Stephanie Woodrow | September 24, 2022 2:30 pm
A distant member of Chris Christie’s (R) family has ties to the Genovese crime family, The New York Times reported today. The connection is with Tino Fiumara who has been convicted twice on racketeering charges and sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. Fiumara also has been linked by investigators to several grisly murders, The Times reported.
The relationship between the New Jersey gubernatorial candidate and Fiumara is a little complicated. Fiumara is the brother of Christie’s aunt’s second husband. Told ya. The former U.S. Attorney’s direct contact with Fiumara appears to be limited, with the two having two interactions over the past 30 years, The Times reported.
Fiumara has spent the better portion of the past three decades in prison. In 1980 he began serving a 15 years of a 25-year sentence for labor racketeering and federal extortion. After being released, Fiumara returned to his organized crime ways, which were barely slowed while in prison, The Times reported. He returned to prison in 1999 for associating with known criminals.
Although he was scheduled to be released in June 2002, two month earlier he was indicted for conspiracy to commit misprision of felony by not informing law enforcement officials about his contact with reputed organized crime figure Michael Coppola as Coppola fled to avoid prosecution for the 1977 murder of John Lardieere. Fiumara received an extended sentence and was released in January 2005.
Tino Fiumara (FBI)
Fiumara apparently didn’t learn his lesson because last year, federal investigators named him as the person they believe ordered the slaying of an associate who was on trial for fraud in October 2005. The Times reported a senior law enforcement official said Fiumara currently sits on a three-person ruling panel that oversees the Genovese family.
Christie told The Times he learned of Fiumara’s involvement in organized crime in 1977, when Christie was 15 and Fiumara was 36, by reading The Star-Ledger of New Jersey. The limited interaction between Christie and Fiumara over the past 30 years included the two bumping into each other once in the mid-1990s at a restaurant and a scheduled encounter in 1991. Both encounters occurred before Christie became New Jersey’s top prosecutor in 2002.
The restaurant meeting occurred when Fiumara was out on parole. The scheduled encounter occurred when Christie visited Fiumara, at the request of Christie’s uncle, in a Texas prison, Christie told The Times. “My best recollection is we updated each other on what was going on with the family,” Christie told The Times. “It was not a very long visit.”
However problems arose once Christie became a U.S. Attorney on Jan. 17, 2002. Although the New Jersey office had been investigating Fiumara before Christie took office, the new prosecutor recused himself from the case. In April of that year, the U.S. Attorney’s office indicted Fiumara. He was sentenced to eight months and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine. The Times reported prosecutors and defense lawyers said Christie was never involved in the case in any way.
However, Christie also never revealed his family connection, The Times reported.
“My view at the time was, I had had nothing to do with the case, I’d had no involvement with it, and I didn’t think it was of any import to anyone why I’d recused,” Christie told The Times. “It was a personal matter; it was not a professional matter.”
He also told The Times his familial connection with Fiumara never came up during his Federal Bureau of Investigation background check for his job as a U.S. Attorney. And he never brought it up because he assumed investigators were aware of his connection to Fiumara, Christie told The Times.
During an interview with The Times, Christie said during his tenure as a U.S. Attorney he was tough on organized crime. However, it was not as much of a priority for him as public corruption, terrorism, violent street gangs or human trafficking. He added that he stands by a 2007 comment he made that “the Mafia is much more prominent on HBO than in New Jersey.”