Members of a federal grand jury handed down an indictment last week against Patricia Adams, publisher of The Forum Newsgroup in Howard Beach, for allegedly attempting to coerce a sex assault victim’s father into having his daughter drop charges against a reputed neighborhood mobster.
Federal agents originally arrested Adams, 58, back in August on witness tampering charges. The indictment handed down on Nov. 15 additionally charges Adams with obstruction of justice.
According to federal prosecutors, Adams allegedly attempted to interfere in the sex assault case against Robert Pisani, a Howard Beach business owner and reputed member of the Bonnano crime family who was arrested back in March in a widespread organized crime sweep.
Pisani was arrested on May 4 for allegedly exposing himself to a female employee and groping her inside the All-American Bagel and Barista Company weeks earlier. The arrest prompted federal prosecutors to file a motion asking a judge to revoke Pisani’s $500,000 bail.
Through an investigation, federal agents determined that Pisani allegedly contacted Adams and asked her to get involved. Law enforcement sources said Adams had allegedly racked up a massive amount of debt with gaming outfits operated by organized crime members.
Federal prosecutors said Adams then contacted the female employee’s father and asked to meet with him at a neighborhood coffee shop. During the meeting, which the father apparently taped, 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 was quoted as telling the victim’s father in a transcript within the criminal complaint against her. “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.
Following her August arrest, Adams was released on $150,000 bail but placed under house arrest.