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Do NOT Complain About The Calzones At Goombas


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'Calzone mobster' gets 10 years

By FRANK FERNANDEZ, Staff writer

September 15, 2010 12:05 AM

BUNNELL -- A man dubbed the "calzone mobster" who ran the defunct Goomba's Pizzeria in Palm Coast argued at his sentencing Tuesday that he needed a gun for protection against Mafia enemies who might want to stuff him in a "woodchipper."

But Circuit Judge Kim C. Hammond was not swayed and sentenced Joseph Milano, aka Joey Calco, to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Milano, 42, could have received as little as three years or as many as 15. A jury of three women and three men convicted him of the charge in June.

Milano, an ex-Bonanno crime-family member, said he was only trying to protect himself and his family with the gun a deputy found beneath a mattress in his Palm Coast home while investigating a domestic disturbance Feb. 15.

"Yes, I agree with the state that I wasn't supposed to be around a pistol or a firearm," Milano said. "... I'm going to protect myself as an American citizen. I have the right to do that even if I am a convicted felon."

During the sentencing, Milano spoke publicly for the first time about his mobster past. He also talked about the infamous fracas over a calzone with two customers at Goomba's in January 2009, which was captured by security cameras and led to the unveiling of Milano's past and nationwide media attention.

Milano has yet to be tried on the Goomba's case, in which he was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. A conviction on the aggravated battery charge alone carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison for Milano.

The former mob hit man appeared to choke up at one point on Tuesday, motioning with his head toward his shoulder as if trying to wipe away a tear he could not reach because his hands were shackled at the waist.

"Everything I worked for ... everything I worked for coming out of prison, do the right thing, is gone," Milano said.

At other times, Milano appeared defiant.

"Now, the state, the sheriff's department, thinking they found, you know, they are prosecuting Hitler or something," Milano said.

He said he had changed.

"What happened in the past was the past. I came out of jail a new man," Milano said. "People could change their lives. Yes, I made an act at the pizzeria that was wrong. OK. But I shouldn't get prosecuted the way everybody is wanting to prosecute me. This is totally, totally ridiculous."

Prosecutor Steven Gosney argued that Milano had already received breaks from the criminal justice system.

"This is somebody who got a major second chance," Gosney said. "We're talking about it doesn't get any more major than narco-related murder and RICO and five years in federal prison based on a plea bargain and getting a second opportunity at life through the witness protection program, the federal witness program. That is a major, major second chance that he was given."

Assistant Public Defender Regina Nunnally said the focus should be on the case at hand, a case about a gun that wasn't even found on Milano.

"We are not here to dog him out for what happened in New York," Nunnally said.

Judge Hammond said Milano didn't seem to grasp the law.

"You couldn't accept the reality that you did not have the right to own a firearm," Hammond said. "You were able to rationalize reasons and basis for doing what you believed was safe for you and your family."

Before the judge handed down his sentence, Milano recounted his past in a story that sounded like something out of "The Sopranos" television series about mobsters in New Jersey.

"I got involved with some people as a young child and these people molded me to be the person that I was, that I thought I was," Milano said. "Anyway, I did some bad things and I did some bad decisions in my life."

Milano said federal prosecutors indicted him in 1999 on racketeering charges. That caused some realizations.

"It was all a smokescreen and everybody was out for themselves," Milano said. "There was no loyalty like the way they taught me when I was growing up, so I decided to cooperate with the government."

Milano said his cooperation led to a lot of convictions.

"I cooperated against five organized crime families in New York City and put away 50 wiseguys," Milano said.

He said that when he was released from federal prison he worked construction in another state. When the construction business dried up he moved to Palm Coast and worked with his father laying tile. But then the construction boom ended in Palm Coast. That's when he suggested to his father that they open a pizzeria. He said he worked 14-hour days seven days a week.

"I didn't think about doing anything criminal," Milano said. "Fine, I had a gun. I had a gun in my house for protection. I had a gun in the pizzeria for protection."

He said after the media attention old enemies knew where to find him.

"And if those people knew, they would put me through a wood chipper," Milano said.

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