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Press Release

Former Local 17 President And Business Manager Sentenced On Racketeering Conspiracy And Hobbs Act Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The United States Attorney's Office announced today Mark N. Kirsch, 57, former President and Business Manager of Operating Engineers Local 17, based in Hamburg, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit racketeering and Hobbs Act conspiracy, was sentenced to 36 months in prison by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also ordered to pay $198,121.50 in restitution.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the sentencing, between at least January 1997 to December 2007, Kirsch participated in a criminal enterprise with the objective of extorting property from various construction firms throughout Western New York. The objective of the Local 17 criminal enterprise was to obtain several types of property through extortion, including: the property of construction contractors consisting of wages and benefits to be paid pursuant to labor contracts with Local 17; and the jobs and associated wages and benefits of employees of various businesses at construction sites in the Western District of New York. Among the unlawful means the defendant used to secure these objectives were actual violence, threats, intimidation, sabotage of property, and threats and attempts to interrupt and delay construction projects in order to drive up costs to the contractors and thus cause economic harm. 

Kirsch was one of 12 defendants charged in this case. Seven others were also convicted, four were acquitted following a nine week jury trial.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Michael C. Mikulka, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Region, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen, and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Steven Nigrelli.

Updated September 1, 2016