Chris Paciello's Five Most Notoriously Violent Beatdowns
Former nightlife impresario Chris
Paciello's triumphant return to South Beach just got a kick in
the pants. This week, Miami New Times chronicles how the
ex-club kingpin joined the ranks of other famous mob turncoats like
Henry Hill and Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Frank
Owen -- an investigative journalist who authored Clubland,
a book partially about Paciello's rise and fall -- divulges the mob
secrets Paciello gave up. He snitched on the Bonanno crime family so
he could avoid life in prison for the 1993 murder of a 46-year-old
Staten Island housewife in a botched home invasion he planned.
Long before he became a rat, though, Paciello
most feared palooka in power on Miami Beach, lording over the
city's decadent party scene in the late 1990s. Anyone who got on his
bad side, usually ended up in stitches or knocked out cold. His
victims included a Latin King, a former Mr. Universe, an ex-arena
football player, and a paparazzo. Before you check out Owen's new feature, catch up on Paciello's five most notoriously violent beatdowns over the years.
5. Ax attack
In the summer of 1994, Paciello and cohort Michael Caruso fought with bouncers near the entrance to New York dance hall Sound Factory. Alex Cofield, head of security and reputed member of the Latin Kings, rushed at Paciello with an ax handle. Paciello snatched the handle away and beat Cofield with his own weapon. No criminal charges were filed in the incident.
4. Beer bottle beatdown
On June 25, 1996, body builder Michael Quinn was sitting at a table inside the VIP room of Paciello's nightclub Liquid when Paciello overheard him call a patron the N-word. Paciello smashed a beer bottle into the 270-pound body builder's face, shattering his nose and several facial bones. Quinn alleged Paciello also repeatedly kicked him. A civil jury subsequently acquitted him, ruling Paciello acted in self-defense.
3. Football player knockout
Two months after bludgeoning Quinn, Paciello ran into Matt Martinez, a former player of the defunct Miami Hooters arena football team. Martinez, ex-husband of supermodel Niki Taylor, approached Paciello incensed that the club owner was dating his baby momma. Paciello allegedly knocked Martinez out with one blow. No criminal charges were filed.
2. Russian stabbing
In 1997, while on a trip to New York City, Paciello and some friends accompanied former Miss U.S.S.R Julia Sukhanova to nightclub Life. A brawl erupted when a Russian photographer would not leave the beauty queen alone. He was stabbed three times. Paciello was arrested for attempted murder, but the charges were dropped when surveillance video revealed that one of his friends committed the stabbing. But the tape did show Paciello punching the photographer.
1. Hollywood revenge
After his release from federal prison in 2006, Paciello has had a tough time shedding the hood label. On Aug. 17, 2008, in Hollywood, Calif., Paciello and a friend allegedly hunted down Will Wright, who had argued with the ex-mob associate earlier in the evening. Wright alleged Paciello slammed his car into him, knocking him to the pavement. Then Paciello, who was charged with felony assault, pummeled Wright. The charges were dropped after video of the incident showed Wright wielding a knife. Two years later, Paciello was again arrested with assault during a brawl at Voyeur nightclub in Hollywood. His attorney, Keith Fink, told Page Six that Paciello was the victim: "he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.
- Florida Might Remove Confederate Flag From State Senate Seal
Thu., Oct. 15, 7:00pm
Thu., Oct. 15, 7:30pm
Sat., Oct. 17, 12:00am
Sat., Oct. 17, 10:00am
- First Speaker of the House From Florida? Rep. Dan Webster Considered Dark-Horse Candidate
- Local Entrepreneurs Create New, College-Only Social Network