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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Federal court rejects Lucchese mobster's appeal

A reputed underboss in the Lucchese crime family serving a life sentence had his appeal dismissed by a federal court Thursday.

Martin R. Taccetta, 63, was originally convicted in state Superior Court of racketeering and theft charges in 1993, in a case surrounding the 1984 golf-club beating death of Ocean County businessman Vincent "Jimmy Sinatra" Craparotta.

Taccetta was acquitted on the murder charge against him, but convicted on the other counts. Since the first-degree racketeering charge involved violent crimes, a judge sentenced him to life in prison under state law.

Maintaining he had no part in the murder, Taccetta appealed the sentence for more than a decade, saying his attorney gave him bad advice on how long his prison sentence could be of convicted.

Taccetta was released from prison in December 2005, when a Superior Court judge ordered that he was entitled to a new trial. He was sent back to prison after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled against him in 2009.

On Thursday, the federal judges said Taccetta, who was challenging the constitutionality of his sentence, should continue serving that sentence.

"Taccetta has... failed to show that any constitutional tension created by the New Jersey Supreme Court's opinion violated clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court," the federal judges wrote in their opinion.

Taccetta, of East Hanover, was reputedly part of the Lucchese crime family's New Jersey branch.

At the time, the charges against Taccetta were part of the longest trial in American history, according to reports of the time. The subject became a 1995 book called "The Boys from New Jersey," by former Star-Ledger reporter Robert Rudolph.

Attorneys for Taccetta could not be reached today by phone.

Steven Yomtov, the deputy attorney general who handled the federal appeal, said Taccetta could potentially file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But this result was gratifying, he said.

"I believe the Third Circuit reached the correct decision," Yomtov said.

Taccetta has been serving his life sentence at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton since July 2009, a corrections spokeswoman confirmed.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Junior Gotti says he lied to the feds and he is not a rat

John (Junior) Gotti says of his 2005 sitdown with the feds: 'No one got indicted. No one suffered but me.'

John "Junior" Gotti wants to make one thing perfectly clear — he’s not a rat.

In a sitdown with the Daily News, the mob scion and his lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman gave their most detailed explanation to date of Gotti’s stunning decision to sit down with federal prosecutors in 2005 for a proffer session where he discussed crimes of his own — and of other mobsters in the Gambino crime family.

But he insists the “rat” label is unfair, because he intentionally provided bad information to the feds he felt sick talking to.

“No one got indicted,” said Gotti, who recently published a memoir titled “Shadow of My Father.”

“No one suffered but me.”

Gotti acknowledged that his old-school father, the late Gambino boss John Gotti, would never have approved of the legal strategy. But Junior said he was in a bad place at the time.

He was facing trial on racketeering and stock fraud charges that could put him away for 100 years if he were convicted. Gotti was furious over the indictment because he thought federal prosecutors had given him coverage on those alleged charges from a prior plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office.

Gotti said he planned to give the feds information that was either useless or out-and-out false, and refused to ever testify against anyone. He hoped that prosecutors would give him a sweetheart plea deal while he would get two of his archenemies, reputed capo Daniel Marino and associate Joseph "Joe the German" Watts, jammed up with the feds.

The plan made no sense to anyone except Gotti — and got him excoriated as a “rat” by his ex-underling John Alite.

Joseph "Joe the German" Watts was an archenemy of Gotti.

Alite cut a deal to get out of prison and somehow got ahold of the five-page summary of Gotti’s blabbing, and published the secret FBI report in his memoir, “Gotti’s Rules.”

“I gave (prosecutors) inaccurate information,” Gotti insisted. “I’m not proud of this. To this day it still bothers me. I will never, ever, ever be a cooperator. I made a mistake. Just the fact that I was in the room with them (feds) made me physically sick. I gamed them and gamed myself.

Just the fact that I was in the room with them (feds) made me physically sick. I gamed them and gamed myself.

“That was 45 minutes I’m still paying for. Not one person was incarcerated. I never even offered to be debriefed, I refused to ever testify and I even walked in with my own script of notes to just give them information on a handful of useless subjects and false information.”

Lichtman said he was initially against the idea of his client meeting with prosecutors but came around when he was able to work out unique ground rules: Gotti would not discuss the pending charges in the indictment and would only talk about subjects of his own choosing.

Gotti speaks to the press from his home in 2009.

“The information he wanted to provide was useless as it was either beyond the statute of limitations, insignificant state crimes or, as I learned afterward, actually filled with falsehoods,” Lichtman told The News.

“It was an utter scam in the sense that it was not a real proffer — it was a ‘meet and greet’ with our providing some token good faith with this information. What he did, I learned later, was putting people into crimes who were already dead.”

Lichtman was referring to Gotti’s recounting of the 2003 murder of Danny Silva in a Queens bar.

Gotti claimed among those involved in the melee was Joey Curio — but Gotti said he knew full well that Curio wasn’t there because he had been slain three years earlier.

“It was an utter and complete farce,” Lichtman said of the proffer.

“I didn’t know he was going to lie, but we were clear with each other that he was going to give them bulls — that couldn’t go anywhere. In the end, he felt that by just going in as a Gotti for a proffer he might be able to hurt his enemies. It was a crazy idea and once we refused to go back for another debriefing that was the end of it and we mercifully could start and finish trial preparation.”

Gotti can’t be prosecuted for providing the feds with phony info, because the statute of limitations has run out.

Two former federal prosecutors who attended the session declined to comment on Gotti’s assertions.

Gotti, who turned 51 on Valentine’s Day, also gave The News his first public explanation of his mysterious stabbing outside a Long Island drugstore in 2013.

He said he was wounded breaking up a fight between two crackheads he knew — and has no regrets.

“If I had to do it all over again I would,” Gotti said.

Gotti was stabbed in the parking lot of a CVS drugstore in Syosset in 2013.

Daniel Marino was another mob foe.

Gotti refused to cooperate with Nassau County cops and prosecutors investigating the Nov. 10, 2013, stabbing in the parking lot of a CVS drugstore in Syosset.

