UPDATED Aug. 16, 6:45 p.m.
Federal agents arrested on Wednesday the publisher of The Forum Newsgroup based in Howard Beach on charges that she allegedly tried to intimidate a sex assault victim’s father in an effort to drop her case against a reputed mobster in the neighborhood.
Patricia Adams, 58, was booked on witness tampering charges for allegedly attempting to interfere in a sex assault case against Robert Pisani, a local business owner and reputed member of the Bonnano crime family who was indicted along with nine associates earlier this year.
According to the criminal complaint, Pisani — who had been released from federal custody on $500,000 bail — allegedly groped a female employee and exposed himself to her at his shop, the All-American Bagel and Barista Company at 82-51 153rd Ave., on April 28. Members of the NYPD arrested him on May 4 on charges of forcible touching, sex abuse and harassment.
The arrest prompted Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bridget Rohde to seek that Pisani’s bail be revoked. After a federal judge ordered a hearing on the matter to take place on May 16, federal prosecutors said, Pisani allegedly reached out to Adams for assistance.
According to the complaint, Adams is considered a known associate of the Bonnano family and had racked up years of massive debt with them due to her gambling habits “which resulted in losses of up to $1,500 per week.” She was known to play cards regularly at an Ozone Park social club that the crime outfit controlled.
At the same time, Adams also serves as publisher of The Forum, the weekly newspaper serving numerous southern Queens neighborhoods including Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven. Her paper had previously written favorable articles about Pisani and his bagel business, the complaint noted.
Shortly after Pisani’s bail revocation hearing was scheduled, prosecutors said, Adams reached out to the sex assault victim’s father and asked to meet with him. They agreed to meet on May 13 at a local Starbucks cafe.
During the 2 1/2 hour conversation that the victim’s father recorded, law enforcement sources said, Adams allegedly told him that she was close with Pisani and that she was “in a position … to have to expose the whole situation if we get to that point.”
“I won’t hurt you if you don’t deserve — that’s for my enemies,” she allegedly told the victim’s father. “I will not hurt you … but in the newspaper, thoroughly, thoroughly objective … For my good, for everybody’s good — I’m hoping that she’ll decide to drop it.”
She went on to allegedly tell the man that she was “on the verge of — I’ve been trying to get out for two years. But because of certain obligations, I’m forced to stay on. I’m kind of under their thumb.” Federal agents believe she was referencing her alleged obligations to the Bonnano family.
It’s not the first time Adams had a run-in with the law. She was arrested in 2014 following a dispute with a neighbor and threatened to have the police officer who arrested her fired.
Adams was arraigned in federal court on Aug. 16 on charges of tampering with a witness. She was released on $150,000 bail but ordered to be detained at her home and fitted with a electronic monitoring device. If convicted, she faces up to up to 20 years behind bars.
QNS reached out to The Forum Newsgroup and is awaiting a response.
Anthony Giudice contributed to the story.