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Liquor control and organized crime | Despite police opposition, a businessman can buy a bistro



The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal has just failed in its attempt to prevent a businessman from acquiring a bistro in the borough of Saint-Léonard and inheriting his liquor permits, for the reason that he would have links with the mafia.

The businessman, Rosario Magri, former owner of Terranostra and the Kitchen 73 restaurant, bought the Gianni bistro, located on Couture Boulevard, but the SPVM contacted the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) so that the transaction is blocked and that the liquor permits are not transferred to him.

According to the SPVM, Mr. Magri is linked to clan leader Vittorio Mirarchi, “a very influential figure in Italian organized crime” and who, according to the police, “would be tipped to become the next godfather of the Montreal mafia”, can we read in the decision of the RACJ.

During the hearing, an SPVM intelligence investigator said that in October 2014, Mr. Magri’s vehicle was the target of an arson attack. The latter, however, defended himself by testifying that the police officers dispatched to the scene did not exclude that there may have been a mistake about the person.

Investigators from the Sûreté du Québec and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police testified that in October 2016 and October 2020, Mr. Magri was seen at the funeral of Vincenzo Spagnolo, a close friend of former godfather Vito Rizzuto, and at those of Mr. Spagnolo’s mother, Maria Cammisano-Spagnolo.


RCMP investigators were present at the funeral of Maria Cammisano-Spagnolo and photographed Rosario Magri (center) leaving the church.

But Mr. Magri testified that he did not know Mr. Spagnolo, that he stayed at the two funerals for only a few minutes and that he went there at the request of his mother, who knew Vincenzo Spagnolo’s mother and who wanted to convey his respects to the family.

On March 3, 2018, members of the SPVM’s Éclipse group entered Bar Gianni and noticed the presence of Mr. Magri, as well as that of three individuals known to the police, Domenico Scali, Salvatore Iannattone and Felice Racaniello.

Domenico Scali is related to Vittorio Mirarchi. Salvatore Iannattone also has family ties with the clan leader and is known to the police. Felice Racaniello was convicted of complicity in the murder of aspiring godfather Salvatore Montagna committed in 2011, and for which Mirarchi also served time in prison.

Lack of information

Rosario Magri was seen by the police with Mr. Scali on at least two other occasions according to the testimonies heard.

Mr. Magri defended himself by asserting in particular that Domenico Scali is the cook of Gianni and a friend. Regarding this relationship, the administrative judge of the RACJ deplores that no serious steps have been taken to establish the profile of Mr. Scali.

“His criminal record has not been checked and neither has his profession. However, it would have been relevant to do so, especially if we consider the nature of the links that he is accused of having with organized crime, ”wrote Mr.and Natalia Ouellette.

Mr. Magri said he did not know Iannattone and Racaniello. Nothing in the police report indicated that the four men were talking to each other and that they were seated at the same table.

“(….) The evidence in the file does not allow us to conclude that Mr. Magri’s behavior is problematic and that he has links with influential people in organized crime,” concludes Ms.and Ouellette, who rejects the objection of the SPVM on the transaction and the transfer of liquor permits.

It also points out that Mr. Magri has no criminal record, that he is not the subject of any criminal charges, that he has never had any trouble with the police while operating other establishments and that the Gianni bistro is not currently the subject of any reports for breaches of public tranquility and public safety.

To reach Daniel Renaud, dial 514 285-7000, ext. 4918, write to [email protected] or write to the postal address of The Press.

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