Adding to the mystery, there were no witnesses, no surveillance video cameras at the parking lot, and cops found no bloodstains.

Gotti said he was home watching the Sunday night football game between the Saints and the Cowboys when “someone I’ve known my whole life called and said he had a problem at the CVS parking lot in Syosset just 2 miles from my house and asked for my help.”

“I got to the parking lot and two guys were fighting. I knew both of them,” he said, adding that they were “crackheads.”

“I tried to break up the fight and one of them pulled out a knife, swung it wildly, and the knife caught me in my lower abdomen,” he said. “The second cut missed my heart and caught the back of my stomach, about 4 inches deep.”

Gotti drove himself to Syosset Hospital, where he underwent surgery. While he was recovering in the hospital, he used the alias “Critical Kane” for privacy, he said.

“The one person who got me involved apologized for it, but I still don’t know which of the two stabbed me,” Gotti said.

Gotti explained that he did not meet with authorities because the stabbing was “a complete and total accident.” His wife, though, took a dimmer view of his rush to be a good Samaritan.

“The way my wife looks at it, ‘After all, you’ve been through, to be laying dead in a parking lot?’ ” Gotti said.


Who is in charge of the Philadelphia crime family?

"Skinny Joey" Merlino (right) is serving a four-month prison sentence in Miami on a parole violation. He says Philly isn´t in his postprison plans. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
WHO'S really in charge of the Philly mob?

For the past few years, the answer might've depended on where you looked or whom you asked.

Prosecutors. FBI agents. Street word. Underworld informants. Beat cops. Wiretapped conversations. Gamblers. Defense attorneys who will look you in the eye and swear that the Mafia ain't real.

Some say Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, 75, still runs the show. The low-key acting boss returned to Packer Park a year ago after spending 32 months in federal custody through two racketeering trials on a 2011 indictment. He survived both trials. Survival is Ligambi's strong suit.

Others say that 1990s-era boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino is the ultimate shot-caller and continues to exert influence from Florida - when he's not posing for Instagram photos on the beach or schmoozing with diners at his swanky Italian restaurant in Boca Raton.

Or maybe Merlino, 52, currently on a four-month "vacation" at a Miami prison, delegated power to his South Philadelphia allies because the terms of his probation had barred him from associating with known felons.

Now, a new picture of the Philly mob hierarchy is emerging. Law-enforcement officials believe that the crime family's current boss is actually more of a committee - a three-headed mobster, if you will - consisting of Steve Mazzone, John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini and Philip Narducci.

Ligambi, wary of getting indicted again and dying in jail, is said to be semiretired, serving in a capacity similar to consigliere, or high-ranking adviser.

It's a somewhat unusual, and possibly volatile, power-sharing arrangement. These triumvirates don't usually end well. Check your Roman history.

Who are these guys?

Mazzone and Ciancaglini are both Merlino allies who were convicted of racketeering alongside Merlino in 2001.

Mazzone, 50, was released from prison in 2009. He said at a probation-violation hearing the following year that he had been working as a trainer in a South Philly gym. He reputedly served as underboss to Merlino in the 1990s.

Ciancaglini, 59, a former soldier in Merlino's crew, more recently ran a newsstand on Packer Avenue outside Chickie's & Pete's. Ciancaglini and Merlino were spotted together in June at Havana Nights Cigar Bar & Lounge, in Boca Raton.

Narducci, 52, is more complicated. He's a former member of Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo's crew who has spent half his life in prison and has been described by both law-enforcement and underworld sources as a cold-blooded gangster unlikely to take orders from Merlino or his associates.

"He's a stone killer. He's a real tough guy and won't put up with any s---," said Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti, Scarfo's nephew who served as his underboss in the 1980s.

Scarfo ordered the 1982 murder of Narducci's father, mob captain Frank "Chickie" Narducci Sr., in response to the father's role in the nail-bomb hit of mob boss Philip "Chicken Man" Testa.

Philip Narducci somehow took it all in stride, Leonetti said.

"We did kill his father and we told him that. We told him that's what happens and he understood it," Leonetti said of Narducci.

Narducci even went to work for Scarfo. Or, as one law-enforcement official recently put it, "He killed guys for the guy that killed his father."

Narducci, whose family runs Philip's Steaks (damn good cheesesteak, by the way) on West Passyunk Avenue, was convicted in the 1985 mob hit of bookmaker Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso. That conviction later was overturned, but he stayed in prison until 2012 following his 1989 conviction on separate federal charges.

At his sentencing that year, federal prosecutors said that Narducci shot Joseph Salerno Sr., the father of a murder witness, in 1982; helped kill mob associate Salvatore Tamburrino in front of his mother in 1983, and took part in the beating of an extortion victim who refused to pay up, among other crimes.

U.S. District Judge Franklin Van Antwerpen handed Narducci the maximum 40-year sentence. "The picture that I get is that of a violent person," Antwerpen said.

Narducci did not respond to requests for comment, but mob lawyer Joseph Santaguida, who has represented the family in the past, insisted last week that Narducci has not returned to his old ways.

"It's a disgrace what they're saying. Something about three people running the mob," Santaguida said. "He just got married. He's got a good business. He doesn't need any of that. He's not involved in anything."

"If you believe that, you believe in Santa Claus. I got a bridge to sell you," said Stephen LaPenta, a retired Philadelphia police lieutenant and former organized-crime investigator in New Jersey. "Sons follow in their fathers' footsteps in 'this thing of theirs,' La Cosa Nostra."

Leonetti, author of Mafia Prince, a book about his life in the mob, said he also doubts that Narducci has gone legit after 25 years in prison. His book includes a passage about how Narducci, at age 19, shot Salerno Sr. in the neck when he opened the door of his Wildwood Crest hotel.

"I think after doing all that time he feels he's owed something, that money on the street," Leonetti said of Narducci. "He's part of the family. He kept his mouth shut."

David Fritchey, chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, declined to comment on the apparent shift in mob leadership.

Tough road ahead

It's no secret that the Philadelphia mob isn't raking in stacks of cash as in the glory days, but law-enforcement officials say it remains a viable criminal organization that generates illegal revenue through bookmaking, loan-sharking and good-old shakedowns.

