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Revealed: mafia ties, scandals and crimes of Taylor Swift’s favorite restaurant, Cipriani

For nearly a century, the Ciprianis have courted celebrities, princes and potentates — from Ernest Hemingway and generations of Kennedys, Trump and the Clintons, to Taylor Swift, Bella Hadid and Leonardo DiCaprio.

First in Venice at Harry’s Bar — where the dynasty’s founder Giuseppe created the bellini from peaches and prosecco — then at Cipriani restaurants in Manhattan and London, they have made their venues the A-listers’ favorite destination to party.

Now they are trying to raise more than $500 million to turn their chain into a globe-spanning empire, which would make the firm a behemoth with condos in West Palm and Miami, a resort in Uruguay, clubs in Madrid and Tokyo and restaurants in Dubai.

But its star power and ambitious plans belie a family business tarred by secrets and scandals, including tax evasion, mob ties, an ugly war with the Rainbow Room’s owners, Harvey Weinstein’s predation and a years-battle over who even owns the Cipriani name.

Along the way the family, based between Italy and the US, has made themselves friends with the glitterati — but not always with other diners.

“They were star f–kers. When anyone with star power came to the door, everybody fell on their knees,” Dale DeGroff, a New York-based mixologist and author of “The Craft of the Cocktail,” told The Post.

“They were determined to make it a place to be seen. They didn’t treat everybody the same. They treated the stars like gold and the rest of the people were expendable,” DeGroff said.

The family’s high society ties began in 1931, when Giuseppe Cipriani snr. opened Harry’s Bar in Venice, welcoming Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and Katherine Hepburn and becoming a dolce vita destination in the floating city for artists, writers and aristocrats.

The bar spawned Hotel Cipriani nearby, built in 1958 by the Guinness family in collaboration with Giuseppe senior, and then the dawn of the family’s American dream.

In 1985, Giuseppe’s son, Arrigo (the Italian equivalent of Harry), and Arrigo’s son Giuseppe Jr., opened Harry Cipriani at the Sherry Netherland Hotel on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, a near-replica of the original Harry’s Bar.

“They had this European fine dining sophistication at a time when Italian restaurants in town were more red sauce. They had Italian charm,” a former restaurateur told The Post.

Billionaires like Ron Perelman held court at Table No. 3 and Melania Knauss and Donald Trump partied there in 1998 at a Cipriani dinner and concert series just after they first met.

“Giuseppe is a very smart business man – he set out to push the Cipriani brand forward beyond whatever his father and his grandfather ever envisioned. He was able to make a powerhouse restaurant empire,” Jason Kaplan, a New York City-based restaurant consultant, told The Post of customers who were mesmerized by the charismatic owner.

Billionaires like Ron Perelman held court at Table No. 3 and Melania Knauss and Donald Trump partied there in 1998 at a Cipriani dinner and concert series just after they first met.

“The food was never anything spectacular, but you weren’t going there because of the food, you were going there to see and be seen.”

Another long-time customer noted the management’s ability to charge sky high menu prices and still make landing a white table cloth table feel like a privilege, calling Giuseppe “charming as hell.”

But as the Cipriani empire grew – opening a catering hall on 42nd Street, two restaurants in Grand Central and a hotel, restaurant and catering hall on Wall Street – troubles followed.

Then in 1999 they took over The Rainbow Room at the top of the Rockefeller Center, one of Manhattan’s most storied names.

“They didn’t have any idea how to run a complex property like that,” DeGroff said. “When Cipriani came in it was one disaster after another. It was a shadow of what it had been. It was a mess.”

In 2006, Giuseppe Cipriani’s name surfaced in two Manhattan mob trials – Peter Gotti and John Gotti Jr., son of the infamous Dapper Don.

Both times a mob turncoat testified he took a $120,000 payment from Giuseppe to buy mob assistance in settling union protests at the Rainbow Room after the family took it over, The Post reported at the time. Giuseppe Jr. later said the testimony was “all lies.”

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