Today’s news:

Calling the ‘Kettle’ black! Ridge bar owner stole $1M from taxpayers (including you!)

The Brooklyn Paper

The owner of a popular Bay Ridge watering hole is headed to the slammer for stealing nearly $1.2 million in tax revenue from the city and state.

Thomas Casatelli, a former firefighter and owner of Kettle Black, at Third Avenue and 87th Street, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two felonies stemming from his theft of the money from New York taxpayers in the form of sales taxes that he collected, but did not hand over to the taxman, between June, 2005, and August, 2010.

In addition, the 40-year-old Casatelli admitted to shorting the city and state of $44,654 in withholding taxes by paying employees off the books, as well as to under-reporting his personal income when he paid his city and state income taxes.

“By failing to pay his taxes, the defendant stole from the pockets of honest taxpayers,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

In pleading guilty, Casatelli agreed to pay back $1,326,940, including penalties, interest and underpaid worker’s compensation premiums. He will pay back $580,135 before he is sentenced on March 10. Casatelli’s plea deal also includes a 90-day jail sentence.

Ridgites who know Casatelli for his generosity to worthy causes are standing by him.

Diane Hunt, who organized a charitable event at Kettle Black in 2005, said that Casatelli went out of his way to make the fund raiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation — which is dedicated to helping young cancer victims — a success.

“You couldn’t meet a nicer person,” Hunt added. “He was just wonderful to us. I’m in shock at the news.”

The Merchants of Third Avenue honored Casatelli with its “Pioneer Award” last year, but even after the guilty plea, the group is standing by its honoree.

“Tommy’s a wonderful guy,” said Chuck Otey, the group’s spokesman. “I would trust him to watch my kids. He’s always willing to do more than he’s asked to do, always there with a smile. Everyone is pulling for him to get his life back in order.”

The bar is especially popular with firefighters and cops, as Casatelli is himself a former fireman. Many locals remember that his truck was crushed by falling debris at Ground Zero on 9-11.

This is not the first time that Kettle Black has made headlines. In April, several relatives of state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) were arrested in a massive, early morning drunken brawl that also involved two off-duty cops and an off-duty fireman. The nephew, Daniel Golden, was one of two men accused of punching out one of the cops.

By press time, Casatelli had not returned a call requesting comment.

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John G from Bay Ridge says:
Tommy Casatelli has done more good for NYC and especially Bay Ridge than many who now seem to relish his troubles.

Those of us who have known him for many years have seen the great amount of time and energy he devotes to help charitable and civic causes as well as individuals in need.

His friends will stand by him through this mess as will his terrific extended family. The strength of that support and Tommys own resolve will result in stronger bonds and happier years ahead. Guaranteed.

Perhaps we all should reflect a bit on a bit of teaching that seems to have been forgotten or dismissed :

"Let he who is without sin.........."
Dec. 31, 2010, 9:27 am
bayridger from Bay Ridge says:
Perhaps Tommy has always been so charitable with events etc because he's had more money than he should have. You know sometimes people do good things to try to make up for the bad things they're doing.
Dec. 31, 2010, 9:54 am
Andy from Bay Ridge says:
Loser!
Dec. 31, 2010, 10:46 am
John G from Bay Ridge says:
I understand the skepticism of those who who have not known Tommy Casatelli for as many years as I have.

Believe me he was helpful and considerate of others as a teen, as a young man, and as an adult.

He has made a mistake. He is making amends.

There are those determined to totally ignore his great personal qualities and contributions, fixating on the mess he is in now. No way to stop that.

