Reputed Bonanno crime family captain and former underboss Nicholas “Nicky Cigars” Santora is suing the City of New York after suffering potentially fatal falls in prison.
According to the lawsuit, the 74-year-old mobster is now in a Nassau County hospital in critical condition after being denied a wheelchair or proper treatment for head injuries by Department of Corrections officials. Santora’s lawyer Michael Talassazan said they are unsure if the elder Cosa Nostra mobster will even make it out of the hospital although the exact extent of his injuries is unknown. The suit claims that Santora “was denied proper medical care and services and caused to sustain traumatic and permanent head injuries.” Corrections officers neglected to give the aging mobster a wheelchair even though they were aware that he was an imminent fall risk the suit claims.
Photo credit: Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News
Court papers state that Santora needed stitches and staples in his head after falls on at least five different occasions during his prison stay. Santora has been behind bars since 2013 finally being released on bail last month but was hospitalized the next day. The suit claims “His condition was weakened and disorientated, and he fell to the ground, striking his head and face on the floor.” The suit also claims the DA “maliciously downgraded the severity of Mr. Santora’s serious health concerns on numerous occasions during bail applications, solely to keep Mr. Santora in jail.” Even though the elder New York mafia capo has been charged with illegal gambling, loan sharking, corruption, and drug dealing he complained in court papers about being detained on an excessive $1 million dollar bond for what he called nonviolent white-collar offenses.
Santora claims in his suit that “The Department of Correction has humiliated him, caused him to be permanently injured and deprived him of constitutional, civil and human rights.” The city’s Law Department will review the allegations and complaint according to a statement from a spokesman. The case against Nicky Cigars and his fellow Bonanno family wiseguys ended in a mistrial last year although the Manhattan DA is persuing a retrial. A hearing for the ongoing criminal case is scheduled for April 10.