Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve!!!

Instead of a hot little number blowing my readers a kiss to go along with my wish for a great 2012 to all my readers, friends and even enemies, I thought I'd offer you all something of more practical value.

So... From Reuters:  63 TV Marathons for New Year's Eve Weekend:

"Two days of Snooki and The Situation, family drama of both the old-fashioned ("The Waltons") and mobster ("The Sopranos") varieties, "Real Housewives" of every location, and every episode "The Walking Dead" are but a few of the 63 TV marathons awaiting you and your hangover, er, post-NYE celebration fatigue, this holiday weekend."

Check out the schedule at the hyperlink -- you'll have something to glance at while your New Year's Eve headache throbs like it'll pop your eyes out your head!

Alright, I'll include a pic, too... Drita!
Greg Antonacci

Also, a shout out to Greg Antonacci -- who, in addition to writing, producing and directing, stars in Boardwalk Empire as Johnny Torrio -- and also played on  The Sopranos  -- the last couple of seasons, at least -- as Butch Deconcini, Tony's tiny foil.

If you ever read this, Greg, that was me in Penn Station Friday, Dec. 30th,  morning... You were with I guess your son? You were wearing a hat, and jammed right there in the middle of the late-morning commuter crush in the LIRR section of Penn Station... I whispered loudly, if that's possible, a "hey!!" and gave a slight wave. Not meeting my eyes, you nodded your head... I could tell you were not into being recognized at that particular moment... so I hope my friendly greeting  preserved your anonymity!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tickle The Wire: Mob Expert Capeci Picks Top Mob Stories of 2011

The 'big bust' of January is still considered the largest mob story of 2011, even
though it was partly a dog-and-pony show put on by the Feds. But there was
some fire under the smoke.


The trial of Vinny 'Gorgeous'
was Joe Massino's first time
at bat as a witness, and was
also story number two of 2011.

The end of the year is always a time for pause and reflection, and top 10 lists are the order of the day... The top 10 news stories, business stories and obituaries; the top 10 celebrity scandals; the top 10 CDs, films and books (the latter few usually in terms of sales, not critical perception). And the lists go on...

We wonder: Who came up with the number 10 for the ... the top 10? I mean, why 10?

Anyway, we started to run our own list, or one we had found on another website -- titled The First of 2011's Top 10 Mafia Stories from Masslive.com -- but instead we decided to go to the expert, Jerry Capeci, who served up his own top stories list, but felt no obligation to fabricate 10 separate items. For that we salute him. And so we will go to him for this annual roundup, through the website Tickle The Wire:

"As New York mobster stories go, there seemed to be no shortage in 2011. Mob expert Jerry Capeci should know.

"Capeci, a former New York Daily News reporter, runs the website Gang Land News. On Thursday, he picked the top mob stories of 2011.

"Hands down, he writes, the top story was the Mafia Takedown arrests of 127 wiseguys and “various cohorts.”

"Runner up story, Capeci writes, was the appearance in April in fed court in Brooklyn of ex-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino on the witness stand at the capital murder trial of successor boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano. Massino made history, becoming the first mob boss from one of the 5 New York crime families to take the witness stand for the feds.

"Though Capeci picks the massive takedown in January as the top mob story of the year, he is not without some skepticism."

Read the rest of this articleMob Expert Picks Top Mob Stories of 2011, which provides a summation, or you could go straight to the source, Capeci's site at ganglandnews.com; however, it is a pay-per-view site.

1932: Huey Long, “The Kingfish," Elected to Senate

It's becoming more difficult to tell the criminals from the white-collar professionals -- the crime from the corporate kingpins -- and it seems, for the rich, those lines have blurred to nonexistance. I came across this quote from Kingfish hi'sself, and felt like runnin' it...


"Giv’em a yacht! Giv’em a Palace! Send ‘em to Reno and give them a new wife when they want it, if that’s what they want. [Laughter] But when they’ve got everything on God’s loving earth that they can eat and they can wear and they can live in, and all that their children can live in and wear and eat, and all of their children’s children can use, then we’ve got to call Mr. Morgan and Mr. Mellon and Mr. Rockefeller back and say, come back here, put that stuff back on this table here that you took away from here that you don’t need. Leave something else for the American people to consume.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Now Hoffa Was Buried in the Foundation of GM's HQ, Driver Says

Hoffa expressing a thought, most likely to R or JFK.
[Editor's Note: We believe we know what happened to Hoffa and have written about it here: Sheeran's Daughter: 'My Father Killed Jimmy Hoffa' -- but we are open minded and will always offer proposed alternate views of mob history, 'cause you never know for sure...]

From The Daily Mail:

"The disappearance of Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa remains one of America’s most enduring mysteries.

"But now, nearly four decades after Hoffa vanished, his driver has claimed he knows where he is buried – and how he got there.

"Marvin Elkind said Hoffa was killed by a mob enforcer and buried in the foundations of the towering General Motors’ HQ in Detroit, Michigan.

"‘It was his own people who did it,’ Mr Elkind said in excerpts of a new book published in the New York Post, adding Mafia member Tony Jack insinuated he was responsible.

"The startling claim comes 36 years after Hoffa, who led the labour union for 13 years, vanished while on his way to meet two mobsters he knew well, Anthony Provenzano and Tony Jack – real name Anthony Giacalone.

"The Renaissance Center was under construction when he disappeared.

"Mr Elkind explains how, during a Teamsters conference in 1985, he was among a group of men walking from the city’s Omni International when the Center came into view.

