Bonanno family boss Vinny Gorgeous Basciano has been on trial for a few weeks now for the murder of one of his soldier, Ralph Pizzolo. Among his other crimes–being a decorating diva to rival Ian Schrager.
Yesterday, government witness Dominick Chicale testified that he had been ordered to murder Pizzolo after he did a disastrous job building a new mansion for the mob boss.
Pizzolo did a good job excavating the Schurz Ave. site in the Bronx, but then bit off more than he could chew with the rest of the project: He forgot to hook up French drains in the foundation. “Vinny was very angry, especially because one of the houses was his,” Cicale said on the stand in Brooklyn Federal Court. Then bricklayers made a mess of the white brick. “It was horrible; Vinny had a fit,” Cicale recalled. There were imperfections in the foundation–a barrel sticking out of one footing and a piece of plywood in another. Finally the carpenters were ready to walk because Pizzolo wasn’t paying them.
Pizzolo was shot in Brooklyn in November 2004, at the direction of Cicale. He tried cement shoes first but made the mistake of letting the failed contractor pour them and they crumbled.