Again, those of us who know him, and his great extended family, know this too shall pass and better years are ahead.
Dec. 31, 2010, 10:56 am
Joey Bots from Bay Ridge says:
I don't know him that well, but he has always seemed like a decent fellow. People who want to pile on this situation are losers. He is a good guy made a mistake and now is facing the consequences.
Dec. 31, 2010, 12:43 pm
kelly from park slope says:
what, the overtime and inflated pension were not enough for him? Shameful behavior!
Dec. 31, 2010, 2 pm
James from Bay Ridge says:
I don't get it, why support a thief? I think that over a million is way too much compensation for what ever charity work he did or his act as a nice guy. The truth is out.
Dec. 31, 2010, 2:47 pm
thomas from bay ridge says:
anyone who knows tommy and knows the situation knows that this was an unfair punishment. someone must have had it out for him. I cannot think of one bar or restaurant on 3rd ave that doesn't use illegla immigrant workers they all do and the all pay them off the books. Anyone convicted of similar circumstances gets probation and a fine. Not sure who decided to make an example of him but it is ridiculous to single out one of the more upstanding bar owners in our neighborhood......thanks marty
Dec. 31, 2010, 5:06 pm
jackson from bay ridge says:
Charlie Rangel didn;t get a fine a day in jail he didnt even get out on timeout and made to sit in the corner....funny how when they have it out for you they can get every paper to run with the story...why doesnt the post the daily news and the other newspapers splash the mugshots of rapists in their paper the way they did tommies at least that would be helpful
Dec. 31, 2010, 5:16 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I agree, it's a travesty that this guy is headed to jail in an effort to keep a local business open (it's not like that money was piling up in a secret offshore account somewhere, it went to keep people working!), and Charlie Rangel is still in a position to siphon off tax money and take his Carribiean vacations planned from his rent-controled offices. Now a business will probably close, people will be out of a job, and the city will still not care if people die in a snowstorm as long as the unions get their scare tactics heard.
Dec. 31, 2010, 7:26 pm
Jay from Pslope says:
so there are a number of you who try to defend this guy by saying some other crook is not in jail? Huh? What is this, friggin China?
He did not murder anyone, true enough, but he stole waaaay more than the average punk gets when knocking off a liquor store.
This guy should go away for a long time, and its really funny that the people who benefited from his theft (I.E. those who got donations from him) are defending him, YOU should also be going to jail for receipt of stolen property. To me, in my mind, you are no better than the crooks who get donations from local pols slush funds. Corruption is corruption and it ruins life for honest people.
Jan. 1, 2011, 12:34 am
that guy from that place says:
why i never
Jan. 1, 2011, 12:58 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
John G from Bay Ridge says: "Tommy Casatelli has done more good for NYC and especially Bay Ridge than many who now seem to relish his troubles."
-- If we all followed his example in paying taxes, there'd BE no NYC or Bay Ridge.
-- His "troubles" stem from his commission of two felonies. We don't relish that; we think it stinks.

"Those of us who have known him for many years have seen the great amount of time and energy he devotes to help charitable and civic causes as well as individuals in need."
-- Because he stole $1.2 million, so could put $1.2 million less effort into business. Also could redirect money and efforts into polishing his image (and maybe easing some guilt).

"Believe me he was helpful and considerate of others as a teen, as a young man, and as an adult."
-- So what? He didn't care re: taxpaying neighbors who patronized his business while he shirked his fair payment for state-city services.

"He has made a mistake."
-- This particular "mistake" is called a crime (actually, two felonies). He pleaded guilty to a knowing, intentional, and systematic five years' and $1.2 million worth of business and personal tax fraud.

"He is making amends."
-- Only because he was caught and cut a plea deal.
Jan. 1, 2011, 3:17 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
jackson from bay ridge says: "Charlie Rangel didn;t get a fine a day in jail"

Sure: If we can't nab and punish every single tax cheat, bank robber, murderer, and motor-vehicle violator (or at least the ones we don't like), we'll let them all go.

There's exactly one (1) Rangel -- and despite his public shaming et al, his actual tax-cheat costs to taxpayers were relatively slim. And it's _highly_ unlikely that the rest of Congress will try to pull a "Rangel."

