Thursday, September 27, 2012

FBI Seeks Hoffa's Body at Detroit House: NBC


The FBI and local police in Michigan plan to take soil samples from the backyard of a house in the Detroit suburb of Roseville on Friday, acting on a dying man's tip that the body of former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa might be buried there.

Authorities have chased down hundreds of would-be leads since Hoffa disappeared 37 years ago after he met with two top Mafia operatives at a restaurant in Bloomfield Township, another Detroit suburb, in July 1975. All have led to dead ends, but authorities said this lead could be different.

NBC station WDIV-TV of Detroit reportedthat an unidentified man who is dying from cancer told Roseville police that he saw men moving a black bag at the garage of the house just hours after Hoffa went missing. Acting on the tip, authorities ran radar tests last week that picked up an image of something buried beneath a cement slab in the backyard.
See the full story: FBI to look for Jimmy Hoffa's body at Detroit-area home - U.S. News:


RELATED POSTS


Cosa Nostra News: Now Hoffa Was Buried in the Foundation of GM's HQ, Driver Says

Cosa Nostra News: Vito Giacalone, Suspect in Hoffa Slaying, Dies at 88

Cosa Nostra News: Sheeran's Daughter: 'My Father Killed Jimmy Hoffa'



NY Mafia Tour: Little Italy’s Mobsters, Gangsters, Tough Guys

John Gotti beside mentor Neil Dellacroce.
New York Mafia Tour: Little Italy’s Mobsters, Gangsters and Tough Guys: "Get the inside scoop on New York City’s most legendary gangsters on this guided walking tour through Little Italy. Learn about the history of the Mafia and hear stories about the bloody feud between the Five Families. Pass the hangout spots of John Gotti and the characters from 'The Sopranos' and visit Umberto’s, the site of Little Italy's most infamous mob shooting. You’ll also explore film locations of iconic gangster movies such as 'The Godfather.'

In the afternoon, meet at Petrosino Square, named after New York City's first Italian detective who locked up more than 500 criminals. Begin wandering through Little Italy with your guide and listen as the story of the Mafia unfolds. "


Get the rest of the down-low.

UPDATE: Fratto Gets One Year, Starting on Jan. 8



UPDATE! Rudy Fratto sentenced to a year and a day beginning Jan. 8.


From abc7chicago.com:

Federal prosecutors are winding up to throw the book at one of Chicago's top organized crime figures. The I-Team has learned details of this week's sentencing of mob boss Rudy Fratto.

DOCUMENT: Government's Sentencing Memorandum
DOCUMENT: Defendant Rudolph Fratto's Sentencing Position Paper

The government wants outfit boss Rudy "the Chin" Fratto to take it on the chin next Wednesday when he is sentenced for his role in a contract bid-rigging scheme at McCormick Place.

Even though Fratto is from a Chicago mob family, he has managed to skate through his career largely unscathed, a routine prosecutors want to end.

In the run-up to next week's federal sentencing, Fratto has seemed to relish his role as a court jester of sorts.

Even though the record of 68-year old Fratto has been devoid of serious criminal charges, something his attorneys will point to next week, prosecutors will ask that Fratto pay the price for a lifetime in mobdom.

According to new records obtained by the I-Team, prosecutors plan to use the testimony of Nick Calabrese to paint a chilling picture of Fratto. Calabrese is the outfit hitman-turned-government witness who was a central witness in Operation Family Secrets.

Quoting Calabrese, prosecutors will say that Fratto was a "made" member of the Chicago outfit, and that in a Hollywood-style fingerpricking ceremony on Father's Day of 1988, Fratto was inducted in the mob. According to the government, a "person would not even be considered for that status until he had committed a homicide on behalf of the outfit."

Read entire article here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Alleged Gambino Capo Indicted for Extortion

From the NYPOST.com:
GIORDANO -
GIORDANO
Manhattan prosecutors have charged a reputed Gambino crime-family captain with grand larceny for allegedly extorting $50,000 from a construction-company official — by threatening, punching, slapping and kicking the poor victim until he couldn’t refuse.

