Friday, August 26, 2016

Book "Lanza's Mob" a Myth-Shattering Landmark Work About Bay City Boss

Click image of book cover to purchase.

James "Jimmy the Hat" Lanza, one of the most successful mob bosses you've never heard of, is brought to vivid life in Lanza's Mob: The Mafia and San Francisco, written by Christina Ann-Marie DiEdoardo, Esq., a criminal defense lawyer from the Bay Area originally from Queens, New York.

Lanza's Mob, the first detailed biography of Jimmy the Hat is a solid, well-researched addition to the Mafia library.

The book, however, details much more than Lanza and his crime family. It provides an insightful history of San Francisco itself, as well its colorful, evolving underworld, initially populated by the Barbary Pirates. The book includes an overview of the formation of the Mafia in Sicily and in America, as well as how and when it first planted roots in the Bay City.

Written in a wry, witty highly absorbing voice, the book is rock-solid in terms of its scholarship, which traces the Lanza family's roots from Sicily to America, uncovering missing facts while highlighting and dismissing the many errors that have crept into the record. Among the many fallacies staked through the heart is a Time magazine quip from the 1960s that described Lanza as heading up a "tiny, ineffectual squad."

The author made extensive use of primary document research, and seems to be the first researcher to crack open the actual dusty case files of Alioto v. Cowles Communications (one of the libel lawsuits filed by former San Francisco mayor Joseph Alioto over a Look magazine article that described him as being "enmeshed in a web of alliances with at least six leaders of La Cosa Nostra").

Research efforts involved working with the Central Archives of Italy and the Italian National Institute of Statistics, state and federal Archives and Special Collections Libraries, and a wide range of newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner  among other source material. (The author references an intriguing article, The Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: the Market for Lemons, available here... You're welcome...).

Interestingly, San Francisco's various newspapers actively and aggressively covered the Mafia from the late 19th century, with the San Francisco Chronicle first referencing the Mafia in an article published on October 18, 1874. The Chronicle and its rival, the San Francisco Call, both had taken to frequently publishing articles about the crimes of the Mafia (sometimes misspelled as "Maffia"), focusing on the violence in New Orleans that included the 1890 murder of Chief of Police David C. Hennessy.

So little is known about James Lanza that, while it made DiEdoardo's work that much more difficult, she is absolutely correct in that this is also what "makes for a more interesting story."

Lanza's Mob really hits its groove when it comes to detailing the story of the widely misunderstood founder of the crime family that ran the San Francisco Mafia. Though he is known as James Lanza, both his first and last names were fabrications. Despite the commonality of the name Lanza in Sicily, it is not the family's actual surname; rather, Francesco Proetto, Jimmy the Hat's father, is responsible for changing the name on June 10, 1926, after the family had arrived in America.

The man remembered today as James Lanza inhaled his first lungful of air on October 23, 1902, wearing the name Mariano Vincenzo Proetto.

Lanza's Mob provides a definitive answer to exactly what happened to Joseph Bonanno in terms of his notorious "kidnapping" in the 1960s. "Lanza successfully helped hide (Bonanno) at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco when Bonanno was dodging both federal subpoenas and equally urgent summonses from the Mafia Commission...")

Lanza, unlike the many other mobsters arrested at Apalachin, was able to slip out of the upstate New York town. He "tried to stick to the shadows whenever possible and often succeeded."

In addition to the mountains of research sifted through, the use of FBI transcripts of secretly recorded conversations also help tell the Lanza story, including his thinking about events unfolding within New York's Five Families. Lanza and boss Joseph Bonanno were criminal cohorts. In 1964, Lanza was recorded in conversation with San Jose crime family capo Steve Zoccoli (who'd rise to consiglieri).

Jimmy the Hat 

"There's no discipline," Lanza says in reference to Bonanno's move to assume control of the Mafia Commission, which was unsuccessful. "However, mistakes have to be paid for."

Lanza then describes the Mafia Commission -- which may be "right" or "wrong" -- as "human." Whatever else his thinking reveals, it confirmed for the Fed's that Lanza, all the way out on the West Coast, was indeed linked to the New York Mafia crime families, among a wealth of additional intelligence. Then in 1965, the richly flowing tap of information was closed when LBJ ordered federal agencies to stop all electronic bugging operations. (Vietnam, like the JFK assassination, certainly provided the Mafia with a years-long reprieve.)

As the author notes, "It is difficult to tell (from the conversation) what about this turn of events annoyed him the most--the fact that Bonanno was foolish enough to launch a war against the commission or that he was incompetent enough to lose it."

