Herding Caddle: How top consultant-turned-killer climbed the political ranks in Hudson County

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Sean Caddle was part of Hudson County political campaigns for around two decades, so how did the top political consultant-turned-killer climb the local ranks?

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

According to his bio on a defunct website for his consulting firm, Arkady LLC, Caddle first got involved as a volunteer on political campaigns in the late 90s and eventually began working as a field organizer for late Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham.

He then served as the Hudson County field director for Jim McGreevey’s successful 2001 gubernatorial campaign before then-U.S. Rep. Bob Menendez (D-13), also the chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, named Caddle their executive director.

“At the HCDO, Sean managed the daily operations. He used his grassroots management experience, and aided the election of candidates backed by the Organization,” his old website description said.

After getting paid $5,555 by the HCDO in 2001, Caddle began receiving a $3,500 month consulting fee, along with occasional reimbursements for office expenses, according to old reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

He left that post after two-and-a-half years to run Menendez’s re-election campaign against a relatively unknown challenger that had the support of Cunningham, who was also the state senator of the 31st Legislative District and a fierce political nemesis of the congressman.

“Sean left the organization after 2 1/2 years to run the ground operation in the 13th Congressional District when the Congressman received a challenge from a young upstart Steven Fulop,” Caddle’s bio on the Arkady website said.

He was compensated well for the June 8th, 2004 primary race where Menendez cruised to victory by a margin of about 87-13.

For his efforts, Caddle received $63,175.09, overwhelmingly for fundraising consulting fees, between August 18th 2004 and June 24th, 2004, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

He then managed Assemblyman Lou Manzo’s (D-31) re-election campaign in 2006 before heading to Denver, Colorado.

In 2010, while serving as the director of Houston Votes, the group was accused of submitting thousands of falsified voter registration cards. After an investigation, where a voter machine warehouse was set on fire, no charges were filed.

After stints in Indianapolis, when he formed Front Porch Consulting, and Texas, Caddle returned to New Jersey.

“At Front Porch Consulting we win elections. We provide complete strategy, management, and implementation of election and campaign services,” their website said on May 23rd, 2020.

“Through our help, candidates and advocacy groups meet their electoral and legislative goals in an efficient and powerful way.”

One of the brands earliest supporters was Menendez, who was elected to a U.S. Senate seat in 2006.

“I can attest that there was no detail too small or job out of the reach of their determined focus … Front Porch’s ability to forge relationships with key people in the community was invaluable,” he was quoted as saying on the FPC website.

The following year, the site touted Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Sue Mack’s run for a Jersey City Council-at-Large seat as their “featured project.”

“Front Porch Consulting is offering management, media, and strategy services to Sue Mack, candidate for City Council in New Jersey,” they posted at the time. She came in third place in a 17-person race for two open seats.

Also in 2011, Caddle served as the field director of state Senator Ray Lesniak’s (D-20) successful re-election bid. By 2013, with the aid of Harrison accountant Gianni Donates, he began operating super PACs and non-profits to benefit Lesniak.

The first one, the Committee for Economic Growth and Social Justice, had some ties to Hudson County in 2014, the year that Caddle recently admitted to paying two hitmen to kill Jersey City politico Michael Galdieri.

While the PAC did not report any dollars spent in Bayonne, HCV reported that it helped Jimmy Davis defeat Mayor Mark Smith in the June 10th, 2014 runoff.

At that time, Caddle also served as then-Freeholder Anthony Romanos’s (D-5) campaign manager, where he scored a rare off-the-line victory against the HCDO.

John Castellano, the son of former Hoboken 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, also served as the field director of Arkady for a little over a year between 2014 and 2015, according to archived content from their website.

He was also billed as his mother’s campaign manager and an advisor/field consultant to Romano.

This inevitably led to Arkady getting involved in the 2015 Hoboken municipal council races, getting paid $12,825.12 for Theresa Castellano campaign materials, as well as $3,815.13 for campaign materials for 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo – the now ex-councilwoman’s cousin – according to NJ ELEC filings.

Castellano was upset by then-Zoning Board of Adjustment Commissioner Mike DeFusco, while Russo ran unopposed.

NJ Advance Media reported today that Caddle was subpoenaed at least two years ago for a state investigation to determine if he illegally used the Committee for Economic Growth and Social Justice to bankroll Elizabeth Board of Education candidates campaigns.

He has also been cooperating with federal authorities in an unrelated probe in hopes of getting a reduced sentence for his role in the Galdieri murder.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. The author here appears to deflect to an incidental school board election and supporting actors. Yet, if you dig into Mr. Caddle’s own comments, he’s not agitated about some easily manipulated town election– he’s talking about much bigger election interference and voter suppression. The timeline is instructive. Mr. Caddle was very active on certain social media platforms until January 2017 which was well after he had arranged this murder or coordinated the vote for some menial NJ election. What’s interesting is that up to that point, both on Twitter and elsewhere, Mr. Caddle made a number of insidious comments in print and on video about election fraud, particularly after the 2016 presidential election and into early 2017. He appeared to be a big supporter of Mrs. Clinton. Much of his diatribes were directed at Mr. Trump who operatives know is aligned to many democratic insiders, despite representing himself as a republican. What did incredibly well-connected and entrenched democratic operative and ground game guru Mr. Caddle know that made him question the legitimacy of a national election with so many NJ implications? Up to and after the 2016 election, Mr. Caddle seemed to infer he knew how elections are stolen. It’s no secret. Was it his comments, or easily discovered 3rd party donor PACS, that landed him ensnared by the Feds? The state related inquires seem to have come after the Feds were already inside. Did a Mr. Trump DOJ want to quash any questions of election legitimacy involving Mr. Trump’s win? For a murder that occurred nearly ten years ago, it wasn’t talk of murder that appears to have taken Mr. Caddle down, it was his talk about election fraud that apparently bothered people in power. Perhaps to absolve himself and instead make his case about murder (which appears to have a penalty of only 11-25 years, if well connected), he had to offer something that proved his credibility as a knowledgeable insider, no?

    • Word on the street is that it’s Russo who dropped a dime on the guy. Needed to give himself a rope to save himself after the Hoboken 2015 election where confessed election fraud actors pled out to their guilt but the padrino walked. The years long election fraud investigations and convictions for 2013 and 2015 in Hoboken promptly ground to a halt. Only the the bottom rung players went down for the Hoboken Old Guard 2015 election fraud scheme. Ravi’s compadre moves up not out to a federal pen. Election theft has consequences. Imagine that.

  2. If Russo gave up this guy to save himself, why wouldn’t he give up Ravi? Maybe he has? The Terror Flier is a hate crime against all of Hoboken. Prosecute!

  3. The Feds need to lock up George Norcross and all his dirty rats. This mess is a joke to have gone on for this length of time. It’s is sickening and pathetic to see this political trash walk around like his shit don’t stink. He is a menace hijacking school boards, elected officials, media and anyone who would sell their soul for a dollar bill to help this creep excel to this level on life. He had people murdered; reputations wrongfully defamed: jobs terminated and lives left in ruins behind his reckless criminal and demonic behavior. We are praying that he be taken down, destroyed and dismantled just like his friend Sweeney and every wrong he has done to innocent people fall back on his health, his families health and his complete operation on life. He must go down and burn in hell.
    He’s evil and he has to pay for all the BAD things he did on this earth. Karma is coming to take that ugly white haired orange skinned toxic bastard DOWN. Get his ass

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