Showing posts from August, 2011

'The Godfather' Game to Launch on Facebook

A social gaming firm is preparing to bring a game based on The Godfather to Facebook this fall, reports  The Hollywood Reporter . Just what we need -- another Mafia Internet game! San Francisco-based Kabam has developed the game, called The Godfather: Five Families, based on a license from Viacom's Paramount Pictures, the LA Times reported. The game takes place in 1930s New York City, about 10 years before when the first movie in the great trilogy starts, according to THR. Players are in one of the five mafia families featured in the franchise and must fight or scheme their way to the top to become the boss. Read the full article:  ' 'The Godfather' Game to Launch on Facebook - The Hollywood Reporter

Reputed Israeli Crime Boss Shipped Back to Middle East

Meir Abergil is back in Israel. Reputed organized crime figure Meir Abergil returned to Israel from the United States Thursday after a California court approved a plea agreement setting him free, reports Haaretz Daily Newspaper . Abergil served about three years in prison in Israel and then the United States, following a U.S. request for extradition. Abergil was charged - along with his brother Yitzhak and three others - with various alleged crimes involving the contract murder of an Israeli drug dealer in Los Angeles; laundering money from the Trade Bank of Israel in the United States; extorting and threatening Israeli business people; and trafficking in the drug Ecstasy. U.S. authorities reportedly struggled to build a case that would stand up in court against Meir Abergil, who allegedly played a relatively minor role in the apparent crimes. He was allegedly involved mainly in the extortion of Asi Vaknin, the former co-owner of a modeling agency. Therefore, U.S. authoriti

Chazz Palminteri, Who Would've Made a Great 'Chin,' to Play Big Paul -- Again

Now Chazz Palminteri is on board the new Gotti biopic, which also stars John Travolta and allegedly Al Pacino, but not Joe Pesci, who is suing the producer for switching roles on him -- and cutting a couple million dollars off his salary after pushing him to gain about 30 pounds. So reports  Reuters . Is it us, or does anyone else think that Chazz would have made a superb Vincent "Chin" Gigante? Does the Oscar-winning thespian look like the Chin or what. Anyway, this will actually be Chazz's second outing as Paul Castellano, the Gambino boss whom Gotti whacked in a two-pronged strategy to save his life and advance his position. Chazz's first whack as Big Paul was in a TV film, Boss of Bosses, that turned his ugly Colombian maid, with whom the former Gambino boss was having an affair, into a ravishing Latin beauty. Producer Marc Fiore confirmed that Palminteri will star as Castellano. "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father" also stars Kelly Preston and Ben Fost

Blakey Explains RICO's power

University of Notre Dame professor G. Robert Blakey is considered the nation's foremost authority on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO. "The remedy under criminal law is to take away the criminal. But if you just take people out one by one -- and all of the conditions remain the same -- it doesn't matter how many individual convictions you get," Blakey said in a report on . "Think of it as a merry-go-round," he added. Read the article:  Author of federal act used to prosecute former E.C. mayor explains RICO's power . Also, read our exclusive intervew with Mr. Blakey here .

Mobsters On Doing Time

They did the crime and they did the time, but just how bad was it for mobsters in jail? Former mafia associates provide some insight. Here is a video on AMC on which you can watch this "sit down." Links to dozens of other videos on a number of other topics can also be found on the same page. Mob Week: Mobsters On Doing Time – AMC

One-time War Hero Turned Mob Enforcer Faces Life in Prison

Sam Volpendesto was once a war hero, but now, age 87, he faces the possibility of spending his final years behind bars, reports the . At Volpendesto's upcoming sentencing for the 2003 bombing of a Chicago-area video poker company, prosecutors painted him as an Outfit enforcer with a reputation for wielding baseball bats and an interest in watching another mobster stuff body parts through a meat grinder. "His defense attorneys, however, hope to turn back the clock to World War II, when Volpendesto won a Bronze Star for helping to save fellow sailors trapped inside a crippled destroyer," reports Read complete article:  War hero turned mob thug faces ’life sentence’ -

