Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bocce Boys Speak Out Regarding 'Mob Wives'

My friend introduced me to The Bocce Boys, the guys from Carfellas, and also this clip, which is hilarious -- as well as one of the more honest and astute analyses of "Mob Wives."

From YouTube:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Update: History of Mob's Stranglehold on Waste Biz

Pappa Smurf was nickname of mobster who allegedly ran trash.
From Waste & Recycling News: Mobsters were exerting control over a portion of the greater New York City trash industry for years, alleged federal authorities as they revealed dozens of arrests in busting up the racket.

Charges against 32 people were unveiled in a case handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Westchester County (N.Y.) Police Department. Alleged members of three crime families of La Cosa Nostra, including alleged Mafiosos with nicknames such as "Papa Smurf," "Muzzy" and "Tony Lodi," are facing charges.

Preet Bharara is U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and used particularly colorful language [in the press release] to describe the impact of the mob on the trash business in certain areas.

"As alleged, organized crime still wraps its tentacles around industries it has fed off for decades, but law enforcement continues to pry loose its grip," Bharara said in a statement. "Organized crime insinuated itself into the waste disposal industry throughout a vast swath of counties in New York and New Jersey."

The trash business has had a storied history of mob influence and has fought long and hard against the stereotype of corruption within its ranks. The illegal activity happened from at least March 2009 up to April 2012, one indictment in the case indicates.

Bharara described what he called a "painstaking, multi-year investigation" which revealed mobsters hiding behind "seemingly legitimate owners of waste disposal businesses." The federal government alleges members of the Gambino, Genovese and Luchese crime families all had a hand in the dirty work.

"The tactics they used to exert and maintain their control come right out of the mafia playbook — extortion, intimidation and threats of violence," he continued in the statement.

A trade group representing privately owned solid waste management companies in the country was quick to distance itself and the industry from those being charged in this case.

Montreal Erupted Once Mafia Boss Rizzuto Returned

Up in Montreal, two gangland hits less than three weeks apart offered confirmation for a jailed mobster that a certain Cosa Nostra boss had returned home and had commenced settling scores.

The men killed were mobster Raynald Desjardins' associates; the returned Mafia boss was Vito Rizzuto.

Desjardins betrayed Rizzuto in a bid for gangland supremacy, but also partly due to envy over Rizzuto's ability to avoid getting arrested by law enforcement.

Desjardins' former brother-in-law and business partner, Gaetan Gosselin, was walking home last Tuesday night north of Montreal when one or more assailants opened fire, killing him. The ambush was reminiscent of the earlier Guiseppe Di Maulo hit; he also was a Desjardins brother-in-law -- and he'd been shot to death in his own driveway.

Guiseppe "Joe" DiMaulo, not Joseph

The Gosselin and Di Maulo murders (plus a few other slayings, including the Sal The Ironworker Montagna hit among other minor associates) happened not long after Rizzuto's October return to Canada on the heels of the completion of a six-year bid in a U.S. prison. He'd been sentenced for copping to his role in the 1981 triple murders of Bonanno crime family capos who were mounting a challenge to Philip "Rusty" Rastelli.

Monday, January 28, 2013

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.


Discovery to Debut 'Inside the Gangsters' Code'

Gambino associate Ferrante, arrested in the early 1990s.
RealScreen.com reports that the Discovery Network International will launch the television series "Inside the Gangsters’ Code" in February. The focus will not be on America's La Cosa Nostra, however, as the show will spotlight notorious crime rings located throughout the rest of the world.

Further details regarding the show's day and time slot were not available at this time.

Five 60-minute episodes are so far slated for release; each segment will follow ex-mafia associate Lou Ferrante as he exposes the inner workings of some of the world’s most notorious gangs in places such as El Salvador, the Philippines, New Mexico, Italy and Poland, with Ferrante explaining gang origins, developing networks of power, motivations and political sway.

Ferrante appearing in TV host mode.
"He will immerse himself in gang culture and live alongside prisoners, talk to guards, and meet top-level soldiers," the site reports.

Louis Ferrante (born May 13, 1969) has been a pretty interesting story on his own. A one-time Gambino mobster who spent eight years in prison, he  managed to successfully appeal his conviction. A free man, he traded in his prison garb for a computer and began pounding the keyboard, becoming a rather successful writer, focusing on business and crime (of course).

Philly Mob Jury Now Deliberating for Four Weeks

Uncle Joe awaits verdict.
After a couple of misfires, Philly jurors deliberating the fate of mob boss Uncle Joe Ligambi and six of his cohorts have been piled in the jury room for more than four weeks now. The restarts were caused by the judge having to replace two jurors with alternates. Then the jury had to restart its efforts -- and one of the first things it did was ask to see every single exhibit introduced during the 10-week trial. And of course the defense filed a motion for a mistrial, which was denied.

So who is betting on a mistrial being declared?

The latest report on the status of deliberations comes from The York Daily Record, which notes that the "mob jury could work Super Bowl Sunday if the panel doesn't reach a verdict this week in the sports betting and loansharking case.

"The jury has returned to court nearly every day to review portions of the FBI wiretaps made over the past decade.

"U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno — perhaps nudging the panel along today — told jurors they could be working this weekend if they haven't reached a verdict."


