Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Mob Boss Whacked Natalie DiDonato's Cousin

Philadelphia's Natalie Guercio will soon be joined by Philadelphia's Natalie DiDonato on the VH1 reality show Mob Wives.

We don't know when the new Natalie will appear but she's rolled out her social media accounts and has been stomping on Natalie Guercio's guts.... and deleting at least one earlier tweet that noted a family connection, specifically that "Frankie Flowers" was her cousin.

Natalie Didonato.

Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi allegedly "made his bones" by killing DiDonato's cousin -- assuming Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso is her cousin.

Ligambi, former Philly mob boss, now consiglieri, was convicted of murdering "Frankie Flowers," who was a wealthy, longtime associate of the Philadelphia crime family under Angelo Bruno; Frankie Flowers was whacked in the mid-1980s by Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo regime.

As for Ligambi, after serving 10 years for the murder, he was acquitted following a retrial.

Natalie Didonato, when asked on Twitter about her mob creds, threw out the "Frankie Flowers" name as the ladies at M.O.B.Wives caught for posterity:

You see, those tweets are now gone. (We spent what felt like hours reading through Natalie D's Twitter feed and those tweets, posted on Nov. 29, as plainly visible above, are gone.)

Frankie Flowers is probably not one of Ligambi's favorite topics these days. As we noted in an earlier story, the Feds would love to nail him for as many as three gangland hits. And when it comes to organized crime cases, publicity can make one a target (ask John Gotti's inner circle) and there seems to be no such thing as "double jeopardy."

Lovely Facebook selfie of Natalie D.

A couple of our Philly sources talked to us about "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso and the common denominator brought up by both was "Uncle Joe" Ligambi. As one source said: "Frankie Flowers was a longtime associate under [Angelo] Bruno. What I heard is that he wasn't kicking up so Scarfo gave the order. Uncle Joe did the work."

Ligambi was convicted of the 1985 slaying of "Frankie Flowers" and spent 10 years in prison before he was acquitted following a 1997 retrial.

In an interesting profile of Uncle Joe, George Anastasia wrote on Philly.com in May 2011:

"Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi is a former bartender and suspected hit man who allegedly took control of the Philadelphia mob a decade ago... He was... part of the Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo crime family, having been formally initiated - "made" - after the slaying of Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso back in July 1985. But he was never considered part of Scarfo's inner circle and never part of the mob hierarchy. In fact, before he was arrested in the D'Alfonso case, few outside of the South Philadelphia underworld had ever heard of him. His reign as reputed mob boss, however, is the longest since that of Angelo Bruno, the avuncular Mafia don who ran the family from 1959 until his murder in 1980."

He was a longtime, low-key Bruno family associate who, it's been reported, never killed anyone.

He was convicted of bookmaking and served a little time for failing to testify. He supposedly tried to use some muscle to gain control of a union in Atlantic City. He may have earned some money off the drug trade, but that was about all law enforcement knew of him when, at the age of 55, he was whacked on a South Philadelphia Street corner in 1985. He was not a "made member" of Philly's Cosa Nostra.

D'Alfonso earned his nickname because he operated a flower shop, which was often under police surveillance. High-ranking mobsters from Philly, New York, New England and other cities were known to have gone there on occasion.

For a low-key guy, Frank Flowers earned quite a bit of trouble for himself. One night in October 1981, he was nearly beaten to death on the South Philadelphia streets. Despite a busted skull and jaw, fractured eye sockets and a shattered kneecap, he survived.

But still, Frankie Flowers manned up when police questioned him about his near-death experience. "I was hit by a car," he told them from his hospital stretcher.

D'Alfonso's death was said to be part of the shakeout that hit the Philly streets in the wake of the Bruno hit (the "Docile Don" who counted mob boss Carlo Gambino as one of his good friends was shotgunned in a car seated beside John Stanfa. See story.)

Next  we consider: Natalie DiDonato -- Andrew DiDonato.... Is another mob connection there?

Preferably one that doesn't have the potential to piss off a former acting boss?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rivals, Traitors Remain on Rizzuto Hit List

The Godfather of Montreal, Vito Rizzuto, died one year ago
of complications from lung cancer.