Poll: Majority Want Pesci to Play 'Gaspipe,' Not 'Quack-Quack' Ruggiero

A  Cosa Nostra News  poll taken in the past week reveals that a majority of respondents would have preferred to see Joe Pesci play Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso rather than Angelo "Quack-Quack" Ruggiero. Some 52%, or 56 respondents, said they'd prefer to see Pesci play Gaspipe rather than Ruggiero; 26%, or 28 respondents, would have preferred the former Goodfellas actor portray Ruggiero. Some 19%, or 21 respondents, said they'd rather not see Pesci take on either role, and 1%, or two people, thought he'd do well in either role. Which mobster would you prefer Joe Pesci play in the upcoming 'Gotti' biopic? Angelo Ruggiero   28 (26%) Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso   56 (52%) Neither   21 (19%) Both   2 (1%) Votes so far: 107 Poll closed  It's probably not hard to figure this one out, as Gaspipe would make quite an exciting cinematic character. He was a violent, murderer -- a killer Mafioso straight out of central casting -- who w

Gotti Biopic Latest: Pesci Out

Angelo Ruggiero, Gotti's right- hand man, was the character that Joe Pesci reportedly had been  offered $3 million to play. Gaspipe Casso was the role that poll respondents would prefer Pesci had accepted. Instead, he is out of the film. Joe Pesci will not be playing Gaspipe Casso. Or Angelo Ruggiero. In fact, the Academy Award-winning actor of many great mob films will not be appearing in the Gotti biopic at all. That's the latest, according to an article on , which reports that Fiore Films in Los Angeles, the producer of the film, has said that Pesci backed out of the project "months ago and isn't entitled to [the] $3 million he is seeking." Pesci sued on Wednesday, claiming producers reneged on a deal to cast him in a starring role in the Gotti film. "Fiore Films CEO Marc Fiore says Pesci's representatives told him in writing months ago that the actor wouldn't do any work on the film until they replaced a director who l

Declassified Bay of Pigs Info Exposes Blunders, Payments to 'Mafia Types'

The Bay of Pigs, a Cold War incident that gave the John F. Kennedy administration a black eye it will forever wear, has been and will continue to be studied and debated. But, for 50 years, details about this event were still hidden away in top-secret CIA files that were finally released this month and reviewed by Newsweek. So reports The Daily Beast . "The disclosure is the handiwork of the dogged researcher Peter Kornbluh and his Washington-based National Security Archive. The right-to-know group used the Freedom of Information Act and lawsuits to force the CIA to release all its major documents on Kennedy’s failed efforts to overthrow Castro, who this month turned 85 and stands as a living reminder of America’s failure to repel communism on an island just 90 miles from Florida," the site reports. One classified piece of information has to do with how a CIA official transferred funds from the invasion budget to “pay the mafia types” as part of an assassination plot again

Hoodwinked: Restaurateur on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Was a Mobster

Peter (Peter Pasta) Pellegrino, formerly of the Babylon, New York restaurant Peter’s Italian Restaurant, really is -- or was -- a gangster. Gordon gives a pep talk. Peter is ready for action..... The once-promising Bonanno crime family member who appeared in Kitchen Nightmares now calls himself a brokester . And the Bonanno crime family, with which he was once affiliated has disowned him. So has the rest of New York's Cosa Nostra, according to FBI documents and Peter Pasta himself. But before all that he appeared on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares in which he acted very much like the mobster he allegedly was trying to become around the time of filming. (See Peter's Italian Restaurant menu here .) Back then Peter Pasta was an up-and-coming Bonanno associate who "earned" $15 grand a week from bookmaking. At the time, he also owned two boats that he'd park in a pricey nearby Babylon harbor called Great South Bay. Gang Land News's Jerry  Capec

Boss of Colombo Family's Somerville Crew Arraigned

Ralph DeLeo ran his o wn Colombo crew. An accused Somerville mafioso was arraigned in a Boston federal court yesterday on racketeering charges, reports the . "Accused Colombo crime family street boss Ralph Francis DeLeo appeared in court in a khaki jumpsuit, shackles and black-and-white sneakers. "The 68-year-old alleged... made man and other members of what is described in court documents as the 'DeLeo Crew' are accused of drug trafficking, extortion, loan sharking and racketeering in Massachusetts, Arkansas, Rhode Island, New York and Florida."

