Lesniak aide’s contract killers identified

A day after, Sean Caddle, a longtime political operative associated with former New Jersey state Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, pleaded guilty to paying two hitmen to murder an associate in Jersey City, one of the killers identified his accomplice and admitted his role in the slaying.

Bomani Africa, 61,  of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before a judge in federal court in Newark to executing the murder-for-hire scheme ordered by Sean Caddle, 44, of Hamburg, New Jersey.

According to authorities, Caddle solicited a Connecticut resident, identified by Africa, alias Baxter Randolph Keyes, during his plea hearing as George Bratsenis, in April 2014 to commit the killing in exchange for thousands of dollars.

Sean Caddle hired Bomani Africa and George Bratsenis—the two bandits who appear in this image while robbing the Madison Avenue People’s United Bank before torching a car that had been stolen at gunpoint in Trumbull, Connecticut—to kill Michael Galdieri.

In the murder-for-hire plot to kill Galdieri, Caddle hired Africa and Bratseni, two bandits who await sentencing for robbing the Madison Avenue People’s United Bank in Trumbull, Connecticut, before setting fire to a stolen car that had been at gunpoint.

Africa, a Paterson, New Jersey, native who has also been a Philadelphia resident, identified Bratsenis as his accomplice and acknowledged that the two killers went Michael Galdieri’s apartment in Jersey City on May 22, 2014, when they killed him and set fire to the apartment.

Caddle engineered a number of campaigns for Lesniak, often working closely with Tony Teixeira, the Elizabeth Democratic Committee chairman who is employed as chief of staff for New Jersey Senate President Nicholas Scutari.

Caddle worked on campaigns financed by Lesniak for the benefit of local officials, such as Senate President Nick Scutari, Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados, Elizabeth political operative Tony Teixeira, and Councilmembers Carlos Torres, William Gallman Jr., and Patricia Perkins-Auguste.

In April of 2014, Caddle solicited George Bratsenis, a Connecticut resident, to commit a murder of a Jersey City political operative in exchange for thousands of dollars.

Bratsenis recruited Africa as an accomplice to join the plot.

Caddle admitted that he met Bratsenis in the parking lot of an Elizabeth diner, where he paid him thousands of dollars.

Africa appeared by videoconference Wednesday from a federal detention center in Rhode Island where he awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to an armed bank robbery in Connecticut in 2014, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut.

Bratsenis also pleaded guilty in that robbery and is awaiting sentencing.

The robbery in Connecticut occurred about four months after Galdieri’s murder.

Africa was sentenced in 1986 to 50 years in prison, with a 25-year period of parole ineligibility, on robbery, assault and drug charges.

No charges had been announced against Bratsenis in the murder-for-hire case as of Wednesday afternoon.

Galdieri was murdered on May 22, 2014, about a week after the Bayonne mayoral election when Caddle was paid by Lesniak’s super PAC—the Committee for Economic Growth and Social Justice—to support Jimmy Davis, the Bayonne police captain who forced then-Mayor Mark Smith into a runoff and then feated the incumbent in the June 10 runoff election.

At the time, Galdieri was employed by Caddle’s political consulting firm even though he was sent to prison on drug and weapons charges following a 2005 arrest. Galdieri was the son of former Jersey City state Sen. James Galdieri.

Caddle subsequently established a super PAC called “Run Ray Run” in 2015 that was intended to pave the way for the Elizabeth Democrat’s statewide campaign for governor and he managed Lesniak’s failed 2017 gubernatorial campaign.

Caddle has also been linked to several other Lesniak-controlled super PACs, including the Committee for Economic Growth and Social Justice, Partnership Orange, Morristown First, Parsippany Forward and A Better Elizabeth.

Lesniak’s law firm made about $5 million a year from public contracts, many of them in communities where super PACs run by Caddle were actively influencing voters.

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