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Queens publisher indicted on witness tampering charges

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Patricia Adams, the publisher of the The Forum newspaper in Howard Beach, was indicted Nov. 15 on four charges of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, according to a spokesman for the Brooklyn federal court.

Adams was arrested Aug. 16 for allegedly threatening to use her community newspaper to publicly humiliate an alleged sexual assault victim of a possible associate of the Bonnano crime family whom the publisher had allegedly hoped to go into business with, according to Special Agent Andrew Campbell of the FBI.

Her paper produces stories for Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Broad Channel, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven.

Adams will be arraigned on or before Nov. 22 and has a court-ordered meeting before Judge Kiyo Matsumoto. If found guilty of witness tampering she faces 20 years in prison.

She was in plea negotiations as far back as October, but for undisclosed reasons it fell a part, according to a spokesman for the court.

While she was negotiating a deal deli owner Robert Pisani, the alleged Bonnanno crime associate who owns the All American Deli in Howard Beach, was going to Brooklyn federal court for operating an illegal gambling business. He was also going to Queens Criminal Court for forcibly touching the alleged victim who was an employee of his, according to indictments.

Adams frequented the Bonnanno crime family’s social club in Ozone Park, where guests would wager money on card games and sports bets, according to Campbell. In 2014, her gambling landed her under a mountain of debt to the crime family and she allegedly tried to seek Pisani’s help with a restaurant venture, the agent said.

“Adams owed money to individuals associated with the Bonanno family,” Campbell said. “Her gambling habits resulted in losses of up to $1,500 per week from sports betting and card games controlled by the Bonnanno family.”

Pisani was arraigned March 28 on racketeering, operating illegal gambling businesses, and debt extortion, according to a criminal complaint from the federal court. Prior to Adams’ alleged witness tampering, Pisani was released on $500,000 bond co-signed by his wife for the racketeering charge, as well the forfeiture of two properties and he was allowed to be under home confinement and work at two stores he operated.

When Pisani was arraigned May 4 on forcible touching charges, he violated the term of his bail, and he was suspected of persuading Adams to stop the alleged victim from testifying before a May 16 bail revocation hearing, according to the FBI.

The victim’s father notified authorities about Adams allegedly trying to humiliate his daughter through The Forum, Campbell said. Adams had requested the father’s presence at a Starbucks, where she threatened the victim for 2 ½ hours, and he recorded the May 14 conversation, Campbell said.

“I’m going to hurt her,” Adams said in the recording. “It’s not going to be good for her publicly.”

“[The assault case] only matters once she crosses the threshold and signs the paper that says she is going through with it,” Adams said on the recording. “They’re going to shred her like they put her through a Cuisinart.”

Adams was on home detention, out on a $150,000 bond, forced to wear an ankle bracelet and had her home put up as part of a bail package, according to the federal court.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, November 24, 2017
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