For the Sins of the Daughters...

 Mob Wives Chicago was cancelled for a variety of reasons, foremost among them the cast members' lack of credible ties to the mob -- or the Outfit, the name by which the organized crime entity is better known in the Windy City.

Carla and soon-to-be-former husband.
It could be argued that really only one Chicago mob wife, Nora, had legit ties -- primarily through her deceased former-hit man father. The bottom line: None of the other women were mob wives in that they were not married or otherwise related to bona fide members of the Outfit (which says a lot about the Outfit, and how seriously even its women honor old-world codes).

VH1 went a-knockin' -- and no one answered.

With the case of "Mob Wives" New York, that was seemingly less of an issue among some of the women, many of whom have very real ties to the "honored society" via husbands and/or fathers -- and it seems to have had very real repercussions on a heavyweight mobster who at one time was consiglieri for the Bonanno family, Jerry Capeci reports in his most recent PPV ganglandnews.com column.




Award-winning actor Al Pacino as
Lefty Two-Guns  in "Donnie Brasco."
Giving the show its primary credibility are show producer Jenn Graziano and sister/cast member Renee, who are daughters of this former Bonanno family mobster, TG Graziano; additionally, Renee was once married to Hector Pagan, a known associate of the same crime family, who last year flipped.

The real Lefty was Ramona's
grandfather, as MW viewers
well know by now.

Then there is Karen Gravano, whose father is you-know-who, but not a power in the mob any longer. And there is Big Ang, who has well-known ties through her deceased uncle, a former heavy hitter for the Genovese borgata. She also has proclaimed how much she loves dating wiseguys. She doesn't name-drop, though, and keeps specific mobsters out of the show; she talks about "the wiseguys" generically. And the newest member, Love Majewski, talks of her decades-old relationship with Ray Merolle, the Untouchable car thief now serving time in prison; he and Love were the inspiration for the 2000 remake of the 1974 film "Gone in 60 Seconds."

As for Drita and Carla, they were married to men who at least were criminals (this is probably one of the only instances where having that in your history can be considered somewhat of an advantage -- or at least a ticket to stardom in the reality TV word). Carla's husband's ties are less clear but Lee D'Avanzano is certainly connected, and Drita is indeed a mob wife.

"Anthony (TG) Graziano, a longtime Mafia powerhouse and the father of two of the show’s major players, has been stripped of all his mobster rights and responsibilities by irate Bonanno family leaders. In Mafia lingo, TG has been 'put on the shelf,' sources say."

But then Carla -- and Ramona -- follow a similar sneaky strategy of trumpeting one relationship and hiding true mob connections. Carla's father is Louis Facciolo, a member of the Gambino family; Ramona Rizzo has chosen to constantly mention her grandfather -- Lefty "Two Guns" on the show and not breathe a word about her father, a Gambino soldier named Johnny Rizzo, which website AllAboutTRH pointed out long ago.

So the New York show had the credibility that the Chicago version lacked, which is a key reason why the latter show was cancelled. But the New York show, as popular as it is, has proved that in the face of its stellar popularity, it is truly pissing off the Mafia in New York.


As Capeci reports: "Gang Land has learned that Anthony (TG) Graziano, a longtime Mafia powerhouse and the father of two of the show’s major players, has been stripped of all his mobster rights and responsibilities by irate Bonanno family leaders. In Mafia lingo, TG has been 'put on the shelf,' sources say.

"Graziano himself has never appeared on the show. And he has done his best to let it be known that he is very unhappy about the role of his daughter Renee, the show’s leading star, and another daughter, Jennifer, who conceived Mob Wives. But the father’s displeasure hasn’t ended the steady chatter about mob doings on the show, and the continuing focus on TG and the Bonnano crime family has enraged his wiseguy cohorts."

And, no, TG's troubles were not a result of Pagan's turning informant; sources quoted in the article say TG's star had dimmed after the show launched but before Pagan turned.

Another source in the story even adds: "Wiseguys view the antics and the foul language of the women on the show as 'a disgrace to all Italian people.'"

Capeci spoke with Jennifer Graziano about this paradox of a show that trumpets itself as offering a window into a supposedly secret criminal society.

"Asked about the 'burn in hell' saga featuring Rene and Ramona [bashing Hector Pagan, who sent Renee a "threatening" letter] that was aired [last] Sunday, Jennifer Graziano said she 'really didn't want it to happen' during a brief discussion with Gang Land. 'I was hoping to put that story to bed,' she said, before clamming up on that subject...

