Report: Eight Ironworkers Will Plead Guilty
Newsworks reports that eight of the 12 Ironworkers charged with intimidating non-union contractors through violence and vandalism will plead guilty in the case.
The remaining four are scheduled to go to trial in January, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Libermore refused to say if any of the plea agreements would result in testimony at that trial.
They were accused of conspiring to intimidate non-union contractors, often by vandalizing their work sites and sometimes by beating non-union workers.
“They would go to the construction site and use sledge hammers to smash the anchor bolts, which is part of the foundation of the construction site,” Livermore said, “causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and significantly delaying the construction project.”
Among the acts in question: Arson of the under-construction Quaker meetinghouse in 2012.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says two of the suspects pleaded in court on Monday.
Francis Sean O’Donnell, 43, of Warminster, PA pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to maliciously damage property by means of fire, and attempted maliciously damaging property by means of fire. During the offense conduct, O’Donnell acted as a business agent for the Ironworkers Local 401 and participated in more than 10 extortions or attempted extortions with the intent to force non-union contractors to hire union labor. O’Donnell recruited other members of the Ironworkers Local 401, whom he called his “Shadow Gang,” to assist him in these crimes. If a contractor refused to hire union labor, O’Donnell and the “Shadow Gang” typically would enter a non-union construction site at night, use sledgehammers to destroy anchor bolts, and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
William Gillin, 43, of Philadelphia, PA pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, maliciously damaging property by means of fire, use of fire to commit a felony, maliciously damaging property by means of fire, conspiracy to maliciously damage property by means of fire, and attempted maliciously damaging property by means of fire. Gillin participated in a series of incidents on behalf of the Ironworkers Local 401 as part of the plan by the defendants to force non-union contractors to hire union labor. Specifically, Gillin admitted that he participated in the Quaker Meetinghouse arson, an arson on Grays Avenue in Philadelphia, and an attempted arson in Malvern as well as other episodes – all in retaliation for the contractors failure to hire union ironworkers.
The two men are scheduled to be sentenced in January.