Lawyer for Springfield mobster Rex Cunningham deems alleged murder risk, extortion charge ‘a misunderstanding’

SPRINGFIELD — Convicted mob loan shark Rex Cunningham hasn’t misplaced his knack for terrifying persons in excess of fantastic money owed, according to court data.

Cunningham, 71, a longtime affiliate of the Genovese crime spouse and children, pleaded not guilty to threatening to destroy a male more than a $600 personal debt to Cunningham’s girlfriend, a landlord to the alleged target. Cunningham also was billed with extortion and witness intimidation. He was launched on a earlier established $10,000 bail following his arrest by East Longmeadow police on Thursday afternoon.

Investigators say Cunningham knocked on the alleged victim’s doorway at a Savoy Road property just in advance of 8 p.m. on April 19. The male imagined the visitor was his landlord, Tammy Taylor, according to courtroom information. He made use of an audio app on his mobile phone to file the trade, which was memorialized in police stories.

Cunningham: “I’m Tammy’s spouse. Superior to meet you, now let’s get a several factors straight below. You cease remaining a f—ing smart guy. You be disrespectful to these girls all over again I’ll crack every bone in your f—ing physique. You get in touch with the cops, you simply call whoever the f— you want and which is what’s going to occur to you. Really do not say a word. I’ll get your f—ing head off correct right here.”

(Alleged victim): “Got you.”

Cunningham expended 17 many years in federal jail for breaking a man’s arm in the early 1990s more than a loan shark personal debt. Far more a short while ago, he served a calendar year in jail for working a loan sharking and illegal gaming ring out of two Irish bars he operated in Springfield.

The adult males continued to joust more than what was owed to Taylor, who is not Cunningham’s wife, and arrived at a determine the male was inclined to spend.

“I’m telling you how a lot income I have in my wallet. I have about $500 in my wallet,” the guy told Cunningham, who was accompanied by two unknown adult men, according to the report.

“You want to pay back me, I’ll give you a receipt,” reported Cunningham, who gamely wrote out a handwritten receipt, the report suggests.

“I don’t want to crack you,” Cunningham added, referring to leaving the person flat broke.

The alleged target afterwards fled his condominium and named police early the subsequent early morning. Police conducted a video job interview with the guy, exhibiting him a photograph array of feasible suspects primarily based on the man’s bodily description. The guy determined Cunningham as “almost definitely” the person who entered his condominium.

“(He) explained he nevertheless owed $600 to (his landlord). Mr. Cunningham mentioned if he does not spend the relaxation by Might 3, 2022, then he will be in difficulties. Mr. Cunningham also instructed (the alleged sufferer) not to be a rat, and that he is nicely related and he will locate him,” reads a report by East Longmeadow Law enforcement Officer Anthony Dieni.

The alleged target explained to law enforcement that he was in the midst of eviction proceedings and did not intend to shell out the harmony on his $600-for every-month hire until eventually Cunningham threatened him.

Cunningham’s defense legal professional, Daniel D. Kelly, chalked up the dispute to a change in philosophy.

“Chivalry is not dead. This is a misunderstanding. It is definitely an intergenerational clash. Mr. Cunningham requires significantly selected manners. And 1 of them is how young gentlemen address girls … and this younger man’s poor manners.”

Kelly additional that he thinks the alleged victim’s surreptitious recording of the dialogue may constitute a criminal offense.

“We really feel that recording could violate the state’s wiretapping statute specifically, and will not be admissible in court docket. We’re thinking about filing an illegal wiretapping grievance towards this alleged victim,” Kelly explained outside the courthouse.

A pretrial meeting was established for July 14 by District Court docket Decide Michael E. Mulcahy.