The Jimmy Lanza described in this book probably was annoyed at Bonanno for both efforts.

Dreading Violation, Reputed Mobsters Seek Parole Specifics

This has been quite a news-filled period for the New York Mafia.

We were counting on writing an entirely different slate of stories, but then the barrage of busts, sentencing hearings and what not interrupted.

Alleged Bonanno mobster Vito  Badamo is a regular at Williamsburg's Fortunato Brothers Cafe.
This cafe actually is linked to a mobster and a notorious gangland hit. (See story here)

That trio of mob-linked bank burglars was busted. Law enforcement hinted strongly that the arrests were only the beginning, and that there would be more to come. (And they were correct, just not the way we thought.)

A few days later and Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and more than 40 made members and associates of four of New York's Five Families were arrested in a massive Cosa Nostra takedown. The federal indictment alleges the existence of a unique criminal operation dubbed the "East Coast Syndicate" in the indictment. (On the same day, we were all shocked to learn about the other, unrelated bust of a small drug ring in Queens.)

Gangsters Out: Exclusive Interview with Former Hells Angels President

George Christie talks about the Hells Angels, for which he founded and ran the Venture chapter
George Christie, former president and founder of Ventura chapter.

From Gangsters Out, an exclusive interview with a former Hells Angels president who was accused of cooperating with law enforcement, charges he denies....George Christie, a founder and president of the Hells Angels' Ventura Chapter (in California) wrote a book in response to those allegations. It will be released next month...

I recently found out that George Christie, long time President of the Hells Angels Ventura Chapter, was out in bad so I reached out to him and asked if he would do an interview. I can tell you one thing - this guy is the real deal. There have been other fly by night flashes in the pan that I refused to endorse. This guy I do endorse. Completely. He is what they meant when they made up the term old school. These new kids on the block have no idea what old school is simply because they've never been to school. We look forward to hearing more from him. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sopranos Based on Which Crime Family? Not DeCavalcantes...

The DeCavalcante crime family is not the source of HBO's The Sopranos

David Chase: "90 percent of [the show] is made up (and the rest is) patterned after this [crime family]..."

If you’ve ever wondered where David Chase got all those fantastical ideas for “The Sopranos,” maybe he, like the feds, had his own mob informants. Or maybe the feds were his informants.

Tonight’s special episode of “American Greed,” titled “Mob Money,” is the story of the rise and fall of New Jersey’s DeCavalcante crime family, New Jersey gangsters who bear more than a passing resemblance to “The Sops.”

The DeCavalcantes were always, by mob standards anyway, minor players in the estimated $50 to 90-billion-a-year, ah (what the hell do you call it?), industry. In fact, the five families of New York called them “the farmers” and thought of them as country bumpkins.

The Sopranos is based on New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family has been written so many times, most viewers of the show probably agree with the statement. Yours truly even wrote: "Many crime families and crews were said to have inspired Chase's HBO series. But New Jersey's only homegrown Mafia family seems to best fill the bill."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mob "Banker" Film, Federico Castellucio's Directorial Debut, Is a Gem

Federico Castelluccio may be better known as "Furio," the name of the character he played on the acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos, but he has come a long way since then.

He can now add to his resume the role of director of The Brooklyn Banker, a gem of a film that premiered last week at Manhattan's Cinema Village to a sold-out crowd. A national campaign also kicked off.

The project, first released as a trailer titled Lilly of The Feast, came together last year, and is the brainchild of Federico and Michael Ricigliano, a prolific writer who penned the screenplay. The title was changed when the film was completed.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Really Big Cars" on Manhattan's "Itty Bitty Streets"

"Cadillac Frank" tried to pull a Whitey Bulger at age 82.

In 2003, Winter Hill turncoat Steve Flemmi told federal and state authorities that he had walked in on the May 10, 1993, murder of South Boston nightclub manager Steven A. DiSarro at the Sharon home of Francis Salemme’s former wife, according to a DEA report filed in Boston federal court.
Flemmi said Francis Salemme and two others watched as Salemme’s son, Frank, strangled DiSarro to death. Flemmi named the two other witnesses as Frank Salemme’s younger brother, John, and a friend named Paul Weadick.

Salemme later told Flemmi that Rhode Island mobster Robert P. DeLuca Sr. "was present during the burial" of DiSarro, Flemmi said, adding that Salemme had expressed concern about DiSarro’s friendship with a law enforcement cooperator.