Vito Rizzuto drove around the streets of Montreal in an armored car and brazenly sent his assassins across the world to kill those who defied him.

In this group count traitors and Calabrian mobsters from Toronto.

Vito's bloody street war to annihilate any and all rivals and defectors didn't end with his death in December 2013. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Suspect Named in 'Mob Wives'-related Slashing Attack

From TMZ/Instagram

Rodolfo “Rudy” Lopez is wanted for the box cutter attack that left London Rene, 37, with gashes on his face, stomach and arm after a dispute outside Club Output, sources said.

"Mob Wives" star Natalie Guercio's boyfriend, Rene was knifed in a Brooklyn nightclub, toward the end of December. TMZ broke the story, noting that Rene has been slashed on the right side of his face after the attack in Club Output [in Williamsburg, Brooklyn].

Rene was hospitalized following the attack, and according to TMZ, he told police officers he considered himself lucky to be alive.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Mob's Control of Prizefighting Molded Sport's Evolution

Incredibly absorbing documentary about the mob's decades-long control of prizefighting.

Most notable - the film uses modern technology to highlight the so-called "phantom punch" that sent Sonny Liston to the mat. This knockdown -- further screwed up by the referee, a former boxer himself -- marked the beginning of the end of both Liston's boxing career and the mob's influence over the sport. (Some even believe the mob murdered Liston.)

The two fights between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Championship were among the most watched and controversial fights in the sport's history.

The phantom punch ended the second fight between Muhammad Ali (then still known as Cassius Clay) and Sonny Liston.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New York's Four Crime Families?

A small-time dice game caused a mob boss's defense attorney to take a huge gamble.

He lost.

As a result, on June 10, 1969, 12 volumes (more than 2,000 pages) of conversations between various mobsters and New Jersey crime boss Simone Rizzo DeCavalcante were released to the public. A book was issued as well. Sam the Plumber: The Real-Life Saga of a Mafia Chieftain condensed the voluminous disparate recorded discussions and provided context.

Sam the Plumber preferred to be called "The Count."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Former Mafia Capo Dominick Cicale Answers Your Questions

Dominick Cicale
In 1999, Bronx-based Dominick Cicale finished his second years-long bit and hooked up with Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, then an up-and-coming member of the Bronx faction of the Bonanno crime family.

Initially he'd been closely affiliated with "Big Ernie" in the Genovese family.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Decades of Mob Violence Behind Waterfront Case

The week before Christmas 2014, three North New Jersey-based Genovese crime family mobsters pleaded guilty to waterfront racketeering in a case going on for years -- since January 2011's Mafia Takedown Day.

But the Genovese family's control of the New Jersey waterfront goes back decades and includes many storied mobsters of the past who killed and were killed for control of the lucrative waterfront rackets of the Garden State. The Genovese family even ran its own hit squad, which focused on murdering FBI informants, among others.

The guy who owned the “Godfather’s Garden.”
The bloodless indictment by comparison likely will end with three men serving three-year prison sentences.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Mafia Group Found in Rome

Italian Law Enforcement Officials Call It Italy's Fifth Major Mafia Group

Mafia Capitale is based in Rome.

In a story posted this week about Matteo Messina DenaroThe Independent notes that Italian law enforcement has uncovered what is believed to be Italy's fifth major Mafia group. It's based in Rome.

The organized crime group is less violent prone than the traditional Mafias and seems to largely rely on corruption. In terms of age, it goes back "at least three administrations."

Kindle Countdown Deal: "Last Great Mafia Empire" on Sale

Now available at a holiday promotional price as part of the Kindle Countdown Deal:

Life (and death) inside the Mafia... in the words of a former Bonanno capo....

Dominick Cicale was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. From a young age he was closely associated with the Genovese crime family, considered the most powerful Mafia group in America. Fate intervened. 

In 1999 Cicale forged a tight alliance with Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, then an up-and-coming member of the Bronx faction of the Bonanno crime family. Under Basciano’s tutelage, Dominick rode the fast track: he was inducted into the American Cosa Nostra and swiftly rose from soldier to capo, amassing great wealth and power. Cicale befriended and associated with numerous high-ranking figures within all of New York's Five Families as he plotted and schemed in a treacherous world where each day could be his last. 