The First of 2011's Top 10 Mafia Stories

"Big Al" Bruno
From Masslive.com, we bring you the first in an ongoing series of  the Top 10 stories of 2011: Al Bruno murder trial convictions:

"As 2011 winds down, The Republican and MassLive.com recap some of the Top 10 news stories each day this week leading up to Jan. 1 when the complete list will appear with photos in The Sunday Republican.

"No. 9: Convictions in the trial of those accused of killing mob boss Al Bruno.

"This year brought the first mob murder-related life sentences in Western Massachusetts with the convictions of former West Springfield Mafia enforcers Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 45, and his younger brother Ty Geas, 39. They were tried in connection with the 2003 murder of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and other crimes. The brothers were convicted along with onetime New York acting Genovese crime boss Arthur “Artie” Nigro, also serving a life sentence.

"A three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in March shined a light – unprecedented in recent times – on the anatomy of the local Mafia landscape and provided a detailed chain of events whose crescendo left Bruno, 57, of Agawam, dying in a pool of blood after he was ambushed by a paid gunman."

Read the rest of the Top 10 stories of 2011: Al Bruno murder trial convictions

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cosa Nostra News: Merry Christmas!

Whether you're home or elsewhere -- with your family, Family or others -- no matter what type of lifestyle you lead, Cosa Nostra News wishes all its readers a MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!





It's a very merry Christmas for formerly extorted NJ longshoremen

From NJ.com: "For workers on the docks and piers of New Jersey, Christmastime for years meant longshoremen being forced to pay money to union leaders, federal officials say.

"A Watchung man who is an official in the International Longshoremen’s Association union is charged in a federal indictment that adds dozens of counts to a previous indictment charging multiple defendants — including an alleged member and associates of the Genovese organized crime family — with racketeering and related offenses.

"The charges include conspiring to extort Christmastime “tributes” from ILA members on the New Jersey piers. The defendants are accused of taking money from the workers through “wrongful use of, actual and threatened force, violence and fear,” as long as 30 years ago."



See full story: Watchung man charged with extorting money from fellow longshoremen's union members at Christmastime

Thursday, December 22, 2011

TMZ Previews Mob Candy Pics of Renee Post-Enhancement

Renee Graziano butt surgeryFrom 'Mob' Wife Renee Graziano -- First Pics After Butt Surgery | TMZ.com:

"Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano is unveiling her new ass-ets -- with an ass-ist from a stripper pole ... after surgically-enhancing her brand new butt cheeks.

The pics were snapped at a cafe in Brooklyn for an upcoming spread in Mob Candy Magazine -- five months after Graziano went under the knife for the $30,000 vanity procedure, which, of course, included an ass lift and a tummy tuck.

A rep for the magazine tells TMZ, Renee "shot like a pro." Pro what exactly?

[Editor's Note: We at CNNews would rather look at Drita's homemade calendar.]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cops Nab Mobsters Who Whacked "The Ironworker'


Raynald Desjardins is escorted into SQ headquarters Tuesday after his arrest in connection with the Nov. 24 shooting death of Salvatore Montagna, who was killed in Ile Vaudry, a small island south of the municipality of Charlemagne, near Repentigny. Police say Montagna was attempting to take over the mafia in Montreal.

Photograph by: RADIO-CANADA, .









Sal "The Ironworker" Montagna, former Bonanno boss deported from the U.S. to Canada back in 2009, was killed as part of a power play for control of the Montreal Mafia -- apparently following the collapse of a fragile coalition of which Montagna had been part. The man believed to be behind the hit on Montagna is a confederate of Vito Rizzuto, the once-powerful Montreal mob boss now sitting in an American prison.

Police say they have "destabilized the already volatile world of organized crime in Montreal with the arrest of five men [reports vary regarding the exact number of those arrested] in the slaying of a major Mafia boss last month," reports the Globe & Mail.

Raynald Desjardins, a convicted mobster linked to the Rizzuto crime family, who himself survived an attempt on his life in September, was among the arrested and is believed to be the prime mover and shaker behind the assassination of Montagna.

Sal "the Ironworker" -- his killers
reportedly have been arrested, in
less than a month from his death.
Desjardins is to face first-degree murder charges in the shooting death last month of Montagna, who was found shot in the L’Assomption River off the northeastern tip of Montreal.

According to the Montreal Gazette: The two men were believed to have been part of a small group that had tried -- and, obviously, failed --  to reach a consensus over who should assume control of Montreal.

"The fragile collective apparently fell apart when someone tried to kill Desjardins near his home in Laval on Sept. 16," the Gazette reports. 

Police did not offer a detailed theory or connect all the dots behind the Montagna killing and wider mob troubles in Montreal, but the GuelphMercury.com  notes that Montagna’s slaying is one of the latest in a series of Mafia-related killings and disappearances amid an ongoing power struggle that has intensified since Rizzuto was jailed in 2007.

"Several killings and disappearances in late 2009 and early 2010 have robbed [Rizzuto] of many of his closest family members and allies," the  GuelphMercury.com reports.

Mob Wife Renee Graziano Gracing Next 'Mob Candy' Cover -- Autographed Copies Available

Renee Graziano offers a revealing profile of herself in an
upcoming issue of 'Mob Candy' magazine.
Appearing on the cover of the next installment of 'Mob Candy' magazine is none other than reality TV's favorite mob wife -- or one of them, anyway -- Renee Graziano, daughter of Anthony Graziano, a high-ranking member of the Bonanno crime family who was returned to prison thanks to Renee's ex-husband, who joined Team America.

"(The Renee Issue) will reveal a sneak look at her new body... and an in-depth look inside" the mob wife's mind, reports MafiaLife Chris on the MafiaLifeBlog.com.