CBS & Pileggi Set to Debut 1960s Vegas Mob Drama

Pileggi From , we learn that The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, both highly acclaimed cable television series about or related to the mob, the latter still in production, will be joined by yet another mob-genre program, a network-based project to take place in the Vegas of the '60s and written by Mr.  Goodfellas himself Nicholas Pileggi for CBS called Ralph Lamb. Dramas set in the 1960s are about to become a new genre, thanks to the success of Mad Men. In addition to Ralph Lamb, this fall we will be treated to NBC's The Playboy Club and ABC's Pan Am. We can't wait! From : "CBS has put in development Ralph Lamb, a drama project set in the early '60s from Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, a cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff in the '60s and '70s. CBS TV Studios, which is producing the project, has assembled a formidable feature team. James Mangold (Walk the Line) is on board to dir

Staten Island Mafia Bigwigs Arrested on Drug Charges

Joseph Sclafani was among those arrested in the Staten Island drug bust.  Three heavyweight mobsters were arrested by the Feds for running three marijuana "grow houses" and a cocaine distribution ring on Staten Island, reports . "The arrests read like a Gambino crime family who’s-who list," the site reports. "Joseph Sclafani, 46, who in 1989 harbored a fugitive mobster who killed a DEA agent in the borough's Charleston section; Neil Lombardo, 55, who shot and wounded an informant’s brother; and Afrim Kupa, 38, a professional heist man with ties to Albanian organized crime and the Gambinos," all were picked up by law enforcement last night. DEA agents raided a grow house on New Dorp Lane, seizing 150 marijuana plants, according to law enforcement sources. Kupa was arrested in his posh estate on Kensico Street in Richmond; federal agents found a kilo of cocaine -- "and the suspect wearing an ankle bracelet from a past arrest, so

Italian Mobsters Go to Ridiculous Lengths -- Not to Avoid Arrest

Mafia gangsters have been arrested in some pretty far-out ways over the years, as the U.K.'s  Telegraph  reports. In August 2009 police arrested an alleged mafia boss who was hiding in an underground bunker equipped with a skateboard to propel himself down a 200 yard secret tunnel only waist high. Giuseppe Bastone planned to make a getaway by lying on the skateboard and pushing himself along. Police said he had been hiding in the bunker, which had solid steel walls, for nearly a year. It was equipped with a fridge, a plasma screen television and a DVD player. In August 2010 cops arrested a fugitive alleged mafia don by waiting until he was having a swim in the sea – and therefore would be unarmed. Salvatore Facchineri had evaded capture for six months when he was grabbed and handcuffed by police while taking a dip in a holiday resort on the coast of Calabria. A convicted hit man who had escaped from jail was recaptured after police found him having a tattoo applied in a beau

Colombo Associate 'Black Dom' Pleads Guilty to Queens Yeshiva Robbery

Dominick 'Black Dom' Dionisio, a Colombo associate who is in hot water and made a deal. Colombo crime family associate Dominick "Black Dom" Dionisio pleaded guilty today to robbing a yeshiva of more than $50,000. Black Dom worked at a Brooklyn pizzeria, Lucali, in Carroll Gardens, Queens, which was supposedly frequented by rappers and celebrities. Dionisio pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and admitted his role in the yeshiva heist and several other gunpoint robberies. As part of the agreement he made with them, the feds will drop attempted murder charges against Dionisio for allegedly trying to assassinate two mobsters from a rival Colombo faction during the crime family's internal shooting war in the 1990s. Ah, the good, old days, when Greg Scarpa was getting his eye shot out of his head, and playing warlord for Vic Orena as he tried to slip into the big shoes, after taking them from jailed-for-life Carmine Persco, was Wild Bill Cutolo , murder

Italy's 'Ndrangheta: Mexico's Zetas Ally?

