Thursday, March 29, 2012

NY Filming Locations 40 Years After 'Godfather' Film

The Godfather house

MYFOXNY.COM - Good Day New York's Greg Kelly is a huge fan of The Godfather movie.

The often-quoted and iconic movie was filmed on Staten Island.

Greg visited the home and spoke with the owners- the same family who lived at the house while the movie was taped.

'Mob Wife' Karen Gravano in Hot Water for Firing Gun

TVWeek - Television Industry news, TV ratings, analysis, celebrity event photos:

A VH1 reality series has come under fire from victims of the mafia underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose daughter Karen stars on the show, reports the New York Post's Page Six.

The family members of Gravano's victims are urging for an investigation into whether Karen broke the law by firing a gun on “Mob Wives,” the story notes.

In the episode, Karen and her friends go to a shooting range in the Poconos, with Karen reminiscing about how she once found a gun hidden under her dad's mattress, the piece says.

Some relatives of Gravano's victims allege Karen broke the law since she pleaded guilty about 10 years ago to charges related to a drug ring in Arizona, the story notes. ...

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives hasn't yet opened a criminal probe into the incident, according to a spokesman in its Philadelphia Field Division.

Karen Gravano said her probation terms ended in 2003. "... They’re doing everything they can to discredit me because of their personal issues with my father," Gravano said, according to the story.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trying to Please Some of You, Some of the Time

I love comments from my readers -- I really wish you would all leave more. And if you join this site (go down a bit, check right hand side of the page to do this), I will even email you my free ebook, which is about 35 pages of original stories from this site.

But some comments I can do without, and this post is about one that falls into that category. The comment, now deleted, written by someone who didn't like the person I had written about, and alleged that I had gotten my facts wrong. No, I am not giving details, but I would like to point out a few things that seem to be worth repeating. Although I have said this so many times, I am getting tired of it...

I am a professional journalist, who has worked as a reporter and an editor for a couple of decades, since graduating college.

I am not in the mafia nor do I hang out with anyone even remotely connected. I am not a "wannabe"'; a wannabe, to me, is a guy who pretends he is in the mafia but isn't, or someone who is somehow "connected" on some level. Associates bound for eventual membership could be deemed wannabes.

I am first and foremost a writer. I started this blog up because it was a place for me to write for me; to write stories that I want to write, not stories I have to write. Being a writer is not just a job; it is a calling, a devotion, a lifelong commitment, almost similar to joining the priesthood. Writers, real writers, can't stop writing. I am working on a novel as well, and I write another blog totally unrelated to the mafia.

So I formed Cosa Nostra News as a place where I could "publish" stories I am compelled to write, about a topic that has always interested me: the mafia. Or sometimes I find stories that I think will interest you, so I post part of the story, usually the first several paragraphs, and give you a direct link to the original article so you can read the rest. I usually add introductions and insert comments into these excerpts I run.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

'Godfather' Month Continues with MoviePhone's 'Fact and Fiction' Post About Acclaimed American Film

'The Godfather' Month continues with a post separating the film's fact from its fiction (or trying to) as posted on (amendments are included as correctives):

"My Mafia is a very romanticized myth," said "Godfather" novelist Mario Puzo, who claimed that he had never met any actual mobsters when he wrote his bestseller, and that his accounts of lurid crimes were based on archival research and imagination. Nor did Francis Ford Coppola have any direct knowledge of mob life when he and Puzo adapted the novel into a screenplay. Yet 40 years later, "The Godfather" is widely considered one of the most accurate movies about the Mafia, even though all its characters are fictional. Part of that is canny mythmaking on the part of Puzo and Coppola, but much of it comes from the real-life Mafia lore that is only thinly disguised in the movie. Which of the movie's notorious deeds are based on fact, and which are invented out of whole cloth? Read on.

The Don

Aside from big events like his daughter's wedding, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is a quiet man who keeps a low profile, running his crime empire from his unassuming olive oil import storefront. Coppola has said he's a combination of mid-century crime bosses Vito Genovese (who like his fictional counterpart, eschewed drug dealing) and Joe Prifaci [Ed. Note: PROFACI! Unbelievable, MoviePhone!]. Another likely inspiration is Carlo Gambino, another quiet, unflashy man who, through assassinations and betrayals, became head of the mob family that bears his name and the most powerful Mafioso in New York. LIke Brando's character, Gambino lived on a suburban estate outside Manhattan and died peacefully of a heart attack when he was old and still a free man.

[Note: Puzo's mother was the true inspiration! Why does everyone get that wrong? See "related posts" listed below.]

The Five Families
The business meeting where Vito calls together the heads of the mob families (the five New York families and others from around the country) is based on similar real-life meetings. "The Commission" was the name the Mafia gave to the ruling council that included the five New York families and the families from other territories. As in the movie, the Commission existed to settle disputes. Unlike in the movie, there was no moral squeamishness among Commission members over drug dealing, and mob-related narcotics busts were frequent. There were occasional bans on drug trafficking, but only because sentences were so severe that they were an incentive for indicted mob soldiers to turn state's evidence.

