Buffalo Union Man Sentenced for Extortion

BUFFALO, NEW YORK — The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Michael J. Eddy, 45, of Gowanda, N.Y., who was convicted of extortion, was sentenced to eight months in prison, four months home confinement, and two years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to victims.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who handled the case, Eddy was a member of Local 17 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. The defendant was part of a campaign designed to force Earth Tech, of Latham, N.Y., the low bidder on the 2005 project to remove contaminated soil on which the Buffalo Waterfront School was built, to sign a collective bargaining agreement with Local 17.

In the summer of 2005, Eddy, Local 17 president and business manager Mark Kirsch, organizer James Minter, and other Local 17 members, carried out a campaign of violence and intimidation against Earth Tech in an effort to force the company to sign a collective bargaining agreement. This campaign caused Earth Tech to incur about $200,000 in additional expenses to secure the site from acts of sabotage.

Eddy was one of 12 officers and members of Local 17 arrested and charged in this case. Six defendants pleaded guilty, Kirsch was convicted at trial, four were acquitted at trial, and charges are pending against the 12th defendant.

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