Recchia shuns Chirico dough – Congressional hopeful returns restaurateur’s cash

By Thomas Tracy

If there’s a hint that gains could be ill gotten, then he doesn’t want ‘em. Bensonhurst City Councilmember Domenic Recchia announced this week that he has refunded the financial support he received from Joe Chirico after the famed Brooklyn restaurateur and longtime political campaign contributor was named in a widespread indictment against the Gambino crime family. “As soon as [Chirico’s indictment] was brought to my attention, we sent the donation back,” Recchia said of the $250 check he received from the owner of the Marco Polo Ristorante in Carroll Gardens during a 2007 fundraiser for his campaign to unseat incumbent Vito Fossella in the 13th Congressional District. “At the time we had no idea that he was under suspicion.” “[Chirico] is a community man who has given much to the borough as well as the Italian American community,” Recchia continued. “Since he is innocent until proven guilty, I wish him the best through these difficult times.” Chirico, who has been a staple of Carroll Gardens’ restaurant scene since the late 1960s, has been charged with extortion and extortion conspiracy in an 80 page indictment which covers a wide variety of crimes dating back three decades, according to FBI officials. While the indictment includes eight acts of murder, Chirico hasn’t been implicated in any of the homicides. Rather, his name only appears near the end of the indictment, which identifies him as a low level associate that allegedly passed on extortion payments to a Gambino soldier. Chirico has since plead not guilty to the charges, is free on bail and is currently waiting for his day in court. Over the years, Chirico has donated to several political campaigns, most notably Borough President Marty Markowitz’s upcoming bid for Mayor, which the restaurateur sunk $5,000 into. As of this writing, Markowitz hasn’t returned the money, and has instead chosen to stand by Chirico, calling him “a prince among men.” “He has done too much good for Brooklyn for me to be wishy-washy when it comes to speaking about his character,” Markowitz said. “I always stand by my friends and I pray he is ultimately proven innocent.” Chirico has made other smaller contributions were made to Assemblymember Peter Abbate, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo – who is currently prosecuting him — Bay Ridge State Senator Marty Golden and borough City Councilmembers Bill de Blasio and Vincent Gentile. It is unclear if any of them returned their donations from Chirico since the contributions were made in the 2004 and 2006 elections.

More from Around New York