[It was supposed to be the Commission for Peace -- or Della Commissione della Pace or some variation thereof, only the American Mafiosi couldn't pronounce it, so it became known as simply the Commission. Pretty funny. Despite the waves it created, Bonanno's book "A Man of Honor" is worth a read by all true students of Mafia history. The Commission was an American invention, too, specifically Luciano's; there was no corresponding outfit in Sicily.]

The Restaurant

The turning point of "The Godfather" comes when Michael (Al Pacino) lures two of his enemies to an outer-borough Italian restaurant and shoots them with a gun planted in the bathroom. That's more or less how one of the most pivotal hits in mob history went down. In 1931, Lucky Luciano met old-time boss Giuseppe Masseria at a Coney Island eatery called Nuovo Villa Tammaro. He excused himself to go to the bathroom, and that's when the hit happened. Luciano wasn't one of the shooters; the assassination was carried out by Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, Albert Anastasia, and Bugsy Siegel. That whacking made Luciano and his hit squad the new leaders of organized crime in New York and gave rise to the modern Mafia.

The Exile

After the hit, Michael flees to Sicily. He seems to be emulating Vito Genovese, who ran off to Italy in 1937 to evade murder charges. During the war, however, he helped U.S. Army Intelligence by putting local black marketeers out of business (and secretly taking control of their operations). The government dropped the charges against him, allowing him to return to America. Lucky Luciano also went to Italy, having been deported in 1946. He never returned to America, but he continued to exert influence from abroad, working with Meyer Lansky to invest in casinos in Cuba (as Michael Corleone did with Hyman Roth, the Lansky-like character in "The Godfather Part II"). Like Michael, Luciano fell in love with a much younger Italian woman and lived with her until her death. Unlike in "The Godfather," they were never married, and she died of breast cancer, not a car bomb.

Read the rest, and there are some good ones, so click the link: 'The Godfather' Anniversary: Fact and Fiction


Basciano's Attorneys Take Their Defense From 'The Godfather'

Cosa Nostra News: The Godfather Effect

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cosa Nostra News Free Ebook to All Who Join This Site

At nearly 35 pages, this free ebook -- which took me a long friggin time to put together! -- will be emailed FOR FREE to all my readers who join this site. It's simple enough to do: go down the right hand side of the web page until you see this:

Join this site

Click Join this Site, and follow the instructions -- and this book will be emailed to you. It can be printed out, emailed to an iPad or read on your computer, whatever you want. As for my existing members, please email me to let me know if you would like a copy, at If anyone has trouble joining, please email me and let me know. If anyone really wants a copy but can't join, let me know, too.

Below is a copy of the cover. The ebook, which is in PDF format, includes many of the mobsters included on this site and includes some of the more popular stories as well as those made up primarily of original content (meaning I wrote them, versus linking to stories published elsewhere). Now, I could grow a brain and try to sell this on for $5 -- so hurry up and join, or if you're a member, email me -- 'cause I can't say how long this offer will stand!!!

Cosa Nostra News
What's going on in traditional organized crime in America

This ebook is made up exclusively of copyright-protected content that has
appeared on the website titled Cosa Nostra News,
owned and operated by Ed Lieber

This ebook, freely distributed by copyrights holder, is comprised of a
selection of posts taken from the blog, which is exclusively focused on the
Italian Mafia in America. “La Cosa Nostra” is the official designation for
Italian organized crime in the U.S. by the FBI. The blog is located at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mob Turncoats by Crime Family

There are A LOT of rats out there -- and they range from associates to made men who held rank.

Made men are made until death; guys who flipped are considered to be shelved, according to a mobster's testimony, backed up by sources we've spoken with about this, including former Gambino crime family capo Michael DiLeonardo.
Nothing new here -- Gambino rat Sammy Bull, before a later reckoning.

Turncoats, my preferred nomenclature, is more accurate, I believe as a tax-paying citizen not affiliated with the Mafia. I also happen to believe in law and order; I write a blog about the Mafia because of personal interest and a journalism background.

Old Ravenite Club Now Deals High-End Shoes


Click link in story for the video from Street Smart.

The old bosses may have passed on, but the Mafia footprint remains.

The Ravenite Social Club, formerly one of the most notorious Mafia hangouts in Little Italy, the headquarters for John Gotti and his crew in the 1970s and 1980s, is now a high-end footwear boutique called Shoe. [Ed. Note: Once upon a time, it was named, and populated, by one Salvatore Lucania, aka "Lucky Luciano," and he made the American mob, using ideas from the native Sicilian organization and from one Salvatore Maranzano, a boss whose murder Lucania engineered.]

Leila Mae Makdissi, the business's current owner, remembers the ethnic Italian character of an older downtown that she grew up in.

She said she witnessed the storefront's history firsthand. In an interview with Street Smart Video, Makdissi recalls Godfather John 'Dapper Don' Gotti and his friends parking their big cars on the street [Note: and on the sidewalks, too -- giving cops and feds full view of the entire family, of which videos and pictures have been floating around ever since.] and taking walks around the block.

"Supposedly, if anybody misbehaved there were the, you know, the goodfellows who would take care of things for you," she said.

