varon & Stahl, Joseph A. Varon, Hollywood, Fla., for Vanderwyde.

Mahon, Mahon & Farley, Lacy Mahon, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla., for Williams.

Michael A. Masin, Richard M. Gale, Miami, Fla., for Boyle.

Rosen & Rosen, E. David Rosen, Miami, Fla., for Barone.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before HILL and CLARK, Circuit Judges, and SCOTT *, District Judge.

CHARLES R. SCOTT, District Judge:

Appellants, waterfront union officials and employers, were convicted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on numerous charges arising from their participation in a widespread pattern of corruption aimed at securing control of the business activity at several major ports in the Southeastern United States. The evidence adduced at the seven-month trial 1 revealed an extensive, well-orchestrated conspiracy spanning a period of more than 10 years in which union officials pressured waterfront employers to make illegal payoffs in return for assured labor peace and lucrative business contracts.

In 1975, the Federal Bureau of Investigation ('FBI') began an extensive undercover investigation of the corrupt enterprise when Joseph Teitlebaum, a waterfront employer who had participated in the conspiracy for several years, agreed to cooperate with the government. With Teitlebaum's assistance, FBI agents successfully infiltrated the enterprise and obtained tape-recordings of conversations transpiring in the course of illegal payoff transactions. The covert investigation continued until January 1977 when the case became public with the issuance of grand jury subpoenas.

On June 7, 1978, a federal grand jury, sitting in Miami, Florida, returned a 70-count, 128 page indictment charging appellants and others 2 with a variety of offenses

Page 1295

including: racketeering, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c); conspiracy to engage in racketeering, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); payment and receipt of money and other articles of value in exchange for labor peace, 29 U.S.C. § 186; extortion, 18 U.S.C. § 1951; receipt of kickbacks in connection with a labor matter, 18 U.S.C. § 1954; obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C. § 1503; and filing false income tax returns, 26 U.S.C. § 7206.
TEITLEBAUM

Joseph Teitlebaum was the government's "star" witness at trial. 3 Teitlebaum's involvement in the conspiracy was extensive and long-lasting and, as such, his testimony constituted the backbone of the government's case.

In the 1960's, Teitlebaum was a vice-president of Eagle Shipping, Inc., a company that performed stevedoring 4 services at the port of Miami. In 1966, Teitlebaum met appellant Fred R. Field, Jr. at a labor negotiation meeting in Miami. Field, who was General Organizer of the International Longshoremen's Association ('ILA'), asked Teitlebaum if they could talk privately somewhere. (9:83). 5 Teitlebaum arranged to use a friend's boat to take Field on a fishing trip. Field brought three other union officials with him on the trip, including Benny Astorino. (9:84-85).

At one point on the trip, Astorino told Teitlebaum that Field was coming to Miami to establish a new checkers' 6 union and that it would be in Teitlebaum's "best interest" to do business with Field. He added that Teitlebaum could demonstrate his "good faith" by paying him $3,000. (9:87-88). Teitlebaum testified that Field was sitting about eight feet behind him and Astorino, looking at Teitlebaum, while the conversation was taking place. (9:86).

Teitlebaum responded that he would have to discuss the matter with his father and uncles, who were responsible for running Eagle, Inc. (which owned Eagle Shipping, Inc.) (9:89). Shortly after returning from the fishing trip, Teitlebaum received telephone calls from two of his customers. 7 (9:91). The next day, Teitlebaum received a telephone call from Field in which Field asked him if he had "had a change of heart about the three aces." (9:92). Teitlebaum told him that he had not and that he did not appreciate Field pressuring his customers to persuade Teitlebaum to sign a union contract. (9:92). Field responded, "Listen, prick, you'll sign the contract and like it." (9:93). Teitlebaum ultimately signed the contract.

The next stage of Teitlebaum's involvement in the criminal enterprise did not commence until 1972. 8 Throughout the intervening years, Teitlebaum had come to know appellant George Barone, president of the checkers' union in Miami (ILA Local 1922), appellant William Boyle, secretary-treasurer of ILA Local 1922, appellant James Vanderwyde, office manager of ILA Local 1922, and appellant Cleveland Turner, president of the longshoremen's union in Miami (ILA Local 1416).

