Saturday, November 29, 2014

Paris Police Nab Mobster Named "Last Corsican Godfather"

Corsican mobster Jean-Luc Germani, France's most wanted man, was arrested Thursday by Paris police.

Branded the last of the Corsican godfathers by French media, Germani, on the lam for three years, was arrested when a detective in the midst of tailing another man recognized him, despite a drastic change in appearance (he'd put on weight and grown his hair long; he was also wearing a baseball cap and eyeglasses).

Last Corsican Godfather 
Germani was charged with threatening police officers with a firearm outside his trailer in 2011, according to AFP. The 49-year-old Germani was previously wanted for the 2008 murder of Jean-Claude Colonna, a cousin of former Corsican godfather Jean-Jé Colonna, who died in a mysterious car accident in 2006. Germani was charged and jailed in 2009 but eventually freed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why Vito Rizzuto Whacked Joe Bravo

In May 2013, the charred, bullet-riddled remains of two gangsters from Canada were found in Sicily. Italian police feared a trans-Atlantic Mafia war was brewing.

Actually, the battle was already raging. Vito Rizzuto, the Montreal Godfather who died last December, had taken care of business. Yet again. So far, the death count is pegged at more than 40, with law enforcement having recovered bodies in Montreal, Toronto, Mexico and Italy.

"Joe Bravo" Fernandez
The gangster once known as "Joe Bravo."

Wiretap recordings played at the trial of the suspected murderers explain something we've been puzzling over since May 2013: namely, did Rizzuto induct non-Italians into the Montreal Mafia?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Graphic Novel Mafia Apocalypse Debuts

Mafia graphic novel

Mafia Apocalypse is a true-crime graphic novel based on the experiences of Dominick Cicale, a former capo in the Bonanno crime family.

Written by Cicale and Robert Sberna – and illustrated by award-winning artist Chris Guiher – this 32-page dramatization is a unique look at the secret society of the Mafia.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Bath Ave. Story: Kill One of Ours, We Kill Two of Yours

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, mobsters and associates were routinely murdered in New York's five boroughs.

In places like Bath Avenue, the remains of violent gangland hits were found in car trunks or slumped over steering wheels; they ripened in the backs of trucks and vans. Some were buried, many never to be found. The victims were shot late at night or in the early morning when no witnesses were around. But bullets also flew in broad daylight, sometimes just across the street from a police station.
George Conte in middle.

Often, law enforcement--NYPD, DA's detectives, the Feds--knew who the killer was, but knowing and having the evidence to prove it in court are two different things and can be worlds apart.

Molotov Cocktail Thrown Into Restaurant Once Frequented by Vito Rizzuto

La Cantina this morning.
Early this morning, someone threw a Molotov cocktail into a restaurant once frequented by deceased Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto.

The burglar alarm went off and police and firefighters arrived at around 1am local time.

La Cantina restaurant, located on St. Laurent Blvd. at Legendre St., was aflame. Firefighters extinguished the fire, limiting damage. When arson was found to be the cause, police took over and are investigating.

No one has been arrested.

RealityTVScandals Breaks Mob Wives Exclusive

Exclusive: Mob Wives Creator Jennifer Graziano Criminal Past + Did Renee Graziano Reject Her Bi Racial Nephew? - Reality TV Scandals: The thrust of the story is that, during a sentencing hearing years ago, Mob Wives creator Jennifer Graziano's lawyer revealed that:
"Jennifer’s family did not accept her biracial child who was only two years old because he was not white. Get all of the details and click to read...  
"The court document is a good read; the prosecutor slams the claim of Jennifer Graziano‘s “psychological problems” by revealing Jenn has a master degree in Psychology."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mafia Hitman "Confesses" to Assassinating Kennedy

We still believe in the lone-assassin theory (Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone) since reading Gerald Posner's excellent analysis of the assassination, Case Closed. But we don't claim to have the monopoly on wisdom, especially when guys like G. Robert Blakey believe exactly the opposite.

Blakey famously said:

"Jack Ruby all by himself is substantial enough reason to believe in the Mafia's involvement [in the assassination of JFK]... The Mafia profited by JFK's death. What's worse is, they got away with it."

