MANHATTAN (CN) – Federal prosecutors say two brothers extorted school bus companies for thousands of dollars with the help of the Mafia. The FBI Department of Labor arrested Nick and Paul Maddalone on suspicion of extorting Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union. According to the indictment, the Genovese family “influenced and asserted control over Local 1181.”
Prosecutors say that the Local 1181 represents about 15,000 bus drivers who work for companies that contract with the Department of Education to provide school bus transportation in New York City.
From the 1980s through 2006, the Maddalones worked with Mafia contacts to intimidate bus company owners and operators out of tens of thousands of dollars, prosecutors say.
For example, Salvatore Battaglia aka “Hotdogs,” a Mafia soldier who was sentenced 57 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering in 2008, served as local chapter president from 2002 to 2006, prosecutors say.
Julius Bernstein aka “Spike,” another “made” mafioso who died shortly after pleading guilty to similar charges, once served as the chapter’s Secretary Treasurer.
And the local chapter’s Director of Pension and Welfare Anne Chiarovano pleaded guilty in January 2007 to obstructing an FBI investigation.
If convicted, the Maddalones face up to 20 years in prison on each of two extortion counts. They face two additional counts under the Taft-Hartley Act – conspiracy to receive labor payments and unlawful labor payments.
Prosecutors seek a forfeiture of money of at least $1 million.