Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rare Photo of Dead Albert Anastasia

We have seen quite a few images of dead gangsters in our day, as have many of you, we'd wager.

Initially, we included in our Cosa Nostra News logo the iconic 1979 photograph of Carmine Galante taken by the enterprising news photographer positioned atop a roof that overlooked the outside patio of Joe and Mary's Italian American Restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (The restaurant went out of business following the murder on a dreadfully hot New York summer day.)

This photo is nowhere near as widely seen as the other infamous Albert Anastasia photograph on floor of the barbershop.
The well-known image.
But one image we happened across today gave us lengthy pause. We immediately knew we'd never seen the black-and-white photo before. Yet a familiarity was indeed there, likely due to the barber chair beside which the lifeless, blood-spattered gangster had collapsed after his infamous lunge at the mirror. A fatally shot mob boss, his dying brain's synapses misfiring, had mistakenly perceived his assassins to be standing in front of him. He'd been deceived by a reflection.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Legendary Mafioso's Daughter Pens Memoir

Linda Scarpa

"Ready or not here i come... ready to share my secrets... my story..."
--Linda Scarpa

If you smoked pot with this 14-year-old girl back in 1983, you had a major screw loose.

That's because the girl in question is Linda Scarpa. Her dad, Gregory Scarpa, was also known as "The Grim Reaper." 

One of the most violent mobsters to strut through New York's boroughs, Scarpa was a chief assassin for imprisoned mob boss Carmine Persico during the 1990s Colombo war.

Breakshot: Story of "Marbles" and Little Nicky

Interesting story about a little-known figure who was around Little Nicky Corozzo.

Kenji Gallo's latest Breakshot Blog column:

The Gambino Family is always a fun topic. This week is a story about Vincent “Marbles” Dragonetti, Little Nicky Corozzo’s son in law.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sicilian Cosa Nostra Rebrands Itself, Mafia Academic Says

"The Mafia is oppression, arrogance, greed, self-enrichment, power and hegemony above and against all others. It is not an abstract concept, or a state of mind, or a literary term... It is a criminal organization regulated by unwritten but iron and inexorable rules... The myth of a courageous and generous 'man of honor' must be destroyed, because a mafioso is just the opposite."

-- Cesare Terranova, Italian Magistrate murdered in 1979

Gaetano Riina, brother of Salvatore 'Toto' Riina, after he was arrested in Mazara del Vallo Photo: AP

An interview with Professor John Dickie
Cosa Nostra - rebranding the Mafia: "The mafia, in the strict sense of Cosa Nostra, the hierarchical criminal organization based in Sicily, does not ‘run Italy’ as you sometimes hear people rather glibly say,” explains John Dickie, senior lecturer in Italian at the University of London, and author of Cosa Nostra – a history of the Sicilian Mafia. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Are "Wannabe" Producers Aware of "Rob the Mob"?

Click image

The film “The Wannabe” is "centered around the 1992 John Gotti trial in New York City" but has more to do with the short-lived lukewarm HBO series Boardwalk Empire than any mob boss.

The producers don't seem to realize they are remaking a film released only last year called Rob the Mob. Or they found out too late so they added a "twist" to even further distance their cinematic effort from the true account of the married couple who robbed mob social clubs for a few months in the early 1990s. Ultimately the two were brutally murdered in broad daylight by Mafia shooters.

What Happens When Your Indy Mob Flick Was Already Made

The film The Wannabe, which is available now on Amazon Prime, has a very specific setting: the 1992 John Gotti trial in New York City.

Still, despite this leverage of the Gotti name, The Wannabe is much more reminiscent of the former HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Click image

Did the filmmakers really not realize they were essentially remaking a film released only last year called Rob the Mob?

We strongly suspect that they found this out too late so they added a "twist" to try to distance the film from the previous year's cinematic account of a married couple who robbed Mafia social clubs for a few months in the early 1990s.

Ultimately the two were brutally murdered in broad daylight.

Kindle Best-Seller "Mystery of Lufthansa" Excerpt

The short-format e-book The Mystery of the Lufthansa Airlines Heist:: A Wiseguy Reveals the Untold Story, available now for $3.99, reached number 2 on an Amazon Kindle paid bestseller list. It's still at number two as I write this... and 3 and 4 on other paid lists.
That's a damn fine showing -- and it beats our own Cosa Nostra News: The Cicale Files, Volume 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire.

