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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bonanno gangster Nicky Cigars tells court he's not a mobster



Bonanno boss Nicky "Cigars" Santora, facing charges of loansharking, racketeering and peddling Viagra, eats at diners as part of 'an Italian tradition,' not for mob business, his lawyer says.

It ain’t no crime to like cannoli and coffee.

Bonanno boss Nicky "Cigars" Santora was falsely pinned as a mobster while making innocent plans to hit up diners and an Italian feast with pals, his lawyer charges in recent court papers.

The aging don argues his trips to local greasy spoons were harmless jaunts, even as prosecutors used his chow-centered social calendar as a means to tap the wiseguy’s phone and raid his Deer Park, Long Island, home in a large-scale corruption case.

“From time to time, Santora has eaten at diners with friends, or people he knows,” his attorney Michael Alber wrote, adding “diners and restaurants are where he likes to eat and socialize.”

“Santora is not a member of a crime family” and does not “have a rank of ‘capo’ or ‘consigliere,’ ” he added.

Santora met underboss Vito Badamo at diners and the Our Lady of Mount Carmel festival, feds claim. His attorney Michael Alber argues that diners and restaurants 'are where he likes to eat and socialize.'

Investigators said Santora, 71, and alleged underboss Vito Badamo, 51, set up a meeting at the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel festival in Brooklyn — where Badamo was working a zeppole stand in July 2011 — to hand over gambling profits.

“I should be there probably from, probably 4 o’clock on, 4:30 on,” Badamo told Santora, who has also earned the goodfella moniker Nicky Mouth.

“I’m gonna leave before that. I want to beat the traffic,” Santora said. “You gonna be there tomorrow?”

For Santora, trips to the fried dough feast were purely to break bread and commiserate, his lawyer said.

“It’s an Italian tradition,” Alber told the Daily News. “People go to see people they haven’t seen in a long time. They go there because it’s a thing to do.”

A scene at the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel festival in Brooklyn. Investigators said Santora and alleged underboss Vito Badamo, 51, set up a meeting at the festival in 2011 to hand over gambling profits.

Alber said Badamo is Santora’s family friend and that he has known the younger man since birth.

Their meetings prove nothing, he said.

“An alleged meeting between Santora and Badamo is insufficient to establish evidence of enterprise corruption, namely a pattern of criminal activity, or an ascertainable structure,” the lawyer said.

“It is not a crime to meet.”

Alber is also asking the judge to toss the entire indictment on a double jeopardy claim because Santora pleaded guilty to similar charges covering the same time span in Brooklyn Federal Court in 2012.

Mob defendants Santoro, Badamo and Ernest Aiello in Manhattan Criminal Court in July. Santora and eight others were busted in July in a Manhattan case charging them with racketeering, loansharking, illegal gambling and peddling erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis.

The cases “virtually mirror each other,” he said.

And conversations Santora had “are completely innocuous, without any indicia of gambling, betting, money, or proceeds,” Alber wrote.

Prosecutors previously said Santora, who inspired a character in the movie “Donnie Brasco” and has a criminal record dating to the 1960s, was caught on wiretap telling his underling to quit “acting like a clown” in an apparent bid to groom the family’s future leader.

“When I leave, you’re going to take over this neighborhood — you got to know how, what the f--k you’re doing,” Santora told Badamo, federal prosecutors said.

Santora and eight others were busted in July in a Manhattan case charging them with racketeering, loansharking, illegal gambling and peddling erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis between March 2010 and February 2012.

They face up to 25 years in prison on enterprise corruption, the top count in the 158-page indictment.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/nicky-cigars-santora-court-mobster-food-fella-article-1.1585047#ixzz2r5uK8SH7


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