Staten Island Mob Takedown Includes Sanit Chief, Court Officer, and Head of Top Tomato

A city Sanitation Department chief; his father-in-law, an alleged Gambino family soldier; the owner of the popular Staten Island supermarket chain, Top Tomato, long-suspected by locals of having mob ties; and a New York State Court Officer are among 22 people arrested today in an organized crime takedown on Staten Island.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charges that Sanitation Department Deputy Chief Frederick Grimaldi and his father-in-law Michael Murdocco were part of a ring of Gambino-connected loan sharks who charged customers 156 percent annual interest, and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from their fearful customers through extortion and threats of violence...

One of their colleagues, accused Gambino capo Carmine Sciandra, owner of Top Tomato, is also charged with running a sports gambling operation through an offshore wire room that generated millions of dollars worth of wagers annually. According to the Richmond County criminal indictment, the wire room was based in Costa Rica and accessed through a toll-free telephone number and the BetDowntown web site.

The State Court Officer, Scott Weissman, allegedly served as a "sheet holder" (a go-between for bookies and customers) for alleged Gambino associate Vinnie LaFace.

Grimaldi is further charged with leaking city contract bids to his father-in-law, which ensured that a Jersey-based company with Gambino ties would win the contract. Between May and September of this year, authorities say, Grimaldi travelled to Bayonne to meet with Duramix Concrete Corporation President Vincent Alessi and tip him off on Sanitation Department contracts. The indictment does not say the amount of the contracts, nor how many of them Duramix Concrete Corporation has been awarded by the city. Grimaldi, Murdocco, Alessi, and Duramix are charged with bribery, bid-rigging, and receiving kickbacks.

When the Voice called Duramix for comment, an employee who answered the phone seemed surprised about the indictment and the president's arrest. "Oh really?," he asked. Then he promptly gave the name and number of the company's lawyer and hung up.


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