The plot proved to be a complete mess.
According to the Justice Department, ten mob figures from New York and another six from Italy are facing charges in an international conspiracy case that claims they colluded to control the demolition and trash hauling sectors in the Big Apple by defrauding labour unions and physically abusing anyone who stood in their way.
Allegations of extortion, arson, several assaults, and union fraud are brought against the accused, who are all said to be members or allies of the Gambino criminal family, on federal racketeering charges.
According to court records, Joseph Lanni, also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” is the alleged mastermind. The Justice Department claims that Lanni was engaged in the September assault of a man and woman who owned a restaurant in New Jersey.
A New York City carting business owner was the target of an alleged incident involving alleged Gambino “soldier” Diego Tantillo, alleged Sicilian mobsters Vito Rappa and Francesco Vicari, and Gambino associate Kyle “Twin” Johnson. The allegations included threatening the business owner with a bat, setting fire to his front porch, and having someone vandalise his trucks.
Before cornering the victim and his father-in-law, they also allegedly beat up one of his associates.
Federal prosecutors claim that a wiretap captured Rappa telling Vicari that, in order to obtain extortion payments, he had forced the father-in-law to behave “like the ‘Last of the Samurai'” and threatened to cut the business owner in two.
Following the victim’s payment of $4,000, according to the prosecution, Vicari and Rappa allegedly texted Tantillo an image of a champagne bottle, “as in a toast.”
Accused Gambino troops Angelo Gradilone, aka “Fifi,” James LaForte, and suspected collaborators Salvatore DiLorenzo, Robert Brooke, and Vincent Minsquero, aka “Vinny Slick,” are also included in the 16-count indictment.
According to the DOJ, Brooke allegedly beat up the demolition firm owner on a busy Manhattan street corner before Tantillo and Johnson allegedly used a hammer to maul one of his employees.
“As alleged, for years the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries,” said Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
In addition, the gang is charged with creating “no-show” positions in order to receive union health benefits for one another.
On Wednesday, nine out of the ten accused entered not-guilty pleas.
A request for comment was not immediately answered by Lanni’s lawyer. He refuted all of the accusations in a statement to the New York Times, as well as the “uncharged acts” that the prosecution listed in court documents.
These include, per court filings, the vicious attack on a New Jersey couple on September 1 outside their restaurant in Toms River.
When officials requested Lanni and Minsquero to leave, they allegedly got into a fight with another customer.
Federal officials claim that Lanni threatened to burn down the establishment and that he proceeded across the street to a petrol station and purchased a fuel tank before Minsquero persuaded him to return it, even though neither man was charged in relation to the event. But after closing up later that night, the husband and wife proprietors were attacked at knifepoint in the parking lot.
Another reported occurrence brings to mind a violent scene from the sixth-season episode of HBO’s “The Sopranos” TV series, “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh,” in which trash carriers with ties to the mob beat a driver senselessly in front of his son in order to purchase a route under Tony Soprano’s protection.
In a long-running conflict with the proprietors of a cargo transfer facility, Tantillo and Johnson are accused of hitting one of their staff members with a hammer.
Following the attack, Johnson is said to have emailed Tantillo three thumbs-up emojis on his phone, along with pictures of the owner’s house and his name and address.