We asked Rob Sberna for his take: "I’m pleased but not surprised that the book is a hit. The Lufthansa robbery grabbed the public’s attention, for both its size and also its boldness. And because the crime—and the whereabouts of the missing loot—have remained unsolved for nearly four decades, it has become even more infamous.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nicola Gentile Key Player in Building American Mafia

Nicola Gentile's memoir about the formation of the
American Mafia is unavailable in English....

This was my most popular newsletter -- meaning it generated the most opens, most clicks, etc. Probably, this was based on the title we used -- the most famous Mafioso you never heard of, or something like that....

Nicola "Nick" Gentile was a Sicilian Mafioso who traveled around the United States to witness many pivotal moments in the formation of the American Mafia. He knew firsthand many of men who established the foundation for Sicilian-based organized crime here.

Born in the southern Sicilian community of Siculiana in 1884, he arrived in the U.S. at age 19. Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri were his chief American home bases.
He was a trusted confidant of New York Mafiosi from the early 1900s through the Castellammarese War, and was also called upon to mediate a dispute between the Morello-Lupo clan and boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila in the 1920s.

He mediated disputes in Chicago and Los Angeles, even in New York City, the Mafia's capitol.

Gentile briefly served in leadership roles for the Kansas City, Cleveland and Pittsburgh Mafia families. Pittsburgh bosses Gregorio Conti and John Bazzano, and Cleveland bosses Joe Lonardo and Frank "Ciccio" Milano were trusted associates.

More than once, mob assassins stalked him. The most dramatic confrontation occured when Gentile was called to  Salvatore Maranzano's Chicago underworld coronation at the conclusion of the Castellammarese War.

Pittsburgh boss Giuseppe Siragusa made secret accusations against Gentile, and Gentile was summoned for a sort of trial that could have ended with his execution. In a separate meeting with host Al Capone, Gentile denied the charges and threatened to behead any person who said otherwise. 

Capone, impressed by Gentile's balls, made the ruling in favor -- and Nicola carried the day.

In 1937, he fled to Sicily in the face of a narcotics-related indictment.

After World War II, when Luciano was deported to Italy, the U.S. narcotics enforcement agents believed Gentile joined him to arrange a drug smuggling operation that extended from Sicily to the U.S. The FBI reported that Carlo Gambino was another participant in a drug smuggling ring with Luciano.

According to the FBI files:

"During the spring of 1948, reliable information obtained from a Bureau of Narcotics source indicated that CARLO GAMBINO travelled clandestinely to Palermo, Sicily, where he joined his brother, PAUL GAMBINO, who had fled to Italy to avoid prosecution in a Federal alcohol tax case. The GAMBINOS were reported to exercise control over the narcotic smuggling activities between the Mafia element in Palermo and the United States on behalf of SALVATORE LUCANIA and during 1948, both GAMBINO brothers met with LUCANIA at the home of their relatives in Palermo, Sicily. ...
"Investigation further developed the information that among those interested in the smuggling of these aliens was a representative of the Santo - Serge Trading Company, 196 First Avenue, New York city. This company is operated by SANTO SORGE, an intimate associate of SALVATORE LUCANIA, and it will be recalled that immediately prior to his apprehension at the Apalachin meeting JOSEPH BONANNO was observed at Palermo Sicily, in the company of SANTO SORGE."

It could be theorized that Gambino, Bonanno, Luciano and possibly other bosses were involved in one major smuggling ring, Santo Sorge being a common denominator. Whatever the case, Gambino was considered a top narcotics dealer and had overseen a drug ring that stretched from Palermo, Sicily, to America, The Federal Bureau of Narcotics' Harry J. Anslinger tended to over-hype Luciano's influence, however.

Gentile eventually decided to write about his Mafia experiences. In 1963 Vita di Capomafia hit bookstores' shelves in Italy (the same year Joe Valachi appeared before the American public to expose America's Cosa Nostra after Vito Genovese deemed him a rat and ordered his murder.)

The published version, co-written with a journalist, included and expanded upon material from an earlier manuscript that America's intelligence community got hold of and translated into English.

