Anthony Fiorino is the world's top-ranked paddleball player renowned for his uncanny returns on the courts. He's also the chief of union carpenters at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, where he has been accused of serving the mob instead of the rank and file.
But last week, when Fiorino had to leave his Javits Center day job to attend disciplinary hearings on that charge, he revealed yet another attribute: He is the best-dressed reputed organized crime associate in town.
Fiorino, 34, deeply tanned and in trim shape, arrived daily looking like the GQ models that inspired John Gotti's former sartorial splendor.
On Monday, he sported a chic, lightweight double-breasted suit and a jazzy white-and-purple tie. Tuesday, it was a teal double-breasted model with matching suede shoes. On Wednesday, he switched to a sober dark-blue single-breasted suit with peaked lapels.
Then on Thursday, as hundreds of union members rallied in support outside, Fiorino was his suavest in a jet-black six-button affair.
"Yo, Anthony!" cheered fellow carpenters in jeans and windbreakers as Fiorino exited the hearings at a downtown law firm.
Grinning broadly and waving, Fiorino dodged TV microphones and reporters like a veteran mob star, shook a few hands in the crowd, then sped away in a friend's black Maxima.
A Bronx native who graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1978 and spent three years at Iona College before dropping out, Fiorino vigorously denies the gangster label.
His sister is married to Liborio (Barney) Bellomo, the alleged acting boss of the Genovese crime family, and his brother Gerald is a reputed Genovese soldier.
But during a hearing break last week, Fiorino had a different characterization of himself.
"I'm an athlete. I play every sport except hockey," he said.
In fact, Fiorino is perennially ranked as the world's top paddleball player. His name is such magic in the sport that Marcraft Recreation markets rackets with Fiorino's signature on them. A top-of-the line Anthony Fiorino racket goes for $50 at sporting goods shops.
After leaving college, Fiorino worked for a year in his father's midtown jewelry business.
"I couldn't take sitting down," he told the union's special court-appointed investigators in a deposition.
At the hearings, Fiorino still seemed uncomfortable sitting down. He jiggled his leg, smirked at friends and swiveled his chair each time the door opened.
Fiorino joined the carpenters union in 1982 and three years later was made a shop steward, a post usually reserved for veterans. One contractor was picked up on secret government tapes complaining to a union official that Fiorino was a no-show on the job.
In 1991, he became chief of the carpenters union at the Javits Center.
According to union monitor Kenneth Conboy, who is seeking Fiorino's ouster from the union, Fiorino handed out the best Javits work to mob-tied cronies all on Bellomo's orders.
Separated from his wife and young daughter, Fiorino lives in a Yonkers duplex.
Although he earned more than $114,000 last year at the Javits Center, and presumably more from his paddleball activities, he has told investigators that he has no checking account. Instead, he gives his paychecks to friends to cash.
He also doesn't own a car, instead borrowing a friend's lavender Porsche.
And although records introduced at the hearings show that Bellomo "beeped" him 375 times during an 18-month period at the Javits Center, he said he "rarely" socializes with his brother-in-law.
This week, Fiorino is expected to testify in his own defense. Fashion critics, take notice.