"They're still in business," a law-enforcement official said. "They haven't gone straight."

But with members of Scarfo's crew and Merlino's crew both rejoining the ranks, more gangsters could be fighting for less cash, setting up possible clashes between those factions - and even within them.

LaPenta said that returning members might make trouble if they overreach or feel slighted. Most of them, he said, "have the intellectual capacity of an agave plant."

Ligambi's nephew, onetime consigliere George Borgesi, 51, was released last year after doing 14 years in prison and beating the latest indictment. Marty Angelina, 52, a mob soldier who allegedly tried to muscle in on Borgesi's gambling and loan-sharking turf while Borgesi was jailed, is in a halfway house and will be out soon.

That could be a problem. Both were convicted alongside Merlino in 2001, but both are also notorious hotheads.

Some law-enforcement officials believe that Borgesi might have been behind Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello's unsuccessful attempt in 2008 to hire someone to have Angelina "beat up really bad" - a conversation that was picked up by an informant wearing a body wire. Monacello, who later become a government witness, was handling Borgesi's mob business while Borgesi was incarcerated.

"That's going to be interesting," a law-enforcement official said of the Borgesi-Angelina situation.

Then there are Narducci and the old-school Scarfo soldiers like Joe "Joey Punge" Pungitore. Some of them have a bad history with Merlino.

"Joey Pungitore hates Merlino. He hates his guts," Leonetti said. "Merlino robbed Pungitore's house while his mother was asleep on the couch. All her jewelry was gone. Pungitore told me that himself."

In less than three months, Merlino will exit the federal detention center in Miami and be beyond the government's reach for the first time since 1999. No probation officer, no restrictions on where he can travel or with whom he can associate.

"We won't know where Merlino is laying his head after he gets released. He can walk out of prison and walk into a car and where he goes no one knows," a law-enforcement official said. "He'll be back, without a doubt."

An ex-associate of the Philadelphia mob who spoke with the Daily News on the condition of anonymity (for obvious reasons) said he fully expects Merlino to get back into the game, even if the playing field in Philadelphia has shrunk.

"It's kind of like a sickness. You can have everything in the world going for you, but for some reason everyone wants to keep coming back here, where they know everyone and everyone knows them," the former associate said. "Who the hell wants to come back here? It don't make sense."

Merlino, who was slapped with the latest four-month prison term after he was caught associating with Ciancaglini in June, has insisted that he's focused solely on working as the maitre d' at the new Florida restaurant bearing his family name. They serve dishes inspired by his mother, Rita.

He says he has no plans to return to Philly.

"I need a vacation after working so hard at the best restaurant in Florida, Merlino's Restaurant," he texted last month before reporting to the Miami prison.

There are also rumors that the feds are trying to build a new case against Merlino, but it's unclear how far along the investigation is, or whether it will result in an indictment.

When a federal prosecutor recently claimed that Merlino is still an active mafioso, Merlino responded: "The guy's mental."

People have been saying for years that the Philly mob is dead or dying. The question now is whether the next boss proves to be a doctor or an undertaker.

"I think it's kind of seen its day and gone. Nobody is lighting the world on fire. I don't see anyone with a significant amount of money," the former mob associate said.

"Not bigger than U.S. Steel," he said, chuckling at the quote from "The Godfather: Part II."

"That's for sure."


Firm under investigation for employing Bonanno gangster

The city and state are investigating a government contractor for allegedly failing to disclose that a convicted Bonanno family racketeer and accused murderer had held a top position in the company.

The Post reported on Tuesday that Tri-State Employment Services landed $45 million in government contracts since 1996.

But in 2012, company officials filled out government papers without revealing that Neil Messina — busted in connection with a fatal 1992 Brooklyn home invasion the year before — had served as a division president from 1997 to 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He was sentenced in 2014 sentenced to an 18-year-prison term.

“The city is reviewing the contracts,” mayoral spokesman Phil Walzak said Tuesday.

The company, which provides temporary worker and consulting services, currently has a contract with the city’s Department of Social Services worth $10.3 million.

There is also another open contract with the state Office of General Services for $300,000.

“We will be asking the state Inspector General and other appropriate law enforcement officials to review the facts in this situation,” said Heather Groll, a spokeswoman from the state agency. “No money has been paid on this contract, and ‎we will ask the state Comptroller’s office to stop any outstanding payments until this matter is cleared up.”

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli blamed the Cuomo administration for the embarrassment.

“The governor removed our review from centralized contracts like this in 2012,” said DiNapoli spokeswoman Kate Gurnett. “We argued against that. As a result, we never reviewed this 2012 contract.”

But Tri-State brass never mentioned Messina’s charges from the year before when they filed state vendor responsibility forms in February 2012. City vendor questionnaires also included no mention of Messina, a source said.

Tri-State president Robert Cassera did not return calls over two days.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Firm failed to disclose that murderous Bonanno family gangster was on payroll

Firm with gov‘t contracts ‘hired’ accused killer, mobster
A Manhattan firm that has received more than $45 million in city and state contracts had an accused killer and Bonanno family mobster working as the president of a key division — but failed to reveal his criminal past on state disclosure forms, sources told The Post.

Neil Messina, 52, was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison last April for his role in a botched 1992 home invasion robbery that left a man and his German shepherd dead.

But Tri-State Employment Services — which provides temps, consultants and other business services to a host of city and state agencies — never mentioned his January 2011 arrest on a murder charge when it filed vendor responsibility forms with the state comptroller in February 2012.

The forms require prospective contractors to disclose whether any of their officials were under investigation or had been charged with any crimes over the previous five years.

Susan Kennedy, Tri-State’s VP of Government Sales, answered “no” and provided no information about Messina’s widely publicized arrest.

“Everybody knew who he was,” said one source with knowledge of the company’s inner workings. “It certainly raised some eyebrows.”

Potential penalties could include contract termination, according to the state comptroller’s Web site.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Messina served as president of the company’s “professional employer organization” division from 1997 to 2011.

