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

Monday, May 7, 2012

Man falsely accused of mob ties files lawsuit

He says he was guilty of having a name ending in a vowel.
A longtime restaurateur has filed an $8 million lawsuit against the city and the Queens District Attorney’s Office, claiming he was wrongly accused of being involved in a mob-run gambling ring because he has a common Italian name.
“The other guys told the detectives that I was the wrong Cono, and they didn’t listen,” said Cono Natale Jr., owner of the since-shuttered Cono & Sons O’Pescatore Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who filed the suit in Queens Supreme Court.
Natale, 47, of Maspeth, was branded a Bonanno associate when he was arrested on gambling charges in April 2011, along with reputed mobsters Michael Palmaccio, Ronald Salerno and Gerard Gullotti.
Cono Natale Jr.
Cono Natale Jr.
“That hurt me the most to be accused of associating with the mob,” said Natale, whose Graham Avenue restaurant closed in 2010 for unrelated reasons.
“It took me over a year to get work — no one wanted to hire me. My business partners turned their backs on me because they thought these accusations were true,” he told The Post.
At the time, the investigators only knew that there was a man named “Cono” who was a “runner” in the sports-betting ring — and they concluded that man was Natale.
“One of the [arrested] guys said, ‘You’re not the Cono I dealt with,’ ” said Natale, who explained that Williamsburg has a large population of Italian-Americans named Cono, on behalf of Saint Cono from Salerno, Italy.
Natale was facing up to four years in prison.


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