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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gambino family linked union official admits to extortion

An official at a union with alleged mob ties admitted to extortion Tuesday, saying he talked tough to force a non-union construction company owner into a labor contract he didn't want to sign.
Roland Bedwell, the business manager for the United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, said he pressured the business owner into a pact that made him pay dues with the union — or else.
The union has been linked to wiseguys since its 2003 inception, Brooklyn prosecutors said in court papers. If the case had gone to trial, they said they could show Bedwell reported to a reputed Gambino crime family associate and made sure victimized business owners knew about the mob links.
Prosecutors said they also have a recording where Bedwell told the owner he meant business, noting he rolled with 15 "ex-military" men who weren't scared of violence or prison.
"Now if your men don't want to join? They don't care. They really don't care. So, the ball's gonna be in your court," Bedwell allegedly said in the recording.
On Tuesday, Bedwell told Judge Nicholas Garaufis that he knew his actions were wrong. "I am sorry, your honor," he said.
Bedwell only pleaded to charges connected to one shakedown, but filings pointed to two other alleged incidents.
Prosecutors said Bedwell and his crew interrupted a 2013 paving job at LaGuardia Airport. Bedwell told the construction company owner he'd see to it no asphalt was delivered to the job unless the owner signed a work contract with Local 175. Bedwell and co-conspirators alleged blocked delivery trucks, harassed drivers and slashed tires.
Prosecutors also said Bedwell showed up at a 2011 Queens bank parking lot paving job being done with non-union workers. After one of Bedwell's guys allegedly kept slugging one of the workers, the subcontractor said he'd sign the labor contract, which he thought was a one-day deal.
When he saw it was for three years of work through the union, the subcontractor refused to sign and Bedwell allegedly threatened to kill him.
Prosecutors estimate Bedwell, 57, of Freeport, could face between four and five years in prison. He's set to be sentenced Nov. 2.
"With references to organized crime and tough guys, Bedwell used his position as a labor union official to threaten business owners into hiring union members and paying them wages and benefits,” Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said. “ Today's guilty plea holds Bedwell accountable for his actions and demonstrates the resolve of this office, and our law enforcement partners, to ensure that businesses are able to make reasonable business decisions without fear of harm,".
Bedwell’s lawyer, Vito Palmieri, declined to comment on his client's guilty plea or the prosecution's allegations about the union's organized crime links.



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