Mass. Lawmakers Seek Expansion of Wiretap Efforts

From The Boston Globe: Massachusetts legislators and law enforcement officials are calling for an expansion of state wiretap law to allow police to secretly record more suspects who are targeted in murder investigations and other violent crimes.

Under terms of a bill pending at the State House, authorities would still need a warrant to wiretap suspects, but the targets would not have to be members of a bona fide organized crime outfit, such as the Mafia, according to a summary of the legislation released on Sunday by the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

“Our current wiretap law has not been updated since 1968; it’s like asking our police to continue on horses and buggies after criminals began driving around in cars,” Coakley said in a statement. “This bill is a common-sense step forward to keep our communities safe from gun and street violence, human trafficking, and other violent crimes.”

Coakley, along with police officials and lawmakers, is scheduled to brief reporters on the legislation on Monday.

The bill would also extend the length of a wiretap from 15 days to 30 days, which is consistent with federal law, the summary states.

Drita Poised for Double-Digit Win in Poll

Drita has nearly half the vote, with only three days left...
OK, nearly 300 readers have responded to our poll, "Who is Your Favorite Mob Wife?" We can't believe how far ahead Drita D'Avanzano is -- is she really that popular or do more of her fans tend to read this blog, is the question.

But the facts are that 43% of respondents picked Drita; Big Ang is next popular, with 24%. The rest of the cast is stuck in the 5% to 7% bandwidth, which is plain ridiculous. No other mob wife even comes close to Drita in popularity???

Friday, January 25, 2013

'Mob Wives' Gets TG Graziano Thrown Out of the Mob

TG Graziano
Jerry Capeci broke a big one this week, posting an article on his PPV website that reveals that the Bonanno family is so fed up with "Mob Wives," and all the attention that the "reality" TV show has brought to La Cosa Nostra, that it has put TG Graziano, the one-time consiglieri (and father to Jenn and Renee Graziano), on the shelf, which means he has basically been stripped of all his mob duties.

Hector Pagan's flipping -- a constant theme running through the show last season and the current one -- probably didn't help TG's cause, either, since Pagan was with TG.

For all intents and purposes, it seems, TG is a "former gangster" now, and he can thank his daughters for this, according to the ganglandnews.com column.

Let's see how they spin this one...

Full story coming soon...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Carla Facciolo, Tony Testa to Star in Lil Kim Video

Tony Testa, recording artist.
Lil Kim video shoot in Queens.
Hip-Hop Wired reports that Lil Kim was in Queens this past weekend to shoot a video for a song called "Jay-Z."

"Kim, whose played up her mafia persona for years by hanging with Mob Wives' Drita DaVanzo, surprised little by tapping Tony Testa and Mob Wives' Carla Facciolo in the video. Testa's Uncle, Joseph Carmine Testa, was convicted of being the head of the Gambino crime family."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mob Wife Love's Mom Called Her 'Satan's Spawn'

Renee is "threatened" by Junior via a written letter so she can
show how strong she is by how she deals with the issue.
Well, so much for that. It looks like mob wives can't be bothered writing show recaps.

Last week, VHI announced that each week a mob wife would recap the show, providing that wife's own particular spin on the analysis. Ramona Rizzo wrote the first recap, but we see that Mob Wives – Episode 3 – VH1 Blog was written by Elizabeth Black, who as far as is known is not a mob wife -- unless she is the surprise "other" new mob wife Jen Graziano announced many months ago, then said not another word about; this  "second" new mob wife also hasn't appeared on the show, either, so we may still be in for a late-breaking appearance by one of the Gotti ladies... or not.

Also, to stick our two cents in, we think once again Renee is blowing things way out of proportion. Junior is the one that's hunted -- he's the Virgil Sollozzo of the group. And his letter obviously was a response to AJ's telling him about how Reneeis trying to turn their son against him, meaning Junior Pagan, although how Pagan could not have seen this coming is surprising...

Pagan has something in common
with Sollozzo of "The Godfather."
And by the way: How many times does Love 'Satan's Spawn' Majewski need to reiterate that she has stabbed, shot and poisoned several men formerly in her life, including not-gangster Ray Merolle? Does she not realize how foolish she looks when she describes herself as a total loony tune, repeatedly, actually threatening Carla's life on the show for absolutely no reason at all??? (Speaking of which, are there not laws against that?) We are also interested in the love triangle Love mentions; we have heard about the Love-Chris Paciello-Roxanne Rizzo triangle, but not the Love-Carla-whomever one. We'll have to hit the books and Internet. But bottom line: no wonder Love is still single... though we do wonder how she's not in prison...

I don't know... All this heightened drama and tension of the third season seems almost desperate, and sort of makes us wonder if the memory of Mob Wives Chicago's fate is foremost on the minds of the producers and cast of "Mob Wives," and that the ladies are doing all they can to make sure this show stays on the air. We don't think they need to worry about that, in any event...


10 Deadliest Mafia Hitmen in History

We don't say we agree with this listing (especially the bit about the Ice Man, pictured below) but we thought readers would find it of interest.

From Criminal-Justice-Major.net:



Sometimes, even the Mafia needs a little extra assistance. When things get messy, the notorious criminal organization has an utterly ruthless and deranged clean-up crew of paid assassins on standby. Whether they need to violently send out a message, or subtly whack a rival with minimum repercussions, the Mob can turn to any number of cold-blooded career professionals. These contract killers are a law enforcement officer’s nightmare – and case studies for criminal justice experts.


It’s an odd profession, killing for a living. Career prerequisites include ruthlessness, aggression, and an icy sense of emotional detachment. And if the cases that follow are anything to go by, some kind of psychological imbalance probably helps as well. The infamous killers on this list plied their trade with the kind of fervor and dedication that might have earned them a golden handshake had their chosen careers been above board. Read on for the 10 most dangerous mafia hitmen in history.

10. Abe “Kid Twist” Reles



Abe Reles was a natural born killer. He was a violent and unpredictable man and an early member of the charmingly named Murder, Inc. This was a notorious “enforcement arm” of the American and Jewish Mafia believed to have killed up to 1,000 people during the 1930s and ‘40s.

Jury Deliberations Resume in Ligambi Trial

Uncle Joe is waiting for the not
guilty verdict...
The third time's the charm -- hopefully, if the trial of alleged mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six other alleged mobsters and associates is ever to reach its end.

After two misfires, a federal jury is once again moving forward with its deliberations.

In the two weeks since deliberations began, it has been rough sailing, with the removal of two jurors, one for being ill, the other for being acquainted with a witness in the trial.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges they took part in illegal gambling and loan sharking and other offenses.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Papa Smurf? Wiseguys Have Creative Nicknames

Two Papa Smurfs: Which one is the gangster?
The NYTimes.com offers an interesting little piece on mob nicknames, using as its starting point one of the latest -- and most unique -- to hit the media with the predawn bust of the waste-disposal racketeers:

"One of them is believed by the authorities to be a mob associate who extorted owners of garbage-hauling companies in New York City suburbs. The other is believed to be at least 542 years old, very short and wise, with blue skin and a white beard.

"One was arrested on Wednesday. The other stays close to his village, far from humans and laws and garbage-collection companies.

"But they have the same name: Papa Smurf."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Philly Mob Case May End in Mistrial

Big Trial: The case against Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six co-defendants appeared to be teetering on the brink of a mistrial Thursday as lawyers met behind closed doors with the judge for several hours to discuss the possible dismissal of up to three jurors who have been deliberating for more than a week in the high profile case.

Lawyers were tight-lipped as they emerged from the session, held in the courtroom but behind locked doors. Jurors were released for the day shortly before 4 p.m. and were told to report to court Friday morning at the usual 8:30 a.m. starting time. But they were cautioned not to begin deliberations.

Federal Court Upholds Franzese's Sentencing

Feared Colombo heavyweight Sonny Franzese.
IBT Times: Things aren’t looking so sunny for 95-year-old mob boss John “Sonny” Franzese after a federal appeals court upheld the New York mafia figure’s eight-year prison sentence on racketeering charges. The ruling means Franzese will be 100 years old if he's released from prison due to good behavior.

The mob boss had a fair trial when he was convicted of extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a Long Island pizza joint, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Franzese, who according to an FBI agent once boasted he killed 60 people, was sentenced in January 2012 in Brooklyn federal court.


RELATED POSTS:



Franzese, the underboss of New York’s Colombo crime family, also thought about killing his son after he cooperated with the feds, according to the FBI agent, who testified at his’ trial.

An informant recorded Franzese saying he “killed a lot of guys” but was “never caught,” the AP reported. In the recordings, Franzese also gave advice as to the best way to dispose of body parts. He said drying the remains in a microwave and grinding up in a garbage disposal was his recommended method.

A federal judge sentenced Franzese to eight years in prison for extorting the strip clubs and the pizzeria, four years less than the 12-year sentence recommended by prosecutors.


Genovese Assoc 'Papa Smurf' Ran Garbage Scam

Genovese associate Carmine 'Papa Smurf' Franco at yesterday's
predawn arrests.
And people keep insisting that the American Cosa Nostra is dead...

Fort Lee, NJ Patch: A reputed Ramsey mobster known as "Papa Smurf" was charged Wednesday in a widespread federal sweep targeting a mob-run conspiracy to control the trash-hauling industry in New York and New Jersey.

[FBI press release on the bust]

Borough resident Carmine Franco, a 77-year-old Genovese Crime Family associate who had two prior convictions in connection with organized crime in the trash removal industry, was allegedly the ring leader of a scheme to control crooked waste management companies, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Franco and a brother formerly owned the Sal Car transfer station in Hillsdale, which they later sold to Waste Management. Also arrested Wednesday was Teaneck resident Jonathan Greene, 47, who faces a charge of interstate transportation of stolen property in the alleged mob conspiracy.

Franco was allegedly at the center of a scheme involving three well-known mob families, the Genovese, Gambino and Lucchese crime families.

Franco, who also goes by "Uncle Sonny," was one of 32 people in New York and New Jersey charged in an FBI-run takedown that included members of several crime families, US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, Preet Bharara, Assistant Director in Charge of the NY Office of the FBI George Venizelos and Westchester County Police Department Commissioner George Longworth said in a release.

Franco was allegedly at the center of a scheme involving three well-known mob families, the Genovese, Gambino and Lucchese crime families. According to the release, Franco was one of 12 people who controlled crooked waste management companies that were officially owned by people who had no past ties to organized crime, who were known as “controlled members.”


Ex-Outfit Boss Calabrese Wanted No Wake or Funeral

Former Outfit boss Frank Calabrese Sr. died
in prison on Christmas day, his favorite holiday.
From ABC7 Chicago: Three weeks ago today, Chicago mob boss Frank Calabrese Sr. died in a North Carolina prison. Unlike the old days, there has been no lavish Outfit wake and funeral...and there won't be.

Calabrese, known as "the Breeze" in mob circles, died of an apparent heart attack on Christmas day, said to be his favorite holiday. But the ruthless hitman who became a boss apparently wanted no tears shed over his passing. According to those familiar with Calabrese's final wishes, there was to be no wake or funeral.

Once upon a time, the passing of a top Chicago hoodlum attracted hundreds of mourners -- in a command performance of public sadness and wailing -- surrounded by huge spreads of flowers and food. In the Outfit's heyday, a mobster such as Frank "the Breeze" Calabrese would have commanded such a final tribute.

According to those familiar with Calabrese's final wishes, there was to be no wake or funeral.

But not so after the passing of Calabrese while serving a life sentence in the Family Secrets prosecution. He apparently made it clear he didn't want such fanfare, after being taken down by his own son, Frank Calabrese Jr., and his brother Nick, he left behind a mob family in disarray and his blood family fractured in pieces.

"He did everything he could to ruin our family," said youngest son Kurt Calabrese. "All for greed. Money was God...didn't care about anyone and hurt people."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Predawn Raid Hauls in About 30 'Garbage' Gangsters

The FBI and NYPD hauled out of bed and rounded up more than 30 mobsters connected to three of New York's five crime families in a predawn raid this morning, according to several published reports.

NBC New York reports that the arrests are based on indictments charging extortion and other federal crimes related to the garbage-hauling business.

The suspects were transported to the FBI office in Lower Manhattan for processing and are slated to be in federal court later today.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara "alleged in three interlocking indictments that the defendants, arrested in predawn raids in New York and New Jersey, controlled several garbage-hauling businesses in five suburban counties," according to NBC.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George C. Venizelos said that "the indictments show the ongoing threat posed by mob families and their criminal associates. In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services. The arrests – the culmination of a long and thorough investigation – also show the ongoing determination of the FBI to diminishing the influence of La Cosa Nostra."

ABCNews reported that, according to the indictments, members of the enterprise avoided any official connection to the waste disposal business because they were banned from the industry or unlikely to be licensed.

Charges against the alleged mobsters include racketeering, extortion, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to transport stolen property.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Detroit Underboss Among Latest to Tell Hoffa's Fate

Hoffa theories abound once again, it seems. I have a feeling they are going to find the guy eventually. Now that the generation of Mafiosi that whacked the former Teamsters boss are dying off someone is going to say something that is not bullshit...

Detroit Free Press: A man the FBI believed was a Detroit mob underboss is the latest to claim he can solve the mystery behind the 1975 disappearance of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.

Tony Zerilli, 85, told WDIV-TV in Detroit that Hoffa, 62, was temporarily buried in a field in northern Oakland County, Mich., after he was kidnapped on the afternoon of July 30, 1975, from a restaurant parking lot in Oakland County. Hoffa's body has never been found and his disappearance sparked one of the 20th century's biggest mysteries.

Zerilli, who denied during the interview that he was in the mob, said he was in jail at the time, but heard about the incident after he was released. He said he believes Hoffa's body is still buried 30 miles away from the restaurant, and that he's talked to the FBI about it.

"The master plan was, as I understood, they were going to put him in a shallow grave here, and they were going to take him from here to Rogers City, upstate, where there was a hunting lodge," Zerilli said during the interview. "That just fell through."

Simon Shaykhet, spokesman for the FBI's Detroit office, said the agency has no comment on the claims.


VH1 Offers "Mob Wives" Recaps Written by Cast

VH1 is really recognizing the popularity of "Mob Wives" within the blogosphere, first offering us a weekly "best tweets" source and now even "the weekly show recap," but with a twist: every week, the VH1 blog will post a  recap of the show -- only it will be written by a mob wife, presumably a different one each week, in a game sort of like musical recaps...

VH1 Blog: This season, the VH1 Blog is lucky enough to have the participation of the Mob Wives cast who will be commenting on every episode of the show. This week, Ramona Rizzo is taking to her keyboard to give us her opinions on episode two, and on the journey that she and all the other mob wives are taking -- on that rocky road called love.

RAMONA RIZZO: We often forget that an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband are an ex for a reason…they are to be put in the past. I as well as so many other females have been caught up and put on an emotional roller coaster ride. In doing so, we often get side tracked from our main focus and the things they’ve done to us such as cheating on us, lying to us and some, like Renee and myself, have had to deal with domestic violence in their relationship.

We can talk forever on how men have hurt us in so many ways and each female will have their own story. The fact is even though all the ladies on the show don’t get along, we have things in common, one being we are all strong and we are making our way to support our families. Basically we are doing what we have to do to survive.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Read Best "Mob Wives" Tweets -- Courtesy of VH1

The VH1 Blog is offering fans of "Mob Wives" the opportunity to see the latest fiery tweets between cast members, apparently welding the social media site even more deeply into the reality show.

"This week, the ladies get to talking about the relationship between Love and Carla, which will soon come to light on the series, and get in a few hilarious side comments about their own personal dramas, too. Read the best tweets of the night right here," the blog proudly declares.

The show, now formally linked to all the Twitter antics, is starting to remind me of wrestling, and we all know how realistic wrestling is. In fact the feud between Carla and Renee was so sudden and inexplicable, one can't help but feel that the show may not be as "reality-based" as we'd thought.

And what was with wasting the first 10 minutes of episode two on having us watch Renee tell Ramona and Karen what we already saw with our own eyes last week? Was it supposed to be for the enjoyment of getting to see Ramona and Karen's reactions to Renee's version of her junky-whore argument with Carla? Oh, boy.

And by the way, whatever happened to the other new mob wife? Is she making a late appearance on the show -- or was she maybe cut out for some reason? (There is that Wikipedia glitch we wrote about...)

Reputed Bonanno Assoc Snagged in $1B Drug Bust

The New York Post is reporting that "a rogues’-gallery alliance among the Canadian Mafia, outlaw bikers and a Mexican drug cartel supplied New York City with nearly a billion dollars in marijuana," according to authorities and new court documents.

Running the group was French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer, who was done in following a five-year probe by the DEA and police from Laval, Quebec, where Cournoyer once lived, according to the Post.

Cournoyer is now awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court. He was described as the man behind a  “vast international drug-trafficking enterprise that has been in existence for more than a decade,’’ prosecutor Steven Tiscione wrote in recent court papers, as reported by the Post.

The newspaper identified reputed Bonanno crime-family associate John “Big Man” Venizelos as "one of Cournoyer’s biggest customers in New York City..."  Venizelos is currently out on bail in the case, the Post reports.

Venizelos lives in downtown Manhattan pad and works as a manager at a Brooklyn nightclub called Jaguars 3, the newspaper reports, adding that, overseeing the club is Vincent “Vinny Green” Faraci, a reputed Bonanno soldier previously charged with managing the Crazy Horse Too strip club, located in Las Vegas, according to the Post report.

"[Cournoyer's] pot supply... was transported in motor homes and trucks across Canada with the help of the Hells Angels, officials said. The motorcycle gang and the Montreal mob then smuggled the pot from Quebec into upstate New York, authorities said. Trucks delivered it to a warehouse in Brooklyn, sources said," according to the Post.

"Millions of dollars generated by the marijuana sales were eventually used to buy cocaine from Joaquin Guzm├ín Loera, the leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel — with the sale of the coke further financing the marijuana operation in Canada, feds say."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wanna Know Each Mob Wife's Net Worth? Read On

CelebrityNetWorth.com, founded in October 2009 in Los Angeles, claims it has grown into "one of the most popular and influential celebrity finance outlets on the Internet."

"Whether you're looking for the latest net worth and salary of your favorite celebrity or you want to stay up to date on all the most expensive products and gizmos in the world, Celebritynetworth has you covered," the site declares.

Mob Wife Drita D’Avanzo’s net worth is $3 million dollars.
Drita D'Avanzo is up there but Big Ang
is the wealthiest of all...

All its figures and articles are thoroughly researched, scrutinized and fact checked by writers and financial analysts, the site notes, adding that the figures are acquired from publicly available information, including salaries, real estate holdings, divorces, record sales, royalties and endorsements. The estimated net worths come from a formula that takes out taxes, manager’s fees, agents’ fees, and lifestyle.

So, of course, we immediately checked out what the low-down was, according to the site, for the ladies who star on one of our favorite reality shows, Mob Wives.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tony Lip Dies; Played Many Wiseguys Onscreen

From NYTimes.com (AP):

Tony Lip, an actor known for playing mobsters on “The Sopranos” and in many feature films, died last Friday in Teaneck, N.J. He was 82.

Family members told The Record of Woodland Park that Mr. Lip, whose real name was Frank Anthony Vallelonga and who lived in Paramus, died at a hospital in Teaneck after several years of failing health.

Mr. Lip was best known for playing the mob kingpin Carmine Lupertazzi in several episodes of “The Sopranos,” the HBO series about the personal and professional life of a troubled mob boss played by James Gandolfini. He made his movie debut in an uncredited role as a wedding guest in “The Godfather” and also appeared in “Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull,” “Donnie Brasco” and other films.

In the 1960s, before becoming an actor, he worked at the Copacabana nightclub in Manhattan, where among the celebrities he met were the kind of gangsters he would later portray.


Trivia

Drita Clearly Winning, So Far: Vote in Our Poll

Who is your favorite member of "Mob Wives?" Vote in our poll -- you can't miss it; it's on the top of this blog's right hand column.

Only one-day old, the poll says Drita is so far the clear winner, with Renee, Carla and Big Ang pretty much lumped together for second place.

But there is still a ways to go -- 15 days, to be exact. 

Gambino Associate Busted Again for Using a Blade

NYPOST.com EXCLUSIVE :

A Gambino crime-family associate who beat charges of knifing the owner of popular Brooklyn pizza joint Lucali almost two years ago was again busted for wielding a blade — this time during a bar brawl, The Post has learned.

Ex-con Battista “Benny” Geritano, 40, allegedly stabbed Nunzio Fusco, 26, twice in the gut and once in the shoulder as the two fought inside Bay Ridge lounge Nouveau during the early-morning hours of Dec. 23.

Geritano — here leaving Brooklyn federal court yesterday — was previously accused of carving up dough-tosser Mark Iacono in Carroll Gardens, on April 15, 2011, over a reputed love triangle. The case was dropped when both refused to cooperate with authorities.

                                             Paul Martinka
Geritano’s recent trouble began when Fusco accidentally bumped into him around 2 a.m. while walking through the Third Avenue hot spot with his girlfriend, sources added.

Fusco apologized and headed to the bar to order drinks, but Geritano refused to let it go and gave Fusco an icy glare, sources said.

Geritano then sidled up to the bar and intentionally knocked into Fusco, sources added.

“Listen, I apologized for bumping into you. I don’t want any problems,” Fusco allegedly said to the mobbed-up tough guy who was sprung from federal lockup on Aug. 24. Geritano, apparently hankering for a fight, then shoved Fusco’s gal pal and all hell broke loose, sources said.

Fusco threw a punch and he and Geritano were quickly trading blows, the sources said.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Merolle Crew: Self-Proclaimed 'Untouchable' Thieves

Ray Merolle


Update on Ray Merolle: After escaping conviction for stealing cars by cooperating, he is currently serving the last couple years of a seven-year sentence in Arizona, as the following SILive.com article, from 2008, relates.

The article also notes that the Merolle car-theft ring was a family affair -- literally, in that it consisted of members of Ray's family. Also, the crew got the nickname the "Untouchables" from itself; meaning they referred to themselves as the Untouchables. There is no mention of the film "Gone in Sixty Seconds," but who knows, maybe the gang made that up by itself, too.

Mob Lawyer: Philly Feds Didn't Make Their Case



From the HuffingtonPost.com:

The FBI paid mob informants more than $500,000 and overlooked their crimes to try to bolster a racketeering case that's "been on life support" for years, a defense lawyer argued Monday.

The FBI has little to show for its 13-year investigation into La Cosa Nostra under reputed boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, veteran mob lawyer Edwin Jacobs Jr. told a jury in closing arguments. Federal prosecutors believe the 73-year-old Ligambi has quietly run the Philadelphia mob since his flashy, younger predecessor, Joseph "Joey" Merlino, went to prison in 1999.

"Things changed in 1999. They just don't want to admit it. This indictment ... has no guns, no knives, no explosives, no beatings, no killings," Jacobs said. "You got nothing but some gambling talk and a couple of angry conversations."

Prosecutors accuse Ligambi of running a cash enterprise centered on loansharking, sports betting and illegal video poker machines – all controlled through threats about "cracking heads" or hiring "gorillas" to chop people up.

"The defense wants you to believe everyone in South Philadelphia talks like that every day of the week. That's an insult to your intelligence," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han told jurors Monday, as he replayed tapes on which the defendants brag about beatings and make profanity-laced threats. Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Tuesday after three months of testimony.


Rambling Riff on This Blog's 'Mob Wives' Coverage

The ladies are coming back...

REVISED, SOMEWHAT: Covering "Mob Wives" can be a major headache, but I have to admit, stories I have written about it are among the most popular on this site. Of my top 10 posts, eight have to do with the reality show about those fiery ladies on Staten Island.

From my data, I believe that readers want to know more about the "real" goings on of these women, not just recaps of shows and fluff stories about how great the cast members are. An hour-long Biography episode on each mob wife would do very well, I would wager.

[MafiaLife Chris responds to comments regarding Renee and Mob Candy -- check out: Renee Graziano Launches Own Mob Candy Brand]

I admit it: I am on Drita's team -- but that doesn't
protect her...
I have tried to practice journalism on this blog, which has proven difficult because, unlike in my professional world, my calls and emails are generally not returned. (There is a handful of helpful people who do talk to me -- and I give them great thanks.)

The Mob Wives are not among this group of talkers.

Let's hit rewind and delve into some background to provide context.

I launched Cosa Nostra News before "Mob Wives" was released -- before it had even been announced, I believe -- and I pitched my blog  to The New York Daily News, which at the time was running a daily website devoted to mob news, pulling stories from a handful of blogs; thanks to my pitch, my blog was included. I saw a dramatic leap in readership, needless to say. My blog posts shot up from maybe a hundred or less hits apiece per day to around several thousand -- sometimes up to around 5,000 and up.

Then I wrote my first "Mob Wives" story, Cast Named for VH1's "Mob Wives" Reality Show, and something happened. The story's thrust was to simply identify by name all the mob wives, reveal how they were connected to LCN, and establish what kind of history they had with each other. From various websites, I managed to piece such a story together.

Love Majewski, one of two new
mob wives. Who is no. 2?
The Something That Happened was that my debut "Mob Wives" story got about 40,000 hits on the day I posted it. At first I thought there was some kind of error in my stats, but after carefully looking over the data, I realized it was not an error and that I was on to something.

In search of another story about the show, I took the angle of wondering how TG Graziano, who was Bonanno consiglieri at the time, was reacting to the fact that his own daughters were about to expose what is meant to be a secret society -- Dad Graziano Not Speaking to "Mob Wives" Daughters was the original title -- and to my amazement, the story garnered around the same number of hits. (That story has since been updated, I believe a couple of times, and is now called Dad Graziano Is Speaking to Mob Wives Daughters Despite Rat Pagan.)

But nothing good lasts forever. I gleefully watched my readership grow in exponential leaps -- and sooner rather than later, the Daily News dropped its mob website for some inexplicable reason. At the same time, blogs leaped into being to cover "Mob Wives" and other reality TV shows, while others expanded their coverage to include Jenn Graziano's creation. All this made for a much fiercer competitive landscape. The days of a blog story getting 40,000 hits a day were over, for me anyway.

But I have to be thankful; that constellation of events helped me build a pretty good following relatively quickly, and I am happy with my traffic, which has been steadily growing ever since.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brawlin' & Bitchin' Highlights "Mob Wives" Opener

Back for season three.
The debut episode of season three of "Mob Wives" didn't waste any time, diving right into a major story line that will probably continue gaining steam throughout the entire season.

Renee's wheels are turning.
THE "A" STORY LINE FOR TONIGHT: Right off the bat Carla and Renee were shaping up to take each other on. I am not sure how this battle got started -- there is what happens on the show, and there is what happens in real life, some of which apparently played out on Twitter in this case. In fact the social media platform was mentioned prominently on this episode. Would that make this a case of reality imitating life, imitating reality? Somehow we think Carla nailed down the absurdity of Renee mentioning Twitter on the show when she yelled: "LET'S TALK ABOUT TWITTER, RENEE! LET'S TALK ABOUT TWITTER!!" It was like she was saying, how pathetic are you to bring up Twitter on the show -- and Carla is right. Renee must really be working the tweets hard in search of allies. but as Carla seems to know, as soon as Twitter starts setting the show's agenda, and not the other way around, that show is in trouble.

Carla "grows some balls," as Big Ang says.
WE INTERRUPT "A" STORY LINE FOR BEST QUOTE(S) OF THE SHOW:

"I never liked that Twitter," Big Ang says at one point, to which we say: Right on!!! We never liked that Twitter, either!!

"You're a go-to girl," Renee says to Carla. WTF?

"Who ever says [go-to girl] anymore!" Big Ang says,  in response to Renee's above comment.

"I don't think it's Renee's business," again Big Ang, saying what she thinks of Renee's problems with Carla...

And finally: "I think he's a horror!" Big Ang on Junior Pagan, in response to Renee's accusations that both Love and Carla f---ed him...

BACK TO "A": Moving forward, it seems like Renee's son and Carla got into some kind of spat, on Twitter, which caused Renee to stand up for her son -- the one who seems to not give the slightest crap what she does. She calls Carla a whore, saying she sleeps with married men, including Renee's now-ex-husband, Junior Pagan. Comically enough, Renee later accuses Love, who was supposed to be one of two new mob wives joining season three, of the same thing -- screwing Pagan. In Renee's eyes, Pagan must be one brawny god of a man, a veritable mountain of male molten lava, a sex god that women merely take one look at and start melting... 

The newbie Love. Where is other new mob wife?
Her charges of adultery are also difficult to prove. Renee claims "other wives" are also in-the-know about Carla's supposed illicit bedroom romps, but then we don't have access to them, do we? She doesn't bring them to brunch at Big Ang's. So, for battling with her son on Twitter, Carla is slimed as a slut by Renee, and everyone is supposed to take Renee at her word. I will believe Carla is the whore Renee says she is when I believe Renee created the Mob Candy brand while pigging out on chocolate.

In return, Carla throws out remarks that we know are true, judging by Renee's own reactions. Carla calls her a junky. And the two go back and forth screaming at each other, blood pressures visibly rising before a shaken and stirred Drita and Big Ang. I did feel uncomfortable with how quick and abrupt Carla used the word junky, especially with Big Ang there (her son has his own problems). But Carla wasn't judging all addicts, she was arguing with Renee and attacking back -- at least that's what I think.


Is Anyone Hiring Out There?

When not creating content for this blog, I am working my butt off doing freelance work and sending out resumes. I need a full-time job, and it seems impossible to get one. I have been dodging this financial crisis since it started, and in my view it hasn't ended.

So I have resorted to this: impugning on my blog readership.

If anyone out there is looking to fill any writing/editing positions, please contact me; I can show you my professional portfolio, which has nothing to do with the mob (I operate this blog under a pseudonym). I am primarily a writer/editor of business and human interest stories, and have strong experience.

I am very open to venturing outside of journalism and into marketing communications or public relations.

Please contact me at evlieb83@verizon.net if you have any leads for me. I'd truly appreciate it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Did Wikipedia Mistakenly ID Other New Mob Wife?

Still no word on who the other new Mob Wife is... Toni Marie Ricci was the number-one contender for the slot, I thought, but I have begun to suspect that maybe she's been a red herring, and that Jennifer Graziano is going to wow us with someone totally out of left field...

Then I saw a bizarre mention on the Mob Wives Wikipedia page under the subhead Supporting Cast: "Victoria Gotti - Vanessa's older cousin, also daughter of the notorious mobster John Gotti, who visits Vanessa from time to time and gives her advice and a shoulder to lean on."

This seems to imply that Vanessa Gotti is the other new Mob Wife, and that Victoria will be on the show. However, there is no previous mention of Vanessa on the page -- it seems she should have been mentioned in a first reference. Perhaps the Wikipedia author identified the new cast member, but was  later told to take the name out, which the author did -- but maybe forgetting to delete the subsequent reference to Vanessa????

However, this too is odd to believe, considering Vicky's past statements about the reality TV show. See, for example, Victoria Gotti Takes Surreal Potshots at 'Mob Wives'.

Please leave your comments below on who you think the other new mob wife is.


Episode One Trailer, "Mob Knives"

From VH1.com:

Overview of Season 3: Mob Wives, which premieres this coming Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT, picks up with the women trying to move on with their lives.

In the wake of ex-husband Junior's betrayal, Renee battles an ongoing secret. Big Ang copes with the fallout from her son's drug rehabilitation and final sentencing. Drita learns that her husband Lee is going to be released from jail and is forced to consider the consequences. And when Lee does return to town, Drita is pushed to choose -- is she willing to let Lee back into their home and into her heart, or will she follow through with the divorce?

Much to Carla's amazement, things continue to heat up between her still-husband Joe and his much younger girlfriend. Joe drops a bomb on Carla that threatens Carla's number one spot in their relationship. As Karen continues to build her entrepreneurial empire, she learns some startling news about Dave that jeopardizes their long-standing love connection. And with Ramona's boyfriend Joe still stuck behind bars and awaiting sentencing, Ramona receives an offer she may never be able to refuse.

As Godmother to the group, Big Ang's peace-making skills are put through the ringer as the women continue to divide and multiply. Drita and Ramona are unexpectedly brought to the table by their daughters and pressed to settle their scores. When Renee and Carla go to war, it leaves everyone stunned and their twenty-year friendship in tatters.

The storms continue when Hurricane Sandy devastates Staten Island. The women survive the aftermath using their strength and street smarts to rebuild their hometown.

With the addition of Love Majewski, a hot-tempered mob moll engaged six times (often to notorious criminals) but never married, jealousy is in the air -- as are brand new Staten Island scuffles. A scrappy quick-witted loose cannon known about town for stabbing, slicing and poisoning ex-lovers, Love is searching for love in all the wrong places -- but, she won't take sh*t from any man or woman. Notes Reality Tea: "Only in America would she be rewarded with a television show!"

Agent Falls Worked Organized Crime in NJ, Tampa

From Tampa Bay Times: As an FBI agent who specialized in surveillance, Cyrus Falls worked in a lot of different places.

He dressed up to eavesdrop on bid rigging activity in a tony Washington, D.C., restaurant.

His 16 years in the FBI's Newark, N.J., office monitoring organized crime once took him into abandoned buildings, one wrong move away from a possible gunfight; and to other states as he tailed bad guys on the highway.

In Tampa, where he finished a 36-year career, he dressed like a tourist to watch communist bloc spies exchanging information at SeaWorld, witnessed drug transactions and shadowed remnants of the Trafficante crime family.

For long stretches of time in between, he drank coffee — and waited. In 21 years as an agent, he drew his weapon just once.

Mr. Falls, whose church activity and kindly demeanor earned him the nickname "Reverend" by his fellow FBI agents, died Nov. 20, of congestive heart failure. He was 79. ...

Read complete article

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Philly Mob Trial Reaches Closing Statements

Philly boss 'Uncle Joe.'
From the Big Trial: A federal prosecutor urged jurors on Thursday to rely on dozens of secretly recorded conversations in finding mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six co-defendants guilty of racketeering conspiracy charges.

"Their words define them," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han told the jury during a three and one-half hour closing argument that marked the start of the final phase of the ten-week old trial.

Han asked the jury to consider "the words that came out of the mouths" of Ligambi and most of the other defendants who he said had been "caught in the act of being themselves."

The secretly recorded conversations, from body wires worn by cooperating witnesses and from wiretapped conversations, were gathered during an investigation that began in 1999 and concluded with the indictment of Ligambi and the other defendants in May 2011.

The defendants are charged with gambling, loansharking and extortion that the government alleges were part of an ongoing racketeering conspiracy.

Han's methodical and detailed arguments were in sharp contrast to the highly charged, 35-minute closing by Joseph Santaguida, the lawyer for co-defendant and mob underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino.

Santaguida, his voice rising in anger and disdain, repeatedly told the jury that the government had failed to prove its case against his client and against any of the other defendants. He pleaded with the jury to decide the case "based on the evidence, or the lack of evicence, that came from the witness stand."

Closing arguments will continue from five other defense lawyers Friday.


Read more at http://www.bigtrial.net/2013/01/closing-arguments-begin-in-mob-trial.html#5BAzbFag3ETUaGep.99

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Is Mob Month in Las Vegas

Sal Polisi, former mobster turned author,
actor and film producer, will be there.
From ReviewJournal.com:

Former wiseguys and G-men plan to join forces for Mob Month at the Clark County Library every Tuesday in January beginning Jan. 8.

"These events have been very popular with our audience," said Julie Okabayashi, scheduling specialist for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. "People like to reminisce, and I'd guess if you polled the audience, you would find that the majority liked Vegas better when the mob was in charge."

Plans include panel discussions with former mobsters, law enforcement, authors, historians and other witnesses to the mob's rise to power in the 20th century, including question-and-answer sessions and book signings.

The annual event began when Henry Hill, a mobster-turned-FBI informant whose escapades became the inspiration for the movie "Goodfellas," came to the library with the idea of telling people the real stories behind the mob's chokehold on Las Vegas.

Hill died in June, and the Clark County Library plans to honor the "goodfella" during the Jan. 22 event. Ex-mobster-turned-author, actor and film producer Sal Polisi plans to talk about his relationship with Hill and show an interview he conducted with Hill days before his death.