James Galante


James Galante

James Galante (born 1953) is a convicted felon and reputed Cosa Nostra figure, owner of the defunct Danbury Trashers minor league hockey team, and ex-CEO of Automated Waste Disposal (AWD), a company which holds waste disposal contracts for most of western Connecticut and Westchester and Putnam counties in New York. Despite this, he has been known to be a community-minded philanthropist, and his donations have included a new football stadium at New Fairfield High School and a pediatric emergency room at Danbury Hospital." [http://www.newstimes.com/ci_9474199 James Galante cops a plea, and loses his empire] ". "Danbury News-Times". June 4, 2008.]

In 1999, Galante was sentenced in to 12 months and a day in federal prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion.

Cite news
url= http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060823/NEWS02/608230309/1026/NEWS10
publisher= The Journal News
title=Ball assails Stephens over Southeast trash contract
date=August 23, 2006

] In June 2008, Galante admitted to charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defrauding the Internal Revenue Service, and faces between five and seven years in prison under Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and was also forced to forfeit his controlling interest in twenty-five different garbage related businesses, estimated to be worth in excess of $100 million.Altimari, Dave. " [http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-ctgalante0604.artjun04,0,396841.story Galante Admits Guilt; His Trash Empire Crumbles] ". "Hartford Courant". June 4, 2008.]

Automated Waste Disposal (AWD)

Galante was owner of twenty five different trash disposal businesses based out of Danbury, Connecticut and estimated to be worth over $100 million. The businesses handled 80% of garbage hauling in southern and western Connecticut, and Westchester and Putnam counties in New York.

Cite news
url= http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2006/08/29/indicted_trash_magnate_says_feds_ruining_his_businesses/
publisher= Associated Press
title=Indicted trash magnate says feds ruining his businesses
date=August 29, 2006
] Since 1993, they have been accused of muscling out local competition through no-bid-contracts and payments of up to $120,000 per year to Genovese crime family boss Matthew "Matty the Horse," Ianniello.

Cite news
url= http://newhaven.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/2006/nh060906.htm
publisher= Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut
title= INVESTIGATION INTO CONNECTICUT & NEW YORK TRASH HAULING INDUSTRY RESULTS IN INDICTMENT OF 29 INDIVIDUALS
date=August 29, 2006
] . As a result, municipalities, businesses and residents paid artificially inflated carting prices for years.

Investigation and indictment

In 2006, Federal authorities infiltrated Automated Waste Disposal with an undercover agent and taped hours of phone conversations, precipitating a raid on AWD offices in Danbury and Galante's home in New Fairfield, Connecticut, acquiring trailers full of documents. In June 2006, Galante was issued a 98-count indictment describing Galante as a man who ran an illegal enterprise by carving up the garbage business in western Connecticut and Putnam County and using mob muscle to strong-arm any competitors who might get in his way.Christoffersen, John. " [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iCcVfZWp5QpdmRF2laGaGIPEnMiwD912OSLO0 Guilty plea in trash industry mob corruption probe] ". "Associated Press". June 3, 2008.] Among those also arrested as a result of the investigation were former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro, former federal Drug Enforcement Agent Louis Angioletti, several of Galante's underlings, his accountant William Raynor and former Danbury Trashers hockey coach H. Todd Stirling.Pierce, Kent. " [http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=8415730&nav=menu29_2_2 Businessman with alleged mob ties pleads guilty to racketeering charges] ". "WTNH". June 3, 2008.]

Galante was charged in 93 counts of the indictment, with various alleged violations of federal law, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, Hobbs Act extortion, mail and wire fraud, witness tampering, tax fraud and conspiracy charges. The indictment included allegations that Galante and others conspired to commit arson and kidnapping by damaging a truck owned by one of Galante's competitors and by kidnapping the driver of that truck at gunpoint.

As the thirty three men involved in the case were summarily indicted and tried, authorities confirmed Ianniello was paid a quarterly "mob tax" of $30,000 for his services, and like almost every other defendant in the case, the bagman responsible for delivering the money and Ianniello pled guilty, Ianniello to racketeering and interfering with a federal grand jury probe with a sentence of between one and a half to two years in prison.

Cite news
url= http://www.newstimeslive.com/news/story.php?id=1014990
publisher= Danbury News Times
title= Galante ally pleads guilty in New York Case
date=September 14, 2006
] Galante was indicted in 2006 on charges of paying a 'mob tax' to Ianniello.

Cite news
url= http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/09/AR2006060900500.htmlAID=/20050629/NEWS01/506290323
publisher= Washington Post
title=Reputed Mob Figure, trash hauler arrested
date=June 2006

]

Plea and sentencing

Although he initially entered a plea of not guilty, in June 2008, Galante agreed to a change-of-plea hearing. [O'Connor, Timothy. " [http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080604/NEWS01/806040354/-1/SPORTS Trash magnate admits hauling scheme] ". "The Journal News". June 4, 2008.] Galante acknowledged that he defrauded the IRS, including writing double paychecks for some employees and having them return one of them to him in cash, claiming items he purchased for his girlfriend's horse farm including hay and a wide-screen television as business expenses, and skimming cash from the register at the Danbury garbage transfer station. [" [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/nyregion/04trash.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin Connecticut Trash Hauler Pleads Guilty in Mob Case] ". "New York Times". June 4, 2008.]

