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The borough president was similarly unimpressed after two of his closest political allies were identified as Mafia associates in another case involving John Gotti's brother and waterfront officials. One of them was Carmine Ragucci, Molinaro's sidekick in running the borough's Conservative Party.
Prosecutors said that as chief of the giant Howland Hook shipping terminal, Ragucci paid tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to mobsters in exchange for a free hand with his union workforce. And he wasn't a victim. The feds tagged Ragucci as a co-conspirator and said that the only reason he wasn't put on the witness stand was that he'd vowed to take the Fifth Amendment if asked about his mob dealings.
Molinaro was even closer to another co-conspirator in the case, a contractor named Sal Calcagno who earned millions from the shipping terminal. The pair owned a condo together in Florida, and Calcagno served as Molinaro's campaign finance chairman. A bug planted in the gangsters' favorite local restaurant, Brioso's, showed that they had nicknames for Molinaro's pals: Ragucci was "Mr. R."; Calcagno was "Chubby."
At one point, "Chubby" was spotted huddled in a corner with Gambino crime family capo Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone. After Calcagno left, Ciccone told fellow mobsters: "Who the fuck does this guy think he is? 'You and your politician pals think you were there before us?' We were always there."
Calcagno later pled guilty to a federal tax rap for hiding more than $1 million in income. He got probation and a $400,000 fine. He's apparently done well since: In May, he donated $5,000 to Donovan's campaign through three separate real estate corporations.
As for Ragucci, he still runs the Richmond County Conservative Party and he's also a Donovan stalwart: He helped to line up both local and state Conservative Party endorsements for the candidate—an extra ballot line that could well provide the margin of victory over Democrat Eric Schneiderman in November. After all, everyone agrees that Dan Donovan is a great guy.
Michael Cohen provided research help for this story.