Via the New York Daily News:
President-elect Donald Trump rang in the new year together with Joseph “Joey No Socks” Cinque — a convicted felon with ties to notorious Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, a recently released video has revealed.
Cinque can be seen in a video obtained by the Palm Beach Daily News, cheering loudly as a tuxedo-clad Trump runs through a number of campaign promises before the hundreds of guests attending the New Year’s Eve bash the President-elect threw at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Saturday.
“The taxes are coming down, regulations are coming off, we’re going to get rid of Obamacare,” Trump can be heard saying as an exuberant Cinque stands next to him, pumping his fists into the air.
Cinque’s Sunday appearance with Trump might raise some eyebrows.
Beyond a 1989 felony conviction for possessing nearly $100,000 worth of stolen artwork, Cinque “used to be friends with John Gotti,” according to a New York Magazine profile from 1995.
Cinque was also “shot three times and left for dead” in a 1980 incident that authorities described as “a hit,” according to the profile.
Further, Saturday’s Mar-a-Lago party was far from the first time Cinque cheered on Trump.
An Associated Press report from this spring showed that the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, a company owned and operated by Cinque, has awarded more than a dozen of Trump’s golf courses, hotels, casinos and private clubs with so-called “Star Diamond” awards “of true excellence in hospitality.”
The same report also found that about half of the roughly 30 people listed as “trustees” to the company are Trump friends or business associates.
Trump, meanwhile, was listed on the company’s website as its “ambassador extraordinaire,” and he even appeared in a 2009 tribute video to Cinque in which he said, “There’s nobody like him. He’s a special guy.”
But when asked by reporters about Cinque in May, Trump denied knowing anything about him or his criminal past.
“If a guy’s going to give you an award, you take it,” the President-elect said at the time. “You don’t tend to look up his whole life story.”