The book was a hot item for Italy's media as it prompted widespread newspaper coverage at the time.

Gentile's early manuscript, the published book and articles were used by U.S. law enforcement officials as corroboration for Valachi's testimony, some allege. Most likely, bits of Gentile's work were provided to Valachi to fill gaps in his knowledge of the Mafia or to help jog his memory, some theorize.

Also Greg Scarpa was providing the FBI with information; it's been alleged he too was tapped to supplement Valachi's knowledge. Those "family trees" hanging on the walls were rather extensive for one man's memory.

The Mafia condemned Gentile for writing the book. His death was ordered for violating Omerta. 

The hitters, oddly, chose not to shoot the man, however. It's weird but true that Gentile was allowed to die of old age. Now this scenario is ludicrous. Shooters were routinely killed for disobeying orders -- so they must have carried out a true order....

The death went unnoticed by the American press but Gentile lives on as a reference for such mob scholars as John Dickie and Alex Hortis.

If anyone could provide me with an English-language version of the book, please contact me. I am dying to read this thing!

Also what do you think about Gentile's death? If he was ordered to be murdered -- what happened? Do you buy that the shooters decided not to kill him?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Mafia's Worst-Kept Secret?

Gerard “Gerry” Chilli

A longtime source told us he found himself recalling a list of suspicious things about the guy we refer to as "the mole" after he read the story.

He called it "the worst-kept secret" in the New York Mafia.

In particular, he recalled a Bonanno Christmas party at Long Island's Harbor Club in the early 1990s. (It was once owned by "Junior" Gotti but the Bonanno family had taken over, according to the source). The crime family treated the holiday affair with the secrecy of an induction ceremony.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mole in Bonanno Crime Family's Midst?

Bobby Lino, left, Russell Mauro, on right.

Our source was inducted into Cosa Nostra's Bonanno Family in 1975, when the books were opened for the first time in a long time. He started out under Nicholas Marangello, aka "Little Nicky Glasses," underboss at the time, and became acting capo for Mickey Zaffarano.

"In that regime was all the guys that no one wanted," he said. "Anthony Bruno Indelicato, Anthony Rabito, Tony Mirra, Sonny Black Napolitano, James Episcopia, Louis "Louie HaHa" Attanasio and Vinny Asaro.

"That crew broke up when Lilo got hit. They took down all Lilo's guys."

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Warning for the Bonanno Crime Family...

We didn't know how to proceed in the face of the reaction to our previous story. Our source cannot be identified and we were getting a lot of flack about him.

We shouldn't throw a guy to the wolves -- based on info from a source who may have held a longtime grudge against "The Mole," etc. and so forth.

Bonventre Declined Promotion. So What, Feds Say....

Bonventre declined a promotion, according
to Asaro, caught secretly on tape.

In a Daily News Exclusive: Bonanno acting capo Jack Bonventre, arrested last January in what was then considered a major bust related to the storied 1970s Lufthansa heist, turned down an offer to move up in the crime family, according to his lawyer.

But the feds aren't impressed, saying the mere offer of the promotion evidenced Bonventre's power and stature within the crime family.

Evidence that the promotion was offered apparently was caught on a wiretap. Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro, who was recorded extensively insulting street boss Thomas DiFiore, among other things, told an associate on March 8, 2013: “[Bonventre] turned it down, he didn’t want it... Jack didn’t want no part of this no more.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bonannos Have "High-level Mole" in Their Midst

I understand there is frustration out there, as expressed in the comments -- but this is very sensitive material. One source is easily identifiable --- I need to disguise him better to throw you off his trail. (He also advised me I should have used "Mole" instead of "Rat" in the headline.) 

I planned to pop this up yesterday -- the story was almost completed when I posted the headline. But the source had concerns and I need to discuss some things further with him.

All good things to those who wait... Those who know me know I'd never post a tidbit like this without following through...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Ebook Reveals Secrets of Lufthansa Heist

Ebook is now available on Amazon.
Where is the $6 million that was stolen during the infamous Lufthansa Airlines heist?

Make sure you sign up for our CosaNostraNewsletter; I'm sending an exclusive excerpt from The Mystery of the Lufthansa Heist today!!
See sign-in form at the end of this story...

