- James Cahill, president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council (NYS Trades Council), along with 10 other former and current officials from two additional unions, has been indicted on racketeering, fraud and bribery charges that allegedly netted the group $100,000 since October 2018.
- Federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York charged Cahill and officials from Local 638 of the Enterprise Association of Steamfitters and Local Union 200 of the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada.
- The indictment alleges that the officials used their influence to interfere with labor-management relations in the construction industry in exchange for bribes, including Cahill's advice to a nonunion employer not to sign up with a union and not pursue bids that would have resulted in work for union members.
Officials claim that Cahill was the leader of the alleged criminal enterprise, and he faces up to 20 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, up to 20 years for honest services fraud conspiracy and up to five years for conspiracy to violate the Taft-Hartley Act, also known as the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, which governs union practices and activities.
As president of the NYS Trades Council, Cahill represents more than 200,000 unionized construction workers. He’s also a member of the executive council of the state branch of the AFL-CIO, one of the country’s largest labor organizations. Cahill’s attorney, Sam Talkin, told the Daily News that he will plead not guilty and denies the allegations.
As alleged, the defendants agreed to accept dozens of bribes, totaling more than $100,000, in exchange for which they used their authority to corruptly influence the construction industry at the expense of labor unions and their members.
“These union officials — who purported to be the ones looking out for workers and their rights — were in fact engaged in an enterprise of corruption at the expense of the hardworking men and women they claimed to represent," said Suffolk County, New York, District Attorney Timothy D. Sini in a statement. "This was a complete betrayal of these unions and their membership."
The criminal activity was uncovered during the course of a two-year wiretap investigation that uncovered "a shocking level of greed and corruption," he added, saying that the investigation is ongoing.
The indictment says that in addition to cash bribes, members of the group conspired to accept bribes in the form of loans that were never repaid, free meals and drinks, free labor on personal property and purchases of home appliances.
In addition to Cahill, the others charged in the case are Arthur Gipson from Local 200 and from Local 638:
- Christopher Kraft
- Patrick Hill
- Matthew Norton
- William Brian Wangerman
- Kevin McCarron
- Jeremy Sheeran
- Andrew McKeon
- Robert Egan
- Scott Roche
Prosecutors charged all of the other defendants with the same crimes as they did Cahill, with the exception of Roche and Gipson, who were both charged with honest services fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate Taft-Hartley.