In Galante’s Grip, Montreal “Wept and Bled”

Carmine Galante went up to Montreal in the 1950s to "organize" crime having at his disposal a crew of sadists and killers, including his second in command, Frank Petrula.
Man of Steel...
Cosa Nostra News: The Cicale Files, Volume 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire is not a full-sized book; it is about 70 pages and the ebook is $2.99, the price Amazon suggested.

If you signed up for my newsletter you will have already read this excerpt.

Here I attempted to drill down into an  infamous piece of Mafia history, specifically Bonanno crime family history.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Day "Jimmy Gap" Almost Bought It

Jimmy "The Gap" Calandra, a well-known former gangster out of Brooklyn, provided me with an excerpt of a manuscript he is working on about the life and crimes of the Bath Avenue Crew.

I've been waiting for him to email me the thing for three goddamn days but I finally have it, am giving it a read and will post it later today.

Calandra made an appearance on National Geographic's documentary about the New York Mafia. He also made news last year when he visited his old stomping grounds and stepped into a Dunkin' Donuts on 18th Avenue. A couple inside recognized him and harassed him. The male, a local convicted hoodlum, shouted "rat" at him while the lady threw a cup of coffee in Calandra's face.

How Rizzuto Got His Revenge, Mafia-Style

Adrian Humphreys' National Post story is required reading for anyone interested in the Canadian mob war (which included both Cosa Nostra and 'Ndrangheta members) that reached its bloody crescendo under the stewardship of now-deceased Montreal Godfather Vito Rizzuto.

The article focuses on new information regarding how Rizzuto swiftly took charge when he returned home from prison, marshaled his forces and with true Sicilian cunningness, set loose the dogs of war by first testing his own men's loyalty.

Rizzuto was referred to as the Tall Guy.

He seems to have taken a page from John Gotti's playbook by topping his death list with the names of those who blinked when he summoned them.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kenji Gallo on Mafia's New Communication Tactics...

Kenji Gallo, blogger, asskicker, author of "Breakshot,"
one of the best books about the Mafia available.

From this week's Breakshot Blog by friend Kenji Gallo (a onetime associate of the Colombo family who became a turncoat charged with running a radio show for the feds. Kenji also wrote a great book about life in the mob -- particularly in the crazy madhouse known as the Colombo family. We wrote a little about Kenji and his book back in this post.) some interesting info on how the mob communicates...

"The Colombo’s were aware that the FBI and others were always watching or listening to them so they adopted some new tactics. A thumb across the cheek was how they referred to a made guy and a thumb across the back was their way of indicating a Capo. All the families used methods close to this, in Los Angeles they would point to the chest for a soldier, the shoulder for a Capo and the sky for Pete Milano the Boss.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Outfit Under FBI Fire

Johnny No Nose....
This has been quite a year for the Chicago Outfit, which saw an historical transition in July in terms of the guy in the big seat. Johnny “No Nose” DiFronzo, suffering from health problems, was replaced.

Meanwhile, Gangland News noted that The Chicago Outfit has been facing a full-court press from law enforcement involving the FBI and the Cook County prosecutor's office.

Four members of the Outfit's Cicero crew were recently convicted on federal extortion charges. Frank Orlando and Robert McManus lost at trial on charges of conspiring to extort money for Mark Dziuban, then vice president of sales for American Litho, a printing company in Carol Stream.

Interest in Vince Isoldi Baffling...

Vince Isoldi
When a story cracks my all-time top-10 list, I take notice.

One story about Vince Isoldi, the "Godfather of Pittsburgh," is now number 6 on that list (see below). What I find interesting is it is kind of a "nothing" story.... I included info from a couple of restaurant reviews in the piece!

Interestingly, it doesn't follow the usual formula.... As you can see on the list below, usually the top posts generate the most comments, I assume a byproduct of interest in the topic. But in the Isoldi story, there is not a single comment.

So what do you all think? Why is this show so popular?

Ndrangheta Members Arrested; La Santa Induction Rite Videotaped

A video of one conversation between clan leaders and Italian transcription can be seen here.

Italian anti-mafia police arrested 40 Ndrangheta members in northern Italy this week, and even filmed a "series of initiation rites," according to IBT. The video clip above contains reference to La Santa, a "secret society within a secret society."