But if you give this guy a pass, you could have a whole Bay Ridge-full of systematic-and-major tax-cheat businesses, with a killing cumulative effect.
They'd stay open, OK, but we dumb suckers -- who helped them prosper -- would pay for it through our taxpayer noses, while being grateful that they threw us a few cheap "good deeds."
Jan. 1, 2011, 3:58 pm
kelly from park slope says:
Joe, you make a hell of a lot of sense!
Jan. 2, 2011, 12:17 pm
bayridger from Bay Ridge says:
John G wrote: "I understand the skepticism of those who who have not known Tommy Casatelli for as many years as I have."
That's a mighty big assumption on your part that others who are speaking here don't know him like you do. I've known him since early teen years, and out of his immediate family I agree that he's the nicest, most considerate, etc. (notice I said in his family; meaning the rest of them aren't that great, particularly his mother). But that doesn't mean he hasn't earned his punishment; we're not talking about a small amount here, we're talking about over a million dollars. His great personality doesn't make up for what he's done over the course of 5 years. This wasn't a one-time incident; we're talking about something manipulated/calculated over a period of years. I guess all this proves is that he's more like the rest of his family than many of us thought.
Jan. 2, 2011, 4:01 pm
Another Local from Bay Ridge says:
John G wrote - 'Perhaps we all should reflect a bit on a bit of teaching that seems to have been forgotten or dismissed :

'Let he who is without sin..........'
- - -
Perhaps you should get real.
This isnt a youthful mistake, an accident, one rash act or a personal 'sin' like the adultery at issue in that Bible quote. Its 5 years of planned and continuous fraud by a grownup who, while doing it, was together enough to run a business and put on a front for the locals he ripped off (or maybe you think that NYS and NYC tax receipts have zero to do with us?) It also makes people even more cynical and untrusting re people, which we need like a hole in the head.
Dont blame US for his actions or for the fact that people are shocked, disappointed or angry.
Jan. 3, 2011, 1:45 am
jackson from bay ridge says:
first of all it was 400k in unpaid taxes over 5 yrs..the rest was from penalties and fines...joe from bay ridge..the fact you are missing is that we caught charlie rangel and did nothing it is a double standard..it has nothing to do with not being able to punish everyone it has to do with being fair to everyone not making an example of someone who on more than one occasion has risked his life to either defend this country or help someone in need..he served in iraq and survived 9/11..no doubt he made a mistake and should have to pay for it but the punishment is not close to fitting the crime..
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:59 am
TheBayRidger from Bay Ridge says:
These remarks amaze me. This guy is a cheater. But because he's an ex-firefighter under the special Bay Ridge rules, all current and ex-firefighters and police get a pass... forever? As usual, they think they are above the law.
Jan. 3, 2011, 2:11 pm
lbj from br says:
Yeah, like Golden ... ex-cop on disability. Poor poor dear.
Jan. 3, 2011, 4:51 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
jackson from bay ridge says: "first of all it was 400k in unpaid taxes over 5 yrs..the rest was from penalties and fines"
-- If $400k were so negligible he wouldn't have done this at all, It's grand larceny, and the city-state don't have a "steal first $400k free" exemption.
-- It wasn't just an "unpaid taxes" goof. It was $470k (according to DA report) intentionally skimmed over five years, included underpaid worker's comp and unemployment taxes, and two felonies: grand larceny and false tax filing.
-- When you defraud for five years, the penalties and fines add up. (And re WC and UI alone: One way or another - while you're underpaying, others' taxes have to take care of your workers.)

"the fact you are missing is that we caught charlie rangel and did nothing it is a double standard."
-- That's what Rangel's fans said: "Unfair! Everyone's doing it, so go after THEM first." Same thing for Wesley Snipes and Leona Helmsley, and for nearly anyone who's ever gotten any summons.
Again: Should we stop enforcing everything? Or should we vote and exempt people we like?
-- Rangel's greed destroyed his rep, work and whatever positive legacy he wanted to leave. He was reduced to begging for voter support and $, and he'll be remembered as a crook and fraud. To an 80-year-old politician, that's everything.
Wouldn't gain much by further pursuing an old man whose career (and life) are near-over. It also would look pathetic. And he's served as a warning to other Reps, who have long wreckable careers ahead of them.
-- We presume that politicians are crooks; just a matter of degree. It's worse when a trusted local person pulls a ripoff, effectively thumbing his nose at customers who spend there and pay tax for services that benefit the place. Just a local version of Leona's "only little people pay taxes" bit.