This installment views startling details surrounding the brutal gangland murder of Gerlando “George from Canada” Sciascia and its resulting impact on relations between the Bonanno family in New York and its Montreal -based “outpost” established by the Mafia Commission in 1931. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"The Clown" Didn't Surprise the FBI

No this is not Javier Bardem; it is "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.

We have always been fascinated by Chicago Outfit member Giuseppe Lombardi -- aka Joseph Patrick “Joey the Clown” Lombardo Sr. (born January 1, 1929), who is serving life in prison.

Gus Russo indicated Lombardo may have been the boss or part of a panel of bosses. However, the nice, neat and likely extensively inaccurate Wikipedia entry notes that from 1999 to 2007, "Joey the Clown" Lombardo was consiglieri. Actually, we have seen that title attached to Lombardo in many other stories.

Let's say he was a "high-ranking" member and be done with it.

Monday, December 15, 2014

2011 Report: Did Mobster Order Own Son's Death?

Some of you may have already heard or read this story. I assume many of you have not...

From the MailOnline, which published this in April 2011: It is a Mafia murder mystery that has remained unsolved for years.

But investigators finally believe they might have got to the bottom of what happened to family mobster Nicholas Cirillo, who vanished seven years ago and has not been seen since - his death may have been ordered by his own father.

Genovese gangster Nicholas disappeared on Mothers' Day 2004, two weeks after an altercation in the Bronx with fellow mob man Vincent Jr. Basciano and Dominick Cicale, part of the infamous Bonanno family.

"Five Families" Book Incorrectly Credited Spero

By Ida Libby Dengrove
Boots, left, and his lawyer Klein.

REVISED SLIGHTLY: We'd hate to hazard a guess as to how many Mafiosi are named in Selwyn Raab's excellent Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. But we do know one who is not mentioned. Raab not only failed to name this Bonanno family gangster; the former New York Times investigative reporter also inadvertently credited onetime Bonanno consiglieri Anthony Spero for something that resulted from the innovation of this unnamed mobster.

DeStefano's Next Book Details Mafia in New York, Other Ethnicities

DeStefano's book, due next June.
Due for a June 1, 2015 release, Anthony DeStefano's history of organized crime in New York City from the mid-19th Century until today is titled Gangland New York: The Places and Faces of Mob History.

An author we make it a point to read, DeStefano has noted on his blog that, in writing the book, he sorted through hundreds of archival and current photographs "but it was worth the effort."

"Gangland New York" deals not only with Italian organized crime but also "the gangs and criminal combinations of the Irish, Chinese, Jews, Russians, Albanians and many others, including the Greeks."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wonder What John Gotti Junior Has Been Doing?

Junior is... the conceiver...
Mafia Series Based on True Events in Development From 'Mortal Instruments' Producer (Exclusive) - TheWrap: A new scripted series about a mafia war that spanned U.S. and Canadian borders is in development from Don Carmody Television, Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions and Triplicity Entertainment.

Conceived by former New York mobster John A. Gotti (pictured above), the scripted period series is inspired by true events that took place in a power struggle between the New York mafia and two rival mafia families in Canada.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gambino "Underboss" Arrested -- But Who Is He?

Palmeri is underboss?
REVISED: Jerry Capeci got confirmation about Palmeri's rank; he's not a member of the administration. We didn't get "confirmation," without which this kind of speculation is entirely warranted. 

U.S. and Italian law enforcement officers arrested Francesco Palmeri, 61, early today in his Brooklyn apartment. Also arrested were seven other gangsters, two in the U.S. and five in Italy.

According to the Italian arrest warrant, the Sicilian-born Palmeri is the underboss of New York City’s Gambino family.

However, Frank Cali supposedly holds that title.

So who is Francesco Palmeri?

Jerry Capeci has never once written about a gangster with that name. We couldn't find any relevant information about Palmeri, aside from the flood of reports regarding his arrest today.

What Variations of the "Teardrop" Jailhouse Tat Mean

Photo of "English Shaun" from an
over-the-top newspaper story.
From Jon's Jail Journal -- Prison Tattoos: What Teardrop Means In Jail: See video below in which Shaun Attwood explains what the teardrop tattoo means, as well as different variations of it....