Yes, it seems Renee has gone under the knife to have a butt lift, among other things.

According to TMZ.com: "'Mob Wives' star Renee Graziano plans to kick off next season with a LOT more booty -- telling TMZ, she went under the knife yesterday ... for a $30,000 full-body surgery, including a massive ASS LIFT.

"Renee says she was a little nervous about the 5-hour procedure -- but gave it a lot of thought, and ultimately decided to take the plunge. According to Renee, the 'full-body lift' also includes a tummy tuck," reports  TMZ.com, adding that Renee "tells us she's not getting the surgery because she's self-conscious -- she's getting it because she gained a lot of weight since Season One ... and she's always wanted junk in her trunk.

"According to Renee, the show had nothing to do with the procedure -- "Mob Wives" didn't pressure her to get the work done ... and they didn't pay for it either.

"The recovery time for such major surgery takes about 10 days -- but once she's in the clear, Renee tells us, she can't wait to get naked," writes TMZ.com.


As for Mob Candy, MafiaLifeChris writes, "The [Renee issue] will be in stores some time during the next season of Mob Wives, which we are told will be starting January 1st. You do not want to miss this season; it’s going to our mob last season for sure. Check out the super trailer," which is on the CNNews site, below on this page.

Those interested can pre-order a copy now at www.mobcandymag.com. Renee Graziano will autograph the pre-ordered copies of the magazine, and MafiaLifeChris will distributes some signed copies via Twitter and Facebook.

"Follow me at Twitter.com/Mafialifechris and/or ‘like’ me on Facebook at Facebook.com/Mafialife and be ready," he writes. There may be a 'Mob Wives' trivia contest to determine who gets free signed copies.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Third in Trio of Major Canadian Mobsters Shot

It appears the recent Thanksgiving-day shooting of Sal "The Ironworker" Montagna was not an isolated incident. Montagna and two other mobsters trying to rebuild the Canadian Mafia were, it now seems, put on a hit list. A fourth man also is allegedly part of the group.

According to the MontrealGazette.com: "It now resembles a hit list – the names of a trio police sources say were major players in an attempt to reach a consensus over who should assume control over the Mafia in Montreal.

"Montreal businessman Antonio (Tony Suzuki) Pietrantonio is the latest target in a series of shootings that began in September.

"Pietrantonio, 48, was left in critical condition after being shot Tuesday night near the entrance of Restaurant Imperio, a Portuguese grill in a strip mall on Jarry St. E. near Chambord St....

"The attempt on Pietrantonio’s life follows the Nov. 24 slaying of Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna on an island just east of Montreal and a Sept. 16 attempt on the life of Raynald Desjardins in Laval....

"According to police sources, in the months leading to September the three men had been attempting to reach a consensus over who should act as the next leaders among the Mafia in Montreal.

"A fourth man, Joseph (Jos) Di Maulo, 69, also was alleged to be part of the group...."


Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Third+trio+wounded+latest+shooting/5862307/story.html#ixzz1gww6Flyd

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bob Guccione, Mother Teresa, Chris Hitchens -- and Yours Truly

Controversial journalist Christopher Hitchens has finally succumbed to cancer
of the esophagus. I will miss his work, but I still have more than half his
memoir to relish. And I have the memory of my one phone call to him.
Note: This story falls outside the margin of the ground I usually cover on this site; but the death of Chris Hitchens has moved me enough to write this post, which will probably be a chapter in my memoir, if I ever write one.


Early in my editorial career, I was a managing editor working for a subsidiary of Penthouse magazine; I worked on three pubs, actually: Penthouse Letters and Penthouse Forum (I was a senior editor on both mastheads), and Penthouse Hot Talk (of which I was the managing editor).

Mob Wives: Episode One of Season Two 'Supertrailer'

Another trailer is available about the upcoming next season of Mob Wives, and it offers some details of the various plot threads that will be running through the shows.

Renee will be a major focus, as everyone knows the story of her rat ex-husband who put her father back in prison. And we see her ex, Junior, in the clip, and we also see Renee collapse on the floor in hysterical tears after a phone call during which she was informed that her father had been arrested after winning a rarely awarded home release program.

Renee also goes under the knife, but not during a fight to the death with another mob wife. She gets plastic surgery, and it seems we are treated to the filming of the operation, portions of which are in the above clip. Of course, Renee is later on pissed at anyone who didn't visit her in the hospital...

Karen Gravano Book Excerpt on Facebook


 I was nine years old when I began to suspect that my father was a gangster. It was Sunday and Dad had us all packed into the car for an afternoon of house hunting. He loved driving around different neighborhoods, pointing out houses he liked and sharing his renovation ideas. On this particular Sunday, we were cruising around Todt Hill, an upscale community on the southern end of Staten Island, filled with homes owned by doctors, lawyers, and “businessmen.”

Mom was in the front seat with Dad, and my younger brother, Gerard, and I were buckled in the back. My father had just finished the renovations on a three- bedroom house he’d bought for us in Bulls Head, a predominantly blue- collar neighborhood just over the Verrazano- Narrows Bridge and not far from the two- bedroom apartment we had been renting in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

My father was obsessed with construction and remodeling. He’d ripped apart and remodeled every place we’d ever lived in. He’d started tearing apart the new house the minute we had taken ownership, knocking down walls and putting in improvements, like nice European tiles.

My brother and I attended the local public school; P.S. 60.My mother would walk me to school every day. I had some good friends there, but Dad’s friend Louie Milito was forever suggesting that he transfer me to the private prep school on “The Hill.” His own daughter, Dina, went there. And so did Dori LaForte. Dori’s grandfather was a big player in the Gambino crime family. “The Hill” had large manicured homes dotting its steep streets and was about ten minutes from our three bedroom house on Leggett Place. Anybody who was anybody lived on “The Hill.”

