The owner of the fun Avenue B nightspot Rue B took the witness stand yesterday to testify at the racketeering trial of alleged Colombo gangster John (Sonny) Franzese. Owner Peter Dupre says his establishment's trouble with the mob all started in 2007 when Italian-American bit part actor Vinny Vella, who had small roles in The Sopranos (he played Johnny Sack's consigliere Jimmy Petrille) and Casino, introduced him to Franzese. The alleged gangster and his cronies soon became regulars at the restaurant, frequently walking out on big bills. Then—SPOILER ALERT—Franzese's minions allegedly started leaning on Dupre for "protection" tribute.

Dupre testified that one night Franzese took him for a walk and told him, "You're with me now... If anyone has a fight with you, they have to fight with me." Not long after, Franzese underlings Christopher Curanovic and Danny Celaj allegedly told Dupre he owed $1,500 a week for protection. "I passionately tried to explain to them that it was a tiny bar and restaurant and I simply couldn't pay that much," Dupre testified, according to the Daily News. He managed to talk them down to $500 a week, but only after Curanovic allegedly tried to jam a screwdriver through his hand, and threatened Dupre's business partner with a large knife.

Dupre contacted a cop friend in the 9th precinct, and the FBI stepped in, bugging Dupre's office and recording him making payments to Curanovic. At one point, when Curanovic found Dupre's envelope to be a little light, the mobster allegedly told the bar owner "he was happy to give me a beating, break my leg."