This story is based on notes I took during informal conversation with an old timer who goes by the name of "Charley P."  I call him Charley Partanna, just to call him something. I'm hoping this can be an occasional column but Charley didn't want to commit to anything without remuneration involved.

You gonna whack a guy, why do it in front of an audience?

I mean, you want your kid to do it, whack a guy out by strangling him to death, okay. I can understand that. Kinda. Dumb as it is. (Why cause your own flesh and blood to nearly suffer a coronary, not to mention fck up his head beyond all psychological repair, by having him strangle a guy in front of you and three other people? I mean, Frank should have charged them a fee for the show. Least he'd have gotten something out of it. And you supposed to kill him before the Fed's start talking to him... Once they ID your front partner as a witness, you kill him then, might as well wave a sign.  Cause chances are, everyone but you and the dead guy are rats.)

Is this brain surgery here? Quantum physics? Or killing a guy? You kill a guy, you do him nice and easy, use a pistola. Gabbish? "Two behind the ear" mean anything?

I didn't even start talking about the location this guy chooses.... Of all places you whack a guy in your ex-wife's house, where another asshole rat just walks in on you and watches your kid strangle some fcker out? That might explain the strangling, at least. You gotta be a dumbsky to shoot a guy in the head inside your ex's house. But who the fck chooses their exwife's house in the first place?

And why bury the dead guy on the other side of town, getting even more guys involved? Just dump him somewhere. Leave him in a trunk. Not your trunk, of course.... Someone else's.

There's rivers and shit all over the place. Honestly, I chalk it up to one thing: lazy ass bitches. To cut one corner, they'll risk a 50-year bit.

I wanna talk about honor and murder and this thing you call Mafia or La Cosa Nostra or mob or syndicate or organized crime or whatever. It don't exist. And it never did, even back when I was workin' for it. You folli me?

Even if it did exist, it don't exist.

I'll tell you a few things about me. I got made at 17. And I was pissed cause it shoulda happened sooner.  It shoulda happened a lot sooner and I'll tell you why. I was 13 when I first whacked a guy in the Bronx on Gun Hill Road. Now I always avoided the Bronx, even as a child. But my old man had trouble whackin' this one guy and it was gettin' to be like a major pain in the ass. Then a fcking nightmare. Little Phil....  Something .... Carbone? Whatever the name, my ol' man couldn't get a clean shot.

He was the heaviest heroin dealer in the north Bronx, as they said. And somehow, he always seemed to be surrounded by a crowd of people. And then there'd be like twenty, thirty kids around him, too. Phil always threw handfuls of change at them. (Who the fck even thinks about doing that?)

So I get the order. I'm 13. They figure, Hey, the kid can do it! They was right.

What I did was, I step out from behind a car and I blow his head off.  I drop the gun and get lost in the crowd. Like, really fast.

Christ, what these guys get arrested for! I mean it's absolutely unfcknbelievable! They don't even have to do nothin' no more! They talk about doing it instead! And then they get arrested for all these things they're gonna do that they talked about.

Only thing worse than talking about what you're gonna do is talkin' about what you already did. Especially if you talk about all the guys you clipped. Or had clipped.

You don't talk about them. No, you don't talk about whacking people and you don't talk about your reasons for whacking people. Especially if you dress like a mob boss and act like a mob boss. (Meaning you get a crew of guys just focused on you... specifically, you.... meanin' you got this guy openin' your car doors, this guy puttin' your coat on for ya, that guy holdin' a huge fckin' umbrella over ya head).

Would you believe there once was a boss who actually wanted everyone to know he was a boss? I mean, Christ, old timers like Corrado woulda (and sometimes did) shit themselves. I'm not goin' there though....

Now think about that. You want the whole world to know you're a boss... so how do you do that? It's not as easy as it sounds. First you start wearing clothes that are too expensive for you to afford on the salary you tell the IRS you make. You gotta look the look, walk the walk and, here's the most important part, you gotta talk the talk.

Bottom line is guys in Cosa Nostra aren't allowed to talk about Cosa Nostra with anybody outside a Cosa Nostra. Now, I swear to fcking God, some of these guys that get made, get their button, you know what? They start to realize, wow, I can't tell Donna or what's her name what I just done ova here. And it really starts botherin' them that no one can know about it.

I mean what's the point of belonging to the secret criminal society of all criminal societies, the Mafia, if you can't brag about it? What's the point of joinin' if it don't get you laid, is the mentality of some of them out there.

