Thursday, November 25, 2010
Attorney John Meringolo's swank Maserati tips feds to cry 'foul' as it may derail mob case
Feds feel wise guy Armando Rea (above) is being represented by John Meringolo (below) because he can keep Rea from plea deal that could open up Ronald Carlucci to charges.
How did a reputed mobster go from collecting unemployment in a bare Las Vegas flophouse with just $36 in his pocket to hiring a Maserati-driving lawyer?
Brooklyn prosecutors think they know - and they're worried it could derail their probe of a big cheese in the Bonanno family.
The feds believe Armando Rea, the supposedly penniless reputed soldier, and retired mozzarella importer Ronald Carlucci share a high-powered lawyer - John Meringolo.
"It appears a third party is funding Mr. Meringolo's legal representation of Rea," U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes wrote to Judge Jack Weinstein, requesting a hearing.
That worries them, because Meringolo might decline to cut a deal for Rea - busted in a 1980 murder - if it would expose Carlucci to criminal charges.
The potential conflict of interest came to light because of a blue Maserati.
An FBI agent who paid a visit to the Brooklyn home of Carlucci, known as Ronnie Mozzarella, spotted the sports car parked in the driveway.
Meringolo confirmed the Maserati belonged to him, but says he's just an old friend of Carlucci and is not his lawyer. He declined to comment on how Rea could afford his services.
Rea, 57, is accused of blowing away Genovese mobster Gerard Pappa as he ate breakfast in the Villa 66 Restaurant in Borough Park on July 10, 1980.
Pappa was whacked for participating in a murder that was not sanctioned by mob superiors. The late Genovese boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante was acquitted of ordering Pappa's murder.
Carlucci, 67, a reputed made member of the Bonanno family, could not be reached for comment.
He is retired from Lioni Latticini Inc., the largest importer of Buffalo-milk mozzarella made in the Campania region of Italy.
He was in the news in 2005 when he unsuccessfully tried to mediate a beef between a retired cop and the owner of a Top Tomato grocer on Staten Island