The feds described him as an associate of the Bonanno crime family.

Tri-State has raked in the $45 million for scores of contracts awarded since 1996, including a $10.3 million deal with the city’s Department of Social Services to assign temporary workers, a $49,000 contract with the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation for consulting work, and a $300,000 contract with the state Office of General Services for administrative services.

A spokesperson for general services said, “If true, the contract will be terminated immediately.”

In a deal with Brooklyn federal prosecutors, Messina, wound up pleading guilty to racketeering charges in the 1992 Brooklyn home invasion and murder of Joseph Pistone and his beloved dog, King.

Pistone was killed during the robbery when two Messina accomplices searched for cash they thought was hidden in the house.

Messina, who said he was only the getaway driver, was one of nearly 100 wiseguys rounded up by the feds in January 2011.

Tri-State founder and president Robert Cassera, did not return calls for comment and didn’t respond to messages left at his office.

Gerald McMahon, Messina’s lawyer in the Pistone case, declined to comment.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Frank Sinatra played at a club for a week straight for an angry Chicago mob boss

Frank SInatra

The Mafia detested the administration of John F. Kennedy as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy raised the number of mob convictions from 35 in 1960 to 288 in 1963.

But there may be a much deeper connection between the Kennedys and the mob, and legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra reportedly served as a key intermediary and whipping boy in one case.

According to "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Seymour Hersh, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (JFK's father) set up a meeting with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana to obtain Giancana's support for Jack Kennedy's run for the White House — thereby combining the sway of Chicago crime syndicate with that of Mayor Richard J. Daley's Democratic machine.

Hersh also reported, along with others, that Giancana also helped funnel cash to buy votes and endorsements for the West Virginia Democratic primary election in May 1960.

The new book "The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy" by University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato highlights the connection by citing the story that Joseph Kennedy asked for Giancana's help over a dispute with another mobster, Frank Costello, and offered "the president's ear" in return.

Sabato also writes that "when JFK began having an affair with a black-haired beauty named Judith Campbell while he was still a U.S. senator, Giancana slept with her as well, reportedly so that he would eventually have a direct link to the White House."

It turns out, according to Sabato, that Sinatra introduced Senator Kennedy to Judy Campbell and also "served as the go-between for the West Virginia primary shenanigans."

After JFK reached the White House, however, the mob boss was not welcome near the president's ear. And Sinatra was the one that ultimately paid for it.

From "The Kennedy Half-Century":

When the Kennedys turned on Giancana once they were in the White House, Sinatra had to work hard to deflect the mobster's wrath at Sinatra on account of the Kennedys' unfaithfulness. In atonement, the singer played at Giancana's club, the Villa Venice, with his "Rat Pack" of fellow entertainers, for eight nights in a row.

Sabato notes that "Sinatra worked his way back into Giancana's good graces, but the Kennedys never did."


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Casting call for Boston Mob Wives

Are you a woman with a personality that pops and a connection to Boston’s criminal underworld?
Boston Mob Wives, a new reality show in production, could be your big break. The first casting call is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 22 at the Four Points Sheraton in Revere.
Henry “Nacho” Laun, Jenna DeRose, and Timothy Baker are looking to cast the new Boston-based reality show. Laun is a former member of Mark Wahlberg’s original real-life entourage. He has had bit parts in numerous Wahlberg films, including The Departed, The Fighter, Ted, and Ted 2. He plays himself on Wahlburgers.
DeRose is a mom of two who lives in Revere. Her husband, Timothy Baker, is also involved in the project.
The original Mob Wives series first aired on VH1 in 2011, but DeRose wasn’t a fan of the original.
“I was disgusted. They don’t act classy. The women I know from Boston who have ties to the mob act way classier than that,” she said.
So, what does it take to become a cast member of Boston Mob Wives?
Jenna DeRose, the niece of a former underworld figure, is organizing the first casting call.

You don’t need to have a current connection to organized crime in Boston, nor do you need to be a wife, DeRose told Boston.com.
“If their personality pops and they have mob ties from the past—their grandfather or great uncle—that works,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to think it’s about the mob that’s going on now. It’s about peoples stories from the past.”
DeRose said the people she grew up with who were involved in organized crime were “good guys just trying to make a living.”
“When you say ‘mafia’ to me I think of guys trying to protect their city,” DeRose said. “If they left the mafia alone, Boston would be a safer city.”
DeRose made several claims to her mob pedigree.
“Whitey [Bulger] actually taught me how to ride a bike. I grew up around this,” she said.
Bulger was convicted in November 2013 for multiple murders, drug trafficking, racketeering and other charges.
DeRose also told Boston.com she’s the niece of Bernard “Bennie” Zinna, was involved in organized crime.
Zinna was charged in the 1966 gangland murder of boxer Rocco DiSeglio, but was later acquitted. In 1969, he died after being shot multiple times in his Cadillac. His body was found in Revere, just two miles from where the casting call is set to take place.
Would the producers be open to casting someone who is married to an individual who is currently active in organized crime?
The answer is yes, according to DeRose, who explained that if the “wife” was discussing a “current situation,” producers would have to shield the identity of the “husband.”
“His name would have to be Joe Black or something.”


Nearly 50 NYC building inspectors and construction contractors busted for bribery scheme

It all started with a tip about an inspector on the take and spread like a cancer across the boroughs to reveal an unseemly culture of corruption in the city’s oversight of construction.

On Tuesday, a two-year city Department of Investigation probe came to an end with bribery charges filed against 50 defendants, including 16 city inspectors, plus a host of property managers and owners, “expediters,” contractors and an engineer.

All told, 156 buildings — across Brooklyn, in Harlem and Midtown and all the way to Flushing, Queens — were involved, with $450,000 in bribes paid and 49 of 50 defendants in custody.

The 26 indictments filed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. lay out a stunning portrait of greed in which developers bought off inspectors to overlook code violations and speed their developments to completion.

DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said the investigation was “stunning for the sheer breadth of those charged and the extent to which the corruption infested our city institutions.” Peters said dozens of overlooked violations were “potentially endangering the safety of New Yorkers,” and noted that the city had to go back and check all the tainted buildings to make sure they’re safe.