English Shaun, who was featured on a NatGeo program, spent six years in one of America’s toughest jails—run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. (I incorrectly reported in a previous story that he had served a "few" years; it was more than a few.)

This blog features a few stories about "English Shaun," a good friend. One of my personal favorites is about an old-school mobster with whom Shaun had done prison time. Shaun is an author and he recently released a new version of his book "Hard Time: Life with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in America's Toughest Jail ."

The 2nd Edition of the book is free via whichever link is appropriate:
UKKindleUSAKindleiTunes, KoboSmashwords, (download to any computer, phone or device).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lowdown on TG, Father of "Mob Wives" Gals

TG Graziano had five acting capos around him.
One of the first things Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano did as acting boss of the Bonanno family was bust down the five acting capos that Anthony "TG" Graziano had around him, according to our colleague and former Bonanno capo Dominick Cicale.

"What is this? The Bonanno family or the Graziano family?" Basciano complained to Dom, referring to the Staten Island-based capo who reportedly has since been shelved by the family because of "Mob Wives," the reality show that was the brainchild of TG's daughter Jennifer; Renee, one of the show's stars, is another of his daughters.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

UPDATED: Mob Wives Season Five: Reality Check

Natalie is smokin'...
From Enstars:

The new season of VH1 hit reality show Mob Wives should be called World War III because the woman on the show are at war, literally, and the drama doesn't look like it's dying down anytime soon.
Season 5 of the reality series made its debut on Wednesday and by the looks of the show, it's clear that the women may be not be in a jolly mood this holiday season.
During the season 5 premiere of 'Trust No One,' viewers quickly learn that cast mates Angela Raiola (Big Ang) and Drita D'avanzo are now opening up to Natalie Guercio (Renee Graziano's sworn enemy) and of course that wasn't going to sit well with Graziano.
Luckily for Graziano, she didn't cast all of her trust in one basket, and her BFF Karen Gravano is back and the two are not a force to be reckoned with; Guercio is going to learn this lesson the hard way.
In addition to the dynamic duo being the best of friends, their fans have their backs, and after the premiere episode, viewers immediately took to Twitter to support the wives [meaning Gravano and Graziano].

Yes, I agree. World War III is a much, much better name for Mob Wives. Any episode now Big Ang is gonna be driving a tank right up Renee's liposucted ass; Drita and Natalie will cover her flanks with Uzis, but Karen Gravano is gonna zip across the sky in her own Blackhawk -- because, hey, they are "literally" at war!!

And most certainly the drama will live, because without it there is no show.

Mob Hitman Who Likely Killed "Tony Bender" Dies

"Kayo was an animal on a leash for [Bonanno capo Joe] Zicarelli and others. 
All they had to do was unsnap the leash and he'd kill for the fun of it."
 -- Federal agent

"Kayo" Konigsberg struggles with detectives.

An 89-year-old mob hitman who was probably responsible for the murder of Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo, a high ranking Genovese crime family capo, died in late November, about two years after finishing a 50-year prison sentence.

Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg died five days after his 89th birthday and was buried in Florida, where he'd been living in a nursing home and terrorizing his fellow residents.

Thanks to "Gossip Extra" for Crediting Cosa Nostra News!!!

We wanna give props to Jose Lambiet of Gossip Extra -- finally, someone out there recognized us -- and actually included a live link!!

It was due to our story on Kayo:

BREAKING NEWS — Retired Mob Hit Man Who Bullied Residents in Broward County Assisted Living Dead at 89!: "According to Cosa Nostra News, Konigsberg shot and/or strangled his victims with his bare hands. Many times, the bodies of the people he killed could not be found."

Jose Lambiet is one okay dude in our book!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Night They Hit Spilotro Crew's Frankie Blue

On June 9, 1980, the night Frank Bluestein, aka “Frankie Blue”, was murdered, Frank Cullotta had warned him that the Las Vegas police department was following him.
Frank Cullotta warned "Frankie Blue"
An interesting story on Tony Spilotro is on Gangland Wire: On June 9, 1980, the night Frank Bluestein, aka “Frankie Blue”, was murdered, Frank Cullotta had warned him that the Las Vegas police department was following him.