The accused Mafia boss, Joseph “Joe the Blond” Giordano, 63, grew up as Gambino royalty. He is nephew to former John Gotti Sr. underboss Joseph “Joe Piney” Armone, and his brother, John “Handsome Jack” Giordano, was Gotti Sr.’s one-time right-hand man.

Joseph Giordano served on the Gambinos’ ruling commission three years ago, according to sources. The ruling panel of three elder capos was initiated after the Dapper Don was locked away for life in 1992.

In the current grand-larceny case, Giordano used his status as a Gambino captain to further intimidate the victim, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said in announcing the indictment.
Giordano, of Deer Park, LI, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

The reputed mob boss was caught on video extorting his victim through actual and threatened violence, lead prosecutor Eric Seidel, chief of the DA’s rackets bureau, told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro in successfully asking for the high bail.

Read the rest


Pistone Testimony on Montreal Mafia; with AUDIO

Joe Pistone on how the Mafia mugs Montrealers every day… in the Montreal Gazette:

Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in.

The Charbonneau inquiry into allegations of corruption in the Quebec construction industry resumed this week and did so with what many thought would be its star witness.

Joe Pistone is a retired FBI agent the world knows better by his undercover alias Donny Brasco, the man who infiltrated the mob more than 30 years ago and whose exploits were later dramatized in a film starring Johnny Depp.

But Pistone’s testimony was anything but Hollywood. He detailed the inner workings of the New York mafia and its links to Montreal. But he also placed a price tag on the economic damage done by organized crime, not just to those who engage in illegal activity but to those who simply live their lives and pay their taxes – to you.

The Gazette’s Monique Muise is covering the inquiry and she joined us to talk about Pistone’s testimony and what the inquiry heard on Tuesday morning.

This is what she said:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Fakesters' Find Fame on Social Media

Everyone wants to be a gangster. Even some who aren't.

REVISED: Sonny Girard was in his early twenties -- a young mobster on the rise, back when it was still possible to live a mobster's life. The good old days, as they say.

Let's picture a sunny afternoon. Our pal Sonny is blinking in the sunlight, maybe flaming a Zippo in front of a cigar he mouthed and is gently puffing. His expensive, Italian-made suit is resplendent, fitted to his body to perfection -- like a glove; his shirt and tie match in a manner that would have made Versace weep. His freshly manicured fingernails perhaps glint in the sunlight. His hair is neatly trimmed and well-coiffed, his shoes shine like mirrors.

He is standing in front of a storefront that houses a business he owns.

"I had a car service with an office in the back where I made book over the phone," he says.

"One day I walk out of the back and see a cute girl waiting for a car. I introduced myself and asked her if she'd like me to take her wherever she was going.

"The last name she had given my dispatcher was a pretty famous mob name. When she got in the car she told me those guys were her uncles. As we drove she noticed it wasn't in the direction of her house. When she pointed it out, I told her that her uncles were pals of mine and I was taking her to see them. She became undone. The name was right, but there was no relation."

Malverne Setting for Indie Mob Flick, Now Shooting

I once lived right near this town, so this piece caught my eye, and hopefully will catch yours. The title of the indie film now being shot in Malverne on Long Island is "Send No Flowers"; let's hope the script was better crafted than that title, though.

Tony Lo Bianco, who most recently played a certain mob boss preoccupied with having a certain Irishman murdered, stars in "Flowers," which is a strong plus, and the plot twist, a woman running a crime family, offers nifty dramatic opportunities -- although Jackie Collins wrote something similar sounding to this, on a basic level, back in the 1980s, when there was only one mob wife and her name was Victoria Gotti. Still, I like the screenwriter's taste in  film, so this has potential.

In a quirk of fate, I interviewed the producer/director of this film, back in my college days when he was working on his first film. Now his subject matter is gangsters; back then, it was AIDS. I prefer gangsters.


From the Patch.com:

A group of slick-looking Italian guys wearing suits had a confrontation with a detective outside of Angelo's Pizza in Malverne Friday afternoon while a film crew captured it all on camera.

