Reality Bites NJ ‘Real Housewives’ Ex Convicted Of Hiring Mobster To Beat Wife’s New Man

𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: Reality bit the ex-husband of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Dina Manzo when he was convicted Tuesday of getting a mob soldier to throw her new beau a beating.

Thomas "Tommy" Manzo, Dina Manzo, John Perna

Thomas "Tommy" Manzo, Dina Manzo, John Perna

Photo Credit: LEFT: / RIGHT: NJ Attorney General

Restaurateur Thomas Manzo, 59, who lives in the affluent Bergen County suburb of Franklin Lakes, rejected a plea deal from federal prosecutors and took his chances with a jury. That didn’t go so good.

Jurors in U.S. District Court in Newark convicted Manzo on June 4 of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering, along with conspiracy and falsifying documents during a grand jury investigation.

Although he technically faces up to 46 years in federal prison under the very worst case sentencing scenarios, Manzo is looking at far less, with years in the lower single digits.

Jurors agreed that Manzo got a wiseguy to carry out the attack on Dina future husband, David Cantin, in 2015.

In exchange, Manzo treated the "hit" man to a lavish – and free -- wedding at his popular Paterson catering hall, The Brownstone.

“Thomas Manzo hired a soldier in the Lucchese Crime Family to carry out a vicious assault on his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend, causing the victim to suffer significant injuries,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said Tuesday

“As a unanimous jury found, Manzo committed multiple offenses by providing a free wedding in exchange for the assault and then concealing documents relating to that wedding,” the U.S. attorney said. “He will now face just punishment for his crimes.”

“The facts and circumstances in this case read like something from a bad TV crime drama, but the evidence and testimony presented in court prove it was reality,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said.

The hope, he said, is that the victims are now "are able to move on with their lives and forget about Manzo and his criminal mafia bedfellows."

Manzo went with experience in the contracted attack because he wanted Cantin to suffer a “permanent facial scar," according to an FBI complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark.

The hired gun, John Perna, ended up copping a plea after he was caught by the FBI. He was sentenced in June 2021 to 2½ years in federal prison.

Perna told a district court judge in Newark at the time that he was armed with a “slapjack” when he and another Lucchese associate followed Cantin to a Passaic County strip mall and attacked him on July 18, 2015.

In exchange, Thomas Manzo staged a lavish wedding reception at the Brownstone a month later for a fraction of the price that Perna would have paid, he said.

Another Lucchese associate and a close friend of Manzo’s picked up the tab for the bash, which drew nearly 330 attendees, many of them members of the crime family, the FBI reported.

Dina Manzo and “Tommy” had been married at the Brownstone in a 2007 VH1 event entitled “My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding.” They split in 2012 and finalized their divorce in 2016, a year after the attack.

She then married Cantin in 2017.

U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton scheduled Thomas Manzo’s sentencing for Oct. 15.

Sellinger credited Dennehy’s agents, as well as special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, police from Lyndhurst and Totowa, detectives from Passaic and Monmouth county prosecutors’ offices and New Jersey State Police with the investigation leading to the verdict secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendall Randolph of his Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of Sellinger’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

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