Lambiet reports that some are hoping that aging, former mobster Chris Paciello can help bring the glamour back to South Beach.
For the first time since he was released from federal prison five years ago, Miami Beach’s fallen nightscape overlord has returned to where it all started.The question many will be asking, "just how 'subdued and humbled' is Paciello these days?"
Chris Paciello, now 40 and described by some who have run into him as “subdued and humbled,” is settling down at the Delano Hotel.
He’ll be living there for the next few months as he works to give back to the legendary beachside resort its No. 1 ranking among hipsters and celebrities.
“He’s a very bright, capable guy who has learned a great deal over the years,” said Al Malnik, owner of The Forge. “He’s going to bring back a lot of stars who wouldn’t otherwise be here.”
In 2010, the New York Post reported "Paciello was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon after a nightclub brawl at Voyeur in West Hollywood."
Today, I spoke with a source familiar with Paciello's reign in 90's South Beach.
The source was reluctant to say anything negative about Paciello. "I don't want to beat up in the guy. He was just the driver," he said referring to Paciello's role in a 1993 robbery and shooting death of a Staten Island housewife that ultimately sent him to prison.
But, what will Paciello's return mean for South Beach I asked my source?
"I always felt that [Paciello] was a metaphor for the South Beach value system. That if you had style - no matter what the substance - you were a hero. Paciello had both," said my source.
More details on Paciello's time in South Beach can be found in an excellent series of four articles titled "Goon Over Miami," written by Miami New Times staff writer Tristram Korten.
In part one, in the December 23, 1999 issue of New Times, Korten described Paciello's ascendency to the pinnacle of South Beach night life and his fall from grace.
Chris Paciello, the dangerous darling of the South Beach nightlife set, came to Miami a scant five years ago as a 23-year-old from Brooklyn. In no time he transformed himself into a smooth entrepreneur by opening two decadent nightclubs, Liquid and Bar Room, and a permanently in-vogue restaurant, Joia. He bought a million-dollar waterfront home, dated pop diva Madonna and supermodels Niki Taylor and Sofia Vergara. His face, impassive as granite, popped up on the pages of glossy magazines across the nation. Even as authorities planned his arrest, Paciello was preparing to expand his empire by opening a third nightclub, the Liquid Room in West Palm Beach. It was an improbable rise, given his age and experience.Read the rest of the stories:
Now the glitterati who welcomed Paciello, including basketball star Alonzo Mourning, actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, and billionaire Donald Trump, have a morning-after taste in their mouths. They realize they've been had. Not by Paciello, who couldn't hide his barbaric nature behind fancy cars and beautiful escorts, but by their own blind gravitation to power. Instead of a romantic gangster, it turns out they've been cozying up to a goombah the feds say was a member of a gang that killed Staten Island housewife Judith Shemtov during a 1993 robbery. Not much honor in that. The fall from gangster to goon has been sudden. The sheen of glamour on Paciello has vanished as quickly as a line of coke up the surgically sculpted nose of a Gucci model.
Goon Over Miami, Part Two
Goon Over Miami, Part Three
Goon Over Miami, Part Four