So what's next? Well, ya know what that mob boss did.... You have all the guys come in and see you like once, twice a week. No matter where they are, how many miles away with whatever action they got going on, you order em all to drop whatever the fck and come in and see you once or twice a week.

And you have to have em meet you in the most pubic place possible. Like in a really crowded, gridlocked city and you have em come to a social club. In fact perfect place, you wanna know the perfect place? Social club on Mulberry Street.... you get all your guys in to see you while you sit in the back of a social club on Mulberry Street. That's the perfect way to show everybody you are a boss .... Cause you're a mob boss, where else you gonna meet them? Gotta be a social club with a good espresso machine. That espresso gotta be perfect, that foam on top nice and creamy, cause all these  guys coming in to show the world you're a mob boss are coming in from all the boroughs and even neighboring places and maybe some not so neighboring places. See where I'm headin with this? They're sitting in traffic for fcking hours and hours in Cadillacs and Lincolns -- really big cars --  and then they gotta drive to this itty bitty little street in downtown Manhattan... Like squeezin' an elephant through a keyhole. And there's no parking by the parking... And it ain't like ya can just go around the block a couple times cause that'd take longer than the entire ride from home, wherever the fck that is. So you gonna have all these Caddys double parked on both sides of Mulberry Street. And the itty bitty street gets... ittier and... bittier....

We're still outside now, right? Still outside.... Now here's the icin on the cake. You're dressed like a mob boss and every single one of those guys who gets outta those double-parked Lincolns on both sides of Mulberry Street is gonna be seen walking inside the joint. But the thing is, nobody is watching inside the place. The public or the Fed's, whoever the fck is watchin, ain't gonna see you. Because you're sitting inside the social club. So whaddya do? It's very very very simple. You stand outside the social club and all the guys comin' in to see you, well, they get to actually see you, first thing. Whaddaya gonna do then? Well you gotta greet em, right? So you hug each one of them and give em a peck on the cheek. The guys who are more important to you, maybe you show them a little something extra. Like you squeeze their shoulder when they're heading past you to go inside the club while you're gettin ready to kiss the next guy and the next. You do something like that so the people watchin' know, hey, that guy's a little more important than all the other guys cause the boss squeezed his shoulder but not the thirty other shoulders that zipped by before him.

Now you can't say shit in a social club. Even if you dress like a gangster and act like a gangster, you know you start talking like a gangster inside a social club there's probably three-four-fourteen bugs inside the joint. So you gotta leave the club and go on the walk talk.... okay the Fed's gotta make do with pictures and videos which is what you secretly want but you can't talk in a club or you're goin' away. Like fckn forever.

Only problem is, in New York, in winters, it gets fckin' really cold outside. You freeze your nuts off, your ears, your nose. No, no wiseguys gonna wear a knit cap. Actually NO HAT, NOT EVER..... Why? It fcks up the hair.

So you ain't gonna walk talk someone in zero degree weather and order a hit. Your nose gonna start running all over the place. Easiest thing, you save it for another time and place. But NOT INSIDE THE MAFIA SOCIAL CLUB THAT THE FEDS ARE WATCHING, FILMING AND RECORDING EVERY WAY HUMANLY, OR INHUMANLY POSSIBLE.... this important stuff, there....

At the same time, going up one or two flights of stairs is NOT enough of a buffer. For one thing, talk spreads that the boss talks business above the club....and soon that the boss actually seems to enjoy talking about nothing but murder and La Cosa Nostra in the apartment above the club. Some 90-year-old woman live there? You just throw her out.... nah, you call the daughter, hand her a brick of $100 bills and say, Hey, can you like take mom a few days? We gonna be talking about murder and Cosa Nostra up in here..... would ya mind? Something like that.

It don't really matter because everyone is going to jail eventually, they got that kinda mentality....

"Charley Partanna"

A mere attempt at humor... Charley Partanna is a character played by Jack Nicholson in Prizzi's Honor.

If you chuckled once or twice, this succeeded.....

Thursday, August 18, 2016

When the Mafia Took A&P to War

One of the many myths of the Mafia is that it doesn't kill civilians, meaning "regular people" with no mob ties.

In fact, there are occasions when the mob has killed, or tried to kill innocent people. Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso ordered the murder of a civilian in a case of mistaken identity. Gaspipe also ordered the murder of another citizen in an attempt to convince Peter "Fat Pete Chiodo not to testify; Luchese gunmen, who first tried and failed to kill Fat Pete himself, next tried to kill his sister -- and failed as well. (Ironically, the attempt on his sister's life only emboldened the fence-sitting mobster to testify against his former criminal cohorts.)