One particular house in this fancy neighborhood belonged to Gambino family crime boss Paul Castellano. We were on one of our Sunday expeditions when Dad pointed it out to us.


Read the rest of the excerpt: Mob Daughter

Friday, December 16, 2011

How Scarfo son & Luccheses stole a financial firm

From an FBI press release:

It’s a criminal’s dream—owning a financial company that can be looted at will. That’s just what 13 individuals—including two with ties to organized crime families—are accused of in a federal indictment announced last month in New Jersey.

Among those charged in the 25-count indictment is Nicodemo Scarfo—a member of the Lucchese crime family and son of Nicodemo Scarfo Sr., the imprisoned former boss of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) crime family. Also charged were Salvatore Pelullo—an associate of the Lucchese and Philadelphia LCN families—and 11 others…all in connection with an alleged criminal takeover of FirstPlus Financial Group (FPFG), a publicly held company based in Texas. The takeover resulted in honest FPFG shareholders losing at least $12 million; the company ultimately filed for bankruptcy.


The group was charged with various crimes in connection with this racketeering conspiracy, including securities fraud; wire, mail, and bank fraud; extortion; money laundering; and obstruction of justice. In addition to Scarfo and Pelullo, other members of the criminal enterprise included five attorneys, a certified public accountant, and Scarfo’s wife.

How did they do it? According to the indictment, members of the criminal enterprise devised a plan in 2007 to take over FPFG by replacing its board of directors and management with individuals who would serve at the direction of Scarfo and Pelullo. To accomplish this, they allegedly accused board members of financial improprieties that, if brought to light, would result in costly lawsuits. Eventually, through threats and intimidation, every member of the board and executive management left.

After gaining control of the company, the looting began:

More arrested in longshoremen mob shakedowns

CliffViewPilot.com is reporting: "Federal agents today arrested three more reputed mobsters and piled on dozens more charges as part of the largest Mafia roundup in the history of the New York/New Jersey area.

mobbusts1
"A 103-count superseding indictment was unsealed this morning in Newark federal court in which previously charged defendants Stephen Depiro, a soldier in the Genovese family, and three Genovese family associates are charged with murder, extortion, theft and a host of other federal crimes stretching back nearly 30 years.

"Federal prosecutors said they dismantled organizations that had run wild for decades -- stealing everything from electronics to cigarettes, carrying out hits and extorting honest businessmen who paid up so they wouldn‘t have their kneecaps broken or businesses destroyed.

"Nearly 130 members and associates of seven Mafia organizations -- including the New Jersey-based Decavalcante Crime Family -- were originally charged. [Ed. Note: Which was the seventh family?]

"In New Jersey, 15 mobsters and associates were charged with taking over several unions and extorting its members, including taking the annual Christmas bonuses that longshoremen at Port Newark and Port Elizabeth receive from shipping companies at Christmas. In one case, the government said, two men were killed in a bar after an argument over a spilled drink.

"Genovese made-man Depiro ran the Christmas rip-off, and conspired with associate Nunzio LaGrasso, vice-president of ILA Local 1478 in Newark, to extort the union’s members, one indictment says.

"Crime-family members also shook down a concrete contractor working on Liberty View Harbor in Jersey City, threatening to seriously hurt him and his business if he didn‘t pay up, the government says. The same was done to other businessmen in Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey, the indictments allege."


Read complete article: More arrests in Christmas longshoremen mob shakedowns

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Defense attorneys question legality of wiretaps in Lucchese betting ring trial

Joseph DiNapoli is accused of
being part of a Luchese family
ruling panel.
"Law enforcement says it intercepted more than 30,000 messages between members of a $2 billion sports betting ring allegedly run by the Lucchese crime family, but the defense asserts they may not be admissible in court," reports NJ.com.

The defense wants to examine the eavesdropping devices to learn whether they can comply with a rule limiting bugs to two minutes -- unless criminal activity is discussed.

Prosecutors opposed the request, which seemed likely to slow one of New Jersey’s most notorious organized crime cases, already four years old.

"During a conference today in Superior Court in Morristown, several defense attorneys questioned the legality of the devices used in the case against 31 people accused of participating in a $2 billion sports betting and money laundering ring allegedly run by the Lucchese crime family for a 15-month period ending in December 2007," NJ.com writes.

Attorney Paul S. Chiaramonte, representing Joseph DiNapoli, 75, of Scarsdale, N.Y., a reputed member of the Lucchese family’s "ruling panel," said the defense attorneys would like to have an expert examine the eavesdropping devices as part of the ongoing "discovery" phase of the case.

Some members of the ring are also accused of smuggling drugs and cell phones into East Jersey State Prison in Woodbridge.

Follow-up: Springfield Mafia now called 'the geriatric crew'

Racketeers go through ups and downs; the
downs seem to be taking over, in Greater
Springfield, anyways.
"Over the years, Mafia regimes in Western Massachusetts have risen and fallen with sweeping prosecutions, old age and murder," writes Masslive.com in a follow up to a previous installment on the Massachusetts Mafia's rise and fall

"Organized crime in Greater Springfield has been as cyclical as every other industry – banking, real estate and politics.

"But, with the recent exodus of every made member of the Springfield faction of the Genovese crime family – either through violence, prosecution under powerful federal racketeering laws or entrance into the U.S. Witness Protection Program – the landscape of the region’s mob leadership is truly barren. Law enforcement officials say it is a first.

