For as long as the mob has been operating within the United States, it has used pizza joints, butcher shops, cafes, etc. as front business for their illegal endeavors. I know this because I’ve watched every episode of The Sopranos. So I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Ray’s Pizza on Prince Street, the very first of the city’s 8 million Ray’s Pizza joints, was a longtime front for mobster Ralph Cuomo’s billion-dollar heroin trafficking enterprise, and since he died last year there’s been a whole bunch of fighting over who gets control of the restaurant. Now, one of the parties involved is breaking with mob oath and taking a disagreement into the court system. This cannot end well.
Cheryl Sorrentino, the daughter of Luchese mobster Charles “Charlie Brody” DiPalermo, is suing the family of the restaurant’s founder, Ralph Cuomo, who was also a Luchese wiseguy, for cutting her out of a 36 percent piece of the pizzeria.
Sorrentino claims that Cuomo’s girlfriend Lorraine Marini and his cousin Helen Mistretta, who now run the restaurant, have stiffed her out of more than $250,000 in back rent since Cuomo died in April 2008.
She’s also suing her mentally-incapacitated 85-year-old aunt, Nancy Salvatore, who lives rent-free above the restaurant at 27 Prince Street.
Sorrentino, whose mother was Cuomo’s sister, inherited a stake in the property when DiPalermo died in July.
She claims that after Cuomo’s death last year, Mistretta started pocketing rent money from the tenants who live above the pizzeria, according to the lawsuit.
The article goes on to say that the infighting could result in the venerable slice palace being shut down. However, I remain convinced that someone involved will disappear mysteriously, thus ending the squabble once and for all and ensuring that we patrons of the establishment can continue to enjoy their tasty, heroin-laced pizza.