Jerry Catena

And to those who think, "Gaspipe was nuts," there are numerous other examples, such as the murder of an NYPD cop who married the ex-wife of "Joe Waverly" Cacace, a former acting Colombo crime family boss.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Yorker: "Mafia Decline" Caused by Ineffective Communications

 It was observed that poor texting habits led to many issues.

This was published on Aug. 18 by the New Yorker magazine under its Daily Shouts rubric with the headline: FBI Report on Mafia Decline Caused by Group Text and E-mail Chains:

After extensive investigation, our specialized team, the F.B.I. New-Media Task Force, has determined that organized-crime syndicates are being increasingly hampered by an inability to communicate effectively through text messages and e-mails. Agents have found that the Mafia and other large criminal groups are having difficulty planning crimes as a result of overly long strings of messages that are derailed by unrelated jokes and gifs. Our investigators are pleased to report that this pattern has led to a decrease in crime and an increase in criminal organizations’ cellular overage charges.

The bulk of this investigation involved the interception and analysis of Mafia members’ text messages. It was observed that poor texting habits led to many issues. For instance, unrecognized abbreviations often had to be explained (LOL = Lots of Larceny, CSP = Cement Shoes Please, BHK = Break His Knees, etc.). Mobsters who own different brands of phones were inadvertently left out of group texts, and as a result crimes were understaffed and failed. Winking emojis that were meant to subtly imply something illegal were often interpreted as flirtatious, and vice versa.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Travolta's Gotti Biopic Started Filming -- in Cincinnati

Filming for The Life and Death of John Gotti, starring John Travolta, reportedly started this month, with the first scene shot on Stone Barn Road in Indian Hill, Fox19 reported.

Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston, plays Gotti's wife in the film. Kevin Connolly, who portrays manager Eric Murphy on Entourage, is directing the film, which has been on and off for years. 
John Travolta as John Gotti.

As for the surprise filming in Ohio, the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission has stated that filmmakers are taking advantage of Ohio's revised motion picture tax credit, which reimburses filmmakers for certain expenses.

Longtime Luchese Capo Accepts Plea Deal

Because he made the Fed's wait by not copping sooner, Carmine Avellino faces around four more months in prison as per sentencing guidelines.

Turns out, an alleged longtime Luchese capo decided he didn't really want to go to trial this month on an extortion beef, so he copped to a plea agreement this past Friday.

Alleged skipper Carmine Avellino (pic above) loses credit, one point, for indecisiveness. Because he made the Fed's wait by not copping sooner, he faces around four more months in prison as per sentencing guidelines.

Avellino, 72, admitted to conspiring with alleged Luchese associates Daniel and Michael Capra to threatening an individual who owed him $100,000. The victim, in his 70s, was beaten as per the Luchese Man of Honor's bidding.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What So-called "East Coast Crime Syndicate" Case Really Is About

Liborio Bellomo, left, Mickey Dimino.

The result of the years-long, multi-state probe was indictments charging 46 alleged mobsters for committing a seemingly prodigious grab-bag of crimes.

But there is a startling absence of factors common in most Mafia indictments. The case lacks specifics, as defense attorneys have noted. Also missing are traditional mob crimes, such as murder and major narcotics trafficking (the pain-alleviating compound lotion is presented as evidence of healthcare fraud). Still, defendants in this case face the possibility of dying in prison.

And save for Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, released on $5 million bail along with most of those arrested as per the East Coast Syndicate case, though two defendants were already in prison on other charges and three lammed it, there's a lack of mobstar power, all things considered.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Italy "Ends" Sicily's Corleone Municipality

The towns will be administered by a government-appointed commissioner until new elections are held,
The town apparently doesn't suffer amateur buglers  either.
This is why I need an editor!

The municipality of Corleone, Sicily, is no more. And it's the Mafia's fault, the Italian government proclaimed.

Other local administrations tied to the Camorra and Ndrangheta -- Arzano, near Naples, and Calabria's Bovalino and Tropea -- also were done away with.

The towns will be administered by a government-appointed commissioner until new elections are held, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government revealed on August 10.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Philly, Bloody Philly: from Docile Don Bruno to Little Nicky Scarfo

Follow-up to recent story. Detailed account of the Machiavellian maneuvering that occurred prior to Little Nicky Scarfo's reign, plus book excerpt.

The volatility for which the Philadelphia Mafia is historically so well-known didn't begin with Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo.

