ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: Fairview Police Chief John Pinzone formally apologized today to borough residents, members of his department and the Mayor and Council for going to bat for a convicted mobster whose daughter he’s dating.
Pinzone had written a letter of support to a federal judge who sent mobster Giovanni DeMaio to prison for having a handgun equipped with a silencer, even though he’s a convicted cocaine trafficker and counterfeiter. In doing so, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Colone said, Pinzone insulted the very people he’s sworn to protect.
The 55-year-old chief’s gushing letter omitted the fact that he’s been dating DeMaio’s 33-year-old daughter, Angela, the past couple of years, as CLIFFVIEW PILOT noted in an editorial last week that called for disciplinary measures by Pinzone’s superiors.
As cited in the editorial, Pinzone also attended DeMaio’s Dec. 14 sentencing in Newark, wearing a law enforcement pin on his blazer, in a show of support.
“I understand that this letter has had a negative effect on all parties whom this letter is addressed to,” Pinzone wrote in his latest letter, dated Dec. 24 and obtained by CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “That was surely not my intention, and for this, I am truly and deeply regretful.
“I apologize to the citizens of Fairview and the members of the police department. It is with regret that this has occurred. “
What’s still unclear to this point is whether Pinzone took time off from his $175,000-a-year job to make the trip; whether he used a private vehicle or his taxpayer-funded chief’s car; and, if whether he gave any civilians a lift. It also isn’t clear whether he faces any disciplinary action from the borough’s governing body.
DeMaio had two priors, for counterfeiting and for conspiring to distribute cocaine by the kilo — both at the behest of the Licciardi Crime Family of Naples — when detectives raided his Cliffside Park home, his company warehouse in North Bergen, and a private home in Palisades Park last year looking for counterfeit merch.
While collecting hundreds of knockoffs, they turned up five handguns — including a sawed-off .22-caliber pistol equipped with a silencer — along with blasting caps, hollow-nosed bullets, handcuffs and a wig attached to a hat (you read that correctly). Oh, and a bunch of maps of Long Island.
Convicted felons can’t even have starter pistols, much less defaced weapons. Yet DeMaio kept what Colone called “the tools of an assassin” close by, complete with the disguise and the maps. His bail was initially set at a half-million dollars.
Pinzone nonetheless joined nearly 100 others in writing letters to U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway seeking leniency for DeMaio, who those from East Bergen might remember as the local sports-boosting former owner of the since-shuttered Vesuvius Bakery on Anderson Avenue in Fairview.
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