Monday, April 24, 2023

Porchetta Pizza's thin crust of respectability - Antonio Madafferi

When the founder of the La Porchetta pizza chain in Australia, Rocco 'Rocky' Pantaleo was subjected to extortion from Melbourne mafia gangster Alphonse Gangitano, he could have paid. It was the mid 1990s and the 'Black Prince of Lygon Street' was making threats if he wasn't paid off. Pantaleo refused and turned to Francesco 'Mad Frank' Madafferi, brother of Antonio Madafferi. Gangitano was warned off as he was outranked. In 1998, he was gunned down. Rocco Pantaleo would die in a road crash in 2020. It was ruled an accident. Today, the La Porchetta brand, which operates in New Zealand and across Australia, has 38 outlets. Behind the corporate sign is La Porchetta Holdings Pty Ltd, which has been part-owned since 2010 by investment companies controlled by families of the 'Honoured Society'.
Prominent among owners of La Porchetta Holdings Pty Ltd is Antonio 'Tony' Madafferi. A Madafferi company owns 5% in La Porchetta Holdings Pty. The same-sized stake is held by the family of Madafferi's brother, Francesco, the man who warned off Gangitano. Francesco Madafferi was busted for drug trafficking. His group was responsible for what was then the world's largest ecstasy bust in 2007, more than four tonnes of pills worth A$440m that were smuggled inside cans of tomatoes. At last report, in mid 2021, he was being prepared for deportation to Italy.
Another co-owner linked to the Honoured Society is Michael Manariti, who was sentenced to 9+ years jail in 2010 for trafficking ecstasy, cocaine and meth.
Frank Madafferi initially received protection payments for turning away Gangitano. Soon after other underworld players and their relatives became La Porchetta franchisees, like Michael Manariti. They also invested in properties used by the chain. Crossing these interests would prove to have disturbing consequences. In August 2014, ASX-listed Retail Food Group, which owns franchise chains Crust, Gloria Jean's and Brumby's, announced it would buy La Porchetta's for A$16.3m. 3 months later it walked away. La Porchetta had been under pressure from a host of new competitors in the pizza business. It's franchise network contracted from more than 90 outlets at its peak. In March 2014, the link between La Porchetta and organized crime made headlines.
Madafferi, who has previously sued Fairfax Media for defamation, tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain the identity of the journalists' sources. He says he is a businessman unfairly slandered by the police and media.
See ----->Tony Madafferi anointed new Godfather of Australian mafia