Teamsters Leader Must Pay Fine in Extortion Case

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By Rhonda Smith

A former Teamsters official in Massachusetts who pleaded guilty to attempted extortion of a reality TV production company was sentenced Dec. 15 to two years of probation, the Justice Department said ( United States v. Fidler , D. Mass., No. 1:115-cr-10300, 12/16/16 ).

Mark Harrington was a secretary-treasurer at Local 25 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in June 2014 when the incidents occurred. He told a producer at the non-union company that he wanted IBT members hired as drivers on the show’s set, court documents show.

The reality show has been widely identified as “Top Chef” on the Bravo network. Local 25 is based in Charlestown, Mass., near Boston.

Threats to Picket at Film Locations

The producer told Harrington that nonunion drivers had been hired and no more were needed. Harrington and other Local 25 employees warned that noncompliance with the union’s terms would force them to picket at filming location.

Some businesses that had agreed to let the show be filmed on their property refused after they found out about the IBT employees’ plans to picket, court documents said.

Subsequently, Harrington and Teamsters employees John Fidler, Daniel Redmond, Robert Cafarelli and Michael Ross tried to “forcibly enter” a restaurant where the show was being filmed, the DOJ said.

On the same day, the Teamsters employees allegedly threatened to hurt production crew members. The men allegedly “yelled profanities and racial and homophobic slurs at the crew and others” and blocked vehicles attempting to enter a work site, the DOJ said.

“Local 25 defendants were also observed by the crew standing in close proximity to cars belonging to the crew, nine of which were later found to have had their tires slashed,” the DOJ said.

Ringleader Resigned in 2015

Local 25 spokeswoman Melissa Hurley told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 16 that Harrington resigned from his position with the Teamsters in late 2015.

Harrington must complete six months of home confinement, pay a fine of $10,000 and restitution of $24,023, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered.

In October 2015, Fidler, Redmond, Cafarelli and Ross were accused of conspiring to extort and attempted extortion, the DOJ said. Their cases are pending.

Hurley declined to comment on those cases or whether the four men are still employed by the Teamsters. Harrington’s attorney, Robert M. Goldstein, didn’t respond to a Bloomberg BNA request for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rhonda Smith in Washington at rsmith@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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