Galante also agreed to forfeit his stake in 25 trash hauling and recycling companies to the federal government, and promised to never work in the business again, stating to the Judge that he agreed to "withdraw" from involvement "with any segment of the trash industry in the United States." [Ali, Karen. " [http://www.newstimes.com/latestnews/ci_9459215 Galante will plead guilty today, says report] ". "Danbury News-Times". June 3, 2008.] The 25 trash-disposal companies owned by Galante, all based in Danbury and estimated by him to be worth $100 million, were "condemned and forfeited to the United States of America." [Mann, Ted. " [http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=edba3c8b-9640-4cd4-b09e-26a6e7b10f35 Galante at Last] ". "The Day'. June 3, 2008.] The businesses will be sold, with the money going to the United States Department of the Treasury, under laws allowing the forfeiture of property obtained through criminal activities.

When the government sells the companies, estimated to be worth $100 million, it will return $10.75 million to Galante as a portion of his share of more than $40 million in loans he and his wife, made to the businesses over the years, and Galante will keep EnviroServices Inc. a waste collection, transfer and disposal business in Virginia, with subsidiaries in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia and Kentucky. [Miller, Robert. " [http://www.newstimes.com/ci_9474025 Future owners may split AWD, transfer station] ". "Danbury News-Times". June 4, 2008.]

Galante also agreed to forfeit a horse farm he bought for a former girlfriend, six racing cars, a racing trailer and $448,000 in cash that federal agents seized in 2006, and must pay at least $1.6 million in back taxes to the IRS. [O'Connor, Timothy. " [http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080603/NEWS02/806030431/-1/newsfront Galante guilty of racketeering in garbage scheme] ". "The Journal News". June 3, 2008.] He did not admit to other acts federal authorities first accused him of, including extortion, attempted arson and kidnapping.

Danbury Trashers - United Hockey League

In June, 2006, twenty-nine people, including Galante, former Trashers' coach Todd Stirling, and Ianniello were indicted for defrauding the United Hockey League. Stirling and Galante allegedly violated the UHL's $275,000 per team salary cap by giving several players and their wives no-show jobs with AWD and hiding illegitimate payments as housing allowances. Stirling also faced six counts of wire fraud related to the filing of fraudulent weekly salary cap reports. According to the indictment, the Trashers' real payroll was nearly $750,000.

Cite news
url= http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2006/06/12/news/news01.txt
publisher= The Patriot Ledger
title= Former hockey coach living in Plymouth charged with fraud in mob investigation
date=June 12, 2006
] . Amidst these allegations, the Trashers suspended operations and released their players. In June 2008, Galante pled guilty to these charges. In a separate incident, in December 2004, Galante was charged with assaulting a United Hockey League official during a game between the Trashers and the Kalamazoo Wings.

Cite news
url= http://www.minorleaguenews.com/features/raves/articles2004/12100401.html
publisher= minorleaguenews.com
title= Taking out the Trashers
date=December 2004
]

Putnam Victory Fund

Galante was accused of donating to a PAC (Political Action Committee) which laundered money to several politicians who may have used their influence to award contracts to Galante's trash hauling business.Cite news
url= http://www.northcountynews.com/archives_2006/8-23-06/topstory.htm
publisher= North County News
title=Ball Fires at Will
date=August 23, 2006

] Former State Assemblyman Willis Stephens, who also served as the legal counsel to the town of Southeast, New York, accepted over $9,000 from Galante. On Stephens' recommendation, the town board then awarded a $1.5 million no-bid garbage contract to Galante's company.

Cite news
url= http://neighbors.newstimeslive.com/opinion/edit.php?id=1011167
publisher= Danbury News Times
title=Secrecy is not best reaction to Federal Investigation
date=August 24, 2006

] The investigation culminated with raids of Putnam County Executive Robert Bondis office, although no charges were ever filed. [" [http://www.newstimes.com/ci_9474199 Guilty] ". "Danbury News-Times". June 4, 2008.]

Louis DeLuca scandal

In 2007, Former Connecticut State Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca pled guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with Galante. DeLuca had Galante intervene on behalf of the husband of DeLuca's granddaughter, whom DeLuca believed was being abused. DeLuca also accepted large donations from Galante and his associates and allegedly promised to look out for Galante's interests. As of November 2007, a State Senate Committee was considering an appropriate sanction for DeLuca.Cite news
url=http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18667089&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=31007&rfi=6
publisher= New Haven Register
title= DeLuca scandal appears unending
date=August 6, 2007

] Other Connecticut politicians, including Connecticut U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, received campaign funds raised by Galante, but were not been linked to any actions on Galante's behalf. On November 13, 2007 DeLuca cut the investigation short by announcing his resignation from the State Senate. 2007 [http://www.courant.com/news/custom/topnews/hcu-delucaresign-link-1113,0,7487526.storylink?coll=hc_tab01_layout]

References


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