Located at 247 Mulberry Street, the Ravenite Social Club's old identity as mob hangout and New York family headquarters has nearly vanished beneath the Shoe's welcoming, warm-toned displays and high-end wares. Despite the shop's new place in the world of contemporary Soho couture, however, the ghost of Gotti still lingers.

"People from all around the world come here all the time and ask us, "Is this the place?" Makdissi says.

Shoe's renovators deliberately preserved the building's old tile floor - its cracks and grimy red rosettes suggest a less polished history - and Makdissi says that visitors still sometimes ask her if they can kiss the ground.

Read more: Old Mafia Headquarters Now Deals High-End Shoes

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Starbucks Secret Menu, for Members Only

Hey, coffee and the Mafia go together like a burger and fries, so I am banking on this post attracting some interest in the great beyond of the World Wide Web...

The Starbucks Secret Menu Is on a Need To Know Basis | Sum of the Web:

Starbucks has said for years that it offers over 87,000 drink menu combinations, but just recently a new secret menu has been revealed by loyal Starbucks customers. There are some famous other secret menus, the best being In-n-Out’s Super Secret Menu.I definitely need to check out some of these awesome new drinks at Starbucks.

Biscotti Frapuccino: Buy a biscotti and ask the barista to blend it up with any flavor of frapuccino. It blends into tiny cookie chunks that add a delicious little crunch to your frozen coffee.
Short Drink: The sizes the “mainstream menu” gives you are “Tall,” “Grande” and “Venti,” but if you say you want the “short” size to any Starbucks drink you can receive a less expensive and smaller sized drink. Although this size is in their cash register, they don’t put it on the menu as a marketing strategy to make customers buy larger and more expensive drinks.
Short cappuccino: A “Short” cappuccino is a more Italian style cappuccino. Basically this cappuccino leaves out the gallons of milk Starbucks puts in for the more traditional amount of dairy that the drink originated with.
Red Eye: A shot of espresso in regular drip coffee.
Black Eye: Two shots of espresso in regular drip coffee.
Green Eye: Three shots of espresso in regular drip coffee. Not for anyone with a heart condition or road rage issues.
Poor Man’s Latte: Order an Iced Americano with no water and half ice, then you can add free half and half at the little milk and condiments table. This is the same drink as a Breve Latte but costs much less. Just watch out for the classy police. This is definitely not the most chic thing to be caught doing by your mother-in-law or boss.

U.S. Cosa Nostra on Life Support Vs. Global Outfits

The Primer on Organized Crime via StumbleUpon:

With 1,100 members, 80% of which are tripping over one another in New York and its outer boroughs, the American "La Cosa Nostra," which is the official FBI term for the U.S.-based Mafia, is a mere hill of beans compared with other criminal outfits around the world.

Just look at this chart, which you can see on its homesite via the above link. The Italian Comorra has 7,000 members -- but even that is a drop in the bucket when compared with the Russian mob, which has over 300,000 members around the world; the Triads, at 250,000; and the Yakuza, at 86,000.

Maybe AG Holder was on to something when he consolidated the Fed's focus on O.C. in this country.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Alleged Mob Boss Gioeli's Voice

If you read yesterday's top post, you know Gioeli's predicament.

From a blog run by the "alleged" former Colombo boss's daughter: "Here is a link to the second interview between my Dad and Frank Morano of AM 970 The Answer. Trial started off well today. Looking forward to the weeks to come."


In an earlier post, dated Thursday, March 15,  Jury Selection Ransacked, she writes,

On Tuesday I unexpectedly attended the jury selection for my Dad. We weren't planning on going but we needed to deliver his clothes to the courthouse. It felt good to be there because for the first time in four years (about 58 months) I got to see my Dad in clothes, real clothes, like a member of society, a human being. Still, I was a nervous wreck. I haven't been at a court hearing for my Dad in I can't even remember how long and today the reality of trial hit me. But the process of the jury selection eased my mind.

"Tuesday was the first time I have ever felt a sense of justice in regards to my Dad's case. It felt American. A jury selection of all ages, all colors, white collar, blue collar, men, women, a real representation of New York City. I saw people my age, a few kids wearing Yankee fitted hats and I thought they could easily be kids I went to school with. The jurors were smiling and everyone was interviewed by the judge. They all denied having any reason to not be a fair candidate for my Dad's trial. I heard the Judge remind the potential jurors that an indictment is simply a formal accusation, nothing more. He reminded them that they must have an open-mind in order to be on a jury. He reminded them that in America we believe in innocent until proven guilty; that my Dad and his co-defendant are in fact innocent unless proven otherwise. He reminded them that they can only be proven guilty if the jury believes that they have committed the crimes which they are charged with beyond any reasonable doubt. I had never heard the Judge profess such American ideas in court anytime before. The Judge, the government, and the defense worked together and chose the jurors: a just, American process. Everybody left court happy.

Following the jury selection, my Dad went back to Metropolitan Detention Center to find his cell completely ransacked. All of the Italian guys on his floor had their cells tossed too, coincidence? The lieutenants reminded the other guys that their cells were being raided because of Tommy Gioeli (a tactic to divide inmates). Today, they raided the entire floor and again reminded the rest of the inmates who to blame, “Tommy Gioeli.” Tommy Gioeli who speaks up for them on his blog and on the radio. Obviously a warning to the other inmates to keep their mouths shut and to resent my Dad for opening his.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two (More) Colombos on Trial for Cop Kill

'Tommy Shots' Gioeli when he was arrested.

