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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The mob did the lights for NYC's Feast of San Gennaro


The charity that runs the Feast of San Gennaro insists it has been Mafia-free for years, but it’s not quite that simple when it comes to those red, white and green lights hanging over Mulberry St.

After the mob was allegedly tossed out by hard-charging Rudy Giuliani, organized crime sneaked back in via the contract to install those lights, records show.

A Bonanno informant, capo Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella, has testified that Criscitelli was a soldier in that family.

From 1997 — the year the charity Figli di San Gennaro was put in as part of Giuliani’s clean sweep — through 2005, a mob-tied electrical contractor handled the festival’s pricey lights, according to law enforcement and court records.

The Daily News reported Friday that Figli di San Gennaro donated only a pittance to charity out of the $4.4 million it took in between 2007 and 2012.

Event organizers say much of that money went to pay for contractors to run the feast, including electricians who handle the lights that feature the colors of the Italian flag.

On Friday, the organizers tweeted that The News’ report was “false,” but later declined to answer questions from the newspaper.

In 1997, John Cappelli and his Bronx firm, N.Y. Christmas Lights, were cleared to install lights at the feast by a monitor put in place to keep out the mob.

Behind the scenes, the mob worked to ensure nobody else got the job, court papers reveal.


 Vincent Basciano was overheard in 2003 discussing his crime family’s “involvement in providing electrical service to the San Gennaro Feast.”

John Cappelli and his firm, N.Y. Christmas Lights, were cleared to install lights at the feast in 1997.

Prosecutors say in 2000, a rival contractor bid to handle lights at San Gennaro. Soon after, he got a call from Perry Criscitelli, then-chairman of the feast’s charity.

The Daily News reported Friday that Figli di San Gennaro donated only a pittance to charity out of the $4.4 million it took in between 2007 and 2012.

Criscitelli told him “he would have to pay approximately $75,000 to obtain the electrical contract for the feast.”

The victim “refused to pay the additional money to secure the contract and his bid was rejected,” prosecutors say.

A Bonanno informant, capo Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella, has testified that Criscitelli was a soldier in that family. With the FBI listening in, Bonanno boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano was overheard in 2003 discussing his crime family’s “involvement in providing electrical service to the San Gennaro Feast.”

In 2004, Criscitelli suddenly resigned from the board after his mob credentials were exposed in testimony by Cantarella.

The mob was allegedly tossed out of the feast by hard-charging Rudy Giuliani.

Another prosecutor in 2005 identified yet another gangster, Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianiello, as “receiving benefits” from San Gennaro. The feast’s monitor, Richard Mark, seemed surprised: “I look at those books and believe firmly that no funds of the sponsoring organization are going to organized crime.”

Mark declined comment.

The charity Figli di San Gennaro was put in as part of Giuliani’s clean sweep in 1997.

By then, the feds were aware that yet another mobster, Angelo Prisco, a Genovese capo, was also involved in “doing ‘the lights for the feast,’ ” prosecutors said.

In 2004, the FBI overheard Prisco boasting about how he had done Cappelli a “big favor” by getting him the San Gennaro feast.” He said Cappelli paid him “$2,500 every two months in exchange for Prisco’s assistance in obtaining electrical contracts,” prosecutors alleged.

Cappelli wasn’t booted out until 2006 after he was charged with asking his mob handlers to “talk to” a competitor trying to underbid him on another feast in Jersey.

On Friday, officials made clear that the electrical vendor now hanging lights at San Gennaro, AMA Electrical, was vetted by the city Department of Investigation.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/exclusive-feast-san-gennaro-lights-mobsters-records-show-article-1.1946299


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