When Stratis Morfogen opened his first Manhattan diner in the 1990s, he had no intention of one day telling a member of John Gotti Jr.’s crew to “go f–k themselves.”
But for “The Golden Greek” — a nickname Morfogen earned from his mob contacts for his money-making ways — standing up to the mafia became a way of life as an NYC-based restaurateur. Now, the owner of Brooklyn Chop House in lower Manhattan is naming names in his new book, “Be a Disruptor: Streetwise Lessons for Entrepreneurs ― from the Mob to Mandates,” out Tuesday.
Morfogen opened Gotham City Diner on the Upper East Side in 1993. Soon after, the mob made their presence known.
“I had a head of promotions, his name was Noel Ashman … one night Noel comes in with a black eye, I said, ‘What’s going on?’” Morfogen told The Post in an exclusive interview.
“Some gangster said we have to pay them every month or they’re going to continuously start beating us up,” Morfogen recalled him saying. “[Ashman] pointed out some names to me and I recognized that these are Gambino guys.”
Dom Phillips went missing with indigenous official Bruno Pereira on 5 June in western Brazil. Police have since found blood on a suspect’s boat and “apparently human” material in the Amazonian rainforest.
The disappearance of a British journalist in Brazil has been linked to an international network that pays poor fishermen to illegally fish in the country’s second-largest indigenous territory, authorities said.
Journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous official Bruno Pereira were last seen on 5 June near the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which sits near the borders of Peru and Colombia in western Brazil.
The two men were in the Sao Rafael community and were returning by boat to the nearby city of Atalaia do Norte but never arrived.
Local volunteers, the army, civil defence officials and state police have been searching for the pair since they went missing and police have launched a criminal investigation.
The “ultra violent” enforcer, nightclub owner and loan shark at the New Jersey ports ordered a pal to hold the arms of gym owner Gilberto Rubio. Then Rodriguez ripped a gold chain from the man’s neck and stabbed him once in the chest, according to police sources and investigative records.
“It was a ‘don’t f–k with me’ injury,” a law enforcement source familiar with the incident told The Post.
The source said that Rubio, who survived the bloody attack, had fallen behind on loan payments and gambling debts to Rodriguez, an associate of the Genovese crime family. Rodriguez — who’d just gotten out of jail for shooting another man while trying to collect unpaid sports bets in 1991 — was never prosecuted in the alleged stabbing.
Juan Orlando Hernandez was extradited last month on charges that he received millions of dollars from 2004 to 2022 to support a drug trade that delivered hundreds of thousands of kilograms of drugs to the U.S.
The attorney for former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said he wants to call notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the stand as one defense witness in his high profile drug trafficking case in New York federal court.
“We’re going to subpoena El Chapo,” said defense attorney Raymond Colon. “If the judge orders it, the government will have to produce him. We’ll hear what he has to say.”
El Chapo is currently serving a life sentence in a U.S prison for a massive conspiracy that utilized killings and corruption to support drug trafficking for over two decades.
Colon said Hernandez denied taking millions in payoffs from El Chapo and other murderous drug kingpins in exchange for helping them transport large amounts of drugs through Honduras to the U.S. He said he expected El Chapo would verify that claim, if he were able to get him to testify.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan. Wearing a blue jailhouse uniform, Hernandez said in Spanish, ”Not guilty your honor” during Tuesday’s hearing before Judge P. Kevin Castel.
Hernandez was extradited to New York on April 21 on the drug trafficking-related charges. Drug Enforcement Administration agents said while publicly promising to help the U.S. fight drug trafficking, privately he was working closely with the cartels.
After Tuesday’s hearing, defense attorney Colon said he would try to subpoena other long-shot witnesses – like former Presidents Trump and Obama as well as former top U.S. security officials like John Kelly and Mike Pompeo.