Two Colombo family mobsters, Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli and Dino (Little Dino) Saracino, will appear in Brooklyn Federal Court to face a jury for a crime that defies even the twisted logic of the Mafia — killing a cop. Among other things.

Former Colombo crime family acting boss Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace, to be tried separately, may get the lethal needle for ordering the hit. I have already covered this story in the article listed below, "Could be Lights Out for Joe Waverly."

The police officer, Ralph Dols, was allegedly involved with steroids, illegal gambling and supposedly had ties to both Russian and Italian organized crime. His wife has had two husbands out of five die on her via murder. This story basically adds details about the so-called "Black Widow," Kimberly on...

'Joe Waverly,' who has been shot
so many times he has a slug in his
chest, may get the lethal needle.
From the NY Daily News:

She was cruelly dubbed the Black Widow after two of her five husbands were murdered.

But Kimberly Kennaugh is counting on Monday’s trial of two mobsters to bring justice for her slain spouse — an NYPD cop — and clear her name.

"I've been attacked as if I pulled the gun," she told the Daily News. "I'd walk outside my building with the bullet holes in the wall every day and there were detectives following me.

"There was "666" sprayed in red paint by somebody on the building wall. Somebody left a letter at my door that said, 'Are you happy now b----?' I felt the hatred."

Now, 15 years after her fourth husband, Officer Ralph Dols, was shot to death in Brooklyn, two Colombo family mobsters, Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli and Dino (Little Dino) Saracino, will appear in Brooklyn Federal Court to face a jury for a crime that defies even the twisted logic of the Mafia — killing a cop.

“I want closure for Ralph's family. I want closure for him," Kennaugh, 52, said.

"I want closure too," she added.

Federal prosecutors say Kennaugh's third husband, former Colombo crime family acting boss Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace, ordered the hit on the 28-year-old Dols because he felt disrespected that his ex-wife had married a police officer.

But as the killing remained unsolved for more than a decade, questions arose about Dols' alleged involvement with steroids, illegal gambling and ties to both Russian and Italian organized crime.
Detectives also focused on Kennaugh, calling her the Black Widow because her second husband, mobster Enrico Carrini, was whacked in 1987 after they had separated.

Cacace himself had survived a Colombo war shooting in 1992. Kennaugh’s first husband, Thomas Capelli, was a Colombo soldier.

The NYPD refused to put up a memorial plaque for Dols in Police Headquarters, but his housing bureau colleagues did so in their Coney Island, Brooklyn, station where he was known as the "Gentle Giant." His locker remains a shrine in the Police Service Area No. 1 locker room.

"Ralph had that locker and no one else can ever use it," said Officer Anthony Cerenzio.
"I want his name cleared. It was unjust what they did to him," Kennaugh said.

But prosecutors are pinning Dols’ murder solely on Gioeli and Saracino, and charging that they acted on Cacace’s direction.

Gioeli is also being tried on five gangland killings and Saracino on three.

Cacace is facing the death penalty for ordering the murder and will be tried separately. He was asked after his arrest about being connected with the murder of a cop and replied, "I don't give a f---."

Read more:

Ambush on NYPD cop highlights wife's alleged Mafia ties


Could be lights out for Joe Waverly

Will mobsters start getting executed?

'Podfathers' Still Waiting for much-ballyhooed iPads

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Following 'Godfather,' Top 10 Mob Bosses of Film, TV


The film ended with a bodyguard closing Michael Corleone’s office door (to shut out the boss’s prying wife) – but "The Godfather" opened a window to a whole new kind of gangster on the big and small screen.
Clockwise from top left: James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano; Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface'; Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero in 'Goodfellas'; and Jack Nicholson as Francis Costello in 'The Departed.'
Clockwise from top left: James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano; Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface'; Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero in 'Goodfellas'; and Jack Nicholson as Francis Costello in 'The Departed.'

Like a genealogy search on, you can link Michael to his successors over the next 40 years – a line that leads directly to Tony Soprano, another mobster who followed in his father’s bloody footsteps.

Since 2007, when Tony suddenly went to black while sitting in a booth at Holsten’s in Bloomfield, there have surely been other memorable bad guys on TV and in movies. There have also been mob-related reality shows, like "Growing Up Gotti" and now "Mob Wives." And in the works is a big-screen biopic called "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father," in which John Travolta will play Teflon Don John Gotti.

But Tony Soprano arguably remains the last big mobster protagonist we’ve seen to date, and so, he’ll end our list of 10 onscreen mob bosses who owe a debt to Michael Corleone and "The Godfather."

10. Tony Montana, "Scarface" (1983): In this ultra-violent remake of a 1932 film that starred Paul Muni, Al Pacino – the man who brought Michael Corleone to life – played Montana, a Cuban convict who immigrated to Miami and worked his way up to be drug kingpin.

9. Don Corrado Prizzi, "Prizzi’s Honor" (1985): The late William Hickey got an Oscar nomination for his Prizzi, a greedy, sinister, seemingly kindly old man who could sanction a hit one minute and offer someone a cookie the next.

