Developer accuses two construction unions of engaging in racketeering and extortion

A Los Angeles real estate developer has filed a lawsuit accusing two labor unions of violating federal racketeering and antitrust laws as they attempted to block the approval of a mixed-use complex in the San Fernando Valley.

The Icon Co., which is seeking to build a $150-million project in Panorama City, said in its lawsuit that the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and Local 300 of the Laborers International Union of North America engaged in predatory and extortionist conduct as they filed environmental challenges over the development.

In the months leading up to a City Council vote, the two unions warned that the project would have negative effects on traffic, air quality and other issues. Yet behind the scenes, union officials offered to drop their environmental challenge if the Icon Co. agreed to hire only unionized construction workers, the developer’s lawsuit states.

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