When they weren’t serving in their capacity as union officials, Nicholas and Paul Maddalone shook down bus company owners. Now they’re set to join several partners in prison. The Maddalone brothers, formerly board members and assistant trustees of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 in Queens, N.Y., on September 10 pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on various extortion and bribery charges. They allegedly had obtained tens of thousands of dollars in coerced payoffs related to a federally-subsidized program for special education students in the New York City public school system.
ATU Local 1181, which represents about 15,000 school bus employees of the City Department of Education, is no stranger to this publication. Nicholas and Paul Maddalone, ages 54 and 60, had been indicted for extortion, unlawful payments and conspiracy to commit bribery. The brothers, known associates of the Genovese crime family, allegedly facilitated a scam involving four current or former public school system bus inspectors – Neil Cremin, George Ortiz, Milton Smith and Ira Sokol. The Maddalones had demanded payments from bus companies participating in the special-ed program. In return, they overlooked vehicle safety violations, falsified records that allowed the companies to overbill the City, and granted union members more lucrative routes. Earlier this year, Ortiz, Cremin and Sokol received sentences in Manhattan federal court; Smith’s case remains active. If convicted, the Maddalones face up to 20 years in prison on each of the two unlawful payment counts.