"Asked about her own dad's status within his crime family three years after Mob Wives, Jennifer answered quickly: 'I have absolutely no idea what goes on amongst men. The only comment I have about that is the show is about the women. They're expressing their thoughts and views on their life. It has nothing to do with the men.'

"But when Gang Land noted that the men 'in the life' are a major focal point of the women's thoughts and views, she said, 'I honestly would rather not be quoted in your story. No offense. It's too close to home,' and ended the conversation."

So the obvious answer is that one way to squeeze the elephant throw the keyhole, in other words, is to over-hype mob connections where none exist or that are dead ends. It's safer that way -- as Big Ang, Carla and Ramona seem to know.

Mafia royalty? Maybe in some places, but not everywhere.
Now Capeci has shed more light on this issue, coming right out to find the answer to the simple question: Why does Ramona speak of grandpa, but not dad?

"Co-star Ramona Rizzo is described on air and on the credits only as the granddaughter of Benjamin (Lefty Guns) Ruggiero – the late Bonanno mobster portrayed by Al Pacino in Donnie Brasco. The show includes no mention of Rizzo’s father, Gambino family soldier Johnny Rizzo.

"Was that a conscious omission? After much back and forth with agents and publicists, Gang Land heard directly from Ramona on the matter.

"No, she insisted. The reason she doesn’t mention her dad on the show has nothing to do with Mafia etiquette, but because the pair have long been estranged... "

However, Ramona's dodge doesn't keep her out of hot water, as far as the mob goes, Capeci reports. The Gambino family has in fact given kudos to her father for "keeping his name, as well as his crime family affiliation, off the show since she joined the cast in its second season on VH1 last year [emphasis added by moi]," Capeci writes.

An underworld source quoted in the story says: “He doesn’t have anything to do with his daughter, for years, but he laid the law down to her and told her don’t you dare mention my name on that show. He probably didn’t have to. She knows better."

Rizzo, "a low key gangster and a jeweler by profession," was reportedly close to John Gotti, back when he was riding high as Gambino boss after having Big Paul and underboss Tommy Bilotti laid out in a Manhattan street pumped full of lead.

Gotti supposedly  inducted Rizzo into the Gambino crime family in the year 1990, the article relates, adding that Rizzo's "last conviction was in 1983 for possessing and distributing heroin, for which he served about four years behind bars, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons."

Despite Ramona's reality star-turn, at around age 40, “The Gambinos have not taken any actions against him,” a law enforcement official said of her father in the Capeci story. “... It is kind of ironic that the caption under her name is her dead Bonanno family grandfather, not her real life father.”

One wonders why TG didn't tell his daughters the same thing that Johnny reportedly told Ramona. But then, TG is around 70 years old, and is back in jail again. Maybe he's about ready to retire anyway, and doesn't give a shit about being put on the shelf. Maybe his daughters' building their own nest egg is what matters to him most now. He's put in his time and probably has more than enough green to show for his half-century or so of effort. We are wandering off into deep speculation here, so I am going to stop, but I think it's an interesting question to ponder...

On one last note, the mob wives, who likely get to strut around Staten Island like its their own fiefdom -- they are "Mafia royalty," after all -- have learned that their fame can't get them through every door.

Rao's, the legendary  Italian eatery in East Harlem, Fat Tony's old stomping grounds, "recently shunned the Graziano sisters, and also dissed Angela Riola, the star of the Big Ang spinoff," Capeci writes.

One source in the article adds: “I know that Renee and Jennifer and some other girl on the show from the Bronx went to Rao’s and they were asked to leave. Said they weren’t welcome there... Angela had her picture on the wall there. It’s gone. They don’t want to have anything to do with her.”


Comments

  1. Are u kidding me??? LOVE'S STORY IS A LIE. SHE COMES FROM FLORIDA AND THERE WAS NO MOVIE ABOUT HER. LOOK UP THE FACTS! EVERYTHING COME'S OUT. ALWAY'S BETTER TO BE HONEST. CARLA IS NOT A MOB WIFE. I LOVE DRITA BUT SHES NOT A MOB WIFE. THESE GUY'S WERE THIEFS THAT GOT CAUGHT. THEY DID NOT HANG OUT WITH THE BIG BOYS. IT'S MOSTLY JENN'S FRIEND'S THAT ARE ON THE SHOW OR COMING ON THE SHOW.

