A week ago Valerie Williams, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is bound to a wheelchair, filed a discrimination suit against East Williamsburg Italian pastry old-timer Fortunato Brothers, for failing to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The shop has steps leading up to its entrance but no wheelchair ram, and as she tells the Daily News, she was tired of waiting for her friends to go inside and get chocolate mousse for her. Unfortunately for Ms. Williams, however, that lawsuit has now been dropped by her lawyer, apparently because he's afraid of retribution from the mob.
Williams tells the Daily News that the lawsuit was dropped without her knowledge, and when she found out and called her lawyer, she was told that it had been dropped for her "safety."
It seems that the day after filing the suit, the lawyer was informed (possibly by the Daily News itself) that the co-owner of the bakery, Mario Fortunato, was possibly affiliated with the Genovese crime family. He had been convicted in of murdering a loanshark and injuring his cousin at a local social club in 1994, and though that conviction was later overturned, the whole situation was still enough to scare off the lawyer.
Williams says she is now reconsidering whether she will continue to use this lawyer, who is also representing her in another discrimination suit against a Spanish restaurant.