Monday, October 03, 2005

Judge delays fish market move again

A Manhattan judge once again delayed the Fulton Fish Market's move to a new Bronx facility, siding with claims that the city was ignoring a law designed to keep the Mafia out of the $1 billion-a-year wholesale fish business.

State Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead issued a 10-day injunction on September 30th blocking wholesale fish mongers from taking over the fish unloading business at a new refrigerated facility in Hunts Point. She is expected to issue a decision permanently blocking the fish mongers when the injunction runs out.

The fish sellers insist they cannot pay the costs associated with the more sanitary market unless they take over the unloading business, which they say they can operate faster and cheaper than current unloader Laro Service Systems Inc.

Laro was installed by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995 to take over the historically mob-tainted business of unloading fish trucks. The mob had been using the unloading service to extort payments from sellers dependent on quick service in the highly time-sensitive fish market.

Fish mongers' lawyer Tom Canova said the move could be delayed for a month as a result of Edmead's decision but predicted eventual victory. Laro attorney Randy Mastro, Giuliani's former chief of staff, said the case was "about protecting the public interest against organized-crime corruption."

"The judge's decision today vindicates that public interest," Mastro said.

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