The  Zetas  have expanded from a Mexican  organized crime ring into a significant power in the international drug trade -- and it has gotten a little help courtesy of the terrifying Italian mafia group called the ‘Ndrangheta, reports In Sight: Organized Crime in America . First a little history, The Zetas, once the military wing of the Gulf Cartel, is now among one of the most violent groups in Mexico. They take their name from the radio code used for top-level officers in the Mexican army. They are highly organized, regularly use brutality and shock tactics – including gasoline bombs, beheadings, and roadblocks. The United States DEA describes them as perhaps “the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and violent of ... paramilitary enforcement groups.” The 'Ndrangheta is a criminal organization in Italy , centered in Calabria . Despite not being as famous abroad as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra , and having been considered more rural compared to the Neapolitan Camorra a

Giuliani Was on Two Mafia Hit Lists, He Says

Rudy Giuliani, who hosted AMC's Mob Week special, has said that dealing with Mob bosses was "very, very exciting." And, by the way, he has been on not one, but two Mafia hit lists, he says. "You know, they threatened to kill me twice," Giuliani said. "When I was first starting they put out an $800,000 contract to kill me, the Sicilian mafia did. "And then I was U.S. Attorney for five and a half years. I was at the very end, just about to leave, and Carmine Persico (de-facto boss of the Colombo crime family, currently serving life imprisonment) put out a contract for only $400,000 to kill me. "Come on, five and a half years of work and my value gets cut in half?" Giuliani quips at the falling price of the bounty on his head.

What’s the Big Deal About The Godfather?

The problem with the Godfather, for first-time viewers, anyway, is that it can't possibly live up to the hype it has generated in the past four decades. "After having been told all your life how great The Godfather is, it’s unlikely that you’ll come away from your first viewing of it thinking, “Why, yes, that IS the greatest movie of all time!” It suffers from Citizen Kane Syndrome, in that it can’t possibly live up to the expectations created by being placed atop so many lists for so many years," writes . "... If someone compels you to make a list of the best movies ever made, well, something has to be at the top, so you probably go with one of the usual choices: Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Casablanca, etc. I doubt anyone, gun to his head, could honestly declare that ANY one movie is the greatest of all time. If you’re being reasonable, you’d list five or six candidates and insist it’s impossible to rank them. "So never mind the whole 'best

McKellen Plays a Tony Soprano-like Boss in the Play 'The Syndicate'

Sir Ian McKellen as Don Antonio, the mob boss more like Tony Soprano than Vito Corleone, in The Syndicate. We are not big on Broadway -- and are even less big on off-Broadway. But if a show like Eduardo De Filippo’s The Syndicate, starring Sir Ian McKellen playing a Mafia don "more Tony Soprano and less Don Corleone," as the U.K.'s Observer Citizen writes, we'd pick up the phone ASAP and use our credit card to order the best seats available in the place. And no, the play is not about the Chicago mob, which historically has been called The Syndicate. The following is taken from a review published in the Observer Citizen : "He’s perhaps not an archetypal gangster, making a grand entrance, dressed in boxing silks, but he packs a punch as the nearest thing to judge and jury in provincial Naples. "The Syndicate had its premiere at the Chichester Festival Theatre before it goes on a short tour ending in MK on September 12. "McKellen is Don A

Long-Missing Capone Memoir Is Published

A long-discarded memoir by the wife of a top Capone henchmen  finally gets published... Al Capone and His American Boys: Memoirs of a Mobster's Wife is the awkwardly composed title of the autobiography of Georgette Winkeler, wife of Gus Winkeler, a leading henchman in the Chicago gangland ruled over by Al Capone in the early 20th century. Unlike other cities in the U.S., especially New York, Chicago has always been ruled by one Mafia family. Not that that is a guarantee of peace in that city's organized crime rings, as we well know from the violence that took place in the city in the dark days of Capone -- the John Gotti of his day. One near constant: the Brooklyn-transplant mob boss of the Windy City was locked in tommy-gun battles against Irish mobsters for most of his reign, culminating in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, in which Capone tried to wipe out Bugs Moran & Co. as a rival power in one fell swoop -- and finally turned his adoring public against him.

