Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Former Alderman Gaines Pleads Guilty

                                                                    Ralph DeLeo

A former North Little Rock alderman pleaded guilty Monday to a federal public corruption charge.

Cary Gaines said during a hearing in U.S. District Court that he conspired with reputed mobster George Wylie Thompson of Cabot to rig bids for city public works projects to pay off gambling debts. In a plea agreement with prosecutors, a second charge of lying to federal agents was dismissed.

Gaines remained free on bail pending sentencing scheduled for April 22. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Hoey said Gaines likely would not serve the maximum sentence and would be eligible for sentence reductions because of his guilty plea.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes ordered that the plea agreement remain under seal, although Gaines said in an interview that he would testify against two co-defendants.

Gaines was elected to the North Little Rock City Council in 2006 after serving four years in the 1990s. He resigned his city post in late 2009 ahead of a federal indictment naming him with Thompson and North Little Rock Alderman Sam Baggett.

Gaines’ plea came a day before Baggett went to trial with Thompson on weapons charges.

At Monday’s hearing, Gaines told Holmes he had conspired with Thompson, an alleged Cabot bookmaker who prosecutors say is connected to the Colombo crime family, to direct North Little Rock public works projects to a vendor who then would direct kickbacks to Thompson.

The kickbacks, Gaines said, were to pay off his gambling debts to Thompson.

“In December 2008 I conspired with George Thompson for bid rigging in North Little Rock,” Gaines said, adding, “We conspired together to defraud the city of North Little Rock.”
Thompson has pleaded innocent to the public corruption charges as well as charges related to his dealings with Thompson.

Hoey said Gaines, Thompson and Paul Mayfield, a Cabot-based vendor who later worked as cooperating witness with federal authorities, had worked together on two different projects.

The first was concrete work in North Little Rock for sidewalks and drainage projects. Gaines introduced an ordinance in January 2009 that would have allowed bids for the concrete work. The ordinance failed. The second project was for city-funded landscaping near the Levy exit on Interstate 40.

Work never started on either project.
Gaines said he communicated with Mayfield by e-mail as part of the conspiracy and was also in regular communication with Thompson by telephone.

Federal authorities said Gaines first became part of their investigation of Thompson when they overheard Gaines in a court-authorized wiretap placing a bet on a college football bowl game in 2008. Agents subsequently received court permission for electronic surveillance of Gaines.

Earlier, the three defendants lost a bid to keep recordings from federal wiretaps out of court.

In October, a federal jury convicted Thompson on separate drug trafficking charges with Ralph Francis Deleo of Somerville, Mass., a Boston suburb. He is scheduled for trial Feb. 1 on the public corruption charges.

Another trial started Tuesday, Baggett is accused of selling guns and ammunition to Thompson, a felon.



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