No, they weren't shooting The Sopranos movie that many fans of the HBO series have been pining for since the hit show ended in 2007. But if you're a fan of the mafia crime drama genre or you enjoy films with strong female characters, then you may want to check out "Send No Flowers" when it comes to a film festival near you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

'Gotti' Sparks Media War Over Its Fate

Scarpo here: This is a case of "he said, she said." How do we know who to believe? Celebuzz, because they are telling us Showbiz 411, a competitor by the way, is incorrect? In my thinking the latter Showbiz411 story carries greater weight in that it has more facts and sources and everything versus Celebuzz, which simply gets "an insider" -- who could be the caterer for all we know -- to call the other story fake because "outlets following the production [have] been covering this story from the beginning with a shameful bias, based on [a] friendship with someone no longer affiliated with the project."

WTF??? Twenty years in the news business, I have never heard such a lame excuse!
“Readers should not trust anything [that is written],” said the insider. So how can we trust the story in which the insider is quoted??? Heller would've loved this -- talk about your catch-22s!

I leave it up to readers to decide... I agree this film is the horse's head in the bed...





This (EXCLUSIVE) is from Celebuzz: Although recent reports announced that John Travolta’s long-gestating film about mob boss John Gotti was in trouble, those close to the production insist that it’s moving ahead as planned.


“The film is proceeding and everyone is still on board,” Steve Hoenig, publicist for Fiore Films, producers of the project, told Celebuzz.


Hoening spoke with Celebuzz after Showbiz 411 published a story entitled, “The Real Story of Why the John Travolta ‘Gotti’ Film Fell Apart.”


What else did an insider tell Celebuzz about previous coverage of the film?


An anonymous insider observed that outlets following the production “[have] been covering this story from the beginning with a shameful bias, based on [a] friendship with someone no longer affiliated with the project.


“Readers should not trust anything [that is written],” said the insider.


Here is the Showbiz411 story, which was also flagged as an exclusive and was published four-five days ago.


It’s been about two years since the John Travolta “Gotti” movie fell apart. It was supposed to start in 2010, then again in 2011. It was at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010 that director Barry Levinson and screenwriter James Toback showed up with producer Marc Fiore. They’d replaced Nick Cassavetes, and were all set to get new financing. Levinson was bringing Al Pacino to the film. Lindsay Lohan was still out there somewhere.

"Was... Gotti... ever a good idea? Not really. The Godfather was fiction. Goodfellas had a remote reality... But Gotti is about real people. There are no heroes... The Gottis’ victims are... haunting the movie."

But then I reported this story, that Marc Fiore was actually Marco Fiore, who’d done a lot of time at Allenwood Prison for fraud (not a vacation, as New York Magazine suggests today) and had been the main defendant in the prosecution of a Boiler Room scheme. A book was even written about it in 2003, which no one who’d signed on to “Gotti” had read.



Here’s my original story: http://www.showbiz411.com/2011/09/22/gotti-movie-one-year-since-it-was-announced-the-producers-mob-ties-are-real


The movie was not going to happen. Fiore responded by upping Toback to executive producer without telling him. He also announced another exec producer, a man named Salvatore Carpanzano. I then wrote a story revealing that Carpanzano had also done a stretch at Allenwood. Even for a Hollywood film, this was getting unusual. It was like “Get Shorty,” a Travolta movie about a gangster who wanted to make a movie.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sonny Girard Presents: The Ultimate Mob Primer

From Las Vegas Tradeshow Lifestyles:

THE ULTIMATE MOB PRIMER FOR THE AFICIONADO OF ALL THINGS RELATED TO ORGANIZED CRIME.

FORMER MOBSTER SONNY GIRARD HAS COMPILED A VARIETY OF ORIGINAL WRITINGS INTO A BRAND NEW VOLUME THAT INCLUDES:

MOB BLOGS: Twenty-seven articles by Sonny for everything from Lansky to Lawyers to License to Bash the St. Gennaro Feast. Read and understand why there are so many mob stoolpigeons today, why the Ten Commandments of the Sicilian Mafia are ridiculous, and much more, like why Bugsy Seigel was really killed.