Vance said the arrests make clear this type of corruption always seems to increase as the housing market heats up. “Today’s cases demonstrate that the same surging demand that drives the pace of development can inspire the taking of shortcuts — and the taking of bribes,” he said.

The Buildings Department approves all new construction and major renovation work in the city, and inspectors have enormous sway over the pace of a project. A rejection can bring a development to a halt, which in turn costs builders big bucks.

To get around this potential problem, both parties came to a special give-to-get arrangement that ensured smooth construction with no speed bumps, prosecutors say.

The worst offender appeared to be Gordon Holder, chief of development for the Buildings Department’s Brooklyn office, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Holder, who resigned in November, wasn’t identified but was secretly charged and is apparently cooperating, sources told The News.

Investigators say Holder and his wife, Janelle Daly, who was also arrested, had a longstanding corrupt arrangement with David Weiszer, 65, an “expediter” hired by Brooklyn developers.

Weiszer allegedly made $200,000 in mortgage payments for Holder, bought the couple a Nissan Rogue SUV and a GMC Terrain SUV, sent them on an $8,000 Royal Caribbean cruise, and funded renovations to their three-bedroom red-brick suburban home in Allentown, Pa.

Weiszer, who is now on the lam, eventually moved across the street from Holder’s home and drove him to work in the city most days, a four-hour round-trip commute.

In exchange, Holder allegedly used his position as a top supervisor and worked with a corrupt Buildings Department inspector, Artan Mujko, to ensure Weiszer’s developer customers got what they wanted from the department.

Last fall, for example, a developer decided to add two stories to a synagogue building in Borough Park, Brooklyn, that couldn’t support it. Nevertheless, Mujko green-lighted the project.

Tipped off, DOI checked the building and found cracks running down an exterior wall. The city deemed it structurally unsafe and halted construction.

Other inspectors took a wide range of bribes ranging from payments for their children’s tuition to tropical vacations to a paltry $600 payoff.

One supervisor, Derek St. Rose, told a developer he could avoid violations on his illegal hotel in Flushing by keeping inspectors from gaining access there, prosecutors said. He also gave up the name of the complainant who’d called the Buildings Department. The developer paid a visit to the complainant’s apartment and “harassed the complainant.”

Bribe-givers also bought off Housing Preservation and Development inspectors who were supposed to make sure landlords maintain safe conditions for tenants.

Housing Department inspectors Luis Soto and Oliver Ortiz, prosecutors say, drafted fake evacuation notices to try to force tenants out of a building the owner was trying to sell in rapidly gentrifying Bushwick. DOI learned of the scam and prevented the eviction.

Across the East River in Manhattan, Donald O’Connor, the buildings department chief of development for the borough, took bribes from an engineer, a bar owner and a developer for, among other things, alerting them to undercover visits by his own inspectors, prosecutors say.

One particularly brazen alleged bribe-taker, Buildings Department supervisory inspector Wilson Garcia, got a Puerto Rico vacation from one developer to alert him to pending audits. DOI and NYPD investigators say they recovered cocaine and illegal guns while searching his home and car.

The investigation began two years ago with a clean buildings inspector who was offered a bribe and turned in the bribe-giver. From there, investigators checked text messages and inspection records and discovered an alarming pattern of questionable inspections by the same inspectors.

Over two years investigators wiretapped conversations and surveilled inspectors, finding multiple unrelated schemes — an indication of how pervasive bribe-taking was. One scam even involved an alleged associate of the Bonanno crime family, prosecutors say.

The Housing Department probe began a year ago with a routine audit that indicated inspectors were signing off as remedied on violations that were still in place.

Early Tuesday the defendants were told to report to the 1st Precinct in Tribeca. The parade of suspects began as dawn broke and a slight snow fell. There were so many they had to be loaded into four vans.

The suspects said nothing as they passed reporters. Most lowered their heads and tried to cover their faces with coats as they were taken to court, where bribery charges were filed against them Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said all the tainted buildings have been checked and shut down or deemed safe. “I’m outraged at what this investigation has uncovered,” Chandler said. “These accused individuals put their own enrichment ahead of their duty and moral obligation to keep New Yorkers safe.”

Housing Commissioner Vicki Been added, “There is no room at (the department) for corruption or bribery, and no tolerance for individuals who would abuse their position.”


Gambino family rat linked to John Gotti busted for fraud and theft in Florida

Lewis Kasman, 58, moved to South Florida after ratting on the mob, but still can't stay out of trouble, getting arrested in January on felony fraud and theft charges.

A Mafia snitch who went down on federal racketeering and fraud charges years ago in Brooklyn now faces legal troubles in Florida, where cops say he stole a check from his lawyer and cashed it.

Lewis Kasman, better known as John Gotti’s turncoat “adopted son,” was arrested last month in West Palm Beach, Fla., for swiping $5,300 from his very own lawyer.

The 58-year-old, who moved to South Florida after flipping on the mob, avoided doing jail time in New York after he ratted out much of the Gambino crime family -- including the son of the late “Dapper Don,” John A. "Junior" Gotti.

Kasman faces felony grand theft and fraud charges after cops discovered he took the check in November from the Coconut Creek office of Nicholas Steffens and cashed it in at a Boca Raton bank.

“Mr. Kasman is specifically known to me due to the fact that he had reported an assault case to me in September of 2014 and had previously pled guilty in the federal system to money laundering charges,” a Palm County Sheriff’s Office detective wrote in an arrest report obtained by the Daily News.

But Kasman said the charges are bunk.

"I'm good. Charges will be dropped. False police report filed by party," he said in a note to The News. "No further comment. I'm good!"

Lewis Kasman, spoke to the media June 12, 2002, after John Gotti died in a Missouri federal prison.

He later blamed the lawyer, who he claims borrowed $4,200 from him and tried to back out of paying. Kasman claims Steffens wrote him a check , and then called after it was deposited to say he’d changed his mind.

"Then he goes an files a false police report," Kasman told the News in an email. "No deed goes unpunished."

