The death of a 46-year-old Elm Park man fatally punched outside the West Brighton bar then affiliated with the late reality-TV star Angela “Big Ang” Raiola of Mob Wives fame, has spawned a $1 million wrongful-death lawsuit.
Thierno Cisse, as temporary administrator of the estate of Abdou Salam Cisse, has sued Raiola’s estate; Stephen Fasano, the Midland Beach man convicted of throwing the deadly punch; and SallyAnn Lombardi, Raiola’s cousin who held the tavern’s liquor license, stemming from June 8, 2014 incident outside the former Drunken Monkey bar on Forest Avenue.
Besides wrongful death, the three-page legal filing alleges liability under the Dram Shop Act.
The Dram Shop law holds establishments that sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person responsible for damages or injuries that person subsequently causes.
The suit was filed in state Supreme Court, St. George.
“The family is devastated,” said Obayomi Awoyinfa, the Queens-based lawyer for Cisse’s estate. “They believe they should be compensated for the defendants’ negligence.”
Lombardi and Raquel Scotto, listed in the lawsuit as the executor of Raiola’s estate, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Authorities said Abdou Salam Cisse lost his life while trying to act as a peacemaker.
Cisse was trying to calm down Fasano outside the bar, around 3:30 a.m., after a dispute inside that Fasano and a friend had with another man. Fasano, who stood 6-feet, 1-inch tall and weighed 175 pounds, responded by punching Cisse in the face, said officials.
Cisse was knocked to the ground, fracturing his skull in the fall, and causing bleeding in his brain, said prosecutors.
In November 2014, Fasano, now 25, pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court, St. George, to second-degree manslaughter, the top count against him. In doing so, he admitted to recklessly causing Cisse’s death.
Fasano, who is currently serving a prison sentence of three to nine years in Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, N.Y., expressed remorse at his sentencing.
“I’m very sorry to the family,” Advance reports quoted him as saying. “It was not intentional at all … To everyone, I’m sorry.”
Awoyinfa, the lawyer, contended the bar “should not have been operating” when Cisse was killed.
“It was an illegal sale,” he said. “The bar was owned by someone convicted of a crime and should not have served alcohol. That’s why we believe they should be held responsible.”
According to Advance reports, the State Liquor Authority ordered the Drunken Monkey’s liquor license cancelled as of March 6, 2015.
A probe determined Raiola, a convicted felon, was the bar’s silent owner, the Advance learned.
Raiola had pleaded guilty in 2003 to a felony in a federal drug-distribution case and could not own a bar without special permission from the state, an SLA official said. She never applied to be on the license, the official said.
Lombardi, her cousin, was listed in public records as the liquor license holder.
Nevertheless, Raiola was listed as a signatory in a bank account affiliated with the bar, and she was given power of attorney over the place, according to information obtained by the Advance about the SLA’s investigation.
Lombardi told the SLA she was the bar’s sole owner, but got into a car crash in 2009 and allowed Raiola to operate the bar thereafter, giving her signatory authority and power of attorney, according to the findings of the investigation.
The SLA charged the bar with “availing,” which means a liquor license holder has allowed a third party to use or profit from the license. It was also charged with “improper conduct” for Raiola’s business interest in the tavern.
Lombardi asked the SLA to reconsider the cancellation, but the agency denied the request.
Later, in January of this year, the watering hole reopened as the Funkey Monkey under new ownership and liquor license holder.
Raiola attended the grand opening about a month before succumbing to lung cancer at age 55.