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

Friday, February 5, 2010

Feds: Politician Took Cash From Colombo Street Boss

A North Little Rock city alderman charged in a federal public corruption indictment received campaign cash from a co-defendant identified by federal prosecutors as a “made man” in the Mafia, prosecutors say in a court filing.
The filing late Wednesday was the first attempt by federal prosecutors to tie alleged mobster George Wylie Thompson to Alderman Sam Baggett in Baggett’s role as an elected city official.
According to the filing, in August 2008, while running for the Ward 3 position, Baggett received a $500 campaign donation from the Arkansas Karate Association, a nonprofit organization of which Thompson identified himself as president and CEO in 2007.
Baggett won the election in a run-off and remains on the North Little Rock City Council.
Baggett was indicted in December 2009 with Thompson and former alderman Cary Gaines. He faces six federal felony charges in his role as a gun dealer in selling weapons and ammunition to Thompson, a convicted felon. Baggett has since surrendered his federal license to sell guns.
“The charges before did not seem to relate to his duty as an alderman,” said North Little Rock City Attorney Jason Carter Thursday. “These new allegations seem based on his duty as an alderman.”
Baggett did not immediately return calls seeking comment today.
Gaines resigned his seat in November before his indictment on charges he participated in a kickback scheme related to city construction projects and lied to the FBI about his dealings with Thompson.
Gaines’ 2006 campaign finance report did not show any contributions from Thompson. Gaines largely funded that campaign with $4,000 of his own money.
Thompson faces a wide-ranging indictment in Arkansas that includes weapons charges and an alleged scheme to rig bids for North Little Rock public works projects.
In Wednesday’s filing, the U.S. attorney’s office alleged Thompson provided “significant funding of Baggett’s campaign” for the City Council.
Thompson’s $500 contribution was the largest of itemized contributions totaling $3,045 Baggett reported receiving in the initial filing period of the campaign.
The address listed for the karate association in Baggett’s campaign finance report is a North Little Rock post office box that appears to be a personal box used by Thompson.
Baggett’s attorney, John Wesley Hall, and Chuck Banks, the attorney for Gaines, filed motions last week seeking to have their clients tried separately from Thompson. Federal prosecutors opposed severing the cases in Wednesday’s filing.
Neither Hall nor Banks returned calls seeking comment today.
Baggett, Gaines and Thompson are set to be tried together Aug. 24.
The filing also contains the transcript of a portion of a wiretap conversation between Thompson and a man said to be Ralph Francis Deleo, an alleged boss in the Colombo Mafia crime family in New York, in which Thompson says he “has two people on the council now in North Little Rock.”
Deleo, Thompson and two others are charged in a separate federal racketeering indictment in Massachusetts. In Wednesday’s filing, prosecutors said they do not anticipate introducing any Mafia-related evidence in the Arkansas trial.
Prosecutors also alleged Gaines paid kickbacks to Thompson to “lessen … losses from gambling and personal debts” he owed to Thompson. They alleged Gaines prepared
Thompson’s taxes and made false statements to federal agents regarding Thompson’s “illegal gambling business, of which Gaines was fully aware.”



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