Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Staten Island caterer Frank DiMattina faces 20 years in prison on extortion, firearms conviction

A mobster who threatened a rival over a bid for a Staten Island high school’s lucrative cafeteria contract was convicted today of extortion and a firearms charge.

Frank DiMattina, 44, the former owner of Ariana’s Catering Hall in New Dorp, produced a gun and threatened to have him beaten, if he didn’t withdraw his offer to cater the school lunch program at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, the victim, Walter Bowers, testified during the trial.
DiMattina, who prosecutors said is a Genovese organized crime family associate, faces a minimum of five years behind bars to a maximum of 20 years when sentenced in Brooklyn federal court. A date has not been set.
He was acquitted of catering-hall extortion. The trial began Tuesday.
"This case demonstrates organized crime still conducts its business in its traditional way — by relying on threats and violence to intimidate hard-working individuals trying to make a legitimate living," said Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement. "Here, the defendant sought to use fear and intimidation to obtain business, rather than honest competition. Such efforts will always be met with the full force of the law."
DiMattina’s lawyer, John C. Meringolo, expressed disappointment.
"We’re very upset for his family, his wife and three children," Meringolo said afterward. "He does intend to appeal the verdict, but Judge [Jack B.] Weinstein gave him a very, very fair trial."
Bowers, 52, bought Ariana’s from DiMattina in early 2010, but their relationship quickly soured.
Months later, DiMattina, who’s also known as "Frankie D" and "Frankie Ariana," muscled him out of his attempt to win the cafeteria contract, Bowers testified.
He said he only submitted a bid after DiMattina said he was moving to Florida.
Shortly afterward, DiMattina and an associate confronted him in Ariana’s and told him to back off, Bowers testified. As part of the threat, DiMattina told Bowers to warn his business partner that DiMattina would "burn down his bagel stores" if the lunch bid wasn’t withdrawn.
A shaken Bowers complied.
Another caterer ultimately got the contract for $165,000.
During the trial, defense lawyer Meringolo challenged Bowers’ version of the gun incident. He pointed out that Bowers didn’t save surveillance video and couldn’t recall the color of DiMattina’s shirt or shorts.
DiMattina and Bowers have had other problems, resulting in civil countersuits.
Bowers alleges that DiMattina, who runs a catering hall in Woodbridge, N.J., withheld access to Ariana’s website and saddled him with tens of thousand of dollars in unpaid violations. He also contends DiMattina violated a non-competition agreement.
DiMattina’s lawyers maintain Bowers still owes him $250,000 for the Ariana’s sale and hasn’t changed the business’ name, despite agreeing to do so after a year.
Those cases are pending.



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