According to Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style by Letizia Paoli, the santista rank was established at the end of the 1960s by Girolamo Piromalli, leader of the Piromalli family in Gioia Tauro, along with bosses of other families, to create a way around traditional Ndrangheta rules forbidding drug trafficking.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quebec Corruption Probe Ends; Findings Due April

Grainy frame from police video of Nicolo Rizzuto stuffing cash
into his socks.
The Quebec corruption probe called the Charbonneau Commission, created in late 2011 by then-premier Jean Charest amid widespread public pressure, which worked to illuminate Mafia ties to the province’s construction industry, ends today, Friday, Nov. 14.

The Commission led to "startling testimony from bureaucrats, engineering executives and construction bosses about widespread collusion aimed at hiking the price of contracts," according to The Globe and Mail, which noted that the first witness to "drop a bombshell" was an ex-construction boss now facing charges of corruption. Lino Zambito testified for days about his links to a "bid-rigging cartel, a Mafia tax on projects and corrupt city officials who accepted kickbacks."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Alex Hortis on the Mob and New York City

C. Alex Hortis last week spoke about his book The Mob and the City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York.

Hortis's book sets the benchmark for books about the early history of the Mafia in New York. He answers with lucid reasoning based on fact festering questions long victimized by speculation.

Why for instance did the transitional handoff of the reins of organized crime stop with the Italians? Organized crime throughout history was dominated by different ethnicities -- the Irish, the Jews -- but once the Italians gained dominance, they formed an American Cosa Nostra and have controlled it ever since.
No other ethnic group ever usurped the Mafia. Plenty of candidates were put forth by the media: the Jamaican Posses, the Russians, the Albanians.

But the only true "mafia" in America is the Italian Mafia. Why is that? Hortis's answer is convincing. (Unless you've read his book, the answer you think is correct is more than likely not).

A fan of gangster films--the Godfather, Goodfellas, etc.--Hortis had pondered writing about the Mafia for years. As the book slowly brewed in his mind, he hit upon the formula he eventually followed: focus on original documents to write an early history of the Mafia in New York (including the gangs that eventually formed Cosa Nostra, then the Five Families, including key players), a time period mostly overlooked.

"The truth [about the Mafia] is more interesting than the mythology," he told Cosa Nostra News, adding "I wouldn't have written it without using primary sources."

For example, Hortis posits convincingly that the Castellammarese War is largely overblown by writers, and that Salvatore Maranzano was not the philosophizing Sicilian he portrayed himself to be; rather, he had more in common with a politician. Likewise, the fact sheet on Joe "the Boss" Masseria is not accurate; the man was not slovenly and stupid, as typically portrayed.

Hortis simply avoids some fictional anecdotes, such as the one about Lucky Luciano washing his hands in the mens' room in a Coney Island eatery while a spray of hot lead annihilated one boss of bosses.

"Tommy Lucchese – an argument could be made he was more important. It wasn’t Bonanno; it was Lucchese who wanted to overthrow Masseria – he was 30, 31. He comes up under Gagliano – then he’s a boss in the 1950s through the 1960s. That's 37 years at the top of the Family. ... He’s more important than Luciano."

The more immediate spark for Hortis's decision to write a book about organized crime was an opportunity he nabbed in the 1990s, when the Mafia was very much active and facing a systematic shredding by the Feds. He worked as a researcher for James B. Jacobs (now Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts Director, Center for Research in Crime and Justice) while Jacobs was at work on Gotham Unbound: How New York City Was Liberated From the Grip of Organized Crime. The book is considered "the first comprehensive account of the ways in which the Cosa Nostra infiltrated key sectors of New York City's legitimate economic life and how this came over the years to be accepted as inevitable, in some cases even beneficial."

Gotham follows a clear format (which also inspired Hortis). The first part focuses on how organized crime infiltrated New York City's garment district, Fulton Fish Market, freight at JFK airport, construction, the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and the waste-hauling industry. The second half details efforts by law enforcement to create innovative regulatory strategies to combat the mob and dismantle its stronghold over these industries and institutions.

Hortis first considered writing a prequel to Jacob’s book. But then he found his own angle, partly from a personal passion. "I always wondered: how did it start? How did they take over so many important industries?"

Selwyn Raab's Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires seems to vie the most for the same shelf space as Hortis's The Mob and the City. But not really. While Raab provides a first-rate work of nonfiction on the five Mafia families of New York, he places the greater emphasis on what happened from roughly 1960 up until near the present. He gives short shrift to the early history of the mob in New York. This is apparent from a simple glance at the table of contents. For a book of around 750 pages, only the first 100 or so are devoted to early Mafia history in New York.