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  2. I agree with some of what you say -- I was trying to be humorous when I wrote the bit about Love and Ray; recall, I am the one who as far as I know first spotlighted the fact that the film was a remake. Lee D'Avanzo, however, before he went away was said to have run the New Springville Boys, which is allegedly a "farm team" for the Colombo and Bonanno families. I don't say Carla is a mob wife, but she is a mob daughter; her father is a member of the Gambino family, as is Ramona's. Obviously Carla's husband is not a mobster; it seems he has become a regular guest star on the show... made men don't do reality shows, as far as I am concerned. I will hold my opinion of Lee until we see whether he too will appear on the show. If he doesn't... well, I will keep track of him, I can tell you that!

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  3. Also, for those interested, there is a whole series of books, called The Men Behind Mob Wives, which is published by SmashWords, which I believe is a vanity press publisher, so I don't know how much stock I'd put in these books. But each one in the 10-part series is cheap, at around $5. I have not read any of them, and I don't recommend them. But for those interested, here is the link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/234676#longdescr

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  4. ED, WITH ALL DO RESPECT I LOVE U BUT U MIGHT BE A VIP IN YOUR WORLD BUT I AM A VIP IN MINE! LOL.... LEE WAS A TOUGH KID GROWING UP. HE LIVED IN NEW SPINGVILLE SO HIS FRIEND'S AND HIM WERE CALLED NEW SPRINGVILLE BOYS. JUST LIKE IN TOTENVILLE IN STATEN ISLAND ITS WAS CALLED THE TOTENVILLE BOYS THAT ALSO HAD A GANG OF BOYS.THAT WAS YEARS AGO AND LEE WAS A TEENAGER IN A GANG. WHEN YOU ROB AND MAKE MONEY ILLEGALLY THE REAL MOB GUY'S MAKE U PAY THEM SO THAT MEANS THE MOB IS SENDING AN "ENFORCER" TO SHAKE DOWN GUY'S THAT ARE EARNING ON THE STREET BY DOING SOMETHING THAT IS ILLEGAL. THE BOTTOM LINE IS EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD IN STATEN ISLAND HAD A GROUP OF BOY'S THAT HUNG OUT TOGETHER WHO WERE NOT THE BEST OF KIDS. WHAT EVER NEIGHBORHOOD U LIVED IN THAT WAS THE NAME OF THE RUFF GANG. ED THAT'S NOT BEING IN THE MOB. YES THE MOB SAYS YOUR "WITH THEM" WHEN YOUR GIVING THE MOB MONEY YOUR MAKING ILLEGALLY CAUSE U HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PAY. THE MOB FAMILY YOUR GIVING MONEY TOO SAY'S YOUR "WITH ME" SO IF A DIFFERENT MOB FAMILY "ENFORCER" APPROACHES THEM TO SHAKE THEM DOWN FOR MONEY THEY WOULD SAY IM WITH SO AND SO. I GUESS I KNOW THINGS CAUSE I HAVE BEEN AROUND. IM AN OLD TIMER. AS TO RENEE SHE SHOULD BE ON THE SHOW HER HUSBAND REPORTED TO HER FATHER WHO WAS A BOSS. THAT MEANS JUNIOR WAS A SOLDIER. KAREN IS A DAUGHTER OF A BOSS SO SHE GOT SPECIAL TREATMENT FROM PEOPLE GROWING UP. SHE SAID ON THE SHOW HER PARENTS ONLY MADE THEM USE CASH TO BUY THINGS. HOW MANY PEOPLE IN BIG BUSSINESS DO THE SAME THING ALL THE TIME. SAMMY HAD A CONSTUCTION BUSSINESS. TRYING TO SAY WHAT DID KAREN BRING TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE MOB? SHE WAS NOT WITH A MOB GUY EVER. MOB GUYS DON'T LET THEIR KIDS KNOW ANYTHING THAT GOES ON TRUST ME. KID'S DO SEE THEIR FAMILY SOMETIMES GETTING SPECIAL TREATMENT FROM OTHERS BUT RICH PEOPLE GET SPECIAL TREATMENT TOO. IM AN OLD TIMER THAT HAS BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME.
    CARLAS FATHER MAYBE HUNG OUT WITH PEOPLE WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN? DID HE EVER DO A BID/JAIL TIME? DONT THINK SO. YOU NEED GIRLS ON THE SHOW THAT IN THEIR LIFE WERE MARRIED/LIVED WITH A MOB GUY. MOB GUYS BROUGHT THEIR WIFES IF NOT THEIR GIRLFRIENDS TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE MAIN MOB BOSS'S MEANING GOING OUT DRINKING,DINNER, PARTYS,AND FAMILY FUNCTIONS ETC. JOHNNY RIZZO'S DAUGHTER RAMONA DOES NOT TALK ABOUT HER FATHER ON THE SHOW. HE IS A CAPTAIN. THIS IS NOT REALITY IF SHE HAS NOT MENTION HIS NAME OR IF HES MAD AT HER FOR BEING ON THE SHOW. SHE'S TALKING ABOUT HER GRANDFATHER THAT IS NO LONGER ALIVE. IF HE WAS LIVING AND SHE LOVED HIM LIKE SHE SAIDS SHE DOES. HE WOULD OF NEVER LET HER GO ON THE SHOW TRUST ME!!! RAMONA'S PARENTS DID NOT APROVE OF HER GOING ON THE SHOW. WHEN RAMONAS MOTHER FOUND OUT I HEARD SHE SMACKED RAMONA IN HER FACE HER OUTSIDE IN PUBLIC ON N.D.LANE IN STATEN ISLAND. WHAT IM TRYING TO SAY IS RAMONA IS NOT BEING REAL ON THE SHOW. THAT'S HER JOB TELLING THE VIEWER'S WHATS GOING ON IN HER LIFE REGARDING THE MOB LIFE AND HOW IT HAS AND IS NOW AFFECTING HER LIFE. NOT SAYING FOR HER NOT TO PROTECT HER DAD AND NOT GIVE HIM ANY ATTENTION TO THE PUBLIC AND FEDS. HER BOYFRIEND IS NOT IN THE MOB. RAMONA SAID ON ONE OF THE LAST SEASON'S SHE WAS BROUGHT UP IN THE DARK SO WHAT DOES SHE REALLY KNOW ABOUT? THAT'S WHY U NEED GIRL'S THAT LIVED THEIR LIFES WITH A MOB GUY. THEY COULD TELL U REAL STORIES ON THE SHOW BESIDES WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THEIR PRESENT LIFE DO TO THEIR PAST LIFE BEING WITH A MOB GUY. WHERE THIS MOB LIFE STYLE HAS TAKEN THEM UP TO NOW. DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A GUY WHO WAS A "MADE GUY" IN THE MOB FAMILY BUT AT LEAST BE A "SOLDIER." SOLDIERS ARE NOT MADE BUT THEIR A MEMBER OF THE MOB'S CREW THAT ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE BIG BOYS. WHEN U ARE A GIRLFRIEND/WIFE WITH A MOB BACKROUND U HAVE LIVED THAT LIFE STYLE. THERE'S PLENTLY OF GIRLS AROUND THAT HAVE BEEN MARRIED OR LIVED WITH A MOB GUY. IF JENN REALLY WANTED TO FIND THEM SHE COULD BUT SHE RATHER PICK HER GOOD FRIENDS AND PUT THEM ON THE SHOW TO LIE.

