The last of three men implicated in a sensational murder-for-hire plot to kill a Jersey City political operative was sentenced yesterday in federal court.
Sean Caddle, 45, of Hamburg, New Jersey, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez sentenced Caddle to 24 years in prison, unmoved by arguments that his cooperation with prosecutors, leading to criminal charges against Tony Teixeira, a former chief of staff of Senate President Nicholas Scutari, warranted less jail time.
In 2014 Caddle paid two men — George Bratsenis and Bomani Africa — to kill Jersey City resident and political operative Michael Galdieri. Galdieri had worked with Caddle on a number of political campaigns.
According to a sentencing memorandum, Galdieri was threatening to go public about “things he had seen, done and heard while working for Caddle on campaigns.” Galdieri was also using drugs and asking Caddle for money.
On May 22 that year, Bratsenis and Africa went to Galdieri’s home on Mallory Avenue in Jersey City and stabbed him to death. Afterwards, they set his apartment on fire.
In February this year, Africa, 62, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role. Bratsenis, 74, of Monroe, Connecticut, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in March.
The plot was hatched in April of 2014, when Caddle asked Bratsenis, a then 64 year-old career criminal, to kill Galdieri in exchange for thousands of dollars. Bratsenis, in turn, recruited Africa to join the plot.
When he learned of Galdieri’s death, Caddle made good on his promise, meeting Bratsenis in the parking lot of an Elizabeth diner and paying him thousands of dollars. Bratsensis, in turn, shared a portion of those proceeds with Africa.
The scheme, which came to light in January of last year, rocked the world of New Jersey politics and has been the subject of numerous articles in the local and national press.
Galdieri had worked on the campaigns of former Assemblyman Lou Manzo, Mayor Bret Schundler and Ward C Councilman Steve Lipski and for Caddle’s consulting group.
In 2005 he ran for Jersey City’s Ward B city council seat. According to a 2014 article in the Hudson Reporter, Galdieri was arrested on drug and weapon charges on the eve of the election. After taking a plea deal and then attempting back out, saying he was set up, he spent two years in prison.
At the time of the murder, County Commissioner Bill O’Dea told the Jersey Journal that Galdieri was “a friendly, regular guy.”
Caddle worked as an aide to former State Sen. Ray Lesniak and headed up several super PACs to funnel dark money into local races. Caddle was executive director of the group Houston Votes which was accused of collecting fraudulent voter registration cards. According to the New York Times, he worked as a political consultant for Senator Robert Menendez when he was a congressman, from 2003 until early 2005, and billed almost $100,000.
“Sean Caddle unleashed two violent hitmen to stab Michael Galdieri to death and set fire to his apartment,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said yesterday. “Despite being lifelong friends, Caddle paid to have Galdieri murdered because he thought that his own business interests were at risk. Today’s sentence is a just punishment for a heinous crime and provides some measure of justice for the victim and his family.”