In 2006, as he neared the final weeks of a six-year stretch for murder and bank robbery, Chris Paciello faced something worse than prison: witness protection.
He had ratted out the upper echelon of the Colombo and Bonanno crime families, so the former nightclub king of Miami was in no position to be walking around under his own name, the threat of a track-suit hit team lurking at every turn.
A deal would mean a new identity and instant cash — as much as $20,000 — to get a car, a job and a place to live, plus $3,000 a month for bills. True, he’d be forced to sell insurance or peddle machine parts in a rural town like Eau Claire or Des Moines. But at least he’d be alive.
For Paciello, a chiseled,, swaggering figure who had dated the likes of Madonna, J.Lo, Daisy Fuentes and Sofia Vergara, that was no option. Death was better than Wisconsin.
So this year, Paciello opened a club in Miami, thumbing his nose at the relatives of his victim and taunting the godfathers he helped put away.
You want revenge? I’m right here.
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