MOB SNAPSHOTS: Eighteen short stories about figures no one outside of real mobsters recognize, like Tony Gawk, Benny The Sidge, and Funzouale. Others are just snippets about mob movies, the Jewish mobs, and the search for Jimmy Hoffa

STORIES OF ME: Revealing stories for the first time in print from the actual life of the author, former mobster Sonny Girard. Find out how he got through years of state and federal prison, what lawyers meant in his life, and how he got started writing. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

ASK SONNY: Letters sent to Sonny from real visitors to SonnysMobCafe.com and the real replies.

MOB TRIVIA TESTS: A couple of quizzes to see how much you really know about organized crime.

MOB BOOK REVIEWS AND RELATIONSHIPS: Reviews of some of Sonny’s favorite non-fiction books on the subject of organized crime both in the U.S. and in Italy. Included are personal reflections of how Sonny was tied in some way or relationship to the chapters mentioned.

MOB CALENDAR: A month by month tour of the calendar that highlights the major historical mob events that took place in each.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FBI Agent Likens Corrupt Bankers to Mobsters

Governments and nonprofit organizations have lost huge sums of money due to bid rigging by investment banks, and federal authorities have embarked on nationwide probe and are gunning for prosecutions. 

Following the recent conviction of three former UBS executives, Richard Weber, chief of the criminal investigation unit at the Internal Revenue Service, says the “convictions send a strong message to the municipal bond industry and demonstrates the commitment of the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department to rid the industry of corrupt practices.”

Weber was largely referring to bid rigging. Once public entities hold bond auctions, they typically hire a broker to help them invest the money and conduct a competitive bidding process for a service provider.

“In cases like that of the UBS executives, prosecutors say the process was corrupted when bankers from different firms conspired with one another, dividing up business in advance and devising their bids in cooperation, a practice known as bid rigging” explains CNNMoney. “This allowed the winning bidders to offer the issuers lower rates of return than they would have secured through an honest process.”

The bid rigging also included accepting kickbacks for what Bloomberg describes as “last looks” of other bids.

These practices were apparently widespread and long running. In the UBS case, the Department of Justice says evidence presented at the trial dates back to as early as 2001.

It is unclear how much money was lost as a result of bid rigging. But, it's “fair to say its in the hundred of millions if not billions” of dollars, Doug Leff, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI New York field office, tells CNNMoney.

Bloomberg says Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Well Fargo and GE Funding Capital Market Services have paid more than $700 million to settle claims by the government.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Spotlights Mob's Control of Hollywood

Mickey Cohen: Hollywood's 'most ruthless man.'
From Express.co.uk:

IT WAS just after three o'clock on a sunny autumn afternoon in 1950 when the calm of Moreno Avenue in Brentwood, a luxurious Los Angeles suburb, was shattered by a deafening bomb blast.

Twenty-eight sticks of dynamite had been placed under one of the elegant houses, shredding it like crumpled balsa wood. It was the home of one of Hollywood's most ruthless men - not a power-wielding studio head but the film capital's longest-serving mobster Mickey Cohen.

The bombing was the work of a rival, the brutal Jack Dragna, who wanted to take over Cohen's slice of the Hollywood action. What really infuriated the dapper Cohen was not so much the loss of his home but the destruction of his collection of 200 bespoke silk suits.

The Mafia had long had a stake in Hollywood, its studios and the movies they produced and even the lives of the stars. But a new book tells of the extraordinary measures taken by gangsters to maximise their cinematic power.

At the heart of the Mob's manipulation of Hollywood were various characters who might well have stepped from the gangland movies being churned out. One such man was the smooth-talking Johnny Rosselli, whose powers also spread to Las Vegas. He was in charge of skimming, making sure that important winnings by the house in a casino were never counted as part of the net income. ...


Read the full story.

The Mob Doctor: In or Out? Up to Fox...

Jordana Spiro, the doctor in the house.
Here is the lowdown of the show The Mob Doctor. I am a lazy man, so I am letting Fox give you the recap, but I will then offer my opinion of the show, a sketchy one because you really can't get a good feel for a show by watching the pilot. Look at the first episode of The Sopranos. So I won't race to judgment here and now.