“For the first time in my memory, all we have left is a handful of bookies. Along with a bunch of older guys we call the geriatric crew,” says State Police Lt. Thomas J. Murphy, an organized crime investigator since the 1990s, of the cast of mob characters remaining in Greater Springfield.

“You took all your made guys and took them out in one shot. No one’s taking the lead or they’re being very covert about it,” Murphy said. “There’s nobody overly anxious to come to the forefront and pick up the ball and run.”

"This year’s trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that targeted conspirators in the 2003 Springfield murder plots of slain Genovese capo Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and lower level henchmen yielded the region’s first life sentences for up-and-coming mob heavies Fotios “Freddy” Geas and his younger brother Ty Geas, formerly of West Springfield."


Read the full article and don't forget earlier installments, as well as the colorful comments: Springfield Mafia landscape barren after murder and criminal prosecutions

New England mob associate sentenced in strip club shakedown

Boston.com reports: "A New England mob associate was sentenced on Monday to 2 1/2 years in prison for his role in the shakedown of Providence-area strip clubs where he worked as a bookkeeper."

Thomas Iafrate, 70, of Johnston, is the first defendant to be punished in the case, which authorities say involves several mafia figures and generated at least $2 million in ill-gotten gains.

Iafrate pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and admitted to being a mob associate in July. He must report to federal prison on Jan. 3, federal prosecutors said.

Iafrate's punishment was imposed the same day a federal judge denied bail for a second time for alleged ex-New England mob boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, 84."

Read complete article: NE mob associate sentenced in RI - Boston.com

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Actor Tony Darrow Learns Very Public Lesson About Playing Mobster

It was judgment day for Anthony Borgese, aka Tony Darrow, in Brooklyn federal court this week.

U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano slammed the actor-cum-mobster with two years’ probation, six months’ house arrest, 250 hours of community service and a $7,500 fine.

Not a bad deal, considering Borgese could have gotten up to 40 months in jail.
Tony Darrow was indicted for participating in a shakedown scheme with Gambino soldier Joseph "Joey Boy" Orlando
Mobsters are bad guys, Tony Darrow said, or something like it in anti-mafia
public service ads that probably spared his dimpled ass a prison stint.

Borgese, you may recall, is the former Catskills lounge singer turned actor who made a nice living playing mobsters in film and on TV. But then he went and got himself arrested for getting mixed up with some real mobsters who committed a violent felony while collecting a debt for the would-be Don Borgese.

Mafialifeblog.com: Al Capone and His American Boys

Add caption
Straight from my friend MafiaLife Chris's blog, Mafialifeblog.com, I dip into the following post:
There are probably enough books written about Alphonse “Scarface” Capone to fill an entire small library. This, however, is not a book about Capone per se. Think of it more as a first-person account, by an emotionally torn spouse, of man that allegedly participated in the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.Gus Winkeler is the subject, as told by the memoirs - long buried deep in government files – of his wife Georgette Winkeler.

True crime author William J. Helmer (author of Dillinger: The Untold Story and co-author The Complete Public Enemy Almanac with the late Rick Mattix ) introduces the book with a reminder of Georgette’s slightly-biased view (trying to put husband Gus Winkeler in better light). He also provides plenty of historical facts and bios in the back of the book that work to support Georgette’s account and other times to clarify or fill in blanks (Georgette wrote primarily about the characters she had personally met, not other prominent figures such as Jack McGurn – the only man ever charged – never convicted – with the Valentine’s massacre).

Read full article: Mafialifeblog.com - Mob Reading Room: Al Capone and His American Boys

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Israeli police arrest 70 in major raid on organized crime overseas

Meyer Lansky, the criminal
mastermind who was not as
powerful as he is believed
to have been.
The Jewish Mafia may be dead in the U.S. -- or at the very least is a mere echo of what it had once been back at the dawn of organized crime, when mobsters like Lucky, Costello and Anastasia worked alongside Meyer, Bugsy, Lepke and Gurrah, aka Jacob Shapiro.

The Jewish American mob shared in the lucrative rackets of bootlegging back in the golden age of the Mafia, and many Jews were even hit men in Murder Incorporated.

But while they seem to have dropped out of sight in the U.S., they are alive and well in Israel -- or had been until a recent bust reminiscent of the one we had here back in January of the Italian Mafia.

In the one of the largest anti-organized crime raids in recent years, police arrested 70 suspects from across Israel overnight Tuesday, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Hundreds of officers led by Coastal Police officers raided addresses in several cities, from Nazareth to Eilat, after two undercover agents spent months purchasing weapons and narcotics from the suspects, police said.

Gurrah worked with Lepke at
Murder Inc.
RELATED:
Cops seize guns, bulletproof vests in Jaljulya raid
27 arrested in raid on illicit arms in Arab community

The investigation began after an undercover police handler helped out, uncovering and finding evidence related to dozens of crimes, such as purchasing a MAG machine gun, rifles, handguns and bombs – "weapons criminals intended to use on one another, but which also posed a real threat to members of the public who could have been caught in the crossfire."

Dozens of kilograms of heroin, cocaine, hashish and thousands of Ecstasy pills also were among the crimes taking place by the Jewish Mafia, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Montagna gunned down fleeing drug dealer's house

Why was The Ironworker killed
outside the home of a drug
dealer?
A convicted drug trafficker remains in custody on an "alleged parole violation" after he was questioned by police about the hit on former Bonanno boss Salvatore Montagna, which took place inside a house the drug dealer owns, reports the MontrealGazette.com.

"Jack Arthur Simpson, 69, was arrested in Ottawa on Monday for allegedly violating his parole on a 28-year sentence he is serving for attempting to ship 300 kilograms of cocaine from California to New York in 1996," the article reports.

