Nicky ‘Cigars’ Santora tells underboss to quit ‘acting like a clown’ on tape: prosecutors

Aging Bonanno family capo Nicky “Cigars” Santora told his underboss to quit “acting like a clown” in a Godfather-like rebuke that was caught on wiretap, Manhattan prosecutors said Wednesday.

“You gotta start conducting yourself in a certain way, you understand?” Santora told alleged accomplice Vito Badamo, 51, who he was grooming to take over the crew, according to excerpts read by Assistant District Attorney Gary Galperin at Santora’s arraignment on Viagra trafficking charges.

“When I leave, you’re going to take over this neighborhood — you got to know how, what the f–k you’re doing,” the 71-year-old capo added.

“Acting like a clown — those days are over,” Santora said. “You gotta act like you’re supposed to act. You understand?”

Santora was hauled into Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday — more than a month after his alleged accomplices — to face his latest slew of charges related to a July takedown for Viagra trafficking, extortion and other alleged mob conduct.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melissa Jackson ordered bail set for the federal inmate at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash — an amount he will have to post upon his release from federal custody as early as October.

Galperin said Santora, who was the basis for a character in hit mob film “Donnie Brasco,” was clearly in charge of a mafia crew that peddled Viagra and Cialis, and ran a lucrative racketeering business that involved rackets, gambling and loansharking.

Eight affiliates, including Badamo, a union head and Santora were charged in a 158-count indictment for enterprise corruption, grand larceny and related crimes announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on July 9.

The longtime gangster, who lives in Deer Park, was also caught blabbing to 51-year-old Nicholas Bernhard, the president of Local 917 in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, saying he would “put two holes in the head” of a family foe.

Galperin went through Santora’s roughly two-dozen arrests, a rap sheet that dates back to 1966, and his most recent federal conviction in which he’s serving 24 months in prison for extortion.

“Suffice it to say your honor, this defendant has an extensive serious substantial criminal record,” Galperin said.

But Santora’s attorney, Michael Alber, said he expects to argue that “double jeopardy” applies in this case — that he was already charged in federal court for the alleged crimes.

He also said Santora was in prison for a large portion of the time that the new alleged mob activity occurred.

“There is no direct evidence in this case to link Mr. Santora to the indictment, no direct evidence at all,” he said outside the courtroom.

The case was adjourned to Oct. 1. Santora is currently on work release and in a federal halfway house, Alber said.

Article provided by the NY Daily News


Update: After four months of a trial done by Michael Alber, involving allegations of organized crime, whereupon a client was accused of being a captain and acting street boss of a crime family, which encompassed a five year investigation, thousands of hours of tape and surveillance, along with cooperating informants, the case concluded with a mistrial.


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