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

Monday, December 28, 2020

Feds claim top New York labor leader has extensive ties to organized crime

A top New York labor leader and Gov. Cuomo ally has “extensive ties to organized crime,” federal prosecutors claimed Monday.

James Cahill, the former president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, represented over 200,000 unionized construction workers until his arrest in October on bribery charges along with 10 other current and former members of Local 638. In a new filing, prosecutors say the feds were watching as Cahill met with members of the Gambino crime family and Serbian gangsters.

Cahill, 71, described himself as “the last of the Westies,” referring to an Irish-American crime family based in Hell’s Kitchen that once corrupted the construction industry, prosecutors wrote.

James Cahill, former president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council.
James Cahill, former president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council.

“Cahill has deep ties to leading members of organized crime who are known to engage in acts of violence and intimidation, which poses a threat to potential witnesses in this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Swergold wrote.

In 2017, Cuomo called Cahill “a good friend to me and my entire family for so long.” A Cuomo spokesman did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

The six-page filing opposing Cahill’s request for more lenient bail conditions reveals that the labor leader, who appeared alongside Cuomo at announcements for major infrastructure projects like the new Tappan Zee Bridge, was also allegedly rubbing elbows with hardcore gangsters.

Cahill was under surveillance as he met with Louis Filippelli, a capo in the Gambino crime family, according to the filing.

A recorded conversation on March 13 featured Cahill regaling a source cooperating with the government about decades-long ties to the Westies, the Gambinos and a Serbian organized crime family called Grupo Amerika, prosecutors claimed.

“John (Gotti) was like this with my brother and brother-in-law and this guy, Bosko. That was his crew. That was his Irish crew,” Cahill allegedly told the source cooperating with the government on March 13.

Cahill was referring to his brother Mickey Cahill — an alleged member of the Westies — his brother-in-law Buddy Leahy, and Bosko Radonjic, the former head of the Westies, prosecutors wrote.

Radonjich fled the U.S. in 1992 and died in Serbia in 2011. In the conversation, Cahil described Radonjich’s “understudy” as a gangster named “Michael Michael.”

Gov. Cuomo embraces Jim Cahill at an upstate trade conference in Lake George, N.Y., in 2015.
Gov. Cuomo embraces Jim Cahill at an upstate trade conference in Lake George, N.Y., in 2015.

Prosecutors identified “Michael Michael” as Mileta Miljanic, the reputed leader of Grupo Amerika.

“He’s my guy,” Cahill allegedly said of Miljanic.

Cahill’s attorney Sam Talkin denied the charges.

“Mr. Cahill denies he has any association with organized crime,” Talkin said. “The Westies have been defunct for three decades. And John Gotti has been dead for nearly two decades. That sums up the accuracy of the government’s allegations.”

During the same alarming conversation, Cahill allegedly said Miljanic was part of a “mass murdering crew.” Cahill boasted that he’d personally intervened after his nephew received a death threat from Miljanic, prosecutors wrote.

“If you bother him, I’m gonna go away from yous, I won’t talk to yous, I’m done,” Cahill said in the recorded conversation.

The feds say they were also spying as Cahill met with Miljanic “on numerous occasions.”

The bribery scheme allegedly earned Cahill and his cronies over $100,000 since Oct. 2018. The indictment claims that Cahill accepted bribes from the cooperating source, who was a non-union employer. In exchange, Cahill pledged to use his influence to make sure the employer was not hassled for using non-union labor on a project in Nassau County, prosecutors charge.

“If you become union, you’ll have 12 f--king guys on your back,” Cahill allegedly told the source in Oct. 2019 after taking a bribe.

“Welcome to the real world.”



  1. I see you upstate Jimmy. Remember what your father told you in McCloklines on west 56 st. When you got accepted to a 638 appenticeship? 3 Things 1 work hard 2 keep your and 3 never trust a Dago. You should have listrn. Your in trouble.

  2. Never trust a dago Jimmy can't wait to see ya