A Queens lawmaker on Tuesday requested the early release of a convicted mobster, who was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for extortion in November 2018.
State Senator Joe Addabbo penned the letter to U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry in support of the early release of Michael Padavona, a made member of the Bonanno crime family currently serving his sentence at Fort Dix, a federal prison in New Jersey, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Addabbo cited Padavona’s good behavior behind bars, his connection to his loved ones and his poor health as reasons for the compassionate release.
“It is my understanding that Mr. Padavona has realistic grounds for such a release based upon his health condition, which I believe includes high blood pressure, a herniated disc with medication and a previous treatment for testicular cancer,” the senator wrote. “One factor on which I base my request is the lack of social distancing and other health measures being taken at Mr. Padavona’s quarters, making him susceptible to the rise in the positive COVID-19 cases at the site.”
Prisons and jails in New York have come under scrutiny in the past year for what many lawmakers and activists believe to be a lackluster response to COVID-19.
In November, Padavona tested positive for the virus and, instead of being treated, was “alone in his cell with a fever and an extremely irregular blood pressure,” according to his lawyers.
Addabbo also mentioned in his letter that Padavona has been unable to see his family since the pandemic began.
“Personally, the other factor which urged me to make this request was the fact that Mr. Padavona has a wife and five children, who I understand he has not seen since the pandemic crisis began,” Addabbo wrote. “I am hopeful that his status as a model inmate and remaining term of his sentence would allow him to be safely reunited with his family.”
The feds have strongly argued against Padavona’s release, citing several instances of extortion to which he had pleaded guilty in 2018.
According to the U.S. Attorney, Padavona and his co-defendants, Ronald Giallanzo, Nicholas Festa and Michael Hintze, acted as loansharks, handing out money to victims only to force the collection of a much larger sum of cash under the threat of violence.
In addition to the extortion charges, Padavona also collected over $400,000 in Social Security disability payments for himself and his family despite having not paid taxes on the money he illegally made, according to the feds.
In 2006, Padavona allegedly ordered an associate to burn a car belonging to the parent of a girl that was having a dispute with Padavona’s daughter at school. As a form of payment, Padavona gave his associate a bottle of the prescription painkiller Vicodin.