This is a glaring omission, which Hortis fixes; The Mob and The City could be viewed as a supplement to Raab's Five Families, focusing on events that took place in the decades leading up to Appalachin, which is when the book ends. Those decades -- when the Mafia infiltrated and then dominated organized crime --  have not been given the comprehensive focus that Hortis offers.

"Take the myth of drugs, that it was the younger guys who started it. The Mafia was doing it since the 1930s. Tracing what happened is more interesting than the fairytale that they were against drugs."

"They [the New York Mafia] were the most sophisticated crime gang in history. It is pretty remarkable when you think about it. These uneducated street thugs were running these relatively sophisticated rackets. The early history hasn't gotten enough attention. It falls between the cracks; the real journalists and historians don't view it as seriously. But it is part of the American story. The reverse fairy tale..."

There are certainly excellent books written from primary sources that focus on a specific organized crime figure or family -- but not many provide a detailed view of the early history of the Mafia in New York City, the void Hortis fills.

One book that focuses on the formation of the Mafia in America overall is David Critchley's The Origin of Organized Crime in America: The New York City Mafia, 1891-1931. It's written in dry academic prose and is filled with charts and tables. It is definitely worth reading for those of a more scholarly bent who want to know the nuts and bolts of how Italians emigrated to America and formed a new version of the Sicilian Mafia here in those four decades. 

Thomas Hunt's quarterly magazine Informer is worth subscribing to and devouring if the Mafia, including stories about the early history, is among your interests.

Hortis, in a concise, clearly written work, offers a detailed view of the various rackets the Mafia either created or took dominion of -- and then held onto. No organized crime group followed them; the only entity that ever wrestled them away from anything was American law enforcement.

"They used to say that the Mafia kept drug dealers out of the neighborhood. The idea that you could build a moat around the Italian neighborhood was a myth. It was really tragic what happened. Really cheap high-grade heroin floods into Harlem."

Writing a book from primary sources (versus using other books) is no easy task. However, "I decided I was going to find primary sources written near the time [of the event described] or by people who were there at the time," Hortis said.

Combatting the various myths that have replaced the truth about the Mafia was among Hortis's chief goals.

"Take the myth of drugs, that it was the younger guys who started it," he said. "The Mafia was doing it since the 1930s. Tracing what happened is more interesting than the fairytale that they were against drugs."

He includes a chart of all Mafiosi who were arrested on drug trafficking charges. Just about every "old school" mobster you can think of was at one time or another pinched for drugs. They all were neck deep in the narcotics business. It's a proven fact, too, noted on arrest records that Hortis picked up and blew the dust off before reading.

"Corallo, Salerno, Lucchese -- as well as high level people in all the families, all had records."

Some may have difficulty believing certain myths are myths. "Some prefer the mythology," Hortis said.

Charles "Lucky" Luciano is generally named the chief architect of the American Mafia and is often viewed as its patron saint. Said Hortis: Luciano "is highly over rated. He did play a pivotal role – he helped to kill two [men who each served as a] boss of bosses. He helped kill Masseria and Maranzano," Hortis said.

"He had this martyr thing. too," Hortis said. Acknowledging that Tom Dewey's case against Luciano was "thin," he added: "[Luciano] is put away at a young age. Women thought he was attractive. He really was a nihilist -- 'I love women, l love living the good life' but he was also a sociopath.

"I think if he'd not been arrested [and put on trial and hit with a draconian prison sentence], which gives us all these images of him marching around," he never would have achieved the level of fame that he did, Hortis said. Then, during World War II, "he was let out of prison – overhyping his power at the docks. I think he was in the right place at the right time."

Tommy Lucchese played a more pivotal role than
Lucky Luciano in the formation of organized crime
 in New York City.

Hortis believes a contemporary of Luciano's played a more effective role in terms of establishing the Mafia's dominance in New York City. "Tommy Lucchese – an argument could be made he was more important. It wasn’t Bonanno; it was Lucchese who wanted to overthrow Masseria – he was 30, 31. He comes up under Gagliano – then he’s a boss in the 1950s through the 1960s. That's 37 years at the top of the Family."

"Lucchese was at the office" where Maranzano was murdered by Jewish hit men pretending to be IRS agents. "If you read the 1951 testimony at the Waterfront Commission," Lucchese testified that he arrived at the office before the murder. "He claims he didn't know who they were" -- of course. "But it was Lucchese who set up Maranzano."