Scarfo is considered to be a much more violent, somewhat lower-profile version of a John Gotti-style mob boss
Little Nicky Scarfo, violent former mob boss of Philly Cosa Nostra

But it certainly reached a crescendo during Scarfo's blood-soaked reign as Commission-backed boss of the Philadelphia Mafia, once known as the Bruno crime family. And there was still a street war between factions that erupted after Scarfo went away for the long haul.

Perhaps the greatest irony here is that the crime family known as the most violent of all was once run by a notoriously peaceful boss, who preferred making deals to ordering murders. Called "The Gentle Don," Angelo Bruno (born Angelo Annaloro) ran the Philly mob during what's considered its golden age, from 1959 until his 1980 murder, which happened owing to the duplicity of New York's Genovese street boss "Funzi" Tieri.

"Cadillac Frank" Yanked from Witness Protection, Arrested for Murder

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, a top-level member of the New England Mafia, was arrested having been charged with murdering a witness
"Cadillac Frank" during 1995 arrest.

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, a former top-level member of the New England Mafia who flipped to testify against notorious Irish mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, was yanked out of Witness Protection and arrested today, having been charged with murdering a witness.

Salemme is to appear today at 3 p.m. before a Boston-based U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office said.

Salemme is charged with the May 10, 1993 murder of South Boston nightclub manager Steven A. DiSarro. Salemme and his son, who has since died, were long suspected of being behind the murder.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Nicky Scarfo, 87, Will Walk Out of Prison, Retired Prison Guard Quips

Steve Bouye recently retired from his post as a decorated corrections officer who worked at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

The father of Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye served in that role for 25 years.

 Scarfo, 87 years, who is serving a prison sentence not slated to end until 2033, never presented a problem,
Nicky Scarfo walks out of a federal prison in El Paso, Texas in 1984.
In a recent interview with The Chronicle, he noted that he'd guarded, as well as transported, two mob bosses: Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and John A. "Junior" Gotti, among a host of high-profile celebrity criminals, including former Alabama governor Don Siegelman and former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gotti Grandson Makes Bizarre References to Last Week's Howard Beach Murder

Just as his grandfather was brought down by a bug planted in an apartment above the mob boss’ Ravenite Social Club, young John Gotti was caught on a listening device hidden inside his Infiniti sedan.
John Gotti grandson
In an exclusive interview with the New York Daily News on Saturday, John Gotti (grandson of the notorious former Gambino crime family boss) detailed some of the dynamics that he believes led to his arrest two days prior to his discussion with two journalists.

His own decision to allegedly mastermind the selling of Oxycodone and other diverted prescription drugs didn't figure once in the interview. And, disturbingly, for reasons of his own, he referenced the brutal rape and murder of a young woman last Tuesday in Howard Beach, one of two Queens neighborhoods in which Gotti and six others allegedly sold illegal prescription drugs. The murder remains unsolved.

Calling Karina Vetrano "drop-dead gorgeous" as well as a "sweetheart" whom he personally knew, Gotti also made a bizarre reference to her father, who found her body, calling him a "man's man."

Daily News Missed Major Sopranos' Cue

Bada Bing bada boop
The New York Daily News doesn't know a good lede when it sees one...

(With apologies to "Chin" author Larry McShane, who had nothing to do with this Confidential article published today.)

The newspaper, in a piece that highlights newly released book Big Blue Wrecking Crew, notes how the championship-winning 1986 New York Giants played hard but partied even harder.

"Drugs, sex and all-night partying were key parts of the game plan for some of the players, according to a new book about Big Blue's run-up to its Super Bowl win," as the New writes.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Philly Connection to "East Coast" Case? (And What's Compound Cream, Anyway?)

The "massive" federal racketeering conspiracy indictment that broke this past Thursday named 46 mobsters, of which 39 were arrested.

But the Merlino aspect seems to focus on guys who "Skinny Joey" apparently knocked around with in Florida,
Compound lotion kingpin Joey Merlino....

Among the arrested was Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, whom the Feds say still runs the Philadelphia mob family, which was also named in the indictment (though not a single mobster was yanked off the streets of Philly by the Feds during the "East Coast LCN Enterprise" bust, as it's been dubbed.)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unveiled the indictment, which depicts a seemingly immense, sprawling collaboration involving four of New York's Five Families: the Gambino, Genovese, Luchese, and Bonannos -- and Philadelphia.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Mob's Grip on New York's Nightlife

The Friends of Ours blogger is offering for 99 cents a Kindle ebook that is such a worthy addition to your library of books about the Mafia, I feel dutified to promote it. (Did I just invent a word?)
John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato, who supposedly won the position thanks to Gambino boss John Gotti
John Gotti, in a surveillance video. Source

The author raises questions some mobsters most likely are uncomfortable discussing publicly. Which is putting it mildly.

