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Brooklyn restaurateur caught in mob bust pleads not guilty to extortion - New York Daily News
Brooklyn restaurateur caught in mob bust pleads not guilty to extortion
By SCOTT SHIFREL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER|
Feb 13, 2008 at 1:42 AM
MarcoPolo traveled thousands of miles for his date with history, but the owner of his namesake restaurant in Brooklyn had only to catch a flight from Aruba.
A tanned and relaxed Joseph (MarcoPolo) Chirico, 63, appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court Tuesday with his lawyer, wife and one of three daughters to plead not guilty to extortion.
"Feeling very good," the alleged mobster said as he left court, free on $1 million bail secured by a Staten Island home and seemingly untroubled by a charge that could land him in prison.
Chirico appears to be small potatoes in the massive racketeering case unveiled last week that served up the entire Gambino crime administration and included charges for decades-old murders.
But he's a big fish in local circles as owner of the popular MarcoPolo Ristorante in Carroll Gardens and the defunct Gage & Tollner in downtown Brooklyn, and president and founder of the BrooklynRestaurant Association.
Chirico was not picked up as part of last week's roundup of suspects because he was vacationing in Aruba. He turned himself in at the court Tuesday morning.
As part of his bail package, Magistrate Robert Levy ordered him to surrender his passport, not to travel outside of New York or New Jersey without permission and not to associate with known mobsters.