Federal prosecutors announced racketeering, extortion and bribery charges yesterday against the president of the 15,000-member city school bus drivers’ union, who is already facing trial on charges that he tried to hide Mafia involvement in the union.
The new charges against the president, Salvatore Battaglia, 60, of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, were contained in an indictment unsealed in United States District Court in Manhattan that says he is a member of the Genovese crime family. The new charges came just weeks after the union’s longtime secretary-treasurer, Julius Bernstein, pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges and began cooperating with prosecutors and the F.B.I., law enforcement officials said.
The new charges said that over at least two years, Mr. Battaglia and others agreed with the owners of a number of school bus companies not to organize their workers, in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs from the owners.
Dissidents in the local have complained that it has been awash in corruption. Matthew Ianniello, 86, who prosecutors have said is the acting boss of the Genovese crime family, pleaded guilty in September, admitting that he had helped arrange for bus companies to make payoffs to Local 1181 officials.
Mr. Ianniello, Mr. Battaglia and Mr. Bernstein were among 20 people charged together in the original indictment in the case in July 2005. Last week, a federal jury in Manhattan acquitted one of the men, Ciro Perrone, on an obstruction of justice charge but failed to reach a verdict on racketeering charges. A prosecutor plans to retry him.
Mr. Battaglia’s lawyer, Charles G. Fiore, and a spokesman for the union did not return telephone messages late last night.
Mr. Battaglia would face a maximum of 168 years in prison if convicted on all the charges.