Yesterday, Lucali chef and owner Mark Iacono was charged with felony assault following the Friday afternoon fight that left him in the hospital with severe wounds. Now that witnesses have confirmed that Iacono and ex-con Batista "Benny" Geritano were both wielding knives, the police are investigating whether the incident was a possible mob attempt to pinch money from Iacono's famed pizzeria. A law enforcement official told the Times: "One motive being looked at is the possibility he was trying to shake down the owner for a slice of the business."
Iacono and Geritano aren't talking to detectives about how or why the fight broke out, and their friends, family and neighbors have no idea. But Geritano has ties to the Genovese crime family, and an extensive criminal record. Two years ago, the police discovered that Iacono had given a fake job to Domonick Dionisio, an associate of the Colombo crime family, who was trying to shirk house arrest (a judge allowed him to keep the job).
According to the Post, someone close to the restaurant says that checks were being cut from a personal account, and that the place was recently under federal surveillance. And a source told the Daily News: "Benny has a screw loose and goes off?But his job was to collect his half brother's loans." When reached by the NYDN for comment, Iacono, who is still recovering in the hospital, said: ""A mob hit? No?Who said that?" He also added: "Tell everyone I'll be back making pizza soon."
· Mob Link Is Pursued in Fight Involving Owner of Pizzeria [NYT]
· Sliced over dough? [NYDN]
· Mob's Pizza the Action [NYP]
· All Coverage of Mark Iacono [~ENY~]
[Arthur Bovino, NYP]