Hortis was very interested in writing a full biography on Lucchese, but does not believe there is enough source material to write such a work in the manner he believes it should be written. "He’s more important than Luciano." Further, Hortis added, Lucchese and his crime family "were huge in narcotics." Prior to the Bonannos in the 1970s, it was the "Lucheses [who] were the dominant drug distributors."

"They processed the heroin in East Harlem. The 107th street mob. The FBN gave them that name because they didn't know who they were," Hortis said. The neighborhood was made up of six-story buildings with thousands of people living on one block. Still, "no one would talk to the police," Hortis added.

The hugely profitable narcotics business was a "double-win for the Mafia. The riskiest part is selling the drugs on the street.  In the beginning the Italians did sell it on the street. Then they sold to the black dealers. The Mafia doesn't have the exposure then. And the most profitable part is the wholesale."

"They used to say that the Mafia kept drug dealers out of the neighborhood. The idea that you could build a moat around the Italian neighborhood was a myth. It was really tragic what happened. Really cheap high-grade heroin floods into Harlem."

As for the book's format, Hortis divided it by topic. "What did they actually do to make money" was the ultimate question he wanted to answer and he does so by topic.

How does one research and write a book as detailed as Mob and the City?

"I'm an obsessive researcher," said Hortis. "If I want to write about drugs in the 1940s and 1950s – I read everything I can. A lot of it isn't useful. You look for the treasure houses. And you can buy books so cheaply.You can buy many of them for a dime on a website. You can have a library shipped to you. This saves me the time of going to the library. You can buy a lot at that price."

Still, researching his book required Hortis to travel all over the country. The University of Notre Dame, for example, houses a diary kept by Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) agent Max Roder. "The FBN is tracking the Mafia in the 1930s. Every single day, he wrote what he did. Names like 'Joe Valachi' start popping up in the 1940s. It says 'Joe Cago is moving a lot of heroin.'"

Hortis made some major discoveries about the 1957 Appalachin meeting, which was an emergency gathering prompted by the murder of Albert Anastasia. The previous year the bosses had met there as well -- and while driving home afterward Carmine Galante was pulled over for a traffic offense and then investigated, which opened wider the already glaring eyes of local state trooper Edgar D. Croswell, a very odd man, as Hortis noted, who'd already been investigating mobster Joe Barbara, at whose house the meetings were held; more on Croswell in our next installment.

Finding these golden nuggets required Hortis to journey to Albany, New York, where "you have 20 different state police officers writing their version of who they picked up. I always wanted to know exactly what happened. Who was there, where did they get caught." He noted around 15 boxes of research material in the Albany archives looked like they had not been touched since first filed away in the late 1950s.

"Joseph Barbara's housekeeper's testimony is there. She's as objective as you can get." One gangster who didn't run on that famous day in 1957 was Galante, who knew from his 1956 Appalachin pinch to stay in the house. He was identified by the housekeeper as one of the men who spent the night in Barbara's house. There were others, but the housekeeper could only identify Galante. This part is not in Hortis's book: He didn't believe the available research met the bar he'd set -- but he has a strong suspicion that both Stefano Magaddino and Tommy Luchese were also overnight guests.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Last Mafia Empire" Cracks Amazon Best Seller List

We just launched it a couple of days ago and already we cracked Amazon's Organized Crime True Accounts: Paid Best Sellers list.

Cosa Nostra News: The Cicale Files, Volume 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire was no. 13 on the list, the last time I checked.

We already have three reviews -- which reminds me - please, please, please -- if you read the book and like it the greatest way to help us would be to write an honest review.

Here's what people have written so far (and I swear these aren't ringers!)....

A solid title. I thoroughly enjoyed this title.
The best parts were Mr. Cicale talking about his days in the early 2000s with the Bonanno family, which, at the time, had no rats.
Must have been a crazy life. Had no idea the extent of it.
I am looking forward to the next installment and learning more of his inner circle.

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire" Available Now

Now available for purchase on Amazon Kindle! Cosa Nostra News: The Cicale Files, Volume 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire.

"As a capo in the Bonanno crime family, Dominick Cicale was privy to the inner workings of organized crime. Cicale was a rising star in the Bonanno family until Joseph Massino, the family's boss, was arrested on a murder rap and turned on his own people.

