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Woman says her family faced threats of harm

Testimony comes during racketeering trial.

By CARRIE WEIMAR
Published November 8, 2006


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TAMPA - Lorraine Lamendola was eating dinner with her children when the phone rang.

It was her husband's former boss, John Alite. And he had a frightening message to relay.

"He began threatening me and my children," Lamendola said Tuesday in U.S. District Court. "He also said he knew where my children went to school."

She and her husband ran a valet parking company. She said Alite's message prompted them to turn over all the company's contracts in Tampa to Alite, who also owned a valet company. "If we continued to stay there and do business, he was going to hurt us, hurt my children," she said.

Lamendola's story capped off another day of testimony about Alite and his alleged business dealings in Tampa. Prosecutors say Alite ran a crew affiliated with the Gambino crime family that was connected to the valet parking business in Tampa. He has denied any wrongdoing. The other members of the alleged crew are on trial in the racketeering case, including the "capo," or captain, Ronald "Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio. Alite was charged, but is in a Brazilian prison fighting extradition.

Lamendola testified her husband, Robert, was a childhood friend of Alite's and went to work for his company, Prestige Valet. When Robert Lamendola grew frustrated with his wages, he asked Alite for permission to start his own company. Alite agreed, but said Robert Lamendola must give him 50 percent of the profits. Alite also banned him from competing for Tampa contracts, Lorraine Lamendola said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Trezevant asked why the Lamendolas agreed to such a lopsided arrangement.

"You just didn't open a valet company without John's permission," Lorraine Lamendola said. "It wasn't allowed."

Carrie Weimar can be reached at 813 226-3416 or cweimar@sptimes.com.

[Last modified November 8, 2006, 01:43:38]


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