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

Monday, March 2, 2015

New York Assembly Speaker accepted campaign cash from Bonanno gangster

The state’s newly minted Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, accepted cash from a mobster convicted of racketeering and steered thousands more to a man who did time for manslaughter, records show.
Between 2003 and 2008, more than $2,800 flowed into the Bronx Democrat’s campaign coffers from Tri-State Employment Services and its top executives, including reputed Bonanno associate Neil Messina, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison last April in connection with a 1992 home-invasion murder.
Heastie also directed at least $250,000 to the Bronx Business Alliance. The now-defunct non-profit’s head, John Bonizio, was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 for bludgeoning a man to death with a baseball bat. Bonizio also made a plea deal after being indicted in the same year for trying to bribe an NYPD detective.
“Associations like these seriously undermine his attempts to show that the Assembly Democrats have turned the page,” a Democratic operative said of Heastie.
“As someone who is totally undefined in the public eye, this is a troubling first impression.”
Heastie took over as Assembly speaker last month amid corruption charges against former Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Silver was arrested by the FBI in January for allegedly accepting nearly $4 million in bribes and kickbacks dating back to at least 2000.
Since 2000, Heastie has represented the northeast Bronx neighborhoods of Edenwald, Wakefield and Baychester, and currently serves as chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party, a post he eventually plans to give up.
Heastie said through a spokesman he did not know of Bonizio’s brutal crime, which was reported in newspaper accounts in 1989, or of Messina’s reputed ties to the Bonanno family.
“These contributions were made years ago, before the accusations, and [Heastie] will be donating them to charity,” spokesman Michael Whyland said. “The Speaker has no input regarding the makeup of the [Bronx Business Alliance] board.”
Heastie did not receive campaign contributions from Bonizio, state financial-disclosure records show. But Bonizio hasn’t been quiet when it comes to political money. He’s shoveled campaign cash to Mayor de Blasio, and to Council members Ritchie Torres and Annabel Palma, according to city campaign-finance records.
Bonizio told The Post he’s paid his debt to society and hasn’t done anything wrong for the last 35 years.
Messina went to federal prison last year for racketeering in connection with the 1992 home invasion death of a Brooklyn man. He served as president of a key division of Tri-State, which failed to disclose to the city and state that he’d been charged. The city recently announced it was cancelling a $10 million contract with Tri-State.
The downtown Manhattan firm did not return calls.


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