Rizzuto 'Suspected' of Ordering Montagna Hit: Law Enforcement

Sal 'The Iron Worker' Montagna.
While he didn't pull the trigger,Vito Rizzuto, the once-powerful Montreal mob boss now sitting in an American prison, is suspected of being behind the murder of Sal "The Iron Worker" Montagna late last year, reports The

According to the article, Jailed mob don: I’ll take over the world!: "Rizzuto, who for years ran the Bonannos’ Canadian branch, is said to be the biggest mobster north of the border, and US investigators suspect he was behind the hit of rival Sal “The Iron Worker” Montagna, a former New York Bonanno boss, in Montreal in November.
Raynald Desjardins, Rizzuto confederate,
was jailed for Montagna's murder.

"They think the murder was part of Rizzuto’s power grab."

[Ed. Note: Is the Montreal Mafia family really the Canadian branch of the U.S. Bonanno family? We thought so, but some have disagreed with this, saying the Mafia groups in Canada are separate from those in the U.S.]

Rizzuto is near the end of a 10-year sentence for participating in the 1981 murders of the three Bonanno capos who challenged Rusty Rastelli's leadership. He gets out in October, we've read.

Vito Rizzuto, US-jailed one-time
mob boss of Montreal, will be
back on the streets this year.
Since Rizzuto's arrest, the Canadian mob has been in deadly disarray, with several gangland hits taking place in the past few years, including the murders of Rizzuto's father and brother.

Montagna, a former acting Bonanno boss who was 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 Rizzuto, according to published reports.

Police said at the time of Montagna's murder and the arrest of his alleged killer that 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," referring to Montagna, reported 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.

Desjardins is to face first-degree murder charges in the shooting death last January of Montagna, who was found murdered 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.

The noted 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 reports.

Desjardins was not injured in the ambush, which occurred prior to Montagna's killing.

Montagna was shot to death on Nov. 24 inside or as he exited a home that belongs to Jack Arthur Simpson, 69, who is serving a 28-year sentence for trafficking cocaine.

The  article contains some rather bizarre claims supposedly made by Rizzuto according to a "jailhouse source" that we at Cosa Nostra News simply find difficult to believe.

“I don’t just want to be godfather of Canada — I want to be godfather of the world,” are among the words this source puts in Rizzuto's mouth in the Post story. The former mob boss also wants revenge -- for the murder of his father and brother. Well, anyone could assume thoughts of vendetta are on his mind.

"He’s got little to live for, so while locked up at a maximum-security pen in Florence, Colo., he’s been eating vegetarian, staying fit, sharpening his mind with games of pinochle — and plotting his coup, the source said."

From the way things are going in Canada, he'd be better off studying to enter another profession, one in which he is less likely to get whacked. And we hope the jailhouse source enjoyed his plate of penne or whatever reward he got for speaking obvious smack about Rizzuto.


Tony Sirico: 'Then Let Me Shoot Her'

'David, don't make me kill a woman... I come
from a tough neighborhood.'

"TONY SIRICO: I got the script that I had to kill a woman, and I ran to David. I said, “David, don’t make me kill a woman.” He said, “No, you’ve got to kill her.” I said, “Then let me shoot her.” He said, “No, it’s got to be personal.” I said, “David, I come from a tough neighborhood. If I go home and they see that I killed a woman, it’s going to make me look bad.” He smiled and said, “No, you’ve got to do it.” Here’s the thing. We did the scene; I had to smother her. First he wanted me to strangle her; I said, “No, I’m not putting my hands on her.” He said, “Use the pillow.” After it was all said and done, I went back to the neighborhood, and nobody said a word. They loved the show; they didn’t care what we did."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tony Gets Whacked at Sopranos' End: Imperioli

The Family Hour: An Oral History of The Sopranos | Hollywood | Vanity Fair:

Did Tony die at the end of the series? Some cast members
think it is quite possible.
MICHAEL IMPERIOLI (Christopher Moltisanti): I thought it was a great ending. A lot of people hated it and thought it was a cop-out, but I thought it was the proper way. Knowing David Chase, he never liked to wrap things up neatly. I never expected it to be either a cliffhanger so people would wait for the movie or wait for another season or just some like really final thing. But I think he’s dead, is what I think. David was trying to put us in the place of the last things you see before you die. You remember some little details and something catches your eye and that’s it. You don’t know the aftermath because you’re gone."

West Coast 'Mobster Madness'

"Tony the Ant" Spilotro

With a roster of names like Jimmy the Weasel, Tony the Ant, and Flipper Milano, you might think of characters from a kids cartoon. Well, fuhgeddaboudit. They're all West Coast mobsters. And, while cement shoes and "made men" are typically associated with New Jersey, New York and Chicago, plenty of Cosa Nostra action went down in the West. Here are five hideouts where you can get a piece of the "family" business.