"Donnie Brasco" got the Bonannos
kicked off the Commission, fueling
their dive into the drug business.
Police believe Montagna, 40, was killed as he exited the house owned by Simpson, or that he was shot inside and ran outside to elude the gunman -- and additional bullets.

No charges were expected to be filed as a result of the questioning.Officials did not reveal how Simpson is alleged to have violated his parole.

What is not clear is whether Simpson was present at the location when Montagna was shot -- or why the mobster was even there, on a small island that is part of the Canadian municipality of Charlemagne.

One interesting coincidence strikes us -- the Bonannos have long been considered to be the crime family most closely aligned with drug trafficking, especially after the Donnie Brasco situation got them kicked off the Commission, cutting them off from the lucrative high-profile rackets shared by the families. 

Renee Graziano's Ex Is a Rat, Puts Her Dad Back Inside

Hector Pagan
"The 'Mob Wives' yesterday found out that one of the cast members has been wearing a wire for the FBI," reports the NYPOST.com.

Hector “Junior” Pagan, the ex-husband of Renee Graziano, who was seen regularly on the hit reality series last year and was supposedly playing a prominent role in the upcoming season, "was reportedly flipped by the feds last summer," the Post reports.

Junior, fans of the show will recall, was picked up in January as part of the "big Mafia sweep" in the Northeast by the feds, who shortly afteward cut their resources focused on LCN.

And worse for the Graziano family, Pagan's first target was mob wife Renee and show creator Jennifer Graziano's dad, Bonanno crime family capo Anthony Graziano. Online mob newsletter ganglandnews.com reported that Pagan had been secretly taping conversations with the elder Graziano for the government.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dix Hills Woman Charged in Mob-Backed Stripper Scam


"A Dix Hills woman is one of 20 defendants who are alleged to have been involved in recruiting European women to illegally enter and work in the United States as strippers," reports the Half Hollow Hills, NY Patch. CNNews has been following the story since it broke last week.

Elena Turubanova, 24, of Dix Hills, is one of the 20 individuals who were arrested and charged with racketeering, extortion, and visa and marriage fraud, among other things.

According to the US Attorney's Office, she and the other defendants sent these women offers via print and online announcements for credible, legitimate employment, such as waitressing -- but then forced them to strip at certain mob-affiliated strip clubs.

The Gambino and Bonnano crime families are allegedly behind the racket, apparently with the help of others, such as Ms. Turubanova, according to the United States Attorney's Office.

Turubanova was released on bail this past week.

Read full story: Dix Hills Woman Charged in Mob Strip Club Scheme - Half Hollow Hills, NY Patch

Gotti biopic ‘coming together’

Gotti biopic ‘coming together’ - Film-News.co.uk: Financial issues on the John Gotti biopic are “sorted,” says writer and director Barry Levinson.

Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father has suffered from many financial and legal difficulties over the past few months.

However, Barry confirmed that those troubles are in the past and the film is ready to move forward.

John Travolta will still play the mob boss, while Al Pacino, Ben Foster and Kelly Preston will also appear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Italian & Russian Mobsters Smuggled Strippers

The Italian Cosa Nostra and Russian Mafia together allegedly smuggled Eastern European women into New York to work in high-end strip clubs — and even arranged sham marriages to keep some of them here.

Nine strip clubs were involved and 20 suspects indicted in the scheme
The women were recruited via Facebook and newspaper ads.

Twenty suspects, including seven reputed Gambino and Bonanno mobsters, were arraigned in Manhattan Federal Court on charges ranging from racketeering to visa fraud.

The schemers allegedly recruited women in Russia and neighboring countries through Facebook and newspaper ads to work as strippers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bonanno Capo/Father of 'Mob Wives' 'Star' Back in Prison

The Little Guy...
T.G., The Little Guy or whatever you want to call him was one foot out of the clink before he was thrown back in. That suuucks!!
Renee, second from the right, is the
daughter on the show dad T.G.
won't watch.

This comes from  THE RANT Forum:  Anthony Graziano may not approve of his daughter's "Mob Wives" reality show, but it looks as though he has given its producers fodder for another season of Mafia melodrama.

Graziano, 71, of Huguenot, a reputed one-time consigliere of the Bonanno crime family, has been tossed back in federal prison on extortion charges, just a few months after he was released from a halfway house and placed under house arrest.

He was busted earlier today for attempting to collect a years-old loansharking debt, federal prosecutors allege.

The Staten Island gangster, who has gone by the nicknames "TG" and "the Little Guy," is the father of Renee Graziano, one of the four stars of VH1's "Mob Wives," which returns in January.

Anthony's arrest comes just a day after Renee's ex-husband, Hector Pagan Jr., and another Islander were charged with knocking over a mob-run card game in Travis in 2009.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bikers Suspects in 'Amateurish' Slay of Montagna

Sal 'The Ironworker' Montagna
From the NYPOST.com, we learn that Sal Montagna, the former acting boss of the Bonanno family who was deported to Canada a few years ago, may have been murdered by bikers for trying to wrest control of the Montreal Mafia from the dying Rizzuto family. Bikers may have done the hit, but it seems more than likely they would only be hired guns.

Salvatore “Sal the Ironworker” Montagna was shot on Ile Vaudry, a working-class neighborhood on a small island about 30 miles north of Montreal, and dumped into a river, Canadian police said in the NYPOST.com report.

Montagna was only 35 when he took over one of the five crime families in 2006, earning him the nickname the “Bambino Boss."

