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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gambino soldier uses contacts to bring historic Catholic texts to Brooklyn


(From l.) Antonella Villa, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brother William Boslet and Marco Polo Ristorante owner Joe Chirico announce on Wednesday a rare exhibition of St. Francis of Assisi manuscripts and artifacts will come to Borough Hall. 
(From l.) Antonella Villa, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brother William Boslet and Marco Polo Ristorante owner Joe Chirico announce on Wednesday a rare exhibition of St. Francis of Assisi manuscripts and artifacts will come to Borough Hall.
A well-connected sinner paved the way for a Catholic saint to make a grand showing in Brooklyn.
Reputed wiseguy Joseph Chirico worked contacts in Italy to lure a coveted exhibition of Medieval texts from the life of St. Francis of Assisi to Borough Hall.
The Carroll Gardens restaurateur was a guest at a news conference with Borough President Eric Adams to announce the show’s Dec. 17 opening.
“Thank you so much,” Adams told Chirico on Wednesday. “A Brooklynite instrumental in bringing back an exhibit of this magnitude. Thank you so much.”
Chirico, who was convicted in 2008 of laundering money for the mafia, said he was visiting Rome on one of his annual trips to Italy when a friend who is a priest invited him to the Basilica of St. Francis Assisi to view the papal relics, manuscripts from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. 
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
“What I saw was very amazing,” the owner of Marco Polo Ristorante said. “I would never have believed in my life the history.”
The visit prompted Chirico and the friend, Padre Enzo Fortunato, to contact officials in Italy and the United States about the possibility of a New York City exhibition.
Adams, who described Chirico as “our good friend” on Wednesday, cooled on the restaurateur’s connection to the project after the Daily News pointed out the businessman’s prior conviction involving ties to organized crime.
“Mr. Chirico is not a partner on the exhibition,” Adams said in a statement. “We thank him for making the important introduction between the exhibition organizers and our office.”
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. 
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Adams has been a champion of re-entry programs for offenders and second chances, a spokesman said.
“He would be a hypocrite if he excluded those individuals who have paid their debt to society and are seeking to do positive community work going forward,” spokesman Stefan Ringel said.
Chirico has a history of chummy relations with borough hall. He was charged with passing a cash tribute payment from a mob associate to another gangster, in 2008, but sentenced to just six months’ house arrest after then Borough President Marty Markowitz and his predecessor, Howard Golden, wrote letters to the judge vouching for his character.
The reputed Gambino associate was curt Thursday when asked about his past.
Joseph Chirico's restaurant Marco Polo is an iconic eatery in Carroll Gardens.  
Joseph Chirico's restaurant Marco Polo is an iconic eatery in Carroll Gardens.
“This is nothing that’s got anything to do with this,” he said.
The exhibition was a coup for Brooklyn. St. Francis is an important figure for Catholics — including Pope Francis, who chose his name in honor of the holy man’s dedication to the poor. The 12th and 13th century scripts haven’t left Italy in 700 years, and their only other stop on the ground-breaking tour is the United Nations.
Brother William Boslet, superior general of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, said there’s already widespread interest in the exhibit.
“I think people that have any kind of interest in history or religion or Franciscanism — anyone would be happy to see them,” Boslet said.
The free exhibit will be on display through Jan. 14 at Borough Hall.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/mob-tied-restaurateur-helps-bring-catholic-texts-brooklyn-article-1.2042487


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