FBI Focusing on Elusive Genovese Capo Tough Tony?

Bottom line here is: I'm going to visit Park Side Restaurant one night, and so should you. The food is something else, I've heard.

Anthony (Tough Tony) Federici, longtime Genovese capo.
Talking Turkey: Tony Park Side.

The convicted owner of a trendy Harlem eatery borrowed money from an elusive (and supposedly retired) capo in the nation's most powerful Mafia clan, the Genovese crime family.

This was revealed in a report about an FBI affidavit that details the loan. Specifically, Hamilton Peralta, the convicted former owner of the now-closed Hudson River Cafe, borrowed $100,000 from Anthony (Tough Tony) Federici.

A source sent us the report, as well as unrelated YouTube links to interviews with Federici, who -- quite remarkably ---- sat down for several and  candidly discussed memories of his parents, his Park Side Restaurant, and his Corona, Queens, neighborhood.

In another he offers a tour of his restaurant, which once had a boxing ring in the basement, according to Federici.

One topic never mentioned, is Cosa Nostra, of course. Federici tells us about the pigeons he keeps, but doesn't breathe a word about when he was allegedly upped to acting boss when Vincent (Chin) Gigante faced a major racketeering case. (Federici attributes his success as a restaurateur partly to the pigeon coops he keeps on Park Side's roof. The pigeons compelled him to purchase the property on which Park Side rests. Therefore, he no longer has a landlord to "bang him on the head" with the rent increases that drive away many otherwise successful restaurateurs. His pigeons, he also notes, were not something his father liked because he believed they'd make the family view him as the farmer he'd been Italy. And he wanted to be viewed as a successful American, not a Calabrian farmer, Federici says.)

Federici was a power in the Genovese crime family for decades, and was investigated by the FBI almost the entire time. He allegedly came up in Mikey Dimino's crew, which he took control of when Dimino died in November 2015.

Tough Tony with Mickey Dimino.
Tough Tony with Mickey Dimino.

The disinterested observer probably won't consider the videos highly compelling (though there's good tips for restaurant owners). But for those aware of the allegations that have long hovered around Federici, the interviews are fascinating.

Here's an alleged sitting capo in the Genovese crime family "showing his face," so to speak. He looks the part and sounds the part and he's certainly the real deal.

And amazingly enough, he's not alone. In one, reputed Gambino wiseguy Joseph Cinque is prominently featured.

The interviews touch on many things and range from the philosophical to the biographical. In one, posted below, Federici says: "There's no order. Absolutely. Years ago, there was."

It's not apparent what order he refers to. Law and order? Probably on some level. But from the general context, he seems to be pining for the "old days," when Corona, Queens, not only was Italian, but was primarily Calabrian.

His parents arrived here from Calabria, he says. "The whole neighborhood was people from Calabria."

His mother and father opened Park Side, originally called the Corona supper club. It initially only boasted seven tables (it now has 50-plus).

The menu consisted of "peasant food," Federici noted. Pasta e fagioli, "pasta and bean." Pasta e lenticchie, "pasta and lentil. " Sufrite, lungs and other organ meat, though not the liver, fried with peppers, tomatoes, parsley, onions, (outlawed by USDA).

In the other video posted below, there's discussion of the Five Star Diamond Award distributed by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS). Park Side has won it every year since it opened in 1960.

This is where "Joey No Socks," aka Joe Cinque, comes in.... Cinque was onstage with then-President-elect Donald Trump on New Year's Eve 2017, looking very much like the cat that ate the canary. Reports describe him as a convicted felon with ties to  former Gambino boss John Gotti. (Cinque can be seen in a video obtained by the Palm Beach Daily News, cheering loudly as a tuxedo-clad Trump voices myriad campaign promises.)

Cinque, the chairman/CEO of AAHS, details how the Federici family has steadily won the Five Star Diamond Award for many decades. (Cingue also has given the award to more than a dozen Trump properties, including golf courses, hotels, and casinos, which is probably why Trump loves him.)

President  Trump and alleged Gambino wiseguy  who in 1980 was shot three times and left for dead.

Why did Federici do the interviews?, we can't help wonder. We asked a source about this and he sees a possible connection. The source suggested that, based on the affidavit, which includes transcripts of wiretap recordings that seem to depict Federici as a loanshark, the FBI may be building a new case against the aging wiseguy. So "Tony's trying to portray himself as restaurant owner," observed the source. It's also possible he's simply trying to  promote his restaurant, though the first interview posted here strives to capture Federici more as a wistful philosopher than a restaurant owner.

The videos were primarily posted in the past year, but some were put online in 2016.

Peralta pleaded guilty last year to swindling investors out of more than $12 million and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was accused of swindling a dozen investors — including two businessmen at the center of an NYPD corruption probe.

The Fed's say Federici loaned Peralta $100,000 in total, to buy booze for a planned stripclub, after the two were introduced.

FBI wiretaps on Peralta's cellphone twice caught him calling the Park Side Restaurant, on March 7, 2015, and asking for Tony. The Tony in question is the reputed Genovese crime-family captain, according to the FBI.

In the first call, Peralta told Federici that he had “a $40,000 certified check for you right now,” adding: “I’m sending my guy to you with the check.”

Peralta also promised Federici the other $60,000 by March 9, and lamented that “Sammy is going to kill me,” in reference to Sammy Tsioumas, who Downs described as a “longtime associate” of Federici’s.

About three hours later, Peralta called back and Federici told him, “I got the check.”

But Tough Tony never got the rest, because on March 13, Tsioumas told Peralta, “Tony is putting a lot of pressure on me."

Peralta said that “the money is coming in either tonight or tomorrow. "

Tsioumas said that what bothered Tough Tony wasn't the money, it was Peralta not returning the man's phone call.

Later Peralta said something about 10 bottles of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, which sells for more than $3,000 a bottle.

But April 20, and Peralta still hadn't paid up. He promised to pay Tsioumas the next day.

The New York Post reported that Federici declined to comment about this.

Joe Cinque discusses award Park Side has won every year since 1960...

“I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “If you want a sandwich, I’ll give you a sandwich,” he added before muttering an expletive and storming inside his restaurant.

According to Tsioumas, Federici loaned Peralta the $100,000 in the fall of 2014 to finance the purchase of liquor for a planned Bronx strip club.

Peralta was supposed to repay the money, interest-free, two months later, but never returned more than the first $40,000 payment.

“I started calling Hamlet. He said, ‘I’m going to give you the rest of the money this week.’ And that was it. He just disappeared. And that’s when he got arrested,” Tsioumas said.

“This guy was a sweet talker . . . Everybody got a little bamboozled there.”

There's no direct reference to any vig. Is it a crime to give a friend an interest free loan? I don't believe so, though we probably don't have all the facts.

I'm going to go to Park Side Restaurant one night, and so should you. The food is something else, I've heard.