DR. GRACE DEVLIN (Jordana Spiro) is a top resident at Chicago’s Roosevelt Medical Center. Smart and self-assured, she’s heralded as one of the country’s most promising young surgeons. But family ties keep her glued to her Southside roots. To pay off her brother’s life-threatening gambling debt, she makes a deal with the devil and agrees to work “off book” for the mafia men she once despised.
"The ghost of Joe Colombo is still with us. Ever wonder why we don't have shows named: "Mafia Wives," "I Married a Mafioso" or "The Mafia Doctor?" ... I think it is Hollywood performing an act of political correctness."
Forsythe provides the needed weight.

At the hospital, Grace must deal with emotionally compelling cases – a young woman in need of a heart transplant, a family decimated by a hit-and-run driver, the mass chaos in the wake of an ‘L’ train collision. But in her other vastly different world, she must juggle an onslaught of mob-related demands, including operating in illegal backrooms, treating hit men hiding from the law, performing emergency surgery on a high-end call girl, even saving a juiced-up race horse...

As Grace tries to heed the demands of these two conflicting worlds – not to mention the needs of her own slightly dysfunctional family – her moral center comes into direct conflict with the very immoral things she’s asked to do. But with nerves of steel and a tough-as-nails exterior, she somehow will manage to make it all work – at least for now.

The ghost of Joe Colombo is still with us. Ever wonder why we don't have shows named: "Mafia Wives," "I Married a Mafioso" or "The Mafia Doctor?" Well, I have and I think it is Hollywood performing an act of political correctness. The word "Mafia" is Italian-sounding; "mob" is not. So the thinking goes Mafia denigrates all Italians, to take a shortcut. I think that's bunk.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gotti Film Back On? Maybe, but Likely Minus Lohan

Junior: It's full steam ahead on Gotti biopic.
From the NYPOST.com:

Lindsay Lohan is on the Gotti hit list — the movie, that is.

It’s not a good sign when a Post-it is covering over her name on the movie poster for “Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father” that hangs in the producer’s office, according to this week’s issue of New York magazine.

It’s another bit of comedic drama in the Hollywood gang war that has sent some of the key behind-the-scenes players to the mattresses in the making of John Gotti Jr.’s troubled biopic about his Mafia-kingpin dad.

Writer Steve Fishman, who has chronicled the latest woes to befall the sputtering production, recalls taking notice of the Lohan diss during a visit with producer Marc Fiore at his Manalapan, NJ, office.

He “had a poster of the Gotti movie, though Lohan’s name was covered by a pink Post-it,” he writes.

The struggling rehab actress was slated to play the Gambino godfather’s long-suffering wife, a role Lohan snagged using the muscle of Junior’s “Growing Up Gotti” sister, Victoria.

“Is there anything you can do?” she asked.

“I’d love to have Lindsay in my movie,” Fiore said. Done deal.

Fishman writes that Lohan, who is no stranger to a jail cell or five-fingered jewelry discounts, didn’t even know she had been dumped from the movie until after director Barry Levinson told a Cannes festival crowd he wanted to make cast changes.


Read rest here

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Chin's Daughter Writes Tell-All Book

From the NY Daily News:

Rita Gigante was 16 years old before she found out she was a Mafia princess. Life with father, as she describes it in her new memoir “The Godfather’s Daughter: An Unlikely Story of Love, Healing and Redemption,” was far more rough than royal. Vincent Gigante famously wandered Greenwich Village in his bathrobe, passing himself off as a paranoid schizophrenic to fool the Feds. They knew him for what he was, the boss of the Genovese crime family, the reputed head of the Five Families of New York. Sentenced to 12 years, he died in jail in 2005. Here Rita tells of her own violent awakening to the truth and how she was forced to join the masquerade.
This excerpt is taken from the book THE GODFATHER’S DAUGHTER: An Unlikely Story of Love, Healing, and Redemption, by Rita Gigante and Natasha Stoynoff. It is published by Hay House (publication date: September 18, 2012) and available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.
I was now a 16-year-old tenth grader at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan and in no mood to hear that Tina, a popular girl — famous for her acid-washed jeans and over-gelled hair — was spreading rumors about my family. My best friend had heard her big mouth from down the hall.