It should come as no surprise that mobsters were killed over mere allegations of homosexuality. According to what one Mafia capo said in testimony, the mob has a law that goes something like:  If you're found to be gay, you die. Interestingly, the capo said that during his induction ceremony, he'd been instructed about many rules, though that specific one was never mentioned.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Alleged Drug-Dealing Grandson Broke John Gotti's Cardinal Rule

Grandson of John Gotti.

John Gotti, Gambino crime family boss, never, ever conducted mob business in his home.

The reason was simple: he never wanted what happened yesterday to happen to him. The legendary mob boss sought to protect his family from anything related to that other world.

Yesterday was the first time ever that anyone entered the late John Gotti's Howard Beach home uninvited. And it was NYPD cops armed with a search warrant who gained entry and reportedly ransacked the place as per Operation Beach Party.

Latest Indictment Shows Mafia Has Fallen

Bronx-based restaurant allegedly owned by Genovese capo on ruling panel of East Cost Syndicate case.

The Italian-American Mafia is still something of a force in New York City, if nowhere else. 

But despite American law enforcement's efforts to depict it as otherwise, it's clear the mob is nowhere near the menace it once actually was. Even the nicknames suck.

It's difficult to read this latest indictment and believe this entity was once a mighty, highly structured criminal organization known for committing murders and spinning rackets anywhere and everywhere possible, that it was once considered powerful enough to be a second government.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Gotti Grandson, Others Charged with Running Queens-based Drug Ring

Former Gambino boss John Gotti's grandson and namesake appears to be facing a long, uphill legal battle, at the end of which a possible 25-year prison stretch may await him.

And in an ironic twist, it may be his own words that do him in.

Gotti, who was arrested with six others today, is alleged to have sold drugs to undercover officers -- and most of the buys were allegedly videotaped. In addition, numerous incriminating conversations were recorded as part of the year-long operation led by elements of the NYPD and the Queens DA.

Today, as 46 mobsters were busted up and down the East Coast for a host of mob-related crimes, the grandson of the former Gambino crime family boss and six others were charged with selling Oxycodone and other controlled substances in the Queens neighborhoods of Howard Beach and Ozone Park over the past year.

The New York City Police Department’s Narcotics Borough and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigations Bureau were the two key law enforcement groups behind the probe.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced the filing of criminal charges against seven individuals: John Gotti, Justin Testa, Shaine Hack, Steve Kruger, Edward Holohan, Michael Farduchi and Melissa Erul. In addition to the seven, others apparently were arrested including a woman allegedly described as Gotti's girlfriend.

All face various charges consisting of counts related to the illegal sales of a controlled substance, conspiracy and money laundering. 

District Attorney Brown identified Gotti, 23, as "the main seller of the organization (that) primarily sold Oxycodone pills for around $23-$24 per pill."

Defendants Testa and Kruger are alleged to have been his main suppliers.

Hack, 37, allegedly stored Gotti’s drug proceeds and records of his narcotics transactions. He also allegedly arranged some drug transactions. 

The other defendants, save for Hack, are charged with assisting Gotti in facilitating the selling of diverted prescription drugs to an undercover officer or directly to other customers.

Yearlong Probe

The long-term investigation used "various investigative techniques, including physical surveillance, undercover buy operations and the court-authorized monitoring of telephone conversations and the installation of a listening device on an Infiniti G35 sedan when it was allegedly used by the defendant Gotti," said the Queens DA's press release (PDF). 

Undercover officers allegedly purchased $46,080 worth of Oxycodone, an opioid pain medication, from Gotti during 11 undercover buys between April 22, 2016, and July 28, 2016. 

Ten of those buys were allegedly recorded via video and audio surveillance. 

Six court-authorized search warrants were executed today as well. Locations listed included Rebel Ink Tattoo Parlor, "which Gotti is alleged to be a business partner," on Crossbay Boulevard. 

Gotti’s  residence and two vehicles he reportedly used also were searched, among other locations.

Police reportedly seized around $240,000 in cash, more than 850 Oxycodone and Xanax pills, plus drug ledgers and other records.

