Alleged mobster who attacked Dina Manzo’s husband pleads guilty

Dina Manzo at an event.
Dina Manzo had moved in with Dave Cantin after her split from Tommy Manzo. Pic credit: ©

An alleged mobster has pleaded guilty to attacking the husband of The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Dina (Manzo) Cantin. 

John Perna, 44, admitted “committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering” in relation to the attack on Dina’s then-boyfriend, Dave Cantin, in 2015.

According to prosecutors, John Perna is a “made man” in the mafia and a member of the Lucchese crime family.

Perna ‘carried out attack in return for wedding discount’

Perna is alleged to have carried out the crime on the behalf of Dina’s ex-husband, Tommy Manzo, in exchange for a large discount at The Brownstone restaurant in Paterson, New Jersey, for his wedding reception.

The Brownstone is owned by the Manzo family and has featured several times on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

According to prosecutors, the luxurious reception was attended by more than 300 guests, with many said to have been members of the Lucchese family.

The attack reportedly left Cantin with a permanent scar after he was hit with a slapjack — a weapon with a weighted end — and took place in a strip-mall parking lot in July of 2015. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors will reportedly recommend that Perna serve between 28 to 30 months in prison.

Back in June, Tommy Manzo, 55, pleaded not guilty to being part of the plot and was released on $100,000 bail. His trial is scheduled for April 2021.

At the time, Dina’s sister and fellow former RHONJ star Caroline Manzo — who is married to Tommy Manzo’s brother Albert — spoke out about her brother-in-law’s arrest.

“We are heartbroken,” said Caroline. “This is family on both sides. I want to know the truth and my allegiance will lie with the truth,” she said.

“We don’t run from things like this, we address them, and I feel comfortable with that because we are being painted with a brush that does not reflect who we are as people,” she added.

Separate case saw both Dina and Cantin attacked

In a separate case, Cantin and Dina were both attacked in 2017 after returning to their Holmdel, NJ, townhouse, to find two men inside.


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Cantin says he was hit multiple times with a baseball bat, while one of the men reportedly pushed Dina to the floor and kicked her before stealing her $60,000 engagement ring. Dave reportedly tried to protect Dina with his own body during the onslaught.

“That’s what you get for f***ing with a guy from Paterson,” one of the men allegedly said to Dina during the brutal home invasion, which saw $500 stolen along with Dina’s engagement ring. 

A man was later charged in relation to the incident.

Dina left The Real Housewives of New Jersey for good after Season 6.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey is currently on hiatus on Bravo.

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