“Tina’s talkin’ s--- again,” Madison told me during chemistry class. “She’s down the hall and is going around the whole school calling you — get this — a Mafia princess!”

Madison continued, breathlessly, “Tina’s telling everybody that your family is . . . connected.”

Something inside of me snapped. Maybe, I later imagined, it was Dad’s paranoid schizophrenia finally kicking in and taking over.

DAILY NEWS INTERVIEW: RITA GIGANTE SAYS 'THE CHIN' DANCED TO ELVIS IN HIS BATHROBE

See the full article here.

‘Donnie Brasco’ to testify in Quebec

"Donnie Brasco"
From  Thestar.com:

MONTREAL—It looked at first like a publicity stunt to grab headlines for a corruption scandal that’s already front-page news in Quebec.

“Donnie Brasco”— real name Joseph Pistone — is to bring his considerable fame and dated expertise on the inner workings of the New York Mafia to the ninth floor of a provincial government office tower Monday in the heart of Montreal.

Out of context the revelation, which came last week, raises questions about what light a 73-year-old retired FBI agent could shine on allegations of corruption and collusion in Quebec’s construction industry. And some of the most notable Canadian organized crime experts are doing just that.

“I respect Joe Pistone. He’s a very knowledgeable person regarding the American cosa nostra,” said Antonio Nicaso, a Toronto-based author and commentator on the Mafia. “But to me it’s more a name to raise attention on this matter rather than a witness who can add valuable information to this critical issue.”

But coupled with the Charbonneau Commission’s poaching of a top investigative reporter into organized crime earlier this summer and recent overtures seeking the testimony of several of Quebec’s most notorious wiseguys, the inquiry launched under duress by outgoing Premier Jean Charest appears intent on captivating audiences, satiating the media and striking fear into Quebec’s political class for months to come...


Read the rest here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New England Mob Boss to Plead Guilty

From Reuters:

Mob boss DiNunzio
The suspected former head of the New England mafia will plead guilty to a charge of racketeering for participating in a scheme to extort protection payments from Rhode Island strip clubs and adult bookstores.

Anthony DiNunzio, 53, of East Boston, Massachusetts agreed to enter the plea in federal court in Rhode Island on Thursday, the Justice Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

DiNunzio faced up to 20 years in prison, but as part of the agreement federal prosecutors will ask for a reduced sentence of between five and six and a half years.

DiNunzio was arrested in April and charged with overseeing a scheme to extort payments of up to $6,000 per month from Providence area clubs including the Satin Doll, the Foxy Lady and the Cadillac Lounge.

Read rest via above link.


RELATED POSTS


Boss Blogger: Stardom Change 'Big Ang'


Primetime Sitdown with the Boss Blogger: THE BIGGER & BETTER BIG ANG INTERVIEW:

Well I have had the Honor and pleasure to speak with Janine Detore, The beautiful and very supportive sister of Angela “Big Ang” Raiola. 

Janine was very kind and helped me a great deal getting to interview Big Ang which truly was an Honor.

As many of you know Big Ang popped on the scene on Season 2 of Mob Wives, New York as the owner of the Drunken Monkey Bar on Staten Island and longtime friend of Drita Davanzo, Renee and Jennifer Graziano, Karen Gravano, and Carla Facciolo.
Big Ang is the niece of Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi who was a capo in the Genovese family.
Big Ang was loved by viewers from the first episode she appeared on with her big smile, big heart, big laugh, and big boobies! 

She lives up to her nickname “Big Ang” in every way!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Pal: 'The Only True Mob Song'

Jimmy Roselli, RIP
Former mobster Sonny Girard describes it as "the only true mob song."

I am talking about Jimmy Roselli's version of "Little Pal." Click here to listen to a live version of the haunting melody.


"There was in the recent past a real mob culture that was rarely, if ever, seen by outsiders and little known today. Yes, there’s the obvious dress, like in “Goodfellas” or “Casino” for the older generation and the Sergio Tacchini athletic suits and multiple oversized gold chains for the new wave of wannabes, or the Southern Italian fare that is served at the highly publicized restaurants of Mulberry Street or South Philly, and the songs of Sinatra that anyone who’s ever turned on a radio or television knows. But there is a deeper culture, a very private inside one, that is more specific and goes to habits, foods, superstitions, and songs that have particular meaning to guys who have lived their lives on the edge – the last great generation of the mob, if you will.

