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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mob trial testimony links love child to Anthony LoBianco, former co-owner of Staten Island's Trattoria Romana

As a former co-owner, Anthony LoBianco had been a public face for Trattoria Romana, one of Staten Island's most popular and celebrated restaurants.

The Dongan Hills Italian eatery has served as the meeting place for a who's who of city, state and borough politicians as well as community leaders of all sorts.
But LoBianco, whose interest in the restaurant was bought out four years ago by his partner and brother-in-law, Vittorio Asoli, did a lot more than serve up sumptuous dishes while at the eatery, a mobster testified in court.

Salvatore Volpe, a low-level Bonanno crime family associate, told a jury in Brooklyn federal court that LoBianco -- identified only as "Anthony" of Trattoria Romana in court -- impregnated Volpe's wife in 2003, according to the New York Post.
And LoBianco literally paid for his life afterward.
He shelled out a $50,000 "adultery tax" to forestall a mob hit on him, according to Volpe's court testimony.
"It was basically a penalty," the Daily News quoted Volpe as saying Tuesday during the murder trial of Bonanno acting boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.

Basciano, who was based in the Bronx, is accused of ordering a hit on alleged mob turncoat Randolph Pizzolo.
Reached by telephone yesterday, LoBianco said, "I don't know anything," and declined further comment to an Advance reporter.

Asoli said yesterday that LoBianco has not been involved with the restaurant since the buyout and he knew nothing of his former partner's alleged liaison with Volpe's wife.
"What he did in his life is not my business," Asoli said in telephone interview.
Trattoria Romana was a family operation. Asoli and LoBianco were partners since they applied for a certificate of incorporation in 1994. They also are brothers-in-law. Asoli's wife is LoBianco's sister.
Another of LoBianco's sisters still works as a hostess in the restaurant. Before LoBianco left, his father often greeted people at the door and occasionally would serenade waiting customers with opera songs.

The stunning details dished out by Volpe offer a glimpse into mob workings and allegedly link LoBianco to New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family.
Volpe testified he broke up with his wife after her affair with LoBianco -- and after she tried to pass off her unborn child as Volpe's. Volpe then went to his Bonanno crew leader, who confronted LoBianco at the restaurant, he testified.

LoBianco, through a contact, reached out to the DeCavalcantes, Volpe testified. The DeCavalcantes and Bonannos had two sit-downs at Alfredo's, a one-time dining mainstay in Great Kills, since shuttered.

The DeCavalcantes initially thought LoBianco should be rubbed out to appease the Bonannos, Volpe testified; however, he testified that it was agreed that LoBianco's life would be spared if he paid a $50,000 tax. The DeCavalcantes got $10,000 for changing their minds, while Volpe kept the rest, less his standard kickback to the Bonannos.

Launched in 1994, Trattoria Romana has been an Island standard for almost two decades.
It was voted the borough's best overall restaurant in 2008 by Advance readers, named one of America's 1,000 finest Italian restaurants that year in the Zagat Survey, and received a four-star rating from the Advance.

Trattoria Romana annually receives favorable grades from the Zagat Survey.
Each year, the restaurant participates in Dine Out Against Hunger, which raises money for the Island's needy and less fortunate. It also is involved with other charitable causes. The restaurant has been a stop on the Staten Island Museum's "Lunch and Learn" program, which organizes monthly educational culinary outings.

The relationship between Asoli and LoBianco began to sour in the early-2000s. It was thought then that LoBianco -- who appeared quiet and reserved -- resented Asoli's outgoing personality and creative talent as a chef. Asoli, the owner, is a heralded chef whose popular cooking classes are widely attended and regularly televised on Staten Island Community Television.
Talk of a possible breakup was gossip among Trattoria regulars for well over a year.
"I work very hard to make my name," said Asoli, the restaurant's sole owner today.
"I'm an honest person. I had nothing to do with nobody, [but] people think I am involved, and that is a big issue."



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