Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Danbury Trashers' Owner Targeted By Feds

Wait'll I start Nautilus

(Hartford Courant) July 20, 2005 - Shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, dozens of FBI agents began sifting through business records at the offices of Automated Waste Disposal Inc. in Danbury, Ct. In addition, agents armed with search warrants were at Galante's home and the homes of several of his senior employees, said a source familiar with the investigation. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven confirmed that agents had served a search warrant at the Automated offices and other unspecified locations, but would not elaborate. Three sources said federal law enforcement "activity," about which they could not be specific, also was underway in Westchester and Putnam counties in New York state.

Automated is owned by James E. Galante, 52, of New Fairfield, who was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and fined $100,000 in 1999 for assisting in the preparation of false corporate tax returns. Automated dominates the refuse hauling business in southwestern Connecticut, and its owner was linked in federal court in the middle 1990s to mob efforts to stifle competition in the industry in Westchester County, N.Y. Galante also owns at least three trash hauling companies based in Westchester County, including Suburban Carting Inc., in which he is co-owner with Thomas Milo of Pelham, N.Y. Milo emerged as a major player in the Connecticut garbage and recycling industries in the 1990s. In 1996, he was one of seven people charged by federal prosecutors in New York with mob-related racketeering, extortion and tax conspiracy charges in a 61-count indictment. The indictment alleged that Milo and the others - including Mario Gigante, the brother of then Genovese crime family boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante - were part of a mob cartel that used arson, bribery and violence to dominate the garbage-hauling industry in the suburbs north of New York City. The individuals and 14 companies were accused of committing dozens of crimes in southwestern Connecticut, in five New York counties and in two New Jersey towns. The object of the conspiracy, prosecutors charged, was to avoid competition in the garbage industry by dividing suburban New York into spheres of influence controlled by individual haulers. After the indictments broke up the conspiracy, federal officials estimated that trash hauling rates dropped 50 percent in some parts of Westchester County.

Galante also owns a professional, minor league hockey team that he named the Danbury Trashers. It is part of the United Hockey League and plays in the city-owned ice rink in downtown Danbury. Galante bought the team as an 18th birthday present for his son, who is general manager.

Galante made national headlines following a game in Danbury in December 2004 when he left his skybox and became involved in a fistfight in the penalty box with one of the referees working the game. Referee Jimmy Harper claimed Galante punched him, and Harper filed assault charges. The charges were later dropped by state prosecutors, who said they couldn't prove who started the fight. Galante was fined an undisclosed amount by the league and Harper was dismissed as a referee.

Galante and employees of his businesses have been generous contributors to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. Boughton could not be reached Tuesday night for comment. Some senior city employees, who asked not be identified because they fear retribution, have said the city of Danbury allowed Galante to spend millions to quickly renovate the ice rink to comply with league standards - but without timely city inspections for code violations. The arena was too small for league standards and needed to be expanded to a capacity of more than 3,000. The city employees said they felt pressured to quickly approve the renovations.

After the hockey season ended, the city issued a cease-and-desist order that prevented the Trashers from selling tickets to games at the rink. City inspectors belatedly gave the Trashers a 28-page list of code violations. Among other things, Galante must make improvements to the second level of the arena, including adding more fire exits, before games can be played again.

Rock, Scissors, Gun

At a Danbury Trashers' game that I attended this past season, there were not only plenty of fights on the ice (it is, after all, the UHL), but a fight in the stands that involved the police and, from what I could see, the Trashers' 18-year-old "Team President", A.J. Galante. But, hey, the beer at the games is cheap, and owner James Galante has gone out of his way to court the business of disenfranchised New Haven hockey fans, who would rather drive to Danbury than support the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. Danbury has even hired Paul Gillis to be their head coach this year (presuming that the Trashers play); Gillis was once the coach of the New Haven Knights of the UHL, the team that New Haven fans feel was put under by the placement of an AHL team just a few miles away, in Bridgeport.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Entirely too nice. Then again, busted kneecaps are extremely unpleasant and I understand the need to go to the mattresses on this one.

7/22/05, 2:00 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Well, I'm nothing if not pleasant. Besides, the article was starting to get way too long, and I was in a hurry to go to

7/22/05, 2:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole thing stinks of organized crime activities that have been going on for 70 years plus. The matter needs to be addressed in the courts and justice will prevail.

6/14/06, 10:31 AM


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