Massino's betrayal took down Cicale and his mentor Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, and many others. Faced with the disloyalty of Massino (the only Mafia Godfather to break the code of "omerta,") Cicale began cooperating with federal authorities. Here, Cicale not only reveals an insider’s view of the Mafia’s secret society, but provides readers with shocking details of the reign and fall of Joseph Massino."

Peek at "Godfather of Pittsburgh" -- Debuts Tonight

Vince Isoldi, star of A&E’s “Godfather of Pittsburgh,” says despite the show’s title, he’s no Tony Soprano.

“I’m just a businessman,” he said last week. “I’m not mafia.”

But isn’t that what Tony always said when asked? No matter, A&E will no doubt be happy for viewers to think whatever they want about the show and its star as long as they tune in. The series debuts tonight (Monday, Nov. 10) at 10 on A&E.

Isoldi said he wasn’t wild about the title at first but he’s accepted it.

Mafia Capo "Chickie" Returns to Philly

"Chickie" Ciancaglini
Former Philadelphia Mafia capo Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, Sr. is back in Philadelphia for the first time in about 30 years.

He's not exactly free yet, but the 80-year-old has to wait about six months.

As noted in a recent story, Chickie was "recently placed in a Philly halfway house to serve out the rest of his murder and federal racketeering conviction (he was given a 45-year sentence in 1988)... Ciancaglini will be set free for good in early 2015."

We confirmed this on the BOP site, which reports

Register Number: 31458-066
Age: 80
Located at: Philadelphia RRM
Release Date: 05/04/2015

Sunday, November 9, 2014

David Chase Envisioning a Sopranos Prequel?

Tony and the guys....
The Associated Press's  John Carucci on Nov. 5, 2014 interviewed David Chase, a guy who I assume all of you are aware of.

"The idea of a prequel to "The Sopranos" intrigues series creator David Chase, but if that were to happen, he envisions it as atypical.

The 69-year old show runner says he wouldn't mind exploring the era before the show began.

"Even if I did it, it wouldn't be 'The Sopranos' that was on the air — obviously at least one person is gone that we would need," he says. "There are a couple of eras that would be interesting for me to talk about, about Newark, New Jersey. One would be (the) late '60s, early '70s, about all the racial animosity, or the beginning, the really true beginning of the flood of drugs."

Webinar Tells "Story Behind the Story" of Scorsese's Casino

Former KCPD detective
Gary Jenkins
It is not too late to sign up for the interactive webinar entitled: Gangland Wire in which you can meet the man who helped take down the mob: Kansas City Police Department Detective Gary Jenkins.

The webinar is November 13, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:00 P.M.

In 1977, Kansas City Police Department Detective Jenkins joined the FBI organized crime task force to implement Operation Strawman.Formed to investigate Kansas City mob activities, the OCTF gathered information that convicted Mafia leaders in Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

It's the story behind the story of Martin Scorsese's film Casino.

Jenkins also runs the blog Gangland Wire, where he posts stories as well as actual wiretap recordings.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friends of Ours a Useful Resource for Mob Writers

Alex Hortis is among the authors
who used the Friends of Ours
blog to research his book. We
spoke with Alex recently.
The Friends of Ours blog includes a story about our pending ebook -- and we want to give him a shout out for his kind post.

Friends of Ours, "An Eclectic Blog: From Crime & Corruption To Politics & Culture," is an excellent resource for news of all stripes -- the blogger posts relentlessly about crime/corruption in all its guises.

In addition to insightful commentary on the various Mafias (including a personal encounter with some mobbed-up thugs), the anonymous blogger, seeking no self-recognition, shines a bright spotlight on topics such as government corruption and drug trafficking.

He reports news that the mainstream media does not focus on nearly enough, such as immigration reform. The blogger also files numerous Freedom of Information Act requests and then selflessly posts the files he pries loose from the FBI.

Among the figures/topics whose FBI files he posts are Al CaponeAlbert AnastasiaAnthony SalernoAnthony StrolloDavid Petillo and the Dog Day Afternoon case files. There are many more -- see the homepage.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Last Great Mafia Empire" Update

Today I had hoped to have the button up, the one you click to purchase the ebook I wrote with former Bonanno capo Dominick CicaleThe Cicale Files, Vol. 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire. As indicated this is only the first of a series we have planned.

