Ironworkers union members face new extortion charges

Federal prosecutors have filed new extortion charges against members of the Ironworkers Local 401 union in Philadelphia.

In February, 10 of its members were charged with racketeering. The Ironworkers 401 is notorious for its bullying tactics to get contractors to hire union labor.

Prosecutors said the group, which calls itself the “shadow gang,” vandalized construction sites, causing thousands of dollars in damages.

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The new charges stem from an alleged conversation at an Ironworkers 401 meeting, where union member Francis Sean O’Donnell reported to union president Joseph Dougherty and others that if a Malvern construction contractor didn’t put some of their men on the job it would “run into some unsuspected delays.”

Carmen Nasuti is the attorney for union business agent Edward Sweeney, one of the defendants charged with additional counts of extortion. Nasuti said he knew these new charges were a possibility, but was mum on many other details.

“Like the old charges, we are contesting,” said Nasuti. “There’s a trial date in January and we intend to contest those charges at that time.”

Each of the defendants faces significant prison terms, as the additional extortion charges carry a 20-year sentence.

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