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Albany union president accused of heading group indicted on racketeering charges

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Union President James Cahill is accused of heading an organization which used its members’ influential union roles to engage in criminal activity. Cahill, who is President of the Albany-based New York State Building and Construction Trades Council (NYS Trades Council), is among 11 officials facing racketeering, fraud and bribery charges.

Cahill is alleged to have led “The Enterprise”, which Department of Justice (DOJ) officials say was: “a criminal organization whose members agreed to engage in, among other activities, honest services fraud, receipts of bribes as labor union officials, and unlawful receipt of payments to labor organizations.”

As alleged, the defendants exploited their labor organization positions to line their own pockets. They did so at the expense of the unions and their members by accepting bribes to favor non-union employers and corruptly influence the construction trade.

Today’s indictment reflects our commitment to rooting out corruption and bringing to justice those who abuse positions of power out of personal greed. We thank the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for their partnership in this case.”

Ilan Graff
Attorney for the United States

“The Enterprise” was comprised of current and former Local 638 officials, including: Cahill, Cristopher Kraft, Patrick Hill, Matthew Norton, William Brian Wangerman, Kevin McCarron, Jeremy “Max” Sheeran, Andrew McKeon and Robert Egan.

The DOJ alleges the defendants accepted dozens of bribes since October 2018, amounting to over $100,000. These bribes took the form of cash payments, “loans” that were never repaid, free meals and drinks, free labor on personal property and purchases of home appliances.

The allegations center around Local 638, the Long Island based United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada. Cahill, a former business agent and international representative of the union, is said to have influenced its elections and installed associates loyal to him in official positions.

Alongside the racketeering conspiracy and honest services fraud conspiracy charges, the group have been charged with “conspiracy to violate the 1947 Taft-Harvey act.”

This charge relates to the allegation that Cahill and the other defendants are of used their influential positions within Local 638 to perform actions favorable to non-union employers in exchange for bribes. This includes withdrawing bids on construction, plumbing and pipe-fitting work that would otherwise have potentially been awarded to companies whose employees were represented by Local 638 or Local 200, and using non-union labor for plumbing and pipe fitting projects.

Prosecutors claim that when Cahill brought Patrick Hill into “the Enterprise” he told a non-union employer who both men accepted bribes from:

“Here’s the thing. I give you Paddy [Hill]. But if Paddy f**** up and does stupid things, you have to tell me. I got my guys, I got the guys who come to me, and you know that, and everyone knows who comes to me.”

In another instance, it is alleged Cahill pressured the same non-union employer into not signing with a union, instead asking him to:

“Tell everyone to go **** themselves” because “if you become union, you’ll have 12 ******* guys on your back.”

James Cahill, Cristopher Kraft, Patrick Hill, Matthew Norton, William Brian Wangerman, Kevin McCarron, Jeremy “Max” Sheeran, Andrew McKeon and Robert Egan are facing charges of Racketeering Conspiracy, Honest Services Fraud Conspiracy and Conspiracy to Violate the Taft-Hartley Act while Scott Roche and Arthur Gipson are facing charges of Honest Services Fraud Conspiracy and Conspiracy to Violate the Taft-Hartley Act

If convicted Cahill and his associates could be imprisoned for up to 45-years. The racketeering and fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, while the conspiracy to violate the Taft-Harvey Act carries a maximum term of five years imprisonment.

In addition to his role at the NYS Trades Council, Cahill is also on executive council of the New York State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (NYS AFL-CIO), whioch is also headquartered in Albany.

NEWS10 has reached out to both NYS Trades Council and NYS AFL-CIO for comment.

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