In 1972, Teitlebaum purchased a 90-ton crane to be used for loading and unloading

Page 1296

ships and formed M & M Crane Co. Within a week after the crane was brought to the Dodge Island Seaport at the port of Miami, someone had vandalized it. (9:110). Shortly thereafter, Teitlebaum received a visit from co-defendant Sebastian "Benny" Cotrone. Cotrone advised Teitlebaum that he should "make ... peace" with appellant Barone if he wished to stay in business. Cotrone told Teitlebaum that "they" wanted "a piece of the action from the crane." (9:112). Teitlebaum subsequently began leasing the crane to Marine Terminals, Inc. ('MTI'), a waterfront company managed by George Wagner, who had close ties to the union. (9:128). Wagner was paid a kickback of $15 for every hour of crane use billed to MTI. (19:93-94).

In early 1972, Teitlebaum contacted appellant Boyle about obtaining a contract to perform stevedoring services for the Mardi Gras, a passenger ship owned and operated by the Carnival Cruise Lines. (19:109). Boyle said that he would talk with "the boys" and let Teitlebaum know if it could be done. A couple days later Boyle informed Teitlebaum that he could have the contract, but that it would cost him "two big ones and a free cruise every now and then." (19:109). Teitlebaum agreed and his company subsequently obtained the contract. He paid Boyle $2,000 in installments of $200 per week. (19:123).

When it became apparent to Teitlebaum that it was necessary to reduce the number of porters assigned to work on the Mardi Gras in order to save money, Teitlebaum presented the problem to Boyle, who in turn told Teitlebaum to contact appellant Cleveland Turner, president of the Miami longshoremen's union. Teitlebaum did so and worked out an agreement to pay Turner $50 per week to reduce the number of porters assigned to the dock. Turner told Teitlebaum to talk with the head porter on the dock and to have the head porter call Turner if there was any problem. Teitlebaum made payoffs to Turner from 1972 to 1976. (19:114).

At one point in early 1972, Boyle told Teitlebaum that Teitlebaum's cousin owed the union between $1,800 and $2,000 in delinquent health insurance and dues payments and that it would be in Teitlebaum's best interest to pay the debt on his behalf. (19:95). Teitlebaum agreed to pay the debt. In October or November of 1972, after the debt had been paid, appellant James Vanderwyde told Teitlebaum: "You did a nice job paying off your cousin's debt. Don't let it stop." Teitlebaum asked him what he was talking about, to which Vanderwyde responded: "Are you stupid? We're going to have control of this fucking port right here. Control. That's what counts, control." (19:128). Teitlebaum testified that while he was saying this, Vanderwyde made a fist and gritted his teeth. (19:128).

Approximately one week after his conversation with Vanderwyde, Teitlebaum saw Boyle at the Dodge Island Seaport. Boyle told him that he was going to have to start paying the union $200 per week, but that he would receive additional business for doing so. Boyle made specific reference to the Siboney, a cargo ship operated by Ocean Trailer Transport, Inc. (19:129). Teitlebaum agreed that if he acquired the Siboney contract, he would pay Boyle the $200 per week. (19:129).

Teitlebaum did obtain the Siboney contract and began making the weekly payments to Boyle. He was frequently late in making the payments, however, prompting Boyle to tell him on one occasion that "(i)f the little guy for George found out that you were late, you would have a lot of trouble." (19:209). Boyle identified the "little guy" as appellant Vanderwyde. (19:209).

In late 1973, Teitlebaum met with Boyle at the Miami ILA office and told him that he was interested in improving his company's position by acquiring a contract to service either the Mamenic Line or Gran Columbiana Line. Boyle responded that Teitlebaum should speak with appellant Field about it. (20:13). That evening Field visited Teitlebaum's office and Teitlebaum reiterated his interest in the Mamenic and Gran Columbiana lines. Field told Teitlebaum that the Mamenic contract would be the easier of the two to acquire. Teitlebaum

Page 1297

expressed concern because he knew of a Mamenic representative that was working for a competing stevedoring company, but Field told Teitlebaum not to worry, stating that the representative could "be taken care of." (20:14). Teitlebaum reported to appellant Barone...

