A wiseguy with the crime family of the late Mafia boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante and a corrupt union official conspired to shake down the owners of Il Mulino, a classy Italian ristorante acclaimed by both presidents and mobsters, the FBI alleges.
The original Il Mulino, a legendary eatery located on West Third Street in Greenwich Village, was long a favorite of the late Genovese crime boss, whose Triangle Social Club was located around the corner. Other illustrious fans of the restaurant’s veal dishes, shrimp scampi and rib-eye steaks include former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who dined there together in 2009.
A few years after Chin’s death in 2005, the restaurant’s original owners, brothers Fernando and Gino Masci, who hailed from Abruzzo, Italy, sold the restaurant, along with their trademark name. Current owners have expanded the franchise to about a dozen new outlets, including one on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
That spot, on East 60th Street and Park Avenue, was the target of wiseguy Steven “Mad Dog” Arena, according to a recording played last week at the trial of Genovese soldier Frank “Frankie G” Giovinco, who was convicted on Tuesday.
On tape, a mob-tied official of a Brooklyn food workers’ union is heard telling two other union bigs that Arena had instructed him “to go into Il Mulino and raise all this union s–t.”
Frank Cognetta, then-secretary treasurer of Local 1D of the United Food and Commercial Workers, is heard stating that the plan was to scare the owners “so that they would run to [the Genovese gang] for protection.”
The tape was recorded by Vincent the Chin’s grandson, Vincent Fyfe, the president of Local 2D of the UFCW, who worked as an informant for the feds. Fyfe had gotten his union job through his Mafia boss grandpa in the 1990s.
Cognetta told Fyfe that he was somewhat surprised that he wasn’t successful in pulling off the shakedown because he really “shook up” the manager, Rudy, after introducing himself and telling him what “was going on.”
“I said, ‘Here’s my card. Tell your owner to get in touch with me. You know, this is serious. You know, you have to follow up,’ ” said Cognetta.
Fyfe responded: “things that you would normally say during a (shakedown).”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Cognetta. “I say, ‘Listen, the best case (is) for everybody to work something out that you’re happy to live with, and they get a little something, and there’s no problems.’ So I thought maybe I got to him. But obviously maybe his boss told him, ‘F–k that man!’ ”
Rudy, the manager at Il Mulino Uptown for seven years, would not comment.
Does the failed shakedown show how the mob’s power over extortion and union power has waned? Maybe. It certainly seems that Il Mulino hasn’t suffered. Page Six and Cindy Adams have reported recent sightings of Tom Brady, his model wife Gisele Bundchen, Andrew Dice Clay, Drew Barrymore, rapper Lil UziVert and billionaire Ronald Lauder at an Il Mulino near you.
This article was originally posted here