Thomas Manzo, ex-husband of the ex star of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” Dina Manzo, was accused of hiring John Perna, a member of the Lucca criminal family, to attack Manzo’s current husband.
The United States prosecutor’s office announced the prosecution on Tuesday.
Thomas Manzo, 55, who lives in Franklin Lakes, allegedly asked Perna, 43, from Cedar Grove, to attack Dina̵
It seems that Perna and another partner from Lucca followed Dina’s then boyfriend to a shopping center in Passaic County and allegedly attacked him, leaving a scar on the man’s face.
Authorities say that Perna then had a “lavish” wedding attended by at least 330 people – “including many members of the Lucchese criminal family” – at The Brownstone for a deep discount in August 2015. Perna and Beef are accused of having committed a violent crime in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering.
Who is Thomas Manzo? Who is Dina Manzo?
Thomas Manzo, known as Tommy Manzo in Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, separated from Dina Manzo in 2012. The couple completed a divorce in 2016.
In 2017, Dina Manzo married Dave Cantin (the couple can be seen in the Instagram photo below). He currently uses the name Dina Cantin.
Dina and Dave Cantin suffered a domestic invasion in May 2017. The couple, who recently celebrated their third wedding anniversary, told police that Dave was hit in the head with a baseball bat in their home. Holmdel and Dina were repeatedly hit as the attackers stole jewelry and money. James Mainello, 51, of Bayonne, has been charged with robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, theft, criminal restraint and possession of weapons.
Before landing on “RHONJ” in 2009, Dina’s wedding with Tommy at Brownstone was featured in a 2007 episode of another reality series, VH1’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding” (you can watch some scenes from the show in the tender presentation of the wedding below). Another show on his reality TV curriculum is “Dina’s Party”, which aired on HGTV from 2011 and showed off its event planning skills.
Tommy Manzo became the stepfather of Dina’s daughter, Lexi Ioannou, from a previous relationship, which had also starred in “RHONJ”.
Both Dina and Tommy appeared on “RHONJ” in her first season (at the time living in the Franklin Lakes). The show was a family affair. Tommy’s brother Albert Manzo is married to Dina’s sister Caroline Manzo (born Laurita), another former cast member of “RHONJ”.
Caroline and Albert and their children Albie, Lauren and Christopher all appeared on the reality show. Caroline and her family had their spin-off series, “Beef with Children”, which ran from 2014 to 2016 on Bravo.
Chris Laurita, Dina and Caroline’s brother, also appeared on the show along with sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita, a former member of the main cast.
Dina left “RHONJ” after the show’s first two seasons before returning briefly in 2014. She and Caroline reportedly moved away from each other after their run in the series.
Dina is friends with the protagonist of “RHONJ” Teresa Giudice (who recently appeared in a Super Bowl commercial with Caroline, despite their past feud), who is still a main member of the cast. Dina is the godmother of Giudice Audriana’s 10-year-old daughter.
The Beef family, The Brownstone and questions about ties to the mafia
The United States Attorney’s Office states that another Lucchese partner who is a friend of Thomas Manzo paid for John Perna Brownstone’s wedding.
Perna, a “made man” in the Lucchese family, according to authorities, was released from prison on probation in 2019 on racketeering charges in connection with a multibillion-dollar gambling firm involving his father, Ralph, and his brother. Joseph.
During the first season of “RHONJ”, questions surrounded the Manzo family – along with the comparison with “The Sopranos” – because Thomas and Albert Manzo’s father, Albert “Tiny” Manzo, was found dead in the trunk of a parked car off a hillside supermarket in the 80s.
Caroline Manzo has always vehemently denied that the family has ties to the mafia.
“In August 1984 my husband and his family were victims of a horrible crime, “he told The Daily Beast in 2009.” To date, 26 years later, the family does not know the why or the how of that event … the real crime here are the hypotheses that are made against this family “.
Robert Buccino, a former chief of investigators at the Union County Prosecutor, told the outlet that Albert “Tiny” Manzo, a former owner of The Brownstone, was known to be associated with organized crime. Beef ran for the mayor of Paterson in 1974.
Manzo and Peter Campisi, who according to the authorities were a soldier of the Gambino criminal family, were suspected of having allegedly skimmed from a mafia-controlled casino on Staten Island.
“As for his family, his sons and his daughters, there are no charges against them that we know of,” said Buccino di Manzo at the time. “But the father was certainly a player in the organized crime scene.”
According to a New York Daily News report, the 2013 book “Undercover Cop: How I Bhind Down the Real-Life Sopranos” by Mike Russell, a former East Orange police officer, went so far as to call Albert “Tiny” Beef “Jersey’s greatest defender”. However, Russell’s book has been criticized for errors and inconsistencies, including claiming to be a state soldier.
Manzo, Russell argued, had “made the mistake of constantly stirring” a prominent soldier from the Genoese criminal family whom Russell claimed that he “improperly operated” a casino in the Lucca area of Paterson. Six months later, Russell said, Beef was found dead.
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