In Brief

One-time aide to ex-state senator admits arranging political operative’s murder

By: - January 25, 2022 6:34 pm

(Photo by Andrew Brookes/Getty Images)

Sean Caddle — a political consultant and one-time aide to former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak —admitted hiring two men to kill a Hudson County man in May 2014, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

Caddle, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, admitting he paid thousands to two men for killing a man who worked on Caddle’s political campaigns then setting the man’s home on fire. Caddle faces life in prison.

The victim was not identified by authorities but in a press release they said the murder happened in Jersey City on May 22, 2014. That night Michael Galdieri, who worked on campaigns for Lesniak and Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage with Caddle’s consulting group, was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home after it had been set ablaze.

The next day, authorities say, Caddle met with one of the men he hired in the parking lot of an Elizabeth diner to pay him “thousands of dollars.” The two men Caddle admitted hiring have not been identified.

Galdieri’s father was the late former state Sen. James Galdieri.

Caddle was a longtime political operative in Union County and a close ally of Lesniak, a Democrat who credited Caddle with turning his political career around. Lesniak said he was stunned to learn of the charges.

“I’m close to him. I was fond of him. I thought he was a great political talent. He turned around my election fortunes. One year I won by 800 votes, and after I brought him on, I won by 4,500 votes,” Lesniak told the New Jersey Monitor. “This is just mind-boggling to me.”

Caddle is confined to house arrest while he awaits sentencing.

“Today’s guilty plea will bring some sense of closure to the victim’s family who have been left to wonder – for nearly eight years – who murdered their loved one,” FBI agent George M. Crouch Jr. said in a statement. “This should serve as a warning to criminals and potential criminals, alike – while you are going about your life, thinking you ‘got away with it,’ the FBI is piecing together the facts that will serve as your undoing.”

Caddle’s plea agreement — signed in October — says as a result of his guilty plea, Caddle would not be charged “in connection with the information Caddle proffered to this office on Sept. 23, 2021.”


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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.