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Mob trial moved from Tampa to N.Y.

TAMPA — Tampa lost another mob trial to New York on Tuesday.

A racketeering case against five men, including a Tampa club owner, with alleged ties to John Gotti Jr. is being transferred to the Eastern District of New York.

"Notwithstanding the alleged operation in Tampa of a nightclub, some valet services and sundry businesses, and the occurrences in Tampa of some assorted crimes of force and violence, the undoubted 'nerve center' of the charged enterprises … is New York City," U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday wrote in a 19-page ruling.

Merryday already had granted a defense motion to transfer Gotti's racketeering and murder trial to New York, after Gotti's attorneys argued that most of the charges against him originated from that state.

In that hearing, Charles Carnesi, one of Gotti's attorneys, estimated it would cost at least $200,000 more to defend the case in Tampa. Most witnesses and evidence in the case were in New York, he said, and the bulk of the crimes charged in the indictment allegedly took place there.

Attorneys for James "Jimmy" Cadicamo of Tampa and four New York-area residents — John Burke, David D'Arpino, Michael Finnerty and Guy Peden — made similar arguments to Merryday.

The judge cited some of the defense arguments in his ruling, saying that four of the five defendants live 1,200 miles from Tampa, and 27 of the 31 alleged criminal acts in the indictment occurred in New York.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office announced charges against Gotti and the five other men in August, saying the Gambino crime family tried to expand into the Tampa Bay area through bars, clubs and valet service businesses.

Cadicamo managed Club Mirage on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. Prosecutors have described the bar as a front for mob activity, established with illegally obtained money.

Kevin Graham can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or kgraham@sptimes.com.

Mob trial moved from Tampa to N.Y. 03/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 11:08pm]
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