"Given Montagna’s longtime involvement with organized crime and the fact that he had lived at various points of his life in Italy, the U.S. and Canada, investigators planned to cast a wide net in their murder probe, said Sgt. Benoit Richard of Surete du Quebec, the provincial police agency," accord to the NYPOST.com.

"That includes looking into whether the hit may be related to the murder last week of an outlaw biker with organized-crime connections in an adjacent town. Richard said it “doesn’t seem to be” linked, but cops aren’t “ruling out anything.”

Montagna, 40, was also reportedly involved in a three-way power struggle to take over the Montreal mob, and had been in talks with his rivals to pick a consensus leader, the NYPOST.com reports.

“Looks like it didn’t work,” an investigator told the Montreal Gazette.

[A video clip of a newscast about the murder is on the jump page of this story]

It Never Ends: More 'Mob Wives' Stuff

Ramona Rizzo, the new addition to 'Mob Wives,' is the granddaughter
to Benjamin "Lefty Two-Guns" Ruggiero, ex-mentor of one Donnie Brasco.

"Mob Wives" will include a new member when it makes its season two debut, according to a New York Post article that came to our attention via Gangster BB (bulletin board).

Ramona Rizzo — the granddaughter of Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero, the Bonnano crime family soldier who mentored “Donnie Brasco” — is joining the cast this season.

The Post reports that Rizzo joins the show, set to begin a new season Jan. 1, because she is a childhood friend of “Mob Wives” spitfire Karen Gravano, daughter of mob turncoat Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, according to Gangster BB.

A divorced mother of four, Rizzo lives in New Jersey, but was raised on Staten Island, where most of the action in “Mob Wives” takes place.

The Post got one part wrong, reporting, "Inexplicably, the mob never ordered a hit on Ruggiero as punishment for his error in judgment."

They did order a hit on Lefty; he was actually hoofing it to the meeting (a well-known brokester, Lefty likely couldn't afford a cab ride), knowing it was probably his doom, when the feds swooped in and arrested him, to save his life as well as put him on trial.

When he got out of prison -- I think he did a 10 to 20 year stretch -- his first act was to see boss Joe Massino to ask for permission to kill agent Pistone; Massino grinned and denied the permission. Massino had, at some point, rescinded the hit on Lefty after he kept his mouth shut and did his time for the family.

Lefty died — after a long prison stint — of cancer in 1994, before the movie that made him famous was released. I remember hearing at the time that some Hollywood flacks went to visit him and offered him $1 million for some insight that Pacino could use. Lefty, already bed-ridden sick and being eaten away by cancer, leaped off his bed, cursed the flacks out, and kicked them out of his house. His family members must have loved that -- losing a cool million bucks out of a dying mobster's pride. 

Joe Bruno on the Mob: Sal The Ironworker; 'Mob Wives'

Joe Bruno, journalist and mob
blogger.
A Vietnam veteran in the United States Navy, Joseph J. Bruno started out in the newspaper business in the mid 1970's as a sports columnist for the New York Tribune. During the 70's and 80's, Bruno was an associate editor for Boxing Illustrated and monthly contributor to Ring Magazine. In 1986-1987, Bruno wrote a sports column for the Times Herald Record in Middletown, New York. His articles have also appeared in Penthouse Magazine, Razor Magazine, Boxing Today, Boxing World, International Boxing Digest, Referee Magazine and Inside Boxing.  In 2000, Bruno's first novel Angel of Death was published by iUniverse.com.

Joe Bruno also has a blog, Joe Bruno On the Mob. Below are a couple of recent posts he has written about some timely mob subjects that we found interesting.

It seems like Canada is not such a safe place for reputed Mafiosos anymore.

The body of Salvatore Montagna, the alleged former boss of New York’s Bonanno Crime Family, was found dead in a river north of Montreal, Canada. Police in Canada are speculating that Montagna, who was called the “Bambino Boss” due to his rise to power in his mid-30s, was killed because he was forcing his way the leadership of the Mafia in Montreal, which had been decimated due to the recent killings of several of Montagna’s close Montreal associates, including the father and son of Vito Rizzuto, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia who is currently imprisoned in the United States.

Friday, November 25, 2011

RIP Sal the Iron Worker, Former Bonanno Boss

Sal The Iron Work, slain in
Canada, had once been the
acting Bonanno family boss.
Fished out of a river outside Montreal was the body of Sal "The Iron Worker" Montagna, reports CBC News. Cause of death has not yet been determined, but it was likely natural causes -- natural to the line of work he was in, that is.

His name may sound familiar. Sal had his 15 minutes of fame when his move to Long Island in 2009 was widely covered by the New York tabloids -- perhaps because it dovetailed with word that he had assumed the post of acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, or so U.S. authorities had said at the time. He had moved with his wife and three children to Elmont.

I was born and raised in Elmont; my parents still live there. I suppose this is why I have always had an interest in Sal, who was deported to Canada not long after he moved his family into Nassau County, probably to put them farther away from any dangers his "promotion" may have put them in. He was in his mid-30s at the time, so he was probably only in his late 30s when he was murdered.

Montagna's body was found in the Assomption River on Thanksgiving morning, in Charlemagne, northeast of the city of Montreal. "His death is the latest in a series of Mafia-related killings and disappearances over the last two years. Montagna was considered a contender to take over the decimated Rizzuto family," CBC News reports.

