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Tampa mob inquiry snares 'Junior' Gotti

U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill calls for questions as the FBI announces the mob indictments Tuesday in Tampa. At left is Steven Ibison, FBI special agent in charge.

KEN HELLE | Times

U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill calls for questions as the FBI announces the mob indictments Tuesday in Tampa. At left is Steven Ibison, FBI special agent in charge.

TAMPA — Alleged Gambino mob boss John A. "Junior" Gotti was arrested Tuesday on racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking and murder charges resulting from an FBI investigation into mob activity in Tampa.

Two federal indictments lay out what authorities say was an attempt by the New York mob, under Gotti's leadership, to expand into Tampa, using bars, clubs, valet services and glass and window businesses as fronts.

One indictment describes five men, including one from Tampa, as crew members committing crimes at the direction of Gambino associate John E. Alite.

In one incident, James V. "Jimmy" Cadicamo, 33, of Tampa is charged with conspiracy to murder or beat Michael Malone, a federal defendant turned informant, to prevent him from testifying as a government witness at a mob trial in Tampa in 2006.

The four other defendants indicted along with Cadicamo are all New York residents. Each faces racketeering conspiracy charges, and three face murder charges.

Gotti, 44, also has been charged with cocaine distribution and committing three murders that occurred in New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The six men could get life in prison if convicted.

Interim U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill announced the indictments at the Tampa FBI headquarters. He downplayed the idea that Tampa has a widespread mob presence.

"What you have is the Gambino crime family reaching out to Tampa," O'Neill said. His office plans to prosecute the case locally, so Gotti and the others will stand trial in Tampa.

Jim Cusack, a Tampa lawyer and former FBI agent who investigated mob activity in Tampa and New York, said the successful prosecution in Tampa of Ronald "Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio in 2006 was a significant deterrent to organized crime looking to set up in Tampa. The latest mob-related charges grew out of that investigation.

Trucchio, a Gambino associate, was convicted of muscling into the local valet parking business. He received a life sentence. His name appears in both indictments unsealed on Tuesday, as does Alite's name.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Trezevant said during a court hearing for Cadicamo on Tuesday that he and the other men in the indictment ran in Alite's crew.

Cadicamo shook his head in disagreement as a magistrate judge read the charges against him. His attorney, Joseph Fritz, called the government's case "sketchy." The worst thing in Cadicamo's past, he said, is a criminal record in New York involving grand theft and a resulting jail sentence.

"I don't think he is a member of any crime family," Fritz said. "The problem is while Jimmy has an arrest and one-year jail sentence in New York, I fail to see how that makes him a candidate for being on The Sopranos."

Amy Cadicamo, who married James on Aug. 10, 2005, received a temporary injunction against her husband in June 2006 after accusing him of threatening and abusing her. At the time, the couple had a six-month-old son. When listing their assets in a court filing, she said her husband had a Mercedes and "approximately $100,000 in our attic."

James Cadicamo had been arrested on a domestic violence charge before, accused of punching Amy and giving her a bloody nose in October 2003. He wasn't prosecuted. A temporary injunction from the 2006 incident was dismissed. His wife filed for divorce in August 2006, but changed her mind a month later. The couple have separate houses, and she is pregnant with their second child.

Trezevant said Alite provided the bulk of the money to start Club Mirage, where Cadicamo is general manager.

Fritz said the government was given thousands of Mirage records, none showing Alite ever being financially involved in the club. And yet, Alite is suing Cadicamo and others in civil court, saying he paid $500,000 to start the club and was paid "large monthly sums'' as its owner.

In an interview with the Times, a man who gave his name only as "Lenny" described himself as a manager at Mirage who has worked with Cadicamo for four years. He defended his co-worker, describing Cadicamo as a family man being falsely linked to illegal activities. Lenny declined to give his last name. In 2006, the Times quoted a Lenny Woods, then weekend manager at Mirage.

Prosecutors said Alite and Cadicamo used the club as a front for illegal activity. Alite transferred his interests in the business to Cadicamo's sister when he learned that the FBI was investigating him, then he fled the country, Trezevant said.

Cadicamo wired Alite money while he was on the run and visited him when he was jailed in Brazil, Trezevant said. Alite has since been extradited to the United States and is awaiting trial in Tampa.

Much of the action in the indictments took place in New York.

Gotti is charged with the murders of George Grosso on Dec. 20, 1988, in Queens; Louis DiBono, Oct. 4, 1990, in the parking garage of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan; and Bruce John Gotterup, Nov. 20, 1991, at the Boardwalk at the Rockaways in Queens.

Two of the others indicted in the case, John Burke, 47, and Guy Peden, 47, are also charged with participating in Gotterup's murder. Burke and David D'Arpino, 33, face murder charges in the death of John Gerbert on July 12, 1996, in the Woodhaven area of Queens.

Michael D. Finnerty, 43, of New York, is charged with racketeering conspiracy.

Prosecutors said that during the Trucchio trial, Cadicamo grew angry because Malone pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and became a government witness. Trezevant said Cadicamo sent someone to the federal courthouse on orders to beat Malone, but the man fell asleep. Cadicamo tried again in New York to have Malone beaten or murdered but was again unsuccessful, Trezevant said.

Fritz dismissed any implications that Cadicamo tried to have Malone killed, calling them "naked allegations." He chalked up the government's prosecution to racial profiling.

"Just because his name ends in a vowel, he was raised in Queens and grew up a Catholic, they're going after him," Fritz said.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writers Rebecca Catalanello, Thomas Kaplan and Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report. Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa mob inquiry snares 'Junior' Gotti 08/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2008 2:39pm]

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