BOSTON — Five members of a Teamsters local accused of intimidating the staff and crew of “Top Chef” while it was filmed in Boston last year have been indicted on federal extortion charges.
The indictment says members of Teamsters Local 25 demanded that union members be hired as drivers. When the producer for the reality TV show said they had already hired their employees, the Teamsters warned they would follow the crew and picket, prompting the Omni Parker House to cancel filming there.
The Teamsters also are accused of yelling profanities and racial and homophobic slurs at host Padma Lakshmi and the crew while they filmed at a Milton restaurant.
“Five Teamsters have been slapped with federal indictments for allegedly threatening the reality cooking show in Boston in an “old-school thug” attempt at getting union members jobs”, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced.
“The indictment alleges that a group of rogue Teamsters employed old school thug tactics to get no-work jobs from an out of town production company,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “In the course of this alleged conspiracy, they managed to chase a legitimate business out of the City of Boston and then harassed the cast and crew when they set up shop in Milton. This kind of conduct reflects poorly on our city and must be addressed for what it is – not union organizing, but criminal extortion.”
Indicted for conspiracy to extort, attempted extortion and aiding and abetting from Local 25 were Teamsters John Fidler, Daniel Redmond, Robert Cafarelli, Richard Jeffrey and Mark Harrington. Three of the accused — Redmond, Cafarelli and Harrington — pleaded not guilty this afternoon and were released on $50,000 bond.
A detention hearing was set for Thursday for Fidler. The last suspect, Jeffrey, was not in court today.
The local’s president didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. The men are due to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.