Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pizzeria owner arrested again

Pizzeria owner arrested again

Publication Date: 02/07/09

Joseph Milano, the Palm Coast pizzeria owner who was arrested last month after allegedly attacking a customer who wanted to return a calzone, was arrested again Friday.

That wasn't the most interesting thing about his day.

In a front-page article in Friday's edition, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported Milano was likely a man named Joseph Calco.

Calco, a mobster-turned-informant, earned the favor of federal prosecutors after his testimony helped put away his former boss in the Bonanno crime family, one of New York's five Mafia families.

Milano, 41, was arrested Friday at about 5:55 p.m. and is facing two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a second-degree felony.

Under Milano's name on the warrants for his arrest it reads, "a/k/a JOSEPH CALCO." The same name is on his arrest report. Calco was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2004 after being convicted of murder and racketeering.

Twelve charges were dropped, according to federal court records.

He was indicted in 1999, and, in 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that he had become a key witness in the government's case against Anthony Spero, who rose to the level of acting boss of the Bonanno family.

Spero was convicted of three murders and sentenced to life in prison.

After Spero, 79, died in a federal prison in Butner, N.C., in September, a New York Times obituary reported Calco and other informants were largely Spero's undoing after they "cooperated with the district attorney in the hope of receiving lighter punishments for their own crimes."

The News-Journal article also cited court records that indicated Milano was in the witness-protection program. The article was accompanied by compare-and-contrast mug shots: one of Milano, and one of Calco.

Milano was arrested in January after a man told police he came back to Milano's restaurant, Goomba's Pizzeria, to return a calzone that apparently hadn't been prepared correctly.

Video surveillance footage, sent to The Record and other media outlets by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, showed Milano standing behind the counter listening to the man.

Milano then retrieved what police said was a handgun from under the counter, jumped over the counter and started attacking the man. He was charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was released on $20,000 bond.

On Friday night Milano was released from the Flagler County jail on $200,000 bond.

Assistant State Attorney Chris Kelley said the News-Journal article was the first the State Attorney's Office had heard of the alleged pizzeria attack-mob connection.

And if Milano was under witness protection, a federal program, his office wouldn't know about it, Kelly said.

"This is a unique situation for everybody," he said.

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© The St. Augustine Record

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