1. The Mob Museum, Las Vegas

Located in the former federal courthouse where mobsters such as Tony Spilotro and Lefty Rosenthal were prosecuted, this museum tells the story of organized crime and the authorities who tried to shut it down. Listen to wire-taps of mobsters, join a police lineup and wince at graphic photos of mob hits. 300 Stewart Ave., (702) 229-2734,

2. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood

When Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was suspected of skimming money from the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, his East Coast pals gave him the Moe Green Special - death by bullet in the eye - at his girlfriend's Beverly Hills home. Come pay your respects at the tomb where Bugsy is taking a permanent "dirt nap"; the inscription reads "In loving memory from the family." 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 469-1181,

3. Capo's, Las Vegas

Knock on the door; a peephole pops open, and a heavy Italian accent asks if "You gotta reservashun?" With blood-red booths, chandeliers dripping crystals, and live Sinatra music daily, this "luxury mafia-chic" restaurant is the perfect spot for a couple of goodfellas and their molls to grab a bite. 5675 W. Sahara Ave., (702) 364-2276,

Read full article: 5 Places: Hideouts for mobster madness

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NY Times Toasts 'The Godfather,' New York


Some of you may consider this an offer you can refuse, but others will want to note an event of enduring cultural import that took place 40 years ago Thursday. “The Godfather,” a film as firmly rooted in New York as Manhattan schist, opened that day in five theaters around the city.

Ever since, a significant portion of the American population, certainly the male component, has gone around talking about how it’s time to go to the mattresses; how this or that is strictly business, not personal; and how it’s advisable to leave the gun and take the cannoli.

Catch phrases aside, the anniversary of the 1972 Francis Ford Coppolamasterpiece is a moment to appreciate New York’s centrality in American cinema. No other place compares, not by a long shot.

Relying on the collective judgment of movie historians and critics, the American Film Institute compiled what it calls the 100 greatest movies ever. Lists of this sort always provide fuel for barroom and dining-table arguments. Nonetheless, more than a quarter of the movies, 27, were set in this city, entirely or in part. They include three of the top four: “Citizen Kane” (eternally No. 1), “The Godfather” (No. 2) and “Raging Bull” (No. 4).

Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck Broken by Mob?

Sir Tom Jones -- his knighthood didn't protect his assets
from a debt-ridden manager who owed the Mafia.
From 3 News:

Sir Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck lost millions of dollars in profit from their 1960s Las Vegas residencies because their manager siphoned off the cash to pay his gambling debts, according to a new report.

The British crooners performed to packed houses in Sin City night after night during their heyday but were on a relatively small retainer of US$8,000 a week.

And it's now alleged the missing millions from their shows had been used by music mogul Gordon Mills to settle his enormous US$320 million gambling debt to the casinos' Mafia owners.

Mills' former business partner Tony Cartwright, who is penning his memoirs, revealed the scandal to The Sun newspaper, telling the publication, "It was the biggest heist in showbiz history. Tom is still looking for his millions he thinks Gordon hid in offshore accounts."

Cartwright claims Mills once blew US$320,000 at a casino in one evening, adding, "I found him with his head in his hands. He told me he'd lost the £100,000. He borrowed another 100k and lost that too. And it was all Tom and Engelbert's money...

"(The Mafia) were more than happy to give him credit. It meant they tied the singers in for life without them even knowing it. And Gordon had no choice but to let them do it because he owed so much money... When we were doing sell-out stadiums the Mob would say, 'We're taking 50 per cent of the box office' and Gordon would agree. He had no choice. He owed them millions... Forget the Hollywood films about gangsters and Vegas. Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck were in the middle of it. And they didn't even know it."

Mills died of cancer in 1986.

Read more: Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck's fortune used to pay mafia debts - Story - Entertainment - 3 News

Cast Pix, Bios of 'Mob Wives: Chicago'

From Meet The Cast of Mob Wives Chicago - Reality Tea:
Mob Wives Chicago
Following the major success of Mob Wives, it only makes sense that the VH1 network would expand the series with a spinoff!

Herein comes Mob Wives Chicago, which is set to d├ębut this Spring on the network! Even better, VH1 has also released the names and biographies of the five cast members.

The cast is pictured above, via the Chicago Suntimes, from left to right: Leah DeSimone, Renee Fecarotta Russo, Pia Rizza, Christina Scoleri and Nora Schweihs.

The press release states, Mob Wives Chicago will follow “the lives of five women allegedly connected to “The Outfit,” Chicago’s version of the Mob, as they bear the cross for the sins of their Mob-associated fathers. With lives that are right off the pages of a story book, each woman has chosen her own way to live her life in the city that was once home to Al Capone, sometimes in spite of and many times because of who her father is.”

So, what can we expect on this new series? According to VH1, “these women battle their friends, families and each other as they try to do what’s best for themselves and their children. But ultimately, it is the ghost of their fathers they battle, living and dead, as they try to overcome and persevere in the face of these men’s notorious legacies.”
Pics and write ups on each wife follows:

Nora Schweihs – Nora is back in Chicago to take care of some unfinished business. Nora’s father, Frank “The German” Schweihs, was reputed to be one of the most notorious hit men for the Mob. Schwiehs–whose alleged “hits” were not limited to the Mob–has long been rumored to be responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe. Shortly after his death in 2008, the government confiscated his remains before he could be properly buried. Nora has returned to Chicago to learn the whereabouts of his body. Despite growing up hearing stories of his viciousness and brutality, Nora idolized her father and she continues to defend him… even to his grave.