Video images from the bank show Kasman handing over the stolen check to a teller, while Steffens told police his client, whom he represented in a divorce, had been in his office the same day.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff's detective busted Kasman shortly after.

"The detective said he knew who I was," Kasman told the News. "He said I was Gotti's adopted son. The detective knew exactly who I was and he was loving it."

When contacted by the website Gossip Extra, which first reported the arrest, Kasman said he hadn’t been busted for the crime. He fessed up to the arrest the next day.

Reputed mob boss John Gotti never knew of Kasman's betrayal, but the rat helped the government convicted other members of the Gambino crime family. Gotti is shown here during his trial in January 1990.

“I’ve been helping Nicholas out with all kinds of bills, and when someone borrows money, that person has (to) pay the loan back,” he told the site.

Kasman fled to Boca Raton under the witness protection program in the early 2000s after he ratted out several mob figures. But he was outed when his ex-wife filed for divorce, according to Gossip Extra.

Despite the theft charge, Kasman lives large in a $900,000 mansion in Delray Beach, the site reported.

During his time as an informant, Kasman spent years making some $144,000 annually from the government. The millionaire garment executive helped the Gambino Family keep the books.

He got off on just probation during a Sept. 2010 sentencing on the racketeering charge that could have left him locked up for 11 years.

"He's a piece of s---," Gotti's eldest daughter, Angela, told the News at the time. "Somebody's got all my father's money. He [Kasman] was the one holding it."


South Florida sports betting ring linked to Genovese family taken down

Pasquale "Patsy" Capolongo is obsessed with gambling. From horses to professional football, basketball, baseball and college sports -- he has bet on it all.

The grandfather -- who is accused of being linked to the infamous Genovese crime family -- ran out of luck. After a failed illegal gambling business, he moved from White Plains to West Palm Beach. And now the 66-year-old is behind bars again.

Investigators of the multi-state operation took a $4 million bite out of a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring operation -- including $1.2 million linked to the venture in South Florida, police said.

“Criminal networks like these may not seem dangerous to the public," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said in a statement. "But it is activity such as this that leads to violence and fuels organized crime throughout the country."

The sports betting ring used off-shore sports betting web sites and hand-to-hand cash transactions in Broward and Palm Beach, Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said Friday.

To disrupt the gambling ring, there were 10 law enforcement agencies involved including the Federal Bureau of Investigation's criminal division in New York. There were also about 60 search warrants served in Florida, New Jersey and New York in an operation that started in 2013, according to authorities.

Sgt. Dan Fitzpatrick, of BSO's organized crime unit, was involved in the investigation in South Florida, which involved undercover officers, wire taps, surveillance work and a Feb. 5th raid.

According to police, the others arrested in South Florida include Allan Klein, of Margate, and his son Darren Klein, of Coral Springs. Also Michael Dangelo, of Pompano Beach, and Erik Bishop, of Parkland. And from Boca Raton, Thomas Cuce, Joseph Petrolino and Devon Shaimi.

Klein, 71, was facing racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, 16 counts of bookmaking, conspiracy to commit bookmaking, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, records show.

Klein, 36, was facing racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit bookmaking, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, records show.

Dangelo, 58, was facing racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, five counts of bookmaking, conspiracy to commit bookmaking, money laundering and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, records show.

Bishop, 35, was facing racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, five counts of bookmaking, conspiracy to commit bookmaking and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, records show.

Petrolino, Cuce, 32, and Shaimi, 30, were facing charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, bookmaking, conspiracy to commit bookmaking and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

There were related arrests in New York City, Rockland County, Bergen County and New Jersey. The investigation is ongoing with several more arrests anticipated in the coming weeks,a BSO Friday the 13th statement said.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement that she applauded her office and BSO for their "hard work in shutting down" the scheme in South Florida.

In New York, one of the biggest fishes caught was Daniel Pagano, 61, the son of the late Joseph Luco Pagano -- former Genovese family leader.

Other related arrests in New York include: Jonathan Klein, Michael Palazzolo, Robert Aulicino, Williams Robbins, James Hayman, Gerardo Dimatteo, Benjamin Reiss, Frank Giordano, Carmine Potenza, Harry Floershiem, Thoma Feeney, Brian Kelly, Richard Simko, Richard Lacava, Eric Wachter, John Tognino, and Robert Wisiak.


Catholic priest plotted with notorious Chiacgo mobster to recover $26 million dollar violin

Frank Calabrese Sr
It began with Communion. Kneeling in his maximum security prison cell Frank Calabrese Sr, a brutal "made man" in the Chicago mob, bowed his head as a chaplain administered the Sacrament through a slot in his cell door.
The septuagenarian Calabrese, known as "Frankie Breeze," had been convicted for his role in 13 murders, strangling some of the victims with rope and slashing their throats.
But he was not seeking forgiveness. Instead, when Father Eugene Klein was done Calabrese surreptitiously passed him a note hidden in some religious reading materials.
The note contained details on the whereabouts of a rare 250-year-old violin the mobster had hidden before he was jailed. The instrument was purportedly a Stradivarius worth up to $26 million that once belonged to Liberace.
At the prison in Springfield, Missouri no one had suspected the mild-mannered, elderly Klein, a priest for 40 years, of being in cahoots with the mob.
Calabrese, who mouthed "You are a dead man" at the prosecutor in his trial, was in the most extreme form of solitary confinement there. Only his lawyer and Klein were allowed contact.
For two years the priest had delivered cupcakes, chocolate, and copies of the psalms, and heard confession. Calabrese had started passing back messages to deliver to his his associates on the outside.
The note about the violin was passed in March 2011. It contained instructions that the instrument was secreted behind a wall in the loft of a summer home the aging enforcer had owned in Wisconsin.
That home had been seized by authorities and was being sold to raise the $4.4 million Calabrese was ordered to pay to his victims. He was desperate to retrieve the violin before the government.
"Be sure to have a little flashlight with you so you can see," the note instructed the priest. "Make a right when you go into that little pull out door. Go all the way to the wall. That is where the violin is."
violin Stradivarius stolen
According to prosecutors Klein then told prison officials he needed time off to tend to his sick mother. Instead, he went to Chicago to meet associates of the mobster in a restaurant called Zsa Zsa's.
He then posed as a potential buyer in an attempt to gain access to the house. But by then it had already been sold.
The case unraveled because prison guards became concerned at the frequency of the priest's visits to Calabrese's cell. A surveillance video showed him being passed something by the gangster. Klein claimed it was a chocolate bar but later "confessed" and revealed the violin note.
Klein, 66, appeared in court in Chicago wearing his dog collar and gripping a cane and the judge addressed him as "Father."
He pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and faces a maximum of five years in jail when he is sentenced on June 23.
Calabrese died in prison in 2012 aged 75 and the violin he had been so desperate to recover was never found.
At another of his homes documents were discovered relating to a 1764 violin. A certificate said it bore the emblem with the "Stradivari" but was made by Giuseppe Antonio Artalli. Prosecutors have said they believed the instrument was worth millions.
Thomas Durkin, Klein's lawyer, said the priest suffered a "lapse of judgment" and was a "man who's done good things."
He said it was "anyone's guess" whether the violin ever existed, saying the the search for it was like "looking for a unicorn."


