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

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Lucchese soldier admits assaulting husband of reality show star in exchange for a discounted wedding


An alleged soldier of the Lucchese crime family admitted Wednesday that he assaulted the current husband of a former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star in exchange for a discounted wedding at an upscale venue in Paterson owned by the former Bravo star’s ex-husband.

According to an indictment, Thomas Manzo, Dina Cantin’s (formerly Manzo) ex-husband, allegedly hired John Perna in the spring of 2015 to assault his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend in exchange for a deeply-discounted wedding reception at The Brownstone in Paterson, where Manzo is an owner.

Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court via videoconference to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity.

In July 2015, Perna and another man allegedly involved in the Lucchese crime family followed the man to a strip mall in Passaic County, where they attacked him using a slap jack with “the intent to inflict serious permanent injury,” according to the indictment.

In return, Perna held a “lavish wedding reception at Manzo’s restaurant for a fraction of the price” in August 2015, which was allegedly paid for by another Lucchese associate and close friend of Manzo’s, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Perna, who previously served prison time related to running a multi-billion-dollar gambling enterprise with other members of the Lucchese crime family, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 28, 2021. His attorney did not immediately respond to a comment on the guilty plea.

Manzo’s case remains pending.

Michael Critchley, Manzo’s attorney, said Perna did not mention his client when he pleaded guilty to the attack Wednesday. Critchley said he viewed that as a “complete exoneration” of Manzo. He said Manzo has no intention of pleading guilty to what he has been charged with.

“An innocent man doesn’t plead guilty,” Critchley said.

Manzo has been indicted on charges of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, and falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the violent crime.

Federal authorities began investigating the incident shortly after the assault. Manzo allegedly did not comply with subpoenas sent to the Brownstone Restaurant seeking documents related to Perna’s August 2015 wedding reception.

He allegedly failed to provide the requested documents and “deliberately submitted a false document regarding the reception to the government, along with a false certification,” authorities said.

Manzo owns The Brownstone with his brother, Albert, who is married to Dina’s sister, Caroline, another former “RHONJ” cast member.



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