Ex-associate: Sauce set off mob dispute

June 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

NEW YORK, June 14 (UPI) -- A New York court heard a mob war nearly erupted over the theft of a restaurant's secret sauce recipe.

Anthony Russo, a former member of the Colombo crime family, said Wednesday at the extortion trial of former associate Francis Guerra that Guerra became enraged when he discovered Bonanno associate Eugene Lombardo had taken the sauce recipe from L&B Spumoni Gardens, which is owned by Guerra's in-laws, and given it to upstart pizza joint The Square, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

"Frankie (Guerra) told me they caught Geno down in the basement looking at the supplies, the flour," Russo said. "He was angry, he wanted to hurt Gene."

Russo said he visited the Staten Island restaurant with Guerra and Colombo associate Frank "Frankie Notch" Iannaci.

Russo said Guerra swore at Lombardo and Iannaci slapped the rival pizza maker in the face during the confrontation.

He testified Bonanno soldier Anthony Calabrese later summoned him to a sit-down at a Panera Bread, where the Colombo family demanded a cut of Lombardo's pizza sales or a $75,000 onetime payment.

"He (Calabrese) said, 'Are we gonna go after every pizzeria that puts sauce on their slice?'" Russo said. "I said, 'You got a point there.'"

Lombardo agreed to pay $4,000 to settle the dispute.

Guerra is being tried for extortion related to the pizza sauce dispute.

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