Nicknamed The Iron Worker because he owned and operated a successful steel business in the U.S., Montagna was born in Montreal but raised in Sicily. He moved to the United States at 15, but never obtained U.S. citizenship.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Latest Gotti Flick Update: Fiore Takes Backseat Role as New Billionaire Partner Steps Up

From Showbiz411: “Gotti” producer Marc Fiore has apparently decided to take a new secondary role in the film’s financing. He’s turning over his lead position to film/record producer Ted Field, heir to the Marshall Field department stores and the man who gave us the original Interscope Records. Field was running Radar Pictures. Field is said to be worth about $1 billion, which means he’s been able to take losses on such flops as “All About Steve,” “Twelve,” “The Invention of Lying” and other films that fell short of awards buzz like the dreadful but profitable “Bad Teacher.”

Field is a nice guy, though, and could possibly raise the money to resurrect “Gotti” from its current state of rigid morbidity. As I reported exclusively here, Fiore – an ex-con – has not had much luck getting “Gotti” together. And Fiore has other problems. He’s still being sued by actor Joe Pesci over a promised role. But even worse: he ran afoul of the man he named exec producer, one Salvatore Carpanzano, whom Fiore billed as a “successful international businessman.” Carpanzano’s financial backers committed to “Gotti.” But there are said to be a trail of significant snags that have embittered the players. Of course, there’s still the issue of Fiore’s other backer, Irish Sinn Fein backer Fay Devlin. There’s still enmity among all the players. Field will have his hands full, that’s for sure.

Read full story, Travolta “Gotti” Movie Gets New Producer to Look for Dough | Showbiz411

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who Exactly Runs Chicago These Days?

Capone was probably the most
famous mobster the world ever will see.
We are more familiar with New York's Five Families, but we've been working on broadening our scope a bit.

Here, we take a look at Mafia goings-on in the Windy City. Historically, only one family runs Chicago. Al Capone, perhaps the most famous mobster of all time, ran the city in the 1920s to early 1930s, during very tumultuous times; he in fact was the cause of tumult. (Scareface was originally from New York) and supposedly the Capone name still carries weight in the Chicago mob.

The Chicago Outfit, also known as the Chicago Syndicate, dates back to around 1910. It is, of course, part of the American Mafia but distinct from the Five Families of New York City, and families in other regions of the U.S. But New York and Chicago together were the chief powers on the Commission.

The Outfit is more strict, more loyal to tradition, than the New York families.

When "Mob Wives" producers came to town to start a spinoff, they had a lot of trouble finding Outfit-connected ladies willing to appear on the show.

“It’s inconceivable [Chicago mob wives would speak out],” one attorney told NBC Chicago. “I just don’t think it would meet with approval here.” Approval from whom? 

NYC -- How It Evolved from Most Dangerous City to the Safest: Salon.com

No one would argue that New York City is simply not the same city it was back during the 1970s to 1980s, and the results are good, crime wise, although there is something a bit boring and antiseptic about the city today.

In a Salon.com book review there is a theory put forth explaining how this change happened -- and the book will surprise you. The New York of the film "Death Wish" is today a city out of Disneyland, if you ask me.

"In the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s, New York was viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous metropolises — a cesspool of violence and danger depicted in gritty films like 'The Warriors' and 'Escape From New York.' Friends who lived here during that time talk of being terrified to use the subway, of being mugged outside their apartments, and an overwhelming tide of junkies. Thirty-one one of every 100,000 New Yorkers were murdered each year, and 3,668 were victims of larceny," the story says.

"Today, in an astonishing twist, New York is one of the safest cities in the country. Its current homicide rate is 18 percent of its 1990 total — its auto theft rate is 6 percent. The drop exceeded the wildest dreams of crime experts of the 1990s, and it’s a testament to this transformation that New Yorkers now seem more likely to complain about the city’s dullness than about its criminality."

How did this happen? According to a new book by a Berkeley law professor, the reasons for this evolution, despite the popularly held view, is not Giuliani’s “zero tolerance” bluster, Salon.com reports.

"In his fascinating new book, “The City that Became Safe,” Franklin Zimring, a professor of law and chairman of the Criminal Justice Research Program at the University of California at Berkeley [reports that] it was a combination of strategic policing and harm reduction by the New York Police Department. Police targeted open-air drug markets, and went after guns, while leaving drug users largely alone. The implications of the strategy could make us revise not only the way we think about crime, but the way we think about our prison system and even human nature."

Read full story: What really cleaned up New York - Salon.com

Update: Gotti Biopic Obtains Backing of a Billionaire Media Entrepreneur

From Ted Field Joins 'Gotti' Film as Producer (Exclusive) | The Wrap Movies:

There won’t be any cement shoes for a certain troubled mob project.

After running into financial difficulties, “Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father” has picked up a key addition: Ted Field.

The billionaire media entrepreneur has joined the Fiore Films picture as a producer, TheWrap has learned.

Field -- who has produced more than 50 films, including “The Last Samurai,” “Runaway Bride” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” -- will play an “active role” in the production, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks. Field runs Radar Pictures.

Director Barry Levinson made the introduction between Marc Fiore and Ted Field. It was Levinson who urged Fiore to sit down with Field, according to the individual.

The cast of the film, which includes such heavy hitters as John Travolta, Ben Foster and Al Pacino, was notified this week of Field's involvement.

The project had been dogged by reports that funding had dried up and by a lawsuit between the producers and Joe Pesci, who left the project after his role changed.

It was previously supposed to being shooting in January, but a new schedule still has to be determined. The previously announced cast, which also includes Kelly Preston and Chazz Palminteri, and screenwriter James Toback are still involved. Lindsay Lohan has been attached to the project at various times.

The film has swapped out law firms, however. Pryor Cashman will come on board to replace Greenberg Traurig.

A representative for Fiore Films declined to comment. Ted Field did not immediately respond to requests for comment.