“Little Pal” is the most inside of all those songs. I don’t know what the lyricist intended when he wrote it, or what Al Jolson thought when he popularized it early in the Twentieth Century, but Jimmy Roselli’s version has been adopted by mob guys and adapted to their way of life, to the constant threat of leaving their loved ones, especially their children, for prison. Roselli’s “Little Pal” is, in fact, the only real mob song.

"My heart broke one night, when I sat alongside a dear friend as he sang “Little Pal” to his child, who was propped on his knee, as his own body was being ravaged by cancer. I sang it to my three year old the night before I left for prison the first time. “Little Pal” will always be special."


"This obscurity... was brought about through the combined efforts of Sinatra... and local underworld figures, who, when they weren’t weeping along to his sentimental Italian hits, were, he often said, threatening him with a hit of another kind."

Italian-American singer Jimmy Roselli died at 85 years of age last July. From the NY Times obit, we learn some interesting things about the crooner who lived in Sinatra's shadow.

"He was a skinny Italian-American kid from Hoboken, N.J., who could croon like an angel. Before long, his singing made women swoon and grown men cry. For decades, he sang standards to adoring crowds worldwide, including, notably, “My Way.” 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Greg Scarpa: Mobster Played Key Role in Historic Civil Rights Case

Grim Reaper/informer Scarpa
shows off the fashion of the day.

Gregory Scarpa, Sr. (May 8, 1928 – June 4, 1994) was a fiercely loyal capo in the Colombo crime family with cojones the size of coconuts -- something this family is known for producing, probably because of all the inter-family wars following the early '60s insurrection by the Gallo brothers against old man Profaci, original boss of the Colombo family, which actually carried Profaci's name at the time.

Known as "The Grim Reaper," for decades, especially from the1970s through early 1990s, Scarpa was Colombo boss Carmine Persico's chief enforcer, doling out the proverbial dirt nap to whoever defied the administration before dying of AIDS, contracted from a crew member during a blood transfusion.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

FBI Files on Gregory Scarpa Sr

FBI — Gregory Scarpa, Sr:

Gregory Scarpa, Sr. (1928-19940) was a long-time criminal associated with the Colombo family organized crime group in New York. These files concern Scarpa, the Colombo/Profaci La Cosa Nostra crime family, and related matters and range from 1968 to 1993.


Mafia Leadership Tips the Real Deal: Forbes

From Forbes:

When it comes to leadership role models, Don Corleone doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But many bosses, knowingly or not, subscribe to his philosophy of keeping friends close and enemies closer.

Psychologists Nicole Mead and Jon Maner ran a series of experiments to unpick this counter-intuitive tendency. They thought that when leaders are threatened by an up-and-coming rival, instead of backing off and giving the opponent the chance to shine, they move closer so that they’re better positioned to monitor and control the would-be usurper.

They were right. When leaders in their experiment were in an unstable position (told that their role was dependent on performance) and confronted with a threatening opponent they, literally, moved closer to the threat, by placing their chair on average 15 inches closer. Leaders who valued their power the most moved closest. The more threatened they felt, the closer they wanted to be.

Remarkably, this happened even when working closely was detrimental to the team. When threatened leaders were told that working in separate rooms might enhance their team’s performance, they still wanted their partner in the same room. Not once did the other team member express a desire for power. Simply possessing a valuable skill was enough for leaders to perceive them as a threat.

So, what can we take practically from this research?

Firstly, status-driven leaders may find themselves micromanaging their talent, reducing their autonomy in case they outshine the boss. Some managers are loath to mentor or coach those with potential – ‘what happens if they get so good that they take my job?’. While this Machiavellian control might have some short term gain, in the long term top talent will seek the freedom they crave elsewhere. Not to mention the missed opportunities to the team and organisation of preventing skilled people from performing at their peak.


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