Leah DeSimone – Leah is the over-protected daughter of William “Wolf” DeSimone, a supposed “associate” of the Mob, but Leah’s keeping mum. Leah never knew, and knew never to ask, what her Dad did for a living. Leaving one day in a suit, Wolf would return days later in street clothes, with no explanation and none expected. Now “retired,” Wolf still keeps tabs on his little girl. But, as vigilant as he is of her safety, Leah is equally secretive of her Dad’s profession … if you’re “connected,” you NEVER talk about it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bulger's Lady Pleads Guilty to Helping Irish Mobster

Catherine Greig was indeed a looker in her day; no wonder
Whitey went after this one...
From The Boston Globe:

Catherine Greig, girlfriend of alleged murderous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, has agreed to plead guilty to charges that she helped him to escape capture while he was on the lam for 16 years.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court today, Greig said she would plead to three charges -- conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, and identity fraud -- without an agreed-upon recommendation for sentencing by the government and her attorney. Greig is slated to go before a federal judge Wednesday.

In a statement of facts signed by Greig, also filed in court, she said, “I engaged in conduct that was intended to help Bulger avoid detection from law enforcement and to provide him with support and assistance during his flight from law enforcement.”

She admitted that she and Bulger had obtained false identification documents including driver’s licenses and Social Security cards of real people.

She admitted that she used one fake identity to pick up medicine and obtain medical services between 2002 and 2011, and used other aliases while dealing with a dentist who treated Bulger while they lived in Santa Monica, Calif.

Read full article, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger girlfriend, Catherine Greig, agrees to plead guilty to three charges - Metro Desk - Local news updates from The Boston Globe

Monday, March 12, 2012

'Mob Wives' Drita Appearing at Mohegan Sun

Drita D’Avanzo, of VH1’s Mob Wives, Joins Mohegan Sun At Pocono Downs For Free Signing Event:

WHAT: Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Signings & Sightings is pleased to announce that on March 9th, Drita D’Avanzo of VH1’s Mob Wives fame will be taking part in a Signings & Sightings event on the Sky

Bridge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs at 8:00pm, followed by a special appearance at Breakers.

WHEN: Friday, March 9th
Signing: 8:00pm – 9:00pm at the Sky Bridge

Appearance at Breakers to follow

IN DETAIL: Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs’ Signature Events provide an exciting lineup offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet some of your favorite celebrities and more! All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

ABOUT DITRA: Drita D’Avanzo is the wife of Lee D’Avanzo, who federal prosecutors allege is the leader of a Bonanno and Colombo crime family farm team. While Drita’s husband is serving time in prison for bank robbery (for the second time), she is left alone raising their two young girls and freelancing as a make-up artist.

Ditra was raised in the projects of Staten Island after her family settled there from Albania. Under the aid of her hardnosed father who coached soccer, Ditra would be invited to play for the Women’s National Soccer Team until she met her first love and decided against going. After a string of relationships, Ditra met and fell in love with Lee. While pregnant with their first child, Lee would be sentenced to 8 years in prison for alleged bank robberies. Ditra realized during this time that she would need something to fall back on and that’s when she started her career as a make-up artist. She has since worked for various high-end cosmetic companies while her husband has been away and plans to use her skills and initiative to one day develop her own cosmetic line.

Mob Club 'Cafe Liberty' Closes Chapter of Mafia History, Leaves Cat Homeless

From The Huffington Post:

The city's furriest mob associate is up for adoption, The New York Daily News reports. The old men who inherited a black cat when they took over former social club Cafe Liberty in Ozone Park say they can't pay the rent anymore, and need someone to take the feline off their hands.

Five years ago, Alfred (Freddy Hot) DiCongilio--the same wise guy who allegedly killed Frank Boccia inside Cafe Liberty in 1988--adopted the cat from a rescue. The four-legged creature killed rats and was a beloved pet to the crime family, most of whom have died or are now in prison.

Its name? Obama.

According to the NY Daily News: The club was founded in the mid-1960s by Gambino soldiers Anthony (Fat Andy) Ruggiano Sr. and Anthony (Tony Lee) Guerrieri.

They’re both dead now, but Guerrieri’s photo joins Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Jimmy Durante and Rocky Marciano on the wood-paneled walls.

Most of the members were regular guys who came by to play cards, watch TV and eat — but notorious figures like Dominic (Skinny Dom) Pizzonia, the sauce-stirring capo, reigned.

In 1988, Gambino associate Frank (Geeky) Boccia was whacked in the garden with approval from Gotti.
Pizzonia and associate Alfred (Freddy Hot) DiCongilio were acquitted of the slaying, vividly described by turncoat and club founder’s son Anthony Ruggiano Jr. at trial.

“He shot him first about five times and then he (Boccia) came running back into the front of the club,” the junior Ruggiano testified.

“He (Pizzonia) said, ‘This f------ guy don’t want to die,’ and he put more bullets in the gun and ran in the back and shot him,” Ruggiano Jr. testified.