But it looks like getting that button up is going to take a couple of more days. We're looking to launch by Monday, hopefully earlier.

I hope you all buy a copy, especially since Dom padded his goddamn expenses... You won't believe how many copies we have to sell before yours truly sees a single nickel!  Just kidding... 

But I am not kidding about hoping you all buy a copy.

It's going to cost less than $5, and we packed the book with as much value as possible. Researching extensively to set the background and context for Dominick's information, I tried to focus on little-known facts that were part of some of the major events described in the book.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Coppa, First Bonanno Defector Ever, Sentenced

Frank Coppa was sentenced today.

He earned quite a distinction in the Mafia: Coppa was the first member of the Bonanno family ever, since its formation in the 1930s, to break his oath; the other four families had all had defectors prior (the Bonannos alone for a period of time bragged that they had not produced a single defector -- until Coppa).

Fat and Fatter: Massino, left, Coppa

But as if to compensate for that, the former Bonanno capo's decision to flip set off a chain reaction that culminated in mass defections that took down the so-called Last Don, Joseph Massino.

Coppa was sentenced to time served. At age 73, he spent only two years in prison, then was out on bail about 10 years ago.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

DeCavalcante Redux: NJ Family a Force To Be Reckoned With

"Charlie Big Ears," boss of the
DeCavalcante crime family.
The DeCavalcante crime family, historically based in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and surrounding areas has retooled itself, expanded its membership and is even operating in Manhattan and on Staten Island.

Today's DeCavalcante family is no longer viewed as a backwater -- or glorified crew -- to New York's Five Families.

Carlo "Charlie Big Ears" Majuri  is the official boss; we are not naming other members of the administration.

Seven crews make up the family, which has a total of close to 80 members.

Fueled by the arrival of several full-blooded Italians and an influx of Brooklynites who moved to New Jersey during the past 15 to 20 years, the DeCavalcantes are a true force to be reckoned with.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Problem with the Patriarca Induction Recording Story

By now, most have probably read about the FBI releasing a recording of a Mafia induction ceremony from 25 years ago in Medford. The Boston Globe, specifically, has been getting plenty of mileage out of this story for many of those years.

The story includes a huge error that's been repeated in many of last week's rewrites.

On Oct. 29, 1989, New England Mafia boss Raymond “Junior” Patriarca anointed four new soldiers into his crime family. A full-blown ceremony with a total of 21 wiseguys in attendance, it occurred following a civil war.

Is A&E Pulling a Prank on Pittsburgh?

Vince Isoldi
The Godfather of Pittsburgh will begin its run in the next week or two and the popularity of the little stories I have written about the guy continues to both astonish and baffle me...

One of A&E's four new reality series, “Godfather of Pittsburgh,” focuses on Vince Isoldi, an Italian-American who owns nightclubs and restaurants in the Steel City, "where he has made friends and enemies along the way." Eight one-hour episodes are slated to premiere.

Some natives of Pittsburgh seem to be taking issue with the show for various reasons. We had a little chat with one in particular, who wants to remain anonymous.

Big Announcement Coming Soon from Cosa Nostra News

“Vinny had a glass jaw but he’d fight at the drop of a dime. He’d get his ass kicked, but he didn’t give a fuck...  
"Vinny was also a stone-cold killer, so believe you me, whoever did the kicking was not long for this earth.”

Joseph Anthony Colombo Jr. Dies at Age 67

Joe Colombo was a visionary who grabbed onto events and rode them in a way that was misunderstood by other mobsters a
Joseph Anthony Colombo Jr.
Joseph A. Colombo Junior, affectionately known as "Pop," died on October 29, 2014 at his home in Newburgh, New York. He was 67. He's survived by his wife, Diane, and kids Dina, Denise, and Joe.

He died following a long battle with Neurological Lyme Disease, according to one news report.

Joe Junior was among Joseph Colombo Senior's five children, which also includes sons Christopher, Anthony and Vincent.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, November 3rd at Brooks Funeral Home, 481 Gidney Ave., Newburgh. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. William Scafidi at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 4th at St. Mary's Church, Newburgh. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, New Windsor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made in Joseph's name to Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, 800 Stony Brook Ct., Newburgh, NY 12550 or to Lyme Research Alliance, 2001 West Main Street, Suite 280, Stamford, CT 06902.