Chris Paciello, One-Time Miami Nightlife Kingpin, Arrested For DUI On South Beach
So much for that supposed two-page morality contract? Chris Paciello -- the notorious convicted felon who rose to the top of Miami nightlife during its '90s heyday before serving time for his role in a Long Island robbery-turned-murder -- is back in the hands of police.
As first reported by Random Pixels, Paciello (real name: Christian Ludwigsen) was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of DUI after officers caught him driving recklessly in a dark-colored Jaguar in the 2100 block of Miami Beach Drive.
Miami Beach Police spokesman Juan Sanchez told HuffPost Miami that when officers first spotted Paciello behind the wheel around 4:30 a.m., they made a visual estimate he was traveling over 80 miles per hour.
"He was driving recklessly," Sanchez added. "When they did stop him, they noticed he had a strong odor of alcohol and watery eyes."
Paciello refused to take an on-scene Breathalyzer test and was booked into Miami-Dade's Pre-Trial Detention Center, where he is being held on a total of $2,000 bond on a DUI charge and a citation for refusing to submit to DUI testing.
The 40-year-old's improbable run in South Beach began when he moved down from Brooklyn in 1994 to open several successful nightclubs, including Bar Room and the legendary hotspot Liquid with partner Ingrid Casares. While reportedly dating the likes of Madonna, Niki Taylor, and Sofia Verga, he was allegedly using violent tactics to protect his business interests and was accused of multiple no-nos from assaulting various patrons and associates to stealing a BMW. In 2000, accused of a string of old mob-related crimes, he plead guilty to participating in a 1992 robbery linked to the Bonanno crime family that ended in the murder of Long Island housewife Judith Shemtov.
But after earning a shortened sentence by cooperating with authorities against old associates, Paciello reportedly turned down witness protection and eventually made his way back to Miami, where last fall he joined a Vegas-based nightlife firm moving into food and beverages operations at The Delano Hotel.
"The Light Group believes in second chances, and Chris has paid his debt to society," the firm told the Miami Herald last year amid rumors of his return to the scene. "He is a welcomed addition to our team of professionals."
At the time, a source told gossip blogger Jose Lambiet that Paciello was on a short leash, with a two-page "morality clause" in his contract.