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Philadelphia mob soldier pleads guilty to murder sentenced to minimum of 25 years in prison

Anthony Nicodemo
He's a throwback, a standup guy in a mob decimated by turncoat witnesses.

And as a result, he's looking at 23 more years in state prison.

On the eve of his retrial for the December 2012 murder of Gino DiPietro, mobster Anthony Nicodemo pleaded guilty this morning to third degree murder, conspiracy and weapons charges.

Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart, under the terms of a plea deal, sentenced the reputed South Philadelphia hitman to a minimum of 25 years in prison. With two years already served, Nicodemo, 43, will be able to apply for parole in 2038.

According to several sources, Nicodemo rejected offers to cooperate that could have resulted in substantially less jail time. The married father of two young children opted instead to live by an underworld code that has been shattered again and again by members of the Philadelphia mob.

Omerta, the code of silence, is like the Liberty Bell, broke and inoperative. So many members and associates of the Philadelphia mob have chosen to cooperate that the once secret society has

But Nicodemo, who is also a suspect in the murder of mobster John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto, proved to be old school.

"He could have walked out the door," said one source in the legal community who said federal authorities were prepared to go to bat for the bulky mob enforcer had he decided to cooperate.

Nicodemo's lawyer, Brian McMonagle, declined to discuss specifics of the plea negotiation, but said, "Anthony did this for his family. He will be coming home."

Had he gone to trial, Nicodemo ran the risk of being convicted of first degree murder and receiving a life sentence. The negotiated plea and the third degree murder charge carried a severe prison term, but one with an ending that could result in Nicodemo experiencing freedom at some point.

But not any time soon, a prospect that could result in the feds making another run at him.

"If he were going to cooperate, he would have done it already," said another source, pointing out that it's more complicated to work out a deal with good benefits after you've been sentenced.

Dressed in a blue shirt, tie and slacks, his hands cuffed in front of him, Nicodemo said little other than "yes," "no" and "guilty" in response to questions posed during the brief, 15-minute proceeding.

He nodded and smiled to family members and friends who had packed the 11th floor courtroom but declined an offer from Minehart to address the court before sentencing. Minehart imposed a 20-to-40 year term for the third degree murder charge and a consecutive five-to-10 for the conspiracy count. The weapons offenses resulted in slightly lesser sentences that were to run concurrent.

As a result, the overall sentence was 25-to-50 years, the range agreed upon in pre-sentence negotiations.

In a brief statement to the judge, DiPietro's sister said, "by no stretch of the imagination is this a happy day for anyone here." She was one of several members of DiPietro's family who also attended the hearing.

"My brother will always and forever be missed," she said.

Authorities have never disclosed a motive for the DiPietro shooting. The convicted drug dealer, who may have been cooperating with authorities, was gunned down shortly before 3 p.m. on December 12, 2012. The shooting occurred in the 2800 block of Iseminger Street, not far from his home.

Nicodemo was arrested minutes later after a witness told police he saw a masked gunman jump into a waiting Honda Pilot which sped from the scene. A license tag led police to Nicodemo's door in the 3200 block of South 17th Street, a five-minute drive from the murder scene.

He was taken into custody that day and after obtaining a search warrant police found a .357 Smith&Wesson automatic under the driver's seat of the Honda which was parked behind his house. Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo said ballistics proved that the gun was the murder weapon.

Jury selection was set to begin on Monday for Nicodemo's retrial. His first trial in May ended after four days when three of the 14 jurors (two were alternates) had been dismissed for various reasons. With only 11 jurors Minehart was forced to declare a mistrial.

In his opening statement during that trial, Zarallo said Nicodemo was the getaway driver for the murder but was just as culpable as the shooter. The DA identified South Philadelphia mob associate Domenic Grande as the suspected hitman. Grande has never been charged. That investigation is continuing, according to police sources.

Nicodemo's defense, presented in McMonagle's opening in May, was considered bizarre and outlandish to most observers. He claimed that he was carjacked that afternoon by a masked gunman who ordered him to drive away. The gunman jumped out of the Honda a few blocks from the murder scene, but left the gun behind.

One of the dismissed jurors in the first trial called that argument ridiculous. Nicodemo offered that defense at trial, but never mentioned the alleged carjacking at the time of his arrest or during the nearly two years he sat in prison denied bail.

Sources say Nicodemo could have worked out a much better plea deal if he had decided to cooperate and provide details about both the DiPietro shooting and the murder of Casasanto. The Casasanto hit which occurred in 2003 is one of three unsolved mob murders that city police and federal authorities had hoped to lay on the doorstep of then mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his administration.

Ironically, Ligambi, 73, and several top associates were on trial for racketeering at the time the DiPietro hit was carried out. Ligambi beat the racketeering charges -- built around gambling, loansharking and extortion -- at two trials and was released last year.