Trial Delayed for 'Friend' Who Stole Mobster Ponzo's Hidden Treasure

Enrico Ponzo Kelly Verceles -- supposedly a "close" friend of mobster Enrico Ponzo, who lived on the lam in Idaho for 10-odd years, with a longtime girlfriend and two children, before his arrest this past February -- was supposed to begin a jury trial Monday, reports the   Idaho Statesman . He is alleged to have ripped up the floor of Ponzo’s Marsing, Id., home and stolen over $150,000 in cash and gold, according to FBI and Owyhee County Sheriff’s officials. He is to face felony charges of criminal conspiracy, grand theft and burglary.   That trial is now set to begin Sept. 27, following a granted delay, according to Owyhee County court records referred to in the  Statesman  article. "Verceles told authorities earlier this spring he didn’t get Enrico Ponzo’s permission to dig up cash and gold stashed below the accused mobster’s Marsing home -- even though Verceles has called the man he knew as Jay Shaw a 'brother,'" the article reports. Recent c

State Sen. Savino Apologizes for 'Mafia' Slur Against Tea Party

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn)apologized for sullying the name of the Mafia by referring to it as, "the new Tea Party." Hold on. We got that backwards -- she apologized for referring to Tea Party members as "the new mafia" on her Facebook page, her personal one, as opposed to, we guess, her public one, which leads us to wonder, What's the difference?. "Spurred in part by an Advance editorial that criticized her , State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) today apologized for referring to Tea Party members as "the new mafia" on her personal Facebook page," reports the . "As part of her mea culpa, Ms. Savino also posted a link to the critical Advance editorial, titled, “No way for a leader to talk.” " Ms. Savino used the word mafia Monday in linking to New York Times editorial critical of how Tea Party lawmakers in Congress acted during the debt-ceiling debate. "Borough Tea Party lead

Ben Foster to Play John "Junior"

Ben Foster: Can you see this man playing John Junior? Ben Foster is going to take on the role of John Gotti Junior to John Travolta's John Gotti Senior in the indie biopic Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father . We think Ben is a fantastic actor; we loved him playing Russel Crowe's evil sidekick in 3:10 to Yuma , among a host of other films. Ben is an "actor," as opposed to a "star." He is consumed by his roles and rarely looks the same from one movie to the next, so you have probably seen him and not even realized it (see list below). He does not look anything like Junior -- he doesn't even look the slightest bit Italian. We can't wait to see how he handles this one: I can see him dying his hair, gobbling protein milkshakes, pumping iron and just layering on the muscle to fill in the silk suites he'll be wearing -- though Junior preferred jogging suits if my memory serves me properly. I just hope they are all honest -- that's all I ask, sta

'Mob Wives' Other Halves: Imprisoned Husbands

Joey Ferragamo and former wife, Carla,  during happier times. "Mob Wives" stars Karen Gravano and Renee Graziano have well-known fathers, with Karen's dad, Sammy Bull, admittedly stealing the limelight from all the men known on the show but who do not  appear  in the show, and not because they're imprisoned, either. Though in actuality, Renee's father is probably the only true powerful Mafioso. Anthony "The Little Guy" Graziano is the current (though incarcerated) consigliere of the Bonnano family, which has been riven by a long line of informants; the defection of its one-time legendary boss, Joe Massino; and the back-to-back trials of former boss Vinny "Gorgeous" Basciano, who could've gotten the death penalty but got life behind bars instead. Then there is the surprise: We just learned Carla's father is a notorious mobster who once ran one of New York's five families and is now serving life in prison. Carla's dad -

Gangsters Changed With the Times

The Atlantic : "Having confessed my Mob Wives obsession, I see no problem with admitting that I really enjoyed this take on Mafia shows from the perspective of an FBI agent: On The Sopranos, and the shifting nature of the Mob: Things Just Ain't The Same For Gangsters... - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Reality TV Shows Change Image of Once-Forgotten NYC Borough

Staten Island was once the forgotten New York borough (where many a mobster lived and lives). How forgotten was it? Well, it was forgotten to the extent that the legislature once, we believe in the 1950s or 1960s, forgot to include it in the state budget. It may not be forgotten anymore, thanks to a couple of mega-popular reality TV shows -- "but some say its new reputation is even worse," reports . "The borough's national celebrities -- the catty women married to career criminals on 'Mob Wives' and the hard-partying beach bums of 'Jersey Shore' -- have sculpted an image of vacuous bubbleheads that Islanders say they confront regularly in social and workplace environments." READ ALL ABOUT IT:  With help from reality TV shows, the borough's deteriorating image takes a personal toll |