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Petrocelli indicted on corruption charge: Feds

The head of Long Island City−based Petrocelli Electric Company was indicted on corruption charges in Manhattan federal court last Thursday for allegedly giving payouts to a “representative” of a union represented at the time by disgraced former state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, according to court papers.

The indictment alleges that Santo Petrocelli, the chief operating officer of Petrocelli Electric Co. since 1993, illegally gave repeated cash payments and the lease on a new Crown Victoria to “a representative” of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers between 2004 and 2006.

Petrocelli, whose business is based at 22−09 Queens Plaza North, was charged with conspiracy and making unlawful payments to a union representative. He could not be reached for comment.

Petrocelli Electric, founded in 1933, is one of the largest privately owned electrical contractors in the United States. The company specializes in electrical and communication installations and has had contracts with some of the largest construction projects in the city, including the reconstruction of the World Trade Center.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which own the World Trade Center site, said it ended its contract with Petrocelli after becoming aware of the ongoing investigation.

At the time the alleged actions took place, McLaughlin, who was also an assemblyman for District 25, worked as an unpaid representative for Local 3 — a union that continued to employ him as an active member as recently as last year. The indictment alleged that the unnamed representative regularly took illegal payouts from Petrocelli, whose employees were represented by Local 3.

Last March McLaughlin pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and one count of making false statements on a loan application — charges that would normally land him between eight and 10 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. By pleading guilty, McLaughlin admitted to a litany of crimes that painted a picture both of greed and betrayal during his years as an influential Flushing Democrat and a powerful labor leader.

Since his guilty plea, however, McLaughlin’s sentencing has been pushed back repeatedly and sources have told TimesLedger that he cooperated with federal authorities in an investigation into former colleague and current Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio.

Seminerio was indicted on corruption charges in September and McLaughlin’s sentencing, at the time scheduled for Sept. 12, was adjourned just days before.

After being pushed back again in January, McLaughlin was scheduled to be sentenced on Monday. But on March 27, less than a week before Petrocelli’s indictment, it was once again adjourned by U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan until May 14. No formal reason for the adjournment was listed.

There is currently no scheduled date for Petrocelli to appear in court.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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