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The Miniacis and the Mafiosi

Page 7 of 9

Dominick Miniaci was also a registered agent for a business listing Nigro -- the Mob bagman turned informant -- as an officer.

But the original power behind Bobby Rubino's, Nigro testified, was Zappi, who liked to have coffee at Hidden Harbor. From 1985 to 1993, the marina was owned by his grandson, Frank Galgano. Galgano's partner, Dominick Miniaci, was the marina's registered agent.

While Frank Galgano, age 43, has never been charged with anything, Anthony M. Galgano has. The brother, who was named in a restaurant trade magazine back in 1985 as the "director of operations" for the Bobby Rubino's chain, was arrested by Fort Lauderdale police in 1995. On the booking sheet, his occupation was listed as manager at Bobby Rubino's. He was charged with pulling a nickel-plated .380 semiautomatic handgun on a man after a squabble in the street. He was caught by police on the Strip -- in the parking lot of the Albert Miniaci-owned Mistral restaurant, according to arrest reports, the very site where the Grand Hilton is slated to be built. The ironic setting of his arrest is, as far as is known, only a coincidence.

The case was handed over to the state attorney's office organized-crime division. Galgano's attorney, Fred Haddad, who once represented Michael Peter and currently represents John Cerrella in the MIU case, wrote in court papers that Galgano was "being made to suffer due to his family heritage... not for any history of crime... but solely due to who his grandfather was and certain asserted business relationships."

Anthony Galgano would eventually be sentenced to a year in jail for a crime, but it would be spent in a federal pen. While facing the assault charge, the FBI arrested Galgano in connection to a boat theft ring that stretched from Broward County to Canada. Anthony Galgano is named in federal court documents as a Gambino crime-family associate.

According to published reports, some of the boats were stolen from the Hidden Harbor Marina, which his brother owned at the time and where his grandfather, Ettore Zappi, liked to drink coffee.

While neither the Castellanos nor Frank Galgano returned repeated messages from New Times, Marcus, acting on the Miniacis' behalf, went to bat for them.

"Is there a problem being a blood relative with someone?" he asked, adding later: "Can't someone repent?"

He said he'd read Boss of Bosses and was "unimpressed with any factual evidence [O'Brien and Kurins] used."

Marcus also attacked the credibility of Nigro.
"Anybody can give testimony about anything," he said.
The lawyer Haddad said that "Frank Galgano, particularly, is an upstanding citizen and a man who works very, very, very hard." Haddad, incidentally, also wrote a letter of support last year for the Miniaci family in its pursuit of approval to build the Grand Hilton Hotel.

On January 25, 1997, John Cerrella was talking on the telephone to Vinnie Romano about the anticipated opening of Fever. He talked about the fact that businesses handling the cleaning and parking at the club would have to put up money upfront to get the contract with Fever.

"Then the Miniacis got to come up with $2500, $3000 between the the phone and the cigarette machine," Cerella told Romano.

"Uh-huh," Romano uttered.
"All this here, it, it, it works," Cerrella said.
Fever was one of several clubs in which John Cerrella and Vinnie Romano were suspected to have hidden interests. Another was a strip club in Pompano Beach called the Crazy Horse Too. Cerrella, according to the MIU, had one of the Miniaci-owned ATMs placed in that club.

While the MIU reports indicate Cerrella had his hands in all kinds of enterprises and spoke of beatings and shakedowns on several occasions, his involvement with the Crazy Horse Too (which was sold and is now under new ownership), gives a colorful illustration of his business methods.

The Crazy Horse had a champagne room that, according to MIU reports and witnesses, pulled in thousands of dollars on many nights as wealthy patrons spent $300 and more on single bottles of champagne. Cerrella's nephew, Anthony Cerrella, also worked in the Crazy Horse champagne room. He appears in wiretap transcripts talking about "kickbacks" and thefts from patrons in the room. But John Cerrella complained that his nephew didn't show Vinnie Romano enough respect. Anthony had told John Cerrella that Romano wouldn't surrender his credit card -- which the club supposedly used as a form of collateral -- before walking into the champagne room.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman