Monday, March 31, 2014

Brief Bio of Lefty Ruggiero




A brief history of Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero soldier in the Bonanno Crime Family and his relationship with Donnie Brasco (FBI Agent Joe Pistone), and Capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano.

This video was released on March 28 by Bloodletters and Madman, which produces biographies of organized crime and Mafia figures. Based on Jay Robert Nash's book Bloodletters and Badmen - A Narrative Encyclopedia of the American Criminal, the segments cover "the Italian mobs, both the Mafia and the Camorra, Irish and Jewish Gangsters, and prohibition gangs." Researched, written and Narrated by G. Marshall Johnson.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mafia Pomp and Circumstance Has Its Uses

Former Gambino skipper Greg DePalma.

As the "new" Mafia seeks to find its place in the post-9/11 world, families are more selective about who will have the honor of being straightened out, noted Joaquín "Jack Falcone" García.

Falcone--who wrote a book that is essential reading for all who are interested in the goings-on of Cosa Nostra--had been an FBI agent for over 20 years when he infiltrated the Westchester-based crew of Gambino family capo Gregory DePalma. He spoke with Cosa Nostra News this week.

As part of its overall strategy to better isolate itself while it has the perceived breathing room -- the FBI has magnified its focus on terrorism and other crimes, downsizing its efforts against organize crime in New York -- the mob has put the word out to members: be careful who you sponsor, Falcone said.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Italian Trade Group: The Mafia Is No Laughing Matter

First Italy's government calls the UK a haven for the mob; now an Italian trade group has a problem with Joe "Dogs" Iannuzzi's Mafia Cookbook ... gimme a break! I mean, are they kidding? They turned a blind eye to three separate Mafias for 150 years and now they criticize others.

What's that old expression? Clean up your own backyard before you criticize your neighbor for not taking care of his?... or something like that.

Someone should wake up and smell the espresso.

Italian Trade Group to World: The Mafia Is No Laughing Matter: Associations Now: "Though Italian organized crime is a gimmick commonly used to sell food around the world, an agricultural trade group in Italy says such representations trivialize a very real—and very dangerous—issue. Now the association wants the rest of the world to change its ways.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Great Thing About Full Moderation

,,,is that I can delete all the vitriol left by trolls who visit this blog.

I support free and open debate but comments meant to incite me and/or others simply get deleted. That is my policy. From now on. Forever and ever.

Here's the rules:

NY Southern District Court Broke the Mob, Celebrates 225th

The Court That Broke the Mob Celebrates a Birthday | The Nation: "It is the court that convicted mafia figures of racketeering and conspiracy. It is the court where a defendant in a drug conspiracy case, while being cross-examined, threw his fifteen-pound wooden chair at the prosecutor, and spent the rest of the trial gagged and manacled.

It is the court where, in an overcrowded courtroom, Judge Pierre Leval presided over the longest trial in American history, the marathon “Pizza Connection” case, involving New York mafia kingpin Salvatore Catalano. The trial was a mammoth $1.6 billion narcotics conspiracy case lasting seventeen months. It was a daunting challenge to trial management, and the jury convicted eighteen men of over 100 acts of racketeering."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Preview: DiDonato on Life in Gambino Capo Little Nicky's Crew

Andrew DiDonato
"As a street guy you know what survival is all about. John made that play because he knew his life was at risk. Other guys were facing the same thing as Gotti. Others who went along, like Sammy, saw more earning potential [with Gotti in the big seat].

"John was a blue-collar guy. He was one of us, the guys in the trenches doing the work.

"Castellano wanted top dollar from us guys.

"And we had a lot of respect for O'Neill [Aniello Dellacroce]... He was a serious guy.

"So was Paul. But O'Neill was also a legitimate tough guy. Castellano wasn't."


Andrew DiDonato, whose book "Surviving the Mob" underlines the old adage that true life is stranger than fiction, said those words to us during a recent interview. A former Gambino associate, the Brooklyn-based wiseguy started in the life at age 16 by selling protection to drug dealers (protection from himself, of course).

How Did Lucky Luciano Get that Scar?



A Scar Is Born: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend | Cigar City Magazine:

This chapter addresses the numerous myths and folklore tales that circulated after Luciano was found in a bloody state in 1929. From the scars to the nickname to the possible culprits in the attack–all are discussed, but the following section truly adds yet another convoluted piece to the puzzle.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

England Provides a "Mafia Haven": Italian Prosecutors

'Britain helping the mafia' claim Italian prosecutors - Telegraph: "Britain has been accused of creating a “haven for the mafia” by refusing to extradite a convicted member of the crime organisation because of poor prison conditions he would face in Italy.

Franco Roberti, Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutor, described the decision as “devastating”, saying it would enable members of the mafia to take advantage of what he described as Britain’s apparently lax approach to fighting organised crime."


Talk about living in denial!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jack Falcone on Why the Mafia Still Stands Strong

Jack Garcia actually has served as an undercover agent in over 100 operations (
Gregory DePalma went from 70-year-old
brokester to high powered capo.

Joaquín "Jack Falcone" García's book, "Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family" starts off with a scene in Bloomingdale's in White Plains, New York.

Jack had been an FBI agent for over 20 years when he infiltrated the Westchester-based crew of Gambino family capo Gregory DePalma.

Jack actually has served as an undercover agent in over 100 operations (even during the Gambino op he also worked other cases). His name "Falcone" was tribute to the famous Italian mob buster Giovanni Falcone, who'd been murdered with his wife and bodyguards a couple of years prior, by "Toto" Riina and his Corleone, Sicily-based Cosa Nostra clan, which was at the top of the pyramid at the time and waging a bloody war with law enforcement.

"Jack Falcone" was a self-described Sicilian jewel thief and drug dealer from Miami who worked with DePalma for nearly three years. He was about two weeks away from getting his finger pricked and actually becoming a made member of the Gambino family when the FBI decided to pull him out in 2005. (He seems to agree with the call, but I could sense he was still rankled about it.)

The scene at Bloomingdale's took place a few weeks before the end of the operation, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of 32 mobsters, including top members of the Gambino crime family, such as Arnold Squitieri and Anthony Megale. In 2002, after Peter Gotti's arrest on racketeering charges, Squitieri became the new acting boss and Megale acting underboss.

Pope: Mafioso Risk Going To Hell With "Blood-Stained Power"




Toto Riina never sleeps in his prison bed without pictures of the saints pasted on the wall around his head...

Bernardo Provenzano's knowledge of the Bible is legendary. When he was finally arrested police found four bibles on his bedside table complete with annotations and underlining...

Value systems that propose to offer the absolute -- such as communism, democracy and religious faith -- have to give devotees an entire system to explain the world, as well as rules and codes for what constitutes "good behavior." Most importantly, there must be an ideological foundation from which everything else springs.

The Catholic Church, of which I am a member, offers believers salvation, eternal life, the rite of reconciliation.

But as the Mafia can give its members no metaphysical or ideological foundation, it has turned to religion, using components of the Catholic Church to reconstruct a false version of the Catholic God to justify itself. (This belief is powerfully expressed in The Honored Society, by Petra Reski.)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pagan "Flipped" in 2005, Once Shot at Wife's Lover (Seek Tipster)

"Junior"
Hector Pagan, ex-husband of Renee Graziano, yesterday testified in Brooklyn Federal Court that he had become a government informant in 2006 — a full five years before he agreed to wear a wire against father-in-law Anthony Graziano and other Bonanno ranking mobsters.

Pagan also fired a gun at a presumed beau of Renee's while Pagan was married to her after he happened to view her getting out of the man's car. No details are available regarding whether the man was wounded or not, and we are not aware of his name. (If anyone is, we'd appreciate a tip!)

And Pagan had been a Luchese associate, as was victim James Donovan at the time of the murder, before moving to the Bonanno family after his engagement to Renee Graziano.

These are among the revelations to emerge from the trial of Luigi Grasso and Richard Riccardi for the killing of James Donovan. Grasso and Riccardi face life in prison if convicted.

What the Hell Is the Sacra Corona Unita?

Where the "4th Mafia" was established.
As reported, the Sacra Corona Unita is believed to be behind the triple killings this week of a mobster on parole, along with his girlfriend and her 2-year-old son.

According to The Local: Italy's News In English, 2-year-old Domenico was shot dead along with his mother and her partner when gunmen ran them off the road and shot them to death in Taranto, Italy, on Monday.

Two more children in the car survived by playing dead.

"Investigators said the woman - the widow of a murdered mafioso - had provided information which led to the arrest of several criminals while her partner, himself a convicted murderer, had been taking advantage of day releases from prison to try to regain control of the local drug market," according to The Local.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

GUILTY! Mobsters Grasso and Riccardi Convicted of Murder

Surveillance photo of Luigi Grasso.
Luigi Grasso and Richard Riccardi have been found guilty for the killing of James Donovan.

Grasso, 46, of Staten Island, and Riccardi, 41, of Manalapan, N.J., each face a minimum of 10 years and maximum of life in prison when sentenced on Aug. 1.

They were both convicted on conspiracy, robbery, firearms use and murder charges.

"The defendants plotted this brazen robbery and took the life of James Donovan because of their unrelenting greed," said Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. "After lying in wait for Donovan, the defendants coldly robbed him, shot him and left him to die in the street."

"Tommy Shots" Gioeli Hit With 18 Years for Conspiracy Raps

Tommy Shots went down fighting
Former Colombo acting boss Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court yesterday to 18 years in prison for racketeering and murder conspiracy raps.

It's tantamount to life in prison, as Gioeli is 62 (though he looks more like 82) and apparently of ill health.

In a split verdict that stunned many trial watchers, Gioeli was acquitted in 2012 of several murders that could have sent them away for life -- among them the 1997 hit on NYPD cop Ralph Dols, who married the ex-wife of Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace, a former Colombo consigliere. The two also cleared of the 1999 slaying of Colombo underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo, and the 1995 execution of Colombo associate Richard Greaves.

But Gioeli was convicted of plotting the murders of Frank Marasa and John Minerva and was also found guilty of crimes committed on his quest to win power.

His attorney, Adam Perlmutter, noting the gangster's age and health condition, read excerpts from letters of support for Gioeli that presented him as more of a cuddly grandfather and community pillar than a vicious don.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where Sacra Corona Unita Lives, Mafia Kills Another Child

Mobster on parole slain with girlfriend and her son.
In the "heel" of Italy's boot, hitmen shot and killed a mobster on parole for a double homicide he'd been convicted of in 1998.

Also killed were the mobster's girlfriend and her two-year-old son.

The shooters engaged Cosimo Orlando, 43, in a high speed chase before driving his car off the road. Travelling with Cosimo at the time were Carla Maria Fornari, 30 and her son Domenico.

"The trio were killed instantly after hitmen forced their car off the road and then opened fire with machine guns riddling it with bullets - amazingly two other children inside survived," according to UK's the Daily Mail.

Falcone Op Ended First Post-Gotti Gambino Crime Family Administration

In 2002, acting Gambino crime family boss Arnold Squitieri, who'd been on parole for a previous drug conviction, had appointed a ruling panel of three Mafiosi (Alphonse "Funzi" Sisca, Louis Filippelli, and Chris Sucarato).
Arnold Squitieri was as security conscious as Joe Massino.

As former FBI agent Joaquin "Big Jack" Garcia originally informed us, in 2002, Gambino crime family acting boss Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri, who was on parole for a drug conviction, had appointed a ruling panel of three mobsters with whom he was especially tight: Alphonse "Funzi" Sisca, Louis Filippelli, and Chris Sucarato were Zeke's official eyes and ears on the street.

Acting underboss Anthony Megale was involved with overseeing rackets in the Stamford, Conn. area. (Megale  died in the summer of 2015).

Squitieri, in his own fashion, allowed personal feelings -- nepotism, basically -- to informally preempt the Gambino crime family's official hierarchy. Louis Filippelli had the most juice out of the three, as he was Squitieri's nephew. However, Filippelli was only a soldier in Gambino capo Alphonse "Funzi" Sisca's crew. Since Sisca was Squietieri's brother-in-law (as well as one of Zeke's buddies) Funzi "officially" had the power -- but Filippelli was the acting boss's official representative during sitdowns and other meetings.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mexican Drug Cartel Earns More Dealing Iron Ore

What if the drug cartels decided selling narcotics wasn't worth
all the legal headaches....
Imagine what would happen if Mexican drug cartels started getting out of the drug business ... sounds crazy, but a precedent for this scenario has been set.

According to the Arizona Daily Star website, the Knights Templar drug cartel in western Mexico has diversified to the point that drug trafficking is not among its more profitable businesses anymore.

"The cartel counts illegal mining, logging and extortion as its biggest moneymakers, said Alfredo Castillo, the Mexican government’s special envoy sent to restore the rule of law in Michoacan, the state controlled by the Knights Templar the last several years," the article noted.

Iron ore “is their principle source of income,” Castillo told the Associated Press. “They’re charging $15 (a metric ton) for the process, from extraction to transport, processing, storage, permits and finally export.” The ore itself doesn’t go for that price; the cartel skims $15 for every ton arriving in port. While it’s long been known that Mexican cartels engage in other types of criminal activity, including trafficking of people and pirated goods, this is the government’s first official acknowledgement that a major organized crime group has moved beyond drugs. The Knights Templar and its predecessor, La Familia, started out as major producers and transporters of methamphetamine.

Bonanno, Genovese Families Still Stripping Inductees?

Inductees
were stripped.

Friday, March 25, 2011:

Cosa Nostra News: Mafia Associates Strip During Induction Ceremony:


They prick your trigger finger. Make you cup your hands around a blood-smeared mass card with a picture of a saint on it, and set it afire. You take the burn like a man -- a made man -- slowly grinding your palms together, putting the flames out, the ashes blackening your singed skin. You speak the oath.

But hold it -- there was a new step added, according to new information...

Since then, at some point, probably before you are asked the obligatory question "Do you know why you are here?" (And God help you if you answer, "Yeah."), you are now required to strip down almost to your bare ass so the organization can make certain you are not wired for sound and/or video. ...


Yep, it would seem that both the Genovese and Bonanno families added this step to the induction process... The question is: They still doing it?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Alicia DiMichele BLASTS Renee Graziano via Twitter

 The Eye : Fashion & Style: "Renee Graziano may be feeling a certain kind of way towards her "Mob Wives: New Blood" costars, but apparently the unsettling feelings between the cast is mutual.

"After Renee recently criticized her co-star, Alicia DiMichele, for her decisions to join the show when she was facing jail time, Alicia took to her Twitter to retaliate, Examiner reported.

"They Claim to live by the 'Code' but still #alwaystalkings**t," Alicia tweeted on March 4."

I didn't write the following; a reader emailed the ALICIA BLASTS link to me and included the following stream of conscious story, which I liked and asked his permission to publish... "Luchey" refers to "Luchese" family, I should point out as some can't seem to decipher...Also, I did edit it to fit the blog's voice but realize I probably shouldn't have; I can't claim credit for another's work...


Who cares, right???

Seems to us that a certain reality show has been hitting overdrive working the PR front, for some reason -- must be a reason, like sis Graz 1 wasn't happy with how sis Graz 2 filmed/edited her; however the sisters may be up against a pair o' brothers not even their dad in his heyday would wanna mess with -- that would be, yes, the Weins bros -- talk about some tough Jews...

Also, anyone notice Hottie Natalie on the memorial show, or what's-it-called? Reunion show, one week after last episode....Nat, the WHORE! LOL!,  was saying that thing about "c'ming over" and "cuddling" out in the Las Vegas that Bugsy didn't invent.... His name wasn't Bugsy, but it wasn't Ben or Benjamin, either. Anyone know Siegel's first name? The one he was born with???

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Legend of Bugsy Siegel and Las Vegas



 Bugsy believed in the Flamingo and Las Vegas, and for this, he was indeed murdered.
Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel


The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently wrote about the mob's role in the evolution of Las Vegas, describing Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel once again as the gangster with the vision to create America's greatest gambling mecca.

They ought to know better.

According to the myth, Siegel drove his car across the open Nevada desert under a pale-blue sky with nothing but sun-scorched sand on either side. He stopped the car to relieve himself -- and a vision flooded his brain of a fantastic hotel-casino sprouting up out of the barren wasteland like a flashy mirage, where people could gather to enjoy in upscale splendor the best food and entertainment as well as first-rate service and, of course, gambling, all kinds of gambling, from felt-covered card-gaming tables to ever-hungry slot machines into which anxious patrons thumbed their coins, gleefully awaiting the ringing bells and flashing lights of the jackpot while sipping a martini.



Siegel, filled with mad inspiration, raced back to civilization, the myth goes, and started straightaway to develop the Flamingo hotel/casino, a gambling destination that would set the mark for gambling resorts across Las Vegas.

Let's get the story straight once and for all. As much as we love the tragic tale of Bugsy Siegel creating Las Vegas and getting killed for it by greedy, shortsighted gangsters -- a story brimming with dazzling details and immortalized in cinematic award-winners such as "The Godfather" and "Bugsy" -- most of the stories are fabrications.

We will give credit where credit is due: Bugsy did save the hotel/casino called the Flamingo; he provided the needed funding and saw construction through to completion. His death, in fact, is believed to have done more to put Las Vegas on the map than anything else. And he wasn't even killed in Las Vegas!

Bugsy believed in the Flamingo and Las Vegas, and for this, he was indeed murdered. To an extent he should be honored.

But let's recognize the true role he played and not the myth as spun by filmmakers and the corporate marketing departments of the hotel-casino behemoths now populating the fabled Strip.

Bugsy (a name only the bravehearted said to his face) was actually carrying out the vision of another man, an entrepreneurial businessman who was indeed the true visionary of Las Vegas.

Unsolved Gangland Slaying in Beverly Hills

Let's begin at the end. Based on the thousands of news reports over the years, we can all agree on the details regarding how, when and where the well-groomed gangster known for his flaring temper met his grizzly fate. (We still don't know who; likely, we never will.)

The Flamingo opened on December 26, 1946 to poor reception (the place was still under construction). The hotel soon closed, then reopened in March 1947, once construction was completed.

Three months later, at 10:45 pm on June 20, 1947, at least one gunman crept up to a French window with a 30-30 carbine, resting the rifle on the lattice work of a trellis outside the Moorish‐style mansion Siegel shared with Virginia Hill at 810 North Linden Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

Siegel sat on a couch, his back facing the gunman, adjusting his aim outside the window about 15 feet away. Siegel flipped through a copy of the Los Angeles Times he had picked up after dining at Jack’s on the Beach, when the gunmen squeezed off nine shots, two hitting Siegel in the head and two more tearing through his chest. During the hail of fire, Siegel's left eyeball was blasted out, an unintended symbolic flourish for the man called the "visionary" who created Las Vegas.

He died nearly instantly, and the high-profile murder, subjected to an intensive investigation, remains unsolved to this day.

The two most common theories identify the shooters as either Frankie Carbo, a former associate who helped Siegel commit an early murder, or Eddie Cannizzaro, a low‐level operative for LA gangster Jack Dragna, the boss Siegel had squeezed out of the lucrative wire-racing racket.

But is the identity of the shooter as important as who was at the other end, the man who gave the order?

Here's something interesting I learned while researching this story: Bugsy was not alone when he was killed. 

Trusted friend and associate Allen Smiley was with him that night, sitting on the other end of the couch. Little has been written about Smiley or what he knew about the murder. His daughter, Luellen Smiley, has written a book about the her father. Excerpts and stories about Smiley can be read here, on her blog.

Smiley and Siegel had met in Hollywood; Bugsy had begun vising the West Coast city in the 1930s to run rackets for the East Coast Mafia. Smiley's friendly demeanor supposedly served as a soothing balm capable of mitigating Siegel's notorious mercurial outbursts.

Smiley owned a piece of the Flamingo hotel, as did other mobsters (many other mobsters, in fact), and these business partners, according to the prevailing wisdom, are most likely responsible for Siegel's death. Meyer Lansky was part of this group of investors and the man who probably gave the order to whack Bugsy, although a deported Charley "Lucky" Luciano may have originated the order. This is definitely a topic worth taking a closer look at, perhaps in a later article.

The motive, in any case, was quite obvious -- too much cash had disappeared. Construction of the Flamingo had run into huge cost overruns. Girlfriend Hill was allegedly skimming (with or without Bugsy's knowledge).

Allen Smiley, who amazingly escaped injury, is the only eye witness. Luellen attributes her father's escape to luck. "It went right through his jacket, the bullets. The only reason he was saved is that he acted quickly and dove to the floor," she said.

After the murder, Smiley went on the lam for about a year. Some believe he had known about the hit in advance. His daughter doubts that. "Did he know it was coming? No, I don't think he'd be sitting there," she said. Luellen gave the New York Post an interview a few years back.
The original Flamingo, completed by Siegel, who died three months later.

Smiley told police that it was too dark for him to identify the shooter(s). He said something quite different to a longtime friend, according to said friend, Lem Banker, the Las Vegas sports gambler still at it today, apparently.

Banker says Smiley confided to him that the shooter was Chick Hill, the brother of Siegel's troubled girlfriend Virginia Hill. Chick Hill was in the house that night, as well, supposedly upstairs. Smiley told Banker that the mob didn't retaliate against Chick Hill because it wanted Siegel dead anyway. This instance of luck is difficult to believe and has been refuted. In the well-researched book Bugsy's Baby about Virginia Hill, the portrait of her brother, who ran errands for Bugsy and looked up to him as a big brother/father figure, makes Banker's positing nearly incomprehensible.

Interestingly, former Lansky associate Joe Stassi also said he had information that Chick Hill was the shooter. At least that is what Stassi, who played a large role in the mob's Havana operations before they were chased out, told GQ magazine in September 2001 (the issue dubbed him "The Oldest Living Mobster"). He added more detail, noting that Virginia's brother was an expert marksmen, having learned his trade in the U.S. Marine Corp. Stassi's version of events has also been refuted. Firstly, Chick Hill was in an upstairs bedroom on the night in question with Jerri Mason, a lady friend whom he planned to marry. Also, published works have noted that if Chick had a problem with anyone, it was his sister, Virginia, who was constantly disrupting his relationships with women.

When the gunfire began punching through the house, the first thought in Chick's mind was that someone was coming for Virginia's diamonds, a haul worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that was stashed in a secret wall safe in Virginia's bedroom, down the hall -- as were the guns, both Chick's and Ben's.

"Ben!" Chick cried out upon hearing the blasts. This is according to "We Only Kill Each Other," an early account of Siegel's life with Virginia Hill as written by Dean Jennings.

Smiley shouted back: "Chick! Douse the lights! Jesus!"

It is interesting that the two theories pointing to Chick Hill were proposed by two separate people, however. Less interesting if Smiley had also been Stassi's source.

Separating Fact from Fiction

To accept the Bugsy-created-Vegas myth as fact would require one to ignore all the evidence about what Las Vegas had to offer tourists before the  Flamingo opened its doors in 1947. There is extensive evidence in the form of published accounts in newspapers and magazines, as well as other material from the time period. Why waste time here proving water is wet? Read the work referenced below, and decide for yourself.

"Siegel’s property was indeed luxurious. Beautifully landscaped lawns with palm trees, a lobby with deeply cushioned chairs, thick carpeting and luxurious drapes throughout a property with a green and pink color scheme did add glamour to Las Vegas, but it was an incremental improvement over the other properties. Developers like Tommy Hull, Robert Griffith, William Moore, Bob Brooks, and especially Billy Wilkerson" are really the ones who set the stage for the Vegas we know of today, as noted in the Center for Gaming Research Paper on The Powerful Mythology Surrounding Bugsy Siegel.

Wilkerson is the real "visionary" behind Las Vegas. He "developed the idea for a luxurious hotel‐casino called the Flamingo, had set the stage for the emergence of truly glamorous properties like the Desert Inn and Sands hotels in the 1950," the Center for Gaming noted.

Bugsy the gangster merely stole the role from him, as well as the hotel/casino, from an historical perspective.

Wilkerson is a fascinating man in terms of his other achievements, as well, but let's stick to Vegas.


Copy of the $9,500 check Wilkerson wrote to Margaret Folsom


The Flamingo [the original that Bugsy took over] occupied 40 acres originally owned by one of Las Vegas's first settlers, Charles "Pops" Squires. Squires paid $8.75 an acre for the land. He sold the tract In 1944 to Margaret Folsom for $7,500 and she later sold it to Wilkerson, the owner of the Hollywood Reporter as well as some very popular nightclubs in the Sunset Strip.

In 1945, Wilkerson purchased 33 acres on the west side of U.S. Route 91, about one mile south of the Hotel Last Frontier, for $9,500. Wilkerson hired George Vernon Russell to design a hotel that was more in the European style, as Wilkerson's plan was to open a hotel with luxurious rooms, a spa, health club, showroom, golf course, nightclub and an upscale restaurant.

Due to high wartime materials costs, Wilkerson ran into financial problems nearly immediately -- he was in absolute need of funding to the tune of $400,000.

This is the part when the gangster usually shows up in his shiny suit, his pockets figuratively bulging with cash generated steadily by street rackets.

And so it happened that toward the end of 1945, Siegel and his "partners" showed up on Wilkerson's doorstep. The fledgling resort city of Las Vegas had indeed caught Bugsy's attention. Legalized gambling! Off-track betting! He already had a huge piece of the race wire racket, so he knew the immense profits that could be generated.

Siegel began purchasing property on Fremont Street but due to unfriendly city officials aware of his criminal background, he had to go off the then-main strip and find a site outside the city limits. Hearing that Wilkerson was in dire need of funding, Siegel and friends, saying they were just businessmen, approached him and bought a two-thirds stake in the hotel.

Siegel took over the final phases of construction and convinced more of his underworld associates to invest in the project, keeping alive the dream -- and supposedly even the name -- that Wilkinson had developed as part of his vision for the new-style Las Vegas hotel that would served as a model for later hotel casinos that opened there.


When Siegel finally opened the Flamingo on December 26, 1946, a large sign stood in front of the construction site announcing it was a William R. Wilkerson project, with Del Webb Construction as the prime contractor and Richard R. Stadelman the architect.

Another little detail I was not aware of was that a memorial has been erected to commemorate Bugsy Siegel's "role" in the development of Las Vegas.

The Siegel memorial is located outside the wedding chapel at the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and was erected when the new Flamingo hotel debuted..

So, they waited until the mob was gone before acknowledging organized crime's participation in Las Vegas's evolution. And now they use Mafia hype to sell Las Vegas to affluent more adventurous types of gamblers. The "Disneyland Vegas" didn't work, so they are seeking inspiration elsewhere. In fact, it seems like they want the very guys who once populated their infamous Black Book to populate their casino floors...

Ironic...




Bugsy Siegel DID NOT Invent Las Vegas



 Bugsy believed in the Flamingo and Las Vegas, and for this, he was indeed murdered.
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel
The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently wrote about the mob's role in the evolution of Las Vegas, describing Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel once again as the gangster with the vision to create America's greatest gambling mecca.

They ought to know better.

According to the myth, Siegel drove his car across the open Nevada desert under a pale-blue sky with nothing but sun-scorched sand on either side. He stopped the car to relieve himself -- and a vision flooded his brain of a fantastic hotel-casino sprouting up out of the barren wasteland like a flashy mirage, where people could gather to enjoy in upscale splendor the best food and entertainment as well as first-rate service and, of course, gambling, all kinds of gambling, from felt-covered card-gaming tables to ever-hungry slot machines into which anxious patrons thumbed their coins, gleefully awaiting the ringing bells and flashing lights of the jackpot while sipping a martini.

Jack Falcone Speaks With Cosa Nostra News

Jack "Falcone Garcia"
It's not every day that we get a phone call from someone like Joaquín "Jack Falcone" García, but it so happens that we did today.

We got his take on what's going on in the mob these days. The fellas are everywhere, despite all the big busts and trials, and the endless parade of informants you read about in the newspapers. With the FBI focusing on so many other types of crimes (terrorism being key, of course, plus cyber crime and other things), it seems the fellas are running wild.

The mob has been here for over a hundred years and its tentacles are into everything.

We'll explore that in more detail on this blog when we post the story.

If you haven't read his book, "Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family" you are missing out on a lot of good stuff.

Jack was an FBI agent who pulled a Donnie Brasco on the Gambino family, penetrating deep into the ranks with capo Greg DePalma as his mentor. And that was only part of his career!

I speak with a lot of types and I have to tell you: Jack is a great guy -- a nice, caring individual, and it comes through loud and clear in the way he speaks to you.

Check back, tonight or tomorrow -- it's gonna be a good read, I promise you!

Until then, here's some video of Jack talking about Cosa Nostra:

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Informant Sentenced to 99 Months for Al Bruno Murder

Anthony Arillotta, lauded by feds as 1 of best Mafia informants ever, sentenced to 99 months in Al Bruno murder case | masslive.com: "Anthony J. Arillotta on Wednesday bought himself out of a life sentence in prison for two murders, three attempted murders, six-figure extortions and other crimes with 10 days on a witness stand, eight years in prison and an $2 million fine. He was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for crimes including the 2003 deaths of Western Masschusetts mob boss Adolfo Bruno and his associate Gary Westerman. With time served, he will serve up to another four years in prison."

Reputed Ontario Mafia Boss Dies at Age 93

Reputed Mafia boss dies at home in Burlington at age 93:

Daniel Gasbarrini married the daughter of Tony Sylvestro, one of three Mafia dons who took over loansharking, gambling and narcotics across southern Ontario after Rocco Perri disappeared and his lieutenants were murdered.

[Gasbarrini held a] lifelong relationship... with Mafia boss Johnny Papalia. The pair went to school together in the North End, their fathers had similar criminal pasts, and the two forged a friendship.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Businessmen, Politicos and Mobsters Prefer Blackberry

Blackberry is among the communication devices of choice for
criminals. They also like Skype.
Back in January of 2012, when the battle was raging for control of the Rizzuto organization, Quebec police cracked one gangland slaying by accessing information on BlackBerry Messengers belonging to those suspected of orchestrating and committing the hit on Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna.

The former acting boss of the Bonanno family in New York had been deported to Canada from the United States in 2009 was residing on the South Shore of Montreal.

As noted on this blog, BlackBerry Messenger are believed to be favored by organized-crime figures due to the device's purportedly unbeatable encryption capability. Businessmen and politicians also are known to prefer the device for this same reason: secure communications.Message encryption and email privacy for users have long been key selling features for the BlackBerry service.

Just recently, the media was reporting that criminals still seem to prefer Blackberry devices for the same purposes. Dylan Welch reported for ABC News: "The phones are linked to a series of the underworld killings that rocked Sydney, several senior law enforcement officials told the ABC on condition of anonymity."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Riina Reveals Details of Sicilian Mob's Hit on Borsellino

Riina, the jailed head of the Sicilian
Cosa Nostra of Corleone.
From ABC News: "An Italian newspaper report says the remote control to detonate the bomb that killed anti-Mafia prosecutor Paolo Borsellino in 1992 was hidden inside the intercom at his mother's Palermo residence. La Repubblica said on its website Wednesday that jailed Mafia boss Salvatore "Toto" Riina revealed the whereabouts of the remote control, long a mystery, to another inmate in a monitored jail yard chat.

"The newspaper says it isn't clear whether Borsellino activated the bomb himself by buzzing his mother's home, or if someone else did. Borsellino and his bodyguards were killed in the blast from a car packed with more than 160 pounds (70 kilograms) of plastic explosives outside his mother's house. It came just two months after another anti-Mafia prosecutor was killed. Riina ordered the back-to-back slayings."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Did Mafia Film Kennedy Brothers, Marilyn Monroe Threesome?

Marilyn Monroe, icon of beauty...
An old-time  Cosa Nostra boss, one of America's more elusive, came to mind when we heard the recent news about there being in private hands an alleged home movie of Marilyn Monroe banging John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy.

We thought of this mob boss because he once expressed regret for not seizing a blackmail opportunity; namely he failed to film JFK getting down and dirty with a bunch of hookers.

The recent news revealing the existence of the footage came to light when the Tulare County Sheriff's Department (in California) reported that it had seized the alleged MM/JFK/RFK film from William Castleberry over an outstanding debt Castleberry owed the county. The Sheriff's Department was planning to auction off this film on March 4, to make its money back.

But then the debt was quickly repaid, and Castleberry's film was slated to be returned.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Graziano Sisters Discuss Season 5: Backstage Fighting, Jealousy, Fear


VH1’s Mob Wives' star Renee Graziano and her sister Jennifer Graziano (who is also the series creator and showrunner), visited Maria Menounos’ online media network AfterBuzz TV to discuss jealousy among the cast, how “real” the reality show fights with new cast members, fear of her father and ex-husbands reactions to the show and an upcoming romantic comedy film project on AfterBuzz TV’s in-depth interview series “Spotlight On.”

The latest season of Mob Wives: New Blood featured a mix of old and new cast members, with the addition of two new wives and the loss of former series stars Karen Grazano, Carla Facciolo and Ramonoa Rizzo. Renee commented on the new editions, saying “there’s a lot of jealousy with those woman right now, I’m really ahead of the game. And here’s how I see it. If there was a 5 lane high way, we can all get to our destination as fast as we want if we only stay in our lane. But the second you try to swerve into somebody else’s lane, you cause traffic, you cause accidents. Stay in your own mother fucking lane and get there, like I am.”

Friday, March 7, 2014

For Sicilian Newspapers, Coffins a Hot Topic

Interesting post from fellow blogger/friend/author Carl Russo, who gave us the incredible The Sicilian Mafia: A True Crime Travel Guide:

What's up with Sicilian coffins this year? You just can’t keep ‘em down. It started with an article in La Repubblica last month about a finely crafted pine box that showed up at a wedding, in 2012, as a cruel gag gift. The bride also received a sinister message on her answering machine: “This coffin is not for your husband but for you and your entire malarazza”—a colossal dis of her family.

A trial bringing harassment charges to two men and a woman, former friends of the couple, began on January 30. Although the targets of the prank have decided not to sue, they issued the following (under)statement: “We’re not interested in money, but these are things you just don’t do.” The couple has left Sicily permanently. It was a truly sick joke, but at least the coffin was empty.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Philly Mob Lawyer Dies; Had Been Target of Planned Mob Hit

Donald C. Marino
Donald C. Marino, one of Philadelphia's busiest attorneys, who went on to became chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, died Monday, at age 74. He had lived in Longport, N.J., and had died of congestive heart failure.

In a report on Philly.com, it's noted that Marino hadn't known he was "one of the targets of the vengeful mob boss John Stanfa in 1993" until three years after the fact. He was asked by Daily News reporter Kitty Caparella in 1996 if he had known about the contract, to which Marino replied, "This is the first I'm hearing about this."

Obviously, he was pretty pissed off about it. "The government never said anything. Usually if they pick up anything, they tell people about it," he told Caparella.

Mob informant Sergio Battaglia, a former hit man, told this to the FBI when they debriefed him prior to his giving testimony in mob trials.

"Battaglia said Stanfa, who led the Philadelphia mob from 1991 to 1995 and is now serving five consecutive life sentences, ordered his hit squad to kill Marino, as well as fellow lawyer Joseph C. Santaguida and the Inquirer's former organized crime reporter, George Anastasia," the report added.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Legal Sports Betting Won't Hurt Mob, Say Ex-Gangsters Alite, Lutz




The ongoing debate over whether New Jersey should legalize sports betting must be getting hot.

As Steven Stradbrooke notes on CalvinAyre.com, "Nevada’s sportsbooks just had their best football season ever, so is it any wonder New Jersey wants in on the action? Nevada’s $111.5 million in sports betting revenue would have come in especially handy earlier this week, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was forced to lower his online gambling annual tax revenue projections by $126 million."

60 Minutes for Showtime is devoting a segment to the tangential question of whether such a move would impact illegal gambling -- or as John Brennan writing for NothJersey.com, describes it, the "considerable illegal bookie industry in the state."

"60 Minutes Sports" is running a segment tomorrow night (Wednesday, March 5, at 9 p.m.) to juice-up the debate by including the viewpoints of a couple of mob turncoats who once worked as bookies.

John Alite and Angelo Lutz, both of whom support legalized sports gambling in New Jersey, appear on the show (see above for a quick preview).

Monday, March 3, 2014

El Chapo: Rise and Fall of the Powerful Sinaloa Cartel Boss

El Chapo was taken in a surprise raid.
U.S. and Mexico law enforcement officials nabbed "El Chapo," the world's most powerful drug lord, in a surprise raid, as recounted in an article by Malcolm Beith and Jan-Albert Hootsen posted on Vocativ.

They write: "Chapo is just one of dozens of alleged drug kingpins captured or killed by Mexican and U.S. authorities in recent years. And while it remains to be seen if his arrest will decimate the Sinaloa Cartel or serve as a tipping point in the deadly drug war, Chapo may very well be the last of a certain breed."

He is condemned for the deaths of thousands but that didn't stop Forbes Magazine from putting him on its list of the world's richest people. His fortune is estimated to be around $1 billion.

Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo,” was caught on Feb. 22, 2014, by Mexican authorities with the assistance of American DEA agents. Key to the arrest was tapping Chapo’s satellite phone.

Agent Put "Hundreds" of Mobsters Away

Steven O'Donnell slipped inside the most powerful and dangerous family ever to rule over New England.

Tom Winter has written for NBC News a story on“Steve Foley” -- the name used by an undercover state police officer named Steven O’Donnell who was able "to get inside one of the Mafia’s most feared families."

During the mid-1990s he got inside the Patriarca Mafia family that ran New England, which Raymond Patriarca Sr. formed in the 1950s.

O'Donnell's testimony led to “hundreds” of convictions.

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