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What's in Store for the Philly Mob if Ligambi Retires

Joe Ligambi, who recently got out of prison following two mistrials for what primarily amounted to gambling-related charges, says that he is done, finito, with Cosa Nostra.

Lufthansa Heist Overshadows Other Alleged Crimes

The recent Bonanno bust was not solely related to the Lufthansa heist. However, the legendary caper that informed a pivotal moment in "Goodfellas" has been the media's primary focus.

Does Anyone Believe Bugsy Siegel Created Las Vegas?

As much as Americans love the story of Bugsy as the inventor of Las Vegas, the truth is that most of the stories are fabricated.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rev. Al Was "Our Gun for Hire," Says Ex-Colombo Capo

Jerry Capeci is truly an amazing journalist.

He interviewed Michael Franzese, former Mafioso (son of Sonny Franzese and an ex-capo in the Colombo family) turned born-again Christian minister, about the whole Rev. Al blowup, but adds a jarring twist to the already unbelievable story:
"...Franzese says Sharpton, who has been preaching since his teenage days on the streets of Brooklyn, has yet to truly confess his many sins. 
"He was a gun for hire, our gun for hire," recalled Franzese, the college educated wiseguy, in an exclusive Gang Land interview. 
"Franzese said that Sharpton often used his influence with black entertainers and others to earn cash payoffs from mobsters and mob-connected firms in legitimate ventures as well as scams. 

Gangland Tour of New York's Infamous Crime Scenes

Cool, cool website; thanks to my friend for calling this out:

Infamous New York | A Gangland Tour of New York City's Most Infamous Crime Scenes: "Before the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and Prohibition put him on the map, Al Capone received his bachelor’s degree in gangsternomics courtesy of Johnny “The Fox” Torrio, a future mafia chieftan who got his start as the leader of the James Street Gang.

A dormouse of a man with button eyes and a nose like a thimble, Torrio could only be described as one of the finest criminal mastermind’s of the 20th century, and it all started on James Street, a tiny sliver of a street that is one of the last remaining vestiges of the old Corlear’s Hook neighborhood.

Life in crime came early for Torrio. As a boy he worked in his stepfather’s illegal moonshine den at 86 James Street. In 1904, the urchin started promoting boxing matches, where he met the bantamweight fighter and gangland kingpin, Paul Kelly. Kelly, a suave racketeer whose real name was Paolo Antonini Vacarelli, captained the Five Points Gang, a mob that ran Little Italy and fixed elections for Tammany Hall."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mobsters More Sensitive, Family Oriented Than Other Criminals

Free Press Journal: "A new study has found that members of the Mafia are more sensitive, family orientated and less selfish than other murderers, says ANI.

According to a research by Italian researcher Professor Adriano Schimmenti, which looked into incarcerated Sicilian mobsters, members of the Mafia also appeared to have lower psychopathic traits than other criminals, the Independent reported.

The research involved 30 inmates who were psychologically assessed using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) which measures psychotic characteristics. Seven of the Mafia members had been convicted of murder, 17 for violent crimes and the remainder for crimes such as drug trafficking, sexual exploitation and kidnapping, according to Discovery Magazine."


Oh, brother....what some publications will do to differentiate content!

Harsher Laws Fueled Mafia Expansion Outside Italy

Da Ciro, one of 23 restaurants seized by the police in Rome.
"Buy everything."
--An Italian mob boss caught on wiretap in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell; he was giving an order to a lieutenant who'd just been told to immediately go to East Germany.


The International New York Times reported that harsher laws in Italy have led criminal rings to seek new territory abroad. In this year alone, according to the report: "Italian officials seized € 51 million, or $70 million, in mob properties and other assets in Rome, providing a small glimpse of the legal business interests that southern clans control in the capital."

The "mob economy" as Italian officials call it, "has rapidly expanded across Europe."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Mob Book "Cullotta" Helped Solve Double Homicide

Larry Neumann: Despite mountains of evidence, was never
charged for a double homicide he committed when someone
"disrespected" his ex-wife. He was a member of Frank Cullotta's
crew in Las Vegas, the Hole in the Wall Gang.
June 2, 1981. Morning. An apartment located behind the P.M. Pub drinking establishment in Lakemoor, Ill. (If a reader recalls another apartment located behind a bar, it wouldn't be surprising in this instance.)

Two people are found dead in the living room. One of the dead had been the owner of the P.M., 37-year-old Ronald Scharff; the other was barmaid Patricia Freeman. The previous evening was actually her first night working at the pub.

As noted on the website Murder in McHenry, Lakemoor, situated about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, was then a community that had served as home to around 800 souls.

The 1981 murders were the first reported homicides since the town's 1952 incorporation.

McHenry County Sheriff’s investigators quickly found suspects. Jim Hager, a friend of Scharff's, had advised them to look at barmaid Freeman’s boyfriend or Larry Neumann, a McHenry County native then living in Las Vegas (and working in Frank Cullotta's crew. Dubbed by the press The Hole in the Wall Gang, they were known for their ability to rob jewelry stores and other places where wealth resided.)

Did Puzo Steal The Godfather's Most Famous Line?

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Many phrases from The Godfather film (or book) are not only highly memorable, but are often articulated in daily affairs, I'd wager; perhaps mostly in jest, though it is not inconceivable that some lines also could be used occasionally against more formal backdrops.

I myself used an expression -- "It's business; nothing personal" -- during tense negotiations over certain revenue owed to me (and still owed to me) for services rendered: the writing of several  labyrinthine, tortuously dull financial news stories, coupled with the copy editing of many additional ones.

I was told "the check was in the mail" about three-four times before I made inquiries regarding said check. Such a thing had never happened to me before in my entire professional career.

I kept hearing: "I'm cutting the check now; it'll be in the mail this afternoon."