OK, OK. Everybody just cool out. Put the pieces down, sit at the table, and let's break bread together. For the record: The Manzo family from Real Housewives of New Jersey does not have ties to organized crime.
Two weeks ago, we pondered a possible connection between Albert "Tiny" Manzo—the late father-in-law of show stars Dina and Caroline—and an old charge in the public records, against one Albert Manzo, for "interference with commerce by threat or violence." The Manzo family's lawyer later contacted us and said that we got the wrong Albert Manzo. For our part, we've gone back and emended our original Manzo post to reflect that that Albert Manzo is not the one on the show.
Caroline Manzo, the elder stateswoman of the show and the imperial wife of Albert, Jr. who owns the Brownstone restaurant and event hall in Paterson, did the lawyer one better and spoke to The Daily Beast recently, telling them that any of these mafia allegations are dead wrong. That bit about Albert Manzo Sr. being found bound, naked, and shot four times in the trunk of Lincoln Continental? Tragic, for sure, but not mob-related:
In August of 1984 my husband and his family were victims of a horrific crime [Tiny's murder]. To this day, 26 years later, the family does not know the whys or the hows of that event…the real crime here is the assumptions that are made against this family.
In the same Beast article, though, a Jersey prosecutor begs to differ. He says of Tiny:
He was well-known in the Paterson area, and his association with organized crime was well-known. As far as his family goes, his sons and daughters, there's no allegations about them that we know of. But the father certainly was a player in the scene with organized crime.
Basically, like all things (but especially those pertaining to that thing of theirs), the truth seems murky and muddled. And, frankly, forget the Manzos. The mob ties we really want to see explored on the show are those of Teresa, the chateau-building young mama who pays for everything in cash and whose husband is barely present. What's going on there, huh?
Not that we're looking for trouble or anything.