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

Friday, November 4, 2022

Former NYC buildings commissioner spent $40K at mafia linked restaurants

Former Buildings Commissioner and onetime political candidate Eric Ulrich spent nearly $40,000 in campaign funds at several food businesses with past reported links to mobsters, a review of records shows.

Ulrich resigned this week when it surfaced he is under investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office after having racked up unpaid debts at mob-controlled gambling parlors.

Ulrich has not been charged by prosecutors, who have declined to comment on the case.

The authorities’ probe into possible illegal gambling has been under way for at least a year, and the former councilman was not the initial target of investigators, who were focused on organized crime, sources have said.

But “[Ulrich] owed a lot of money to a lot of people — a lot of big people,” a Queens source said.

When Ulrich was futilely running for city public advocate in 2019, his campaign spent a total of thousands of dollars at several businesses previously tied to the mob.

He raised just $159,000 for his campaign but received more than $595,000 in matching funds from the Big Apple’s generous public financing system — meaning that tax dollars were likely among the sources of money spent in these establishments. 

Historically, all three establishments have had ties to the Gambino crime family.

Campaign finance records show that Urlich spent $19,192 to hold his Election Night party at Russo’s on the Bay in Queens, where the public figure lives.

Mafia informants Michael DiLeonardo and Anthony Rotondo both testified in the 2000s that the Gambino family received money from the popular establishment — with DiLeonardo pegging the amount at $1 per visitor.

Ulrich’s campaign spent another $14,167 at Villa Russo — an old favorite of former Gambino boss John Gotti — and listed the expense as related to fundraising.

Ulrich’s failed public advocate bid also spent more than $5,000 at Aldo’s, a Howard Beach pizzeria, for a fundraising event and “campaign food.”

The grandson of Aldo’s owner Aldo Calore was once busted by cops for torching a Mercedes-Benz driven by the owner of a competing pizza shop in a feud over $1,300 in catering business and caught himself on fire in the process.

The dumbfella, Gino Gabrielli, told cops at the time he had burned himself cooking chicken. 

His bail bond was signed by his sister, who dated John Gotti Jr. at the time. 

The New York Times first reported that Manhattan prosecutors were eying the pizza joint, which is now owned by Anthony and Joe Livreri, as part of the probe that has ensnared Ulrich.

Ulrich, Russo’s on the Bay and Villa Russo did not respond to requests for comment. 

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, which is tasked with policing political spending, told The Post in a statement Friday, “The Campaign Finance Board’s audits ensure that the public trust placed in our agency is honored by candidates.

“Our reviews make sure public funds go to qualified candidates who spend the money for qualified campaign purposes.”



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