Intercepted Conversations

In one intercepted conversation, law enforcement alleges that Gotti discussed his Oxycodone trafficking business in great detail, allegedly stating that he sold more than 4,200 pills every month and that he generated around $100,000 in monthly drug sales.

He allegedly pegged his Oxycodone trafficking ring as a $1.6 million business.

Gotti also allegedly was recorded saying he stored his drug trafficking records and proceeds at an associate’s residence, the press release noted.

The associate was Hack, who allegedly was taped acknowledging that he stored $200,000 of Gotti's drug proceeds in his apartment and permitted Gotti to access the money, presumably at will. 

Queens District Attorney Brown said, “The drug in which the defendants are alleged to have primarily trafficked – Oxycodone – is especially popular with club patrons despite the fact that it poses serious health risks. In recent months, we have seen a significant rise in the use and abuse of prescription painkillers."

Commissioner Bratton said, “As alleged, John Gotti and the other defendants peddled prescription painkillers from Howard Beach to Ozone Park, contributing to the rampant supply of these potent drugs."

The seven main defendants – John Gotti, Justin Testa, Shaine Hack, Steve Kruger, Edward Holohan, Michael Farduchi and Melissa Erul – are variously charged with first, second- and third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree money laundering. 

Defendants Gotti, Kruger and Testa are additionally charged with operating as major traffickers.

The defendants are expected to be arraigned later today in Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, Gotti, Kruger and Testa each face up to 25 years to life in prison, Hack faces up to 15 years in prison and the rest around 10 years.

Two remaining defendants – Michael Farduchi, 24, and Melissa Erul, 23 – are charged with selling Oxycodone for Gotti.

No Garden Variety Traffic Stop

When John Gotti was stopped by police on June 30, 2016, in Howard Beach, the ridiculously sounding cited offense of driving a 2009 Jeep with "excessively dark window tints" was a cover story for much larger allegations.

Police seized the following from the vehicle: a Gucci bag containing over 200 Oxycodone pills, a bottle of steroids, Xanax and methadone pills, and marijuana.

And around $8,000 in cash.

"An examination of this money allegedly showed that over $7,000 was money that had been given to Gotti by an undercover officer to pay for Oxycodone pills purchased during undercover buy operations," the press release stated.

Merlino, Dozens of New York Mobsters Arrested; Gotti Grandson, Six Nabbed in Queens Drug Probe

Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and more than 40 made members and associates from four of New York's Five Families were arrested this morning in a massive Cosa Nostra takedown. (Looks like I was more accurate than I thought with that headline about 2016 not coming up aces for Merlino.)

The federal indictment alleges this unique criminal operation spanned from New York and the Northeast to Florida (and Costa Rica, even), according to the indictment. No one in Philadelphia other than Merlino was arrested, George Anastasia reported for Philly Voice.

Merlino and many of those arrested today were targets of an FBI undercover investigation that involved cooperating witnesses wearing audio and video recorders who infiltrated the various involved mob circles, Anastasia reported. Hundreds of hours of tapes were made.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Kenji Gallo's Breakshot Reissued; Sequel Due

Kenny "Kenji" Gallo is back with a reissued updated version of Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia
See Manhattan skyline

Kenny "Kenji" Gallo is back with a reissued updated version of Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia, his story about serving as a Colombo crime family associate. (He also had ties to the Luchese and Los Angeles crime families, when the latter still existed.)

Seeing the dead-end nature of "the life" he was living, Gallo, an Asian-American, flipped, wore a wire and testified against all three crime families, which resulted in him writing and publishing what easily is among the top must-reads in the American-Mafia nonfiction genre.

Kenji's story didn't end there, however. He still wore a wire, for years.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Bank Burglary Crew Mobbed-up to the Hilt

The Brooklyn-based bank burglary crew busted this week and facing charges related to the alleged theft of about $5 million in cash, jewelry and diamonds is about as mobbed up as it gets.

The trio, who range in age from the mid-30s to mid-40s, were arrested last Tuesday and reputedly robbed at least two banks: Maspeth Federal in May and a Brooklyn-based HSBC branch in April.

In 2009, Mazzara was nearly murdered when he was shot in the face in Brooklyn's Venice Marina at Sheepshead Bay.
Mazzara was shot in the face in 2009.
Alleged mastermind Michael Mazzara is "a longtime Colombo associate who robbed banks with violent members of the Bath Avenue Crew... in the 1990s," as Gangland News's Jerry Capeci recently reported (the site requires paid subscription).

He also was shot in the face once.