The publisher of a small Queens newspaper has been arrested by the FBI, accused of trying to intimidate a family out of pressing charges against a Bonanno crime family associate with whom the publisher was acquainted, authorities say.
Patricia Adams, 58, owns The Forum, a newspaper covering Howard Beach, Ozone Park and other neighborhoods. She was arrested at her Howard Beach home early Wednesday on federal witness tampering charges in connection with a bail hearing for an alleged mobster, law enforcement officials said.
According to court papers, Adams played cards at a social club controlled by the Bonanno crime family in Ozone Park, and incurred losses of up to $1,500 a week from sports betting and card games. One of those Bonanno associates to whom she owed money, Robert Pisani, had been arrested in March along with nine others on federal racketeering charges. He was released on a $500,000 bond and allowed to work at two stores he operates, court papers say.
An employee at one of those stores, the All American Bagel & Barista Company, accused Pisani of sexually abusing her, and Pisani was arrested by the NYPD in April on sexual abuse and forcible touching charges. As a result of the new arrest, feds investigating his federal racketeering case set up a new bail violation hearing in Brooklyn for Pisani, scheduled for May.
That's when Adams allegedly reached out to the father of the bagel shop worker who accused Pisani of groping her. Adams allegedly met the dad at a Starbucks store four days before the May bail revocation hearing, and over the course of two hours, threatened and intimidated him to try to have him convince his daughter not to testify against Pisani at the bail revocation hearing, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Adams allegedly said that if the victim testified, she would humiliate the victim and disseminate embarrassing information about her. Unbeknownst to Adams, the victim’s father recorded his conversation with Adams.
In federal court in Brooklyn Wednesday, prosecutors said Adams wanted to "use her newspaper as a sword" against the witness. Prosecutors argued against bail for Adams, saying she was a potential danger to other witnesses in the upcoming Bonanno rackateering case -- especially if she was allegedly threatening a witness in a misdemeanor sex abuse case.
Adams' defense attorney said they were just allegations and she deserved bail.
Ultimately, she was ordered released with electronic monitoring after a house with an equity of $450,000 was signed for bail. She was also ordered not to communicate with any witnesses or anyone associated with the Bonanno crime family.
A message was left with Pisani’s attorney. During a call to the All American Bagel & Barista Company a man identifying himself as Robert Pisani’s brother said his brother would have no comment.