"Frankie Blue" knew someone was on his ass, but he was certain it was criminals -- a group with bad intentions, looking to rob him.

And that didn't give him a moment's pause. It was actually an occupational hazard. Garbage men may tweak their back while hefting trash cans, mobsters might get shot or robbed or both.

So "Frankie Blue" was like “I got a gun if anybody tries to rob me.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mob Candy Publisher Unveils Memoir About Gallo Crew

Life in the Gallo crew
Mob Candy publisher Frank DiMatteo has written a memoir -- now available -- about his life in the crew of Joseph "Crazy Joey" Gallo.


"I guess you can say each person has a choice of which road to follow in life, sometimes you don't have the power to make that choice. In my case, life came at me so fast that I never had the opportunity to hit the brakes. I grew up around my father's world, a world that few have ever learned to understand or justify. That world has been termed "The Underworld". You might say, I was bred into the Mafia. It was always around me and I was always around it. I knew the ways of the street as well as I knew my ABC's, in fact, I knew the streets better.

I knew all these men and they all knew me, most of them watched me grow from a baby to the full grown man I am today, Frank DiMatteo. This was the world I grew up in and to me, it was as normal as family life on television, like "Leave It to Beaver". All of these men now only exist as characters in films, books, and as entries on Wikipedia pages but to me, they will always be my neighbors, my friends and my family. So let me give you a little history lesson, even though the history runs through it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mafia Life in New York Circa 1997

Andrew DiDonato's downfall was already under way before he even realized it.

But he knew without a doubt that his boss and cohorts were sizing him for a body bag.

Experience taught Andrew how to find the traps. This was a skill quickly cultivated by Mafia associates who planned on living a long life, especially associates who took to the life with DiDonato's vigor.

Former Gambino associate Andrew DiDonato.

Ultimately, Andrew never killed anyone.

To this day he is thankful that he never crossed that line.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Genovese East Coast Gambling Ring Busted Up

Genovese capo Daniel Pagano, last August.
The Rockland DA's Office took down an alleged Mafia-linked sports-betting ring today, with more than a dozen arrests this morning.

Fourteen suspects are charged with multiple felony counts following a 16-month probe into a multimillion-dollar monthly sports-betting ring that allegedly operated in Rockland, New York City, Bergen County in New Jersey, and Florida, according to law enforcement officials.

All those arrested were arraigned and released without bail today.

The ring took bets on professional football, basketball, baseball and college sports, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said.

Read "Gangsters in Paradise" Series

Courtesy of Wikipedia

"In the 1970s and ’80s, state and federal officials proclaimed Palm Springs a Mafia haven, saying it had been that way since the 1960s...." 

The Desert Sun is running a five-part series that explores how the Mafia established a presence in Southern California's Coachella Valley.

Stories in the series so far (see end for link):

Gangsters in Paradise
Mafia leaders liked to spend their winters in the desert. They didn’t like any dirty business in their backyard, but that didn’t stop them from murdering a PS civic leader in Indiana. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Montreal Mafioso Who Chose Against Rizzuto Family Shot Dead

Montreal police on the scene of the shooting.
UPDATED: Tonino Callocchia, member of Italian Mafia, gunned down in Rivière-des-Prairies | Montreal Gazette: "After months of relative peace within Montreal’s Mafia circles, one of its members was fatally shot in a restaurant in Rivière-des-Prairies Monday afternoon.

Police sources have confirmed that the city’s latest homicide was Tonino Callocchia, 53, a man who survived an attempt on his life in February 2013 and has been described in past parole decisions as “an active member of the Italian Mafia.”

He was shot in an eatery by two masked assailants.

Bonanno's Plan Kept the Peace in Canada's Mafia

The Mafia in America evolved into one organization linked to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, though from its inception it was composed of former members of all Italy's Mafias, including the Calabrian Ndrangheta and Neapolitan Camorra.

Likely due to immigration trends, Canada is composed of two distinct Mafia organizations, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Calabrian Ndrangheta.

Stefano Magaddino appointed Giacomo Luppino
to be his representative, among others.

 The American Mafia did business with both groups, apparently not noticing the difference or using any rivalries to manipulate the territory.