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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Colombo gangster submits leniency letters from priests and NYPD chaplain in bid to avoid jail

BLESS me Father, I have sinned and don't want to go to the slammer.

A reputed Colombo mobster has submitted letters from a half-dozen Catholic priests — including an NYPD chaplain — seeking leniency from the judge who will sentence him for racketeering.

Angelo "Little Angelo" Spata is praying the divine intervention will whittle down the up to 21 months in prison he faces for money laundering and illegal gambling.

The tributes were all written to Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto months ago, long before Spata was busted again on Nov. 18 for shoplifting $164 worth of lighting equipment from Home Depot in Coney Island.

"He is certainly a good friend to the church and the community at large," stated Msgr. David Cassato, pastor of St. Athanasius Church in Bensonhurst and a longtime NYPD chaplain.

Several letters praised Spata, who owns a company that operates neighborhood feasts and carnivals, for donating food and rides to the stricken community after Hurricane Sandy.

The Rev. Alfred LoPinto of St. Helen Church in Queens said Spata, 39, provided two large generators to power the Howard Beach school's gym.

"Countless 'honorable' men in our community refuse to help our cash-strapped parish and have turned their backs on us, but from day one, Mr. Spata has and is committed to helping us succeed in bringing fun events to help our children enjoy their neighborhood and church," wrote the Rev. Michael Louis Gelfant of St. Finbar Catholic Church in Bath Beach.

Federal prosecutors paint a darker picture of Spata, contending that as the son-in-law of Colombo crime boss Carmine "The Snake"Persico and brother-in-law of acting boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, he holds a unique position in gangland.

Spata was proposed for induction as a goodfella in August 2010 but the ceremony was called off, according to court papers.

Prosecutors say Spata "leveraged his reputation" as mob royalty to extort fees from vendors at the Figli di Santa Rosalia festival in Brooklyn. He also allegedly passed a message from Alphonse Persico in jail to a Colombo soldier on the street about loansharking.

"He generally was able to wield more power within the Colombo crime family than other associates due to his familial relationship with the Persicos," prosecutors Elizabeth Geddes, Allon Lifshitz and Gina Parlovecchio stated in court papers.

The feds dismissed Spata's charity, noting that he's a multimillionaire and was simply donating free services from his company while reaping the public relations benefit from patrons in the community.For their part, the priests aren't venturing into virgin territory by writing letters for organized crime figures. Cassato previously sought breaks for Colombo capo Michael Uvino, Colombo associate Joseph Virzi and Gambino soldier Vincent Dragonetti.

Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello of St. Bernard Church in Brooklyn penned two letters on behalf of Dragonetti for each of his last two convictions, in addition to the Spata letter.

The Rev. Joseph Fonti praised Spata and Bonanno consigliore Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito; Father Joseph Calise knew Spata from the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, where he has "always been a gentleman with me and has treated our dealings with honesty and integrity."

While butter melts in Gelfant's mouth describing Spata, the priest has used his Twitter pulpit to bash Mayor Bloomberg (ticketing the church for safety violations is a "Bloomberg scam"); Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (Gelfant tweeted the Daily News front page of Raymond Kelly saying the mayor elect is full of shit); and incoming Police Commissioner William Bratton ("I cringe every time I hear the accent").



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