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236 practice notes
  • Tuma v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0919–10–2.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • June 12, 2012
    ...v. Gordon, 844 F.2d 1397, 1403 (9th Cir.1988); United States v. Adams, 834 F.2d 632, 634–35 (7th Cir.1987); United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1340 (11th Cir.1982); State v. Aikins, 261 Kan. 346, 932 P.2d 408, 437 (1997); People v. Monroe, 17 A.D.3d 863, 864, 793 N.Y.S.2d 276 (N.Y.App......
  • US v. LOCAL 1804-1, INTERN. LONGSHOREMEN'S ASS'N, No. 90 Civ. 0963 (LBS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • April 14, 1993
    ...an intent to exploit the alleged victim's fear.69 United States v. Capo, 791 F.2d 1054, 1061-62 (2d Cir. 1986); United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1328 (11th Cir.1982). We will consider each of these elements a. Property of Another The first element need not detain us for long, for th......
  • U.S. v. Bascaro, Nos. 82-5547
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • October 1, 1984
    ...the challenged remarks must be 1) improper; and 2) prejudicial to a substantial right of the defendant. United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1341 (11th Cir.1982). Upon evaluating the prosecutor's closing argument in light of the foregoing criteria, we hold that the challenged statements......
  • U.S. v. Hernandez, No. 89-3395
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • January 30, 1991
    ...was proper in cases considerably more complex than this one, although many of them were split verdicts. See United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1320 (11th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 463 U.S. 1209, 103 S.Ct. 3542, 77 L.Ed.2d 1391 (1983) (12 defendants, 70 counts, 130 witnesses, 22,000 pag......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
235 cases
  • Tuma v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0919–10–2.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • June 12, 2012
    ...v. Gordon, 844 F.2d 1397, 1403 (9th Cir.1988); United States v. Adams, 834 F.2d 632, 634–35 (7th Cir.1987); United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1340 (11th Cir.1982); State v. Aikins, 261 Kan. 346, 932 P.2d 408, 437 (1997); People v. Monroe, 17 A.D.3d 863, 864, 793 N.Y.S.2d 276 (N.Y.App......
  • US v. LOCAL 1804-1, INTERN. LONGSHOREMEN'S ASS'N, No. 90 Civ. 0963 (LBS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • April 14, 1993
    ...an intent to exploit the alleged victim's fear.69 United States v. Capo, 791 F.2d 1054, 1061-62 (2d Cir. 1986); United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1328 (11th Cir.1982). We will consider each of these elements a. Property of Another The first element need not detain us for long, for th......
  • U.S. v. Bascaro, Nos. 82-5547
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • October 1, 1984
    ...the challenged remarks must be 1) improper; and 2) prejudicial to a substantial right of the defendant. United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1341 (11th Cir.1982). Upon evaluating the prosecutor's closing argument in light of the foregoing criteria, we hold that the challenged statements......
  • Odle v. Vasquez, No. C-88-4280-CAL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • December 27, 1990
    ...v. Phillips, 664 F.2d 971 (5th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 457 U.S. 1136, 102 S.Ct. 2965, 73 L.Ed.2d 1354 (1982); United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289 (11th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 928, 103 S.Ct. 2089, 77 L.Ed.2d 300 (1983); United States v. Hillard, 701 F.2d 1052 (2d Cir.), cert.......
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1 books & journal articles
  • EMPLOYMENT LAW VIOLATIONS
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Nbr. 58-3, July 2021
    • July 1, 2021
    ...employer lease equipment from the company owned by off‌icial’s daughter-in-law was covered by 29 U.S.C. § 186); United States v. Kopituk, 690 F.2d 1289, 1330 (11th Cir. 1982) (upholding jury’s f‌inding that cruise tickets given to union off‌icials by employers were thing of value); United S......

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