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Firefighter doused with drug dealing charges

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A Coney Island firefighter acted as a drug mule and enforcer for a southern Brooklyn cocaine distribution network before he became a city servant, federal prosecutors charged in court papers last week.

Anthony Cilento, 27, was arrested, held without bail and suspended with no pay when his name came up in an ongoing prosecution of a “drugs on demand” service in which customers allegedly received daily deliveries of cocaine.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, three men involved in the drug conspiracy — including the ringleader — gave Cilento’s name up as they pled guilty to drug possession and distribution charges.

The suspects said that Cilento, who was assigned to Ladder 166, the “Kings of Neptune” located on Neptune Avenue near W. 29th Street, was deeply involved in the drug crew. He allegedly took orders over the phone, stashed narcotics in his home, cut up the cocaine for distribution and even met with drug suppliers, officials said. He also acted as “muscle” when needed, informants told the FBI.

Cilento allegedly used drugs, but stopped when he entered the FDNY academy in 2009.

“He wanted to turn his life around,” a source close to the case told the New York Daily News.

Attempts to reach Cilento’s attorney were unsuccessful.

FBI officials said that Cilento’s drug crew made a habit of recruiting city servants.

A police officer who retired from the NYPD on a disability pension was arrested in May after being linked to the drug crew. John Avvento, who was assigned to the 62nd Precinct in Bensonhurst before leaving the force, allegedly used to ride with drug couriers in case they were stopped by police and, on at least one occasion, provided drug dealers with police equipment before they raided a competitor’s cocaine den.

Synagogue-Insurance battle

A Homecrest synagogue is suing an insurance company that refused to make a big payout that would have helped the house of worship recoup from a devastating storm — but the insurance company is pushing to get the suit tossed, claiming that its insurance contract with the shul covered acts of God, but not poor building maintenance.

Members of Congregation L’Avraham on E. 17th Street between Avenues R and S filed their suit against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company back on October, 2011, demanding more than $179,000 from Nationwide for denying a claim issued in 2008, when the synagogue was left water damaged after a storm.

The congregation thought Nationwide would cover it, but the insurance carrier refused, claiming that the congregation did not properly protect the building from rain.

Nationwide sent an impartial evaluator to the building 10 days after the storm to determine the damage. The inspector found “worn out air conditioning ducts, discolored patches of the roof surface and blocked and poorly-functioning drains” that could have come from a failure to clean or maintain the building.

The congregation disputed Nationwide’s findings and sued, but the insurance company filed for a summery judgement, hoping that Judge Francois Rivera would dismiss the suit after reviewing the evaluator’s findings. It’s clear in the insurance contract that it would normally pay for storm damage unless “the structure first sustained damage from a loss of its roof which the [weather] enters.”

Yet Judge Rivera refused to throw out the motion to dismiss, finding that since no one inspected the building before the storm hit, it was unclear if all the damage the inspector saw occurred before or after the rain started.

Judge Rivera said he would rather let a jury decide if Nationwide should have paid the congregation’s damage.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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