Thomas Manzo, ex-husband of former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Manzohas been charged with the hiring of John Perna, a member of the Lucchese crime family, the assault Manzo current husband.
The UNITED states Attorney’s Office announced the indictment Tuesday.
Thomas Manzo, 55, who lives in Franklin Lakes, allegedly asked Perna, 43, Of Cedar Grove, the assault of Dina’s boyfriend in July 2015, in exchange of a price reduction on Perna’s wedding at The Brownstone, a Paterson banquet hall that Manzo is co-owner with his brother, Albert Manzo.
Perna and another Lucchese associate would follow-up on Dina’s friend of the time at a shopping mall in Passaic County and would have attacked him, leaving a scar on the face of the man.
Authorities say Perna then had a “lavish” wedding attended by at least 330 persons, ”including many members of the Lucchese crime family” — the Sandstone of a deep discount in August 2015. Perna and Manzo are accused of having committed a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity.
Who is Thomas Manzo? Who is Dina Manzo?
Thomas Manzo, known as Tommy Manzo on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” separate from Dina Manzo in 2012. The couple finalized their divorce in 2016.
In 2017, Dina Manzo, 48 years old, married Dave Cantin (the couple can be seen in the Instagram photo below), 40 years old, an entrepreneur in the automobile industry, who grew up in freehold. Currently, it uses the name of Dina Cantin.
Dina and Dave Cantin were victims of a home invasion in May 2017. The couple, who recently celebrated his third wedding anniversary, has told the police that Dave was struck in the head with a baseball bat at their home in Holmdel, and Dina has been repeatedly punches that hackers have stolen jewellery and cash and cash equivalents. James Mainello, 51, of Bayonne, was charged with robbery, theft, aggravated assault, theft, criminal restraint and weapons possession.
Before she landed on “RHONJ” in 2009, Dina to her wedding with Tommy at the Brownstone has been featured in a 2007 episode of another reality series, VH1’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding” (you can watch some scenes of the issuance of the offer of marriage slide show below). Another show on her reality TV resume is “Dina’s Party,” which ran on HGTV in 2011 and presented his event-planning skills.
Tommy Manzo became the step-father of Dina’s daughter, Lexi Ioannou, from a previous relationship, who was also featured on “RHONJ.”
Both Dina and Tommy appeared on “RHONJ” in its first season (the time of stay in Franklin Lakes). The show was a family affair. Tommy, the brother of Albert Manzo is married to Dina’s sister, Caroline Manzo (née Laurita), another former “RHONJ” of the actor.
Caroline and Albert, and their children Albie, Lauren and Christopher have all appeared on the reality show. Caroline and her family had their own spin-off series, “Manzo’d with Children,” which ran from 2014 to 2016 on Bravo.
Chris Laurita, Dina and Caroline’s brother, also appeared on the show alongside their sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita, a former main actor.
Dina left “RHONJ” after the first two seasons of the show, before returning briefly in 2014. She and Caroline have been estranged from one another following their run on the series.
Dina is friends with “RHONJ” pillar of Teresa Giudice (who recently appeared in a Super Bowl commercial with Caroline, in spite of their past feud), which is still one of the main actors. Dina is the godmother of Giudice’s daughter Audriana, 10.
The Manzo family, Sandstones and questions about the Mafia links
The UNITED states Attorney’s Office says that another Lucchese associate who is a friend of Thomas Manzo paid to John Perna is Brownstone wedding.
Perna, a “made man” of the family, Lucchese, according to the authorities, was released from prison on parole in 2019 on a racketeering charge in connection with a multi-billion-dollar business involving his father, Ralph and his brother, Joseph.
During the first season of “RHONJ,” the questions surrounded the Manzo family, with comparisons to “The Sopranos” — because Thomas and Albert Manzo, father Albert “Tiny” Manzo, was found dead in the trunk of a car parked outside of a Hill, the supermarket in the 1980s.
Caroline Manzo always vehemently denied the family any Mafia links.
“In August of 1984, my husband and his family have been the victims a horrible crime, ” she told The Daily Beast in 2009. “To this day, 26 years later, the family does not know the why or the how of this event… the real crime here is that the assumptions that are made against this family.”
Robert Buccino, the former head of detectives at Union County Prosecutor’s Office, said at the release of Albert “Tiny” Manzo, the former owner of the Sandstone, has been known to be associated with organized crime. Manzo ran for mayor of Paterson in 1974.
Manzo and Peter Campisi, who said was a soldier in the Gambino crime family, were suspected to have allegedly skimming from a Mafia-controlled casino on Staten Island.
“As far as his family, his sons and his daughters, there’s no allegations about them that we know of,” Buccino said of Manzo at the time. “But the father was certainly an actor of the scene of organized crime.”
According to a report in the New York Daily News, the 2013 book “Undercover Cop: How I Brought down the Real-Life Sopranos,” by Mike Russell, a former Orange police officer, went so far as to call Albert “Tiny” Manzo “the biggest enforcer in Jersey.” However, Russell’s book has been criticized for errors and inconsistencies, including the claim that he was a police officer.
Manzo, Russell alleged, had “made the mistake of constantly needling” a soldier in the genes of the crime of the Russell family who said it was “poorly running” a casino in Lucchese territory in Paterson. Six months later, Russell said, Manzo was found dead.
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Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at [email protected]. Send a coronavirus tip here.