He is now said to be semi-retired and serving as the consigliere in a crime family being overseen by a three-man committee comprised of street bosses Steve Mazzone, John Ciancaglini and Philip Narducci.

Nicodemo heads off to prison, law enforcement sources say, while the local mob tries to regroup and return to the shadows where making money rather than headlines is paramount.

"He's a young guy but he's a dinosaur," said the legal source. "Look at all the guys his age who have cooperated and gotten out. He's a throwback to another generation."

Nicodemo will have a long time to ponder his decision. He will be 66 when he can first apply for release, according to legal experts, and, they add, there is no guarantee that he will be sprung the first time he is eligible.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Jailed cousin of Big Ang from Mob Wives saves suicidal inmate

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

He may be a “killer,” but he’s also a lifesaver.

Luigi Grasso, cousin of “Mob Wives” star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola, was lauded by a Manhattan judge for helping to save a suicidal inmate in a courthouse holding cell before Grasso’s appearance on a weapons rap, the Daily News has learned.

The distressed inmate, who was not identified by officials, had fashioned a noose from an oversized T-shirt and was hanging from the top bar in the pens of the Manhattan Criminal Court at 111 Centre St. on Oct. 7 when sources said the brawny jailbird jumped up to save him.

Big Ang talked about Grasso in a recent episode of "Mob Wives."

“I was sitting down, reading my legal work in the bullpen,” Grasso, who is 5-feet-10 and 280 pounds, told The News from Rikers Island. “I’d seen this guy dangling from the ceiling and he was there for a while. I grabbed him and I untied him.”

Grasso said he was with “two other guys,” waiting to be delivered to the courtroom for a hearing on his 2012 gun charge, when Grasso noticed the dangling man.

For his quick-thinking efforts, Grasso, 47, was praised by Justice Bruce Allen.

“Before appearances are made, we have to acknowledge Mr. Grasso. Apparently he was instrumental in helping downstairs with another inmate who was in some difficulty,” Allen said. “Thank you, Mr. Grasso.”

The good Samaritan act didn’t help his case, however. Seconds later, Allen issued a decision denying his defense team’s bid to suppress statements and evidence, paving the way for a trial.

Grasso’s lawyer Alex Grosshtern said his client rushing to the aid of an ailing fellow inmate was a display of “his true character.”

“On a personal level, that’s the kind of guy he is, because he wouldn’t just sit back and let this happen,” Grosshtern said.

Hector Pagan Jr. got 11 years behind bars for a fatal 2010 stickup.

Grasso — who is also known as Ronnie Petrino — was discussed in a recently aired “Mob Wives” episode by buxom Staten Island bar owner kin Big Ang.

Raiola griped to guest star Victoria Gotti, daughter of the notorious Mafia boss, about Grasso’s legal troubles.

Grasso, a heavily tattooed reputed Gambino associate, was slapped with a 38-year federal prison sentence in August for participating in a robbery gone bad with turncoat Hector Pagan Jr., the ex-husband of Raiola’s co-star Renee Graziano.

Pagan pulled the trigger, killing an innocent bystander, and then flipped on Grasso and their accomplice Richard Riccardi, sparing himself from serious prison time.

“My cousin did do something wrong — trying to do a robbery — but he might be facing more time than Junior, the rat that killed the guy,” Raiola grumbled on the VH1 series.

Pagan later got just 11 years behind bars for the fatal 2010 stickup.

Brooklyn Federal Court Judge John Gleeson had little sympathy for Grasso and Riccardi, saying they were largely to blame for the murder of Brooklyn check casher James Donovan because his death was “a natural consequence of the life you chose for yourself.”

Grasso also has a pending gun case in Staten Island in addition to the case in Manhattan.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

NYC to pay mother of Mafia Cops victim $5 million in settlement

Nicholas Guido (pictured) is an innocent victim slain on Christmas Day 1986 by hit men acting on bogus information from Mafia Cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.

At last, justice for Nicky.

The city will pay $5 million to the elderly mother of Nicholas Guido, an innocent victim slain on Christmas Day 1986 by hit men acting on bogus information from Mafia Cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, the Daily News has learned.

The payout exceeds the monetary compensation usually dispensed to victims of wrongful death at the hands of cops, but is justified by the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the mistaken identity rubout, said lawyer Mark Longo.

“The settlement can’t bring Nicky back,” said Longo, who represented 87-year-old Pauline Pipitone in the legal action. “His murder was not a cop’s error in judgment, it was premediated.”
Rosier, Linda Nicholas Guido was a 26-year-old telephone installer when he was gunned down outside his Park Slope home while showing off his brand new car to his uncle.

“We’re glad this happened while Pauline is still here to see it,” he added.

Guido was a 26-year-old telephone installer when he was gunned down outside his Park Slope home while showing off his brand new car to his uncle.

The traitorous Eppolito and Caracappa had passed the name “Nicholas Guido” to then-Lucchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso who was seeking retribution against the shooters who tried and failed to whack him.

Mafia cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were found to have been responsible for providing information leading to hit men killing Nicholas Guido.

The detectives were on Casso’s payroll acting as his “crystal ball” for confidential police information, but the gangster refused to pay extra for Guido’s home address. Instead, Casso reached out to a source at the Brooklyn Union Gas company and obtained the address for the wrong Nicholas Guido, according to testimony from the Mafia Cops trial.

Guido threw himself on his uncle saving his life — but his own father died of a broken heart and Pipitone never got over the senseless killing of her beloved son.

“There is no word in the English language to describe the murder of a child,” Longo said.

After Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted of participating in eight gangland murders, including Guido’s, city lawyers under the Bloomberg administration fought tooth-and-nail to dismiss the lawsuits filed by six of their victims.

The detectives were on Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso’s payroll acting as his 'crystal ball' for confidential police information, but the gangster refused to pay extra for Guido’s home address.

But the gridlock was broken after Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie ruled last fall that the wrongful death case could go to trial, citing sufficient evidence that the victims would not have been killed had Eppolito been fired in the mid-1980s for leaking confidential documents to a gangster.

A spokesman for the city Law Department said, “After evaluating all the facts, it was determined that settling the case was in the City’s best interest.