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In re Kaiser

Decided: February 20, 1967.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF HARRY J. KAISER FOR REGISTRATION AS A CHECKER. HARRY J. KAISER, APPELLANT


Goldmann, Kilkenny and Collester. The opinion of the court was delivered by Goldmann, S.j.a.d.

Goldmann

Harry J. Kaiser appeals from an order of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor denying his application for registration as a checker. The order recited that the Commission had duly determined that Kaiser lacked good character and integrity within the meaning of the Waterfront Commission Act, N.J.S.A. 32:23-105(3)(a), in that he had been convicted of four misdemeanors, mentioned hereinafter. We affirm.

As a result of a raid conducted by the State Police in July 1960 at premises occupied by Kaiser's mother in North Arlington, N.J., she and Kaiser were arrested and subsequently indicted by the Bergen County grand jury for four separate offenses stemming from that single incident: (1) maintaining

a building as a nuisance by permitting and knowingly carrying on a lottery business, in violation of N.J.S. 2A:130-3; (2) permitting a lottery to be conducted on the premises, contrary to N.J.S. 2A:121-3(c); (3) possessing lottery slips, in violation of N.J.S. 2A:121-3(b), and (4) conspiring to possess lottery slips, contrary to N.J.S. 2A:98-1 and 2. (The latter two indictments also named Kaiser's wife and one "John White," also known as "John Doe.") The raid uncovered a numbers bank operation of great magnitude: the State Police found thousands of number slips and confiscated some $275,000 in cash. Kaiser pleaded not guilty and stood trial; the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all four charges. He was thereafter sentenced to concurrent State Prison terms of 2-3 years. The convictions were affirmed on appeal. State v. Kaiser, 74 N.J. Super. 257 (App. Div. 1962), where a full account of the raid and its consequences is recited. The court there noted (at page 264) that the North Arlington premises were owned by Susan (the mother) and Harry Kaiser, and that the former made her home at that address.

Kaiser was paroled July 8, 1965 and thereafter was employed by a trucking company. A report made to the Commission by his parole officer recited that Kaiser had done well on parole and complied with all rules and regulations; it was not anticipated that he would be in trouble with the authorities. The officer gave Kaiser "a good recommendation."

The judgment records set out in the appendix would indicate that Kaiser had been convicted on June 23, 1961 for conspiracy, on November 9, 1962 for maintaining a nuisance, and on April 7, 1964 for permitting a lottery on the premises and for possession of lottery slips. At first blush this would indicate that Kaiser had been convicted on separate occasions for four unrelated offenses. However, the record (including the judgments) and Kaiser's testimony with relation thereto when he appeared at a hearing held by the Commission on his application, indicate that the four offenses were based upon a single event, the July 1960 raid, and that he had originally been sentenced on all four charges on June 23, 1961.

In his report to the Commission recommending a denial of the application, the hearing officer specifically noted that his recommendation was based on the ground that Kaiser did not possess good character and integrity. He did not base it on Kaiser's being an habitual offender, for it is quite clear from the record that he understood that the four offenses all stemmed from the same event. The hearing officer made the following findings and recommendations:

"I find that Kaiser, as charged by the Commission, was convicted of four serious gambling charges in New Jersey, despite his claim of innocence and the exculpations he offered at the Hearing. Conceding his stable family status and working record and noting the positive Recommendations of the Parole Report, I am still constrained to rule that the jury verdicts establishing his involvement in so vast an illegal gambling enterprise disqualify him from such a trusted position as that of waterfront checker. He does not, in my opinion, possess the good character and integrity required to monitor the movements of cargo and accordingly, I recommend that his application be denied."

The Commission adopted the recommendation and, as noted, expressly denied Kaiser's application because he lacked good character and integrity.

Under the Waterfront Commission Act, L. 1953, c. 202, as amended (N.J.S.A. 32:23-1 et seq.), all longshoremen within the Port of New York district are required to be registered with the Commission. N.J.S.A. 32:23-27. As originally enacted in 1953, "longshoreman" was broadly defined so as to include a checker, i.e., any person employed "for work at a pier or other waterfront terminal." N.J.S.A. 32:23-6. By later amendment, set out in N.J.S.A. 32:23-85, "checker" was defined as follows:

"'Checker' shall mean a longshoreman who is employed to engage in direct and immediate checking of waterborne freight or of the custodial accounting therefor or in the recording or tabulation of the hours worked at piers or other waterfront terminals by ...


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