Another hair-raising event was the 1992 armed stickup of Cafe Liberty by the ill-fated Bonnie and Clyde robbery duo Thomas and Rosemarie Uva.

The Uvas were gunned down in their car while stopped at a red light on Christmas Eve.

Read full articles:

Contract is out on old Queens gang lair - NY Daily News

Mob Club 'Cafe Liberty' Looking For Someone To Adopt Black Cat Named 'Obama'

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Were Ramona, Karen Friends Before 'Mob Wives'?

More interesting stuff on Ramona from one of our favorite reality-TV websites: All About The Real Housewives:

As most of you know Mob Wives star Ramona Rizzo previously lived in the Middle East, somewhere in Jordan. Ramona married a man and had 4 children with him and when things didn’t work out, moved to Staten Island and moved in with her boyfriend who she only knew for a few weeks. A former friend of Ramona who would like to remain anonymous tells AllAboutTRH exclusively that in the many years she’s known Ramona, Karen’s name was never brought up!

Ramon Rizzo, newest "Mob Wife" who is not a mobster's wife.
“I’ve known Ramona for many years. Ramona moved out to Staten Island with her kids in 2009. When I knew Ramona never once did she ever mention Karen’s name or ever communicate with her.”

Wed., April 18: Linda Scarpa Featured on 'The Streets Don't Love You Back' Webcast

Linda Scarpa
Time: April 18, 2012 at 11:30pm to April 19, 2012 at 1:30am
Website or Map: http://www.thestreetsdontlove…
Event Type: radio, show
Organized By: The Streets Don't Love You Back

Linda is the daughter of notorious mobster Greg Scarpa, known as "The Grim Reaper." He was a capo for the Colombo crime family.


Cosa Nostra News: Former Fed Confirms Scarpa's Role in '60s Civil Rights Case 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Would-be Mafia Turncoat Found Dead in Hotel Room

"Nicky Skins" may have committed
suicide over switching sides -- cops
allege he may have took a witness
with him.
From NY Daily News:

A guilt-ridden mob rat set to testify for the feds turned tail and killed himself — two days after he reportedly settled a grudge with a gun.

The suicide of Gambino wiseguy Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli has the FBI and the mob in a tizzy, sources said.

“All five families are scurrying for the hills” after revelations he had been wearing a wire for at least two years, one source told the Daily News.
Stefanelli, 69, was found dead in a New Jersey hotel room on Feb. 26. The cause has not been announced, and authorities refused to comment, but several sources said he took his own life.

"My brother found him,” said his daughter, Francine Stefanelli. They were supposed to go to breakfast together. “As far as I know, my father had a heart attack,” she said. “He had a very bad heart.”;
Insiders say a change of heart was to blame.

Stefanelli — who operated in New Jersey but reported to the crew run by jailed New York capo Nicholas (Little Nicky) Corozzo — secretly taped countless cronies, a source said.

He had been caught in a drug-dealing operation with his son and decided to cooperate to get his kid off the hook, the [PPV] website reported. ...

Read complete article: Sources say Gambino wiseguy Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli's death is a suicide - NY Daily News

Friday, March 9, 2012

'Mob Candy' Editor Nick Christophers

Nick Christophers
Mob Candy Editor

Nick Christophers, the editor of the national magazine Mob Candy, which regular readers of this site are very familiar with, has been devoted to drawing as much as writing and you have to check out some of his work -- his sketches of mob figures like Fat Tony Salerno are quite compelling -- and for sale on his website.

As you can imagine, some excellent perks come with being Mob Candy editor -- Nick has interviewed some A-list celebrities, among them Armand Assante, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Gia Bella, JD (from Mindfreak) and, most recently, Karen Gravano from “Mob Wives,” whom regular readers also are quite familiar with.

If all that is not enough, he has also completed his first novel, “Destinies” (a mob story) and is shopping it to editors. He also writes for various online and print magazines; his concentration is in the entertainment area. Check out his website at here.



Cosa Nostra News: 'Mob Candy' Cafe in Brooklyn Gets Busted Up

Cosa Nostra News: Mob Wife Renee Graziano Gracing Next 'Mob Candy' Cover -- Autographed Copies Available

Cosa Nostra News: Death Penalty, San Gennaro Discussed By Mob Candy on Mafia Talk Radio Show

Watchdog: Mob Ties at Chinese Casinos Owned by US Firms? - ABC News

From ABC News:
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

A new web site that loosely fashions itself after the now famous WikiLeaks sites is working to shed light on the increasingly profitable operations of American-owned casinos on the Chinese island of Macau, and is prodding gaming investigators to also take a closer look.

The website,, says it has relied on reams of publicly available financial documents to trace what it alleges are possible ties between the violent Chinese criminal underworld and well known American firms, including the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is run by the billionaire backer of Republican Newt Gingrich, Sheldon Adelson.

"We believe that the issues we raise are urgent public policy concerns that cannot be ignored given the huge sums of money involved and the danger that criminal involvement in gaming poses for the people of the United States," wrote Jeffrey Fiedler, who helped launch the web site with the backing of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Fiedler, who is the union's director of special projects, relayed his concerns in a letter sent today to the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board -- agencies that police the gambling industry and aim to keep the industry free from the influence of organized crime figures.

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