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    Replies
    1. I just want to add, I don't consider myself a VIP!

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    2. Also, I defer to you on the New Springville Boys -- I will add that it seems many Mafiosi at one time or another ran with one of those street gangs trying to make good with local wiseguys... I just didn't realize the age range; still, I had heard/read that Lee was a bit more connected, but I could be wrong, I admit that...

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  5. Heads up to commenters. Writing in all CAPS is almost immposible to read and is hard on the eyes....also, it makes the.poster come off like an ignorant, uneducated dummy.

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  6. BeenAroundTheBlockAug 29, 2013, 11:51:00 PM

    First and foremost...Excellent blog!

    I would like to correct the misconception that Carla's husband is not affiliated or involved. That is inaccurate. He was a major player in pump-and-dump stock schemes and reported directly to made members of organized crime families. Just because its not in print doesn't mean they are not in the life. Plus if you read into the public records (Indictments and Informations)and further dig into those names and co-defendants names - you will learn that they are all affiliated. Sorry to burst some of your bubbles but hope this new info gives you all some better insight.

    By the way, I don't care if you so-called "tough", "honorable", "stand-up" guys call me a "rat" - because truthfully your perception and comprehension of life's true meaning, your own destiny and humanity as a whole's purpose in life is severely skewered - therefore I will pray for you all.

    Peace.

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  7. What a bunch of dumb lowlife fucks.

    There is no honor amongst thieves. Nothing but a bunch of lowlife thugs with no ethics/morals.

    They're all ignorant fools.

    ReplyDelete

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