"not making an example of someone who on more than one occasion has risked his life to either defend this country or help someone in need..he served in iraq and survived 9/11."
-- It's making an example of him BECAUSE HE COMMITTED FRAUD. It's not about Iraq or 9/11. It's about grand larceny in 2005-10.
-- Rangel is a Korean War hero AND a crook.

Many if us know (or even ARE) likeable people who've done good. That's irrelevant when they -- or we -- screw up badly enough, especially when it's intentional.
Jan. 3, 2011, 5:06 pm
bayridgeguy2 from nyc says:
Failure to report and falsifying a return are 2 different crimes. TC's being a good guy and family man have nothing to do with the fact that he purged on his and other's taxes. If he had not signed he returns this wouldn't be news.

Hang in there TC, all will be fine.
Jan. 6, 2011, 11:39 am
Dick#1 from Staten Island, nY says:
1)Didn't this dude go out on Mental disability for 9-11? Those guys got a huge check! More than 1 Mil benefits for life...

2) He was so mentally disturbed by his experience on 9-11 that he received a full pension after just a few years of working PLUS a HUGE damages check of over a mil because he can no longer work, BUT he can run one of the busiest bars in that neighborhood with no problem?

3) He's getting a pension and a settlement from 9/11 paid out by city taxes, but he isnt paying into the tax fund himself?

I bet he is a good and decent guy, and I am moved by his story and his service. to both the city and country! But c'mon... even lee harvey oswald served the country at one point. This guy got greedy and has to pay back a small portion of his net worth. The bar still makes money and he will make 100K for life from the FDNY. I'll take three months in a white collar jail for that severance package!

Oh- and from what I read its no secret Sen. Marty Golden did this to the guy. His nephews are accused of underage drinking, pulling knives and fighting with civil servants in the guys bar...
Jan. 6, 2011, 4:11 pm
todd from b'ridge says:
HMMM, $1,326,940 = 90 days in jail. Wow, and all this time I have busted my ass making an honest living. Where is the punishment? Unbelievable!!!
Jan. 6, 2011, 5:36 pm
chick from bay ridge says:
I knew that bar deserved to be hated...

And, obviously, because you're a good person at heart you shouldn't be punished when you ef up. Yeah, alright. Because that's how the world works.
Jan. 7, 2011, 4:49 pm
bayridger25 says:
I'd love to know who BayRidger is speaking of TC 's family. They are the most amazing family I've ever come across so relax with your comments.
Jan. 7, 2011, 11:20 pm
bayridge25 says:
And yes the right thing may not have been done but like others have said a politician is involved and all I have to say to that is Karmas a you know what.
Jan. 7, 2011, 11:23 pm
linda from bay ridge brooklyn says:
its amazing that so much attention is being brought to tommy casateli what about all of us that try to get people to do work in our apartments. we tell someone if wit is ame pay cash do we have to pay taxes, does anybody stop to ask why out of all of brooklyn does his name come up,Gee I wonder if it is because he had attention brought to our famous marty goldens family.Tommy will always be able to hold his head up high....be careful what we say. and when you get work done or get your income taxes done make sure you dont add on anything extra,or maybe you do make all of those contributations. I wish it was election time now,it is amazing that none of this was brought out in sept. or oct. before election..we would have known who was our real senator
Jan. 8, 2011, 1:38 pm
Ron B from Bayside says:
This is a personal attack by the people involved in the fight with the Senators family. Wake Up people!!!!
Jan. 9, 2011, 5:22 pm
Anon from Bay Ridge says:
It's simple. He made a mistake and he's paying for it. For anyone to bring his immediate or extended family into this and to question them as well shows their true lack of class. If they were cold to you, obviously they noticed this lack of class as well.
Jan. 28, 2011, 9:25 pm

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