Judge Gives Andover Man House Arrest for TV Extortion Attempt

Scene from Top Chef television reality show.

An Andover man was sentenced Thursday to two years’ probation and six months of home confinement for his role in the alleged attempted extortion of a Top Chef reality television production company working in the Boston area during June, 2014.

Mark Harrington, 62, of Andover, was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to pay a $10,000 fine and $24,023 in restitution after he pleaded guilty last month to one count of attempted extortion, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. During June, 2014, Harrington, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 25, participated with four other union defendants in the alleged conspiracy to demand the non-union television production company hire members of Local 25 as drivers. The company had no agreement with Local 25 and hired its own employees, including drivers, to produce and participate in the filming of the show. In October, 2015, Harrington was indicted along with John Fidler, Daniel Redmond, Robert Cafarelli and Michael Ross for “conspiring to extort and attempted extortion of money to be paid as wages for imposed, unwanted and unnecessary and superfluous services.”

“Harrington advised the producer that he did not care about the company and that all he cared about was that some of his guys get hired on the show. The producer explained that all of the drivers had been hired and there was no work for Local 25 to perform. Redmond allegedly demanded to know where else the crew would be filming and threatened to shut the production down that night. During several subsequent telephone calls that same day, Harrington and another union official warned the producer that if the company did not make a deal with Local 25, they would start to follow them and picket.