For 37 years, the FBI has been unable to find the cash and jewels taken from the Lufthansa cargo vault at JFK airport. Now, for the first time, a Mafia insider reveals what happened to the loot.

In this short-format e-book, Dominick Cicale, a former high-ranking member of the Bonanno crime family, discloses never-before-told details about the Lufthansa robbery, which was immortalized in the movie "Goodfellas." The Mystery of the Lufthansa Airlines Heist:: A Wiseguy Reveals the Untold Story is available now for $3.99.

After Apalachin, FBI Targeted Boss Carlo Gambino


The following is based on Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino's FBI files.

The  Apalachin Meeting marked a major turning point in the FBI history.

America’s premiere law enforcement agency could no longer bury its head in the sand about organized crime. With the raid in upstate New York, it was clear that a national crime syndicate operated inside the United States.

The FBI, following the Apalachin Meeting, shined a bright spotlight into Cosa Nostra boss Carlo Gambino's past,
Carlo Gambino, around the time of his coup into power.

J. Edgar Hoover realized that the Mafia not only existed but posed a national security threat of inconceivable proportions. This was due largely to its ability to corrupt America’s duly elected officials.

Immediately, the FBI sought to gain intelligence on who exactly made up this criminal entity.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

VH1's Mob Wives Sale "In Progress"

VH!'s reality show is in the block
Mob Wives will have a new owner -- and it's ITV, the same broadcaster that aired the recent Mafia with Trevor McDonald two-part series, one of the most watched non-scripted shows in Britain. It featured John Alite, the topic of George Anastasia's Gotti's Rules: The Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia, among other former mobsters.

What a sale means for Mob Wives and its viewers is open to debate, as The Weinstein Company will continue to manage its television division though it is "in the process of selling [it] to ITV, the British broadcaster that has been on a buying spree of late," as The Hollywood Reporter revealed today.

The deal's value could be worth $950 million. It involves an up-front payment of around $400 million with "an escalating package of compensation and bonuses that would nearly triple the initial purchase price," sources told THR.

Alite Stars on Reality Mob, Where "Bad turns Good"

Lisa hosts Reality Mob*

She is young and looks it -- but she certainly sounds like she can handle herself.

Lisa -- that's right, just "Lisa" -- kicked off her Reality Mob podcast last week, and tonight (April 14) at 9pm she's holding her second, with John Alite, -- hit this link.

Yeah, yeah. I know, I know -- you wanna know about the high-level mole in the Bonanno crime family. I'm working on it. It's out of my hands to an extent -- and it's completely out of Lisa's hands, so giver her a chance here....

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rise of New York Mafia from 1905 to 1960

The rise of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
and other notorious gangsters.

As noted in January, AMC announced today that “The Making of The Mob: New York” will premiere on Monday, June 15th at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, and be narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Ray Liotta.

Kicking off “Mob Mondays,” the eight-part series begins in 1905 and spans over 50 years to trace the rise of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and other notorious gangsters from their beginnings as a neighborhood gang of teenagers to murderous entrepreneurs and bootleggers who organized the criminal underworld,  turning the Mafia into an American institution.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Did the Mob Beat the Crap Out of a US Senator?

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.

Breitbart News reported that an investigation of the home exercise accident story told by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appears basically "to discredit his version of events surrounding a New Year’s Day incident that left him with gruesome injuries to his eye, face and ribs."

On January 22, three weeks following the accident, Reid told his version of how he obtained his injuries to the assembled Washington DC press: "I know there are a lot of rumors as to what happened, but that’s very simple. My wife and I were in our new home. I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years with those large rubber bands and, uh, one of them broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye."

Friends of Ours Blogger Debuts Mafia Book

The Mafia and the Gays by Phillip Crawford Jr., the Friends of Ours blogger, is available at Amazon either as a Kindle e-book for $2.99 or a trade paperback for $9.95.

The Friends of Our blog is a must-read for anyone interested in crime -- it offers a comprehensive focus on criminal activity impacting America, including but not limited to traditional organized crime, including the various Mafia grows that expanded beyond Italy.

Since 2009, Philip has blogged about organized crime at Friends of Ours. He is the leading authority on the Mafia's historical role in gay bars and has been cited as a major resource in numerous books, foremost among them Alex Horts's The Mob and the City and John Strausbaugh's The Village.