HOWARD BEACH — The publisher of a Queens community newspaper was arrested Wednesday for trying to work off a gambling debt to a Bonanno crime family associate by trying to pressure a sexual assault victim to drop charges against him, according to a federal indictment.
Pat Adams, the 58-year-old publisher of The Forum, threatened to use her paper to "humiliate" a girl who accused a Bonanno crime family associate of sexually assaulting her in April inside his Broad Channel deli, federal prosecutors said.
Rob Pisani, who was arrested in March on federal charges for his role in a violent street loan operation, was accused in April of sexually assaulting one of the employees at his All-American Deli. The worker said Pisani grabbed her buttocks, snapped her bra strap and placed her hand on his exposed penis as she worked inside the deli, officials said.
The arrest violated the terms of Pisani's bond release from the federal arrest and would put him in prison, officials said. In the federal case, the judge mandated through a default judgment that Pisani would have to sell his family home if he violated the terms of that $500,000 bond.
Adams, who once threatened a police officer during an arrest, has close ties to Pisani, and has borrowed money from him to pay off gambling debts from his sports betting operations and card games, the indictment says.
She wrote glowing articles about the family in her paper, including one about the re-opening of their deli after Hurricane Sandy.
And she also hired his wife, Jamie, as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived newspaper venture, the Rockaway Beat.
But Adams was drowning in debt, losing up to $1,500 a week on the bets as well as from the launch of her Howard Beach weekend brunch restaurant, Nana's Breakfast Nook, officials said.
On May 12, she reached out to the father of the sexual assault victim, who was scheduled to appear at Pisani's bail revocation hearing.
READ THE FULL INDICTMENT
They agreed to meet two days later at the Howard Beach Starbucks, where Adams spent two and a half hours threatening and harassing him to dissuade his daughter to not cooperate with federal law enforcement over Pisani's upcoming bail hearing, the indictment says.
Her friend Pisani, she said, was the only suspect from the March federal investigation that had a chance of probation — and the sexual assault case could derail that, she said.
"You think that a guy in the middle of being on the frying pan, in the fire, who knows that he's gotta watch every single thing and behave like a perfect person. You think he's gonna try and get a blow job? Common sense tells me, absolutely not," she told the victim's father.
She threatened to "humiliate [the victim] and disseminate embarrassing information" about her, the complaint said — vowing to keep it out of The Forum only if the daughter didn't play ball with the feds.
From her experience, federal investigators wouldn't protect his daughter, she told him — saying lawyers would "shred her like they put her through a Cuisinart.
"Protect you? They will sell your ass out quicker again and again, they are the worst scum of the earth," she told him.
She continued to threaten the victim and her father, warning she would write articles exposing the victim and discussing evidence from the deli that showed the victim was lying.
"I'm going to hurt her and, and I don't want you to," she said. "You know, I gotta put out what I have to put out.
"I will not hurt you ... but in the newspaper, thoroughly, thoroughly objective...For my good, for everybody's good — I'm hoping that she'll decide to drop it."
Adams was arrested at her Howard Beach home Wednesday morning and was arraigned at Brooklyn Federal Court in the afternoon, officials said. She was released on a $150,000 bond and returned home with electronic monitoring. She faces up to 20 years in prison for tampering with a witness.
In 2014, she was arrested for threatening her neighbor during a longstanding feud — but then threatened her arresting officer, asking him, "do you know who the f--- I am? I run The Forum, I’m going to have your job, f--- you."