Showing posts from August, 2012

Defamation Claim: Renee Hit with $77M Suit for Badmouthing Surgeon

The lawsuit against Renee Graziano -- star of "Mob Wives," probably best known for her hysterical outbursts projected at anyone over anything -- by a plastic surgeon for $77 million has already been pretty widely reported on.

I tweeted it on Twitter -- and was no sooner hit with tweets saying "bullshit!" She has fierce followers -- it's a shame that their denial isn't enough to change the reality of the situation.

I found an interesting angle to the story on the website Plastic Surgeon, which is written by plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel -- no, he didn't do the surgery and isn't the one suing her. It says on his blog that Spiegel is a "world renowned facial plastic surgeon specializing in advanced facial aesthetics for both male and female patients."

He is the Chief of the Division of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University Medical Center, and I think he'd have some good insight into lawsuit filed by the pl…

Are All Mob Informants Rats?

For "LittleItaly7"

WOULD YOU CALL ALL INFORMANTS RATS? UPDATED: An old Cosa Nostra News poll was focused on the views of regular law-abiding citizens (whom I presume make up the bulk of my readership) regarding whether all informants should be given the denigrating rubric of "rat."

I was quite shocked that 77%of you believe all government informants are rats. A key problem is that we have creeps like Sammy Bull Gravano, Vinny Palermo, John Alite and Hector Pagan to serve as shining examples to guide popular opinion. But not all informants are created equally, I believe. There are some informants -- admittedly in the minority of this segment -- whom I would never classify as being among the aforementioned members of the genus Rattus.

Gravano clearly wanted to save his own ass, and was playing a game with the government, no matter how sincere many of those federal officials thought he was, time tells us it was bullshit: the Bull went back to crime, dealing E, specifi…

Mob War? Camorra Boss Killed After Day at Beach

This blog focuses primarily on American Cosa Nostra news, but we do make occasional exceptions, such as in this case. This story of an Italian Camorra hit is making headlines around the world.

The AP is reporting that a gunman shot and killed a Neapolitan Camorra boss as he was leaving a pleasant day at the beach to meet his family at their hotel in Terracina, a resort town in south Rome, authorities have revealed.

Gaetano Marino was hit by at least four shots to the head and another five or six to his back Thursday afternoon as he left the beach en route to his hotel, 60 miles south of Rome. His family had returned to the hotel ahead of him, police said. A common precaution, or was a scent of danger in the salt-tanged air?

The shooting caused panic along the crowded beach, and witnesses told police the gunman fled the scene in a small gray car driven by a second man. Police are in the midst of a manhunt for the shooter and companion, they said.

The New York Daily News added some det…

Ianniello Was a Huge Earner; with Son's Euology

UPDATED: Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello (June 18, 1920 – Aug. 15, 2012), who recently died at the age of 92, had pretty much seen and done it all. He was a New York mobster with the Genovese crime family who was more known for earning than killing, and was also a decorated WWII vet.

He's probably one of the few Mafiosi to have assisted the FBI -- not in mob matters but in the Feds' manhunt for the perpetrator of the most infamous child abduction in New York City history, that of 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979. The killer was finally arrested this year -- as if Matty had to hang around to see that that piece of unfinished busines was taken care of.
His well-known, not very flattering sobriquet, “Matty the Horse,” is believed to have resulted from a childhood brawl on a baseball field in which Ianniello, who was at bat, charged the pitcher, a much larger child, knocking him flat on his ass. Someone remarked: “This kid is as strong as a horse.” It stuck.

Outfit Mobsters Behind 'Mob Wives Chicago'

Behind every good Chicago Mob Wife is a monster who did horrible deeds. We'll let VH-1 describe the wife and we'll describe the monster.

RENEE FECAROTTA RUSSO: Renee is a strong independent businesswoman who was raised by her uncle, "Big John" Fecarotta, following the death of her father. An alleged loan collector and hit man for The Outfit, Fecarotta was Renee's mentor and best friend until being gunned down by fellow mobster Nick Calabrese. Fiercely loyal to his memory, Renee still abides by the "code": never associate with rats . . . take it to the grave.

BIG JOHN FECAROTTA: Renee's mentor and best friend knows something about graves - he was a suspect in at least two murders before biting the dust himself. "He was gunned down while being chased by at least two men through an alley on the Northwest Side," according to Illinois Police and Sheriff's News.

"Fecarotta apparently believed he was being taken to participate in a 3-m…

Day of Infamy: When Capone Gave FDR a Ride

Dec. 8, 1941, FDR drove to Congress to make his historical speech and declare war on Japan, bringing the U.S. into Word War II.

On the way to make that speech, FDR was driving in Capone's car, which had been seized when Al went up the river for income tax evasion. It was bulletproof, and at the time, there was not enough money in the budget to afford the POTUS the protection such a car provides.
Upon seeing the slick black 1928 Cadillac gleaming before him, FDR asked the secret service agents what was up.  They told him, noting their concern that Japanese saboteurs may try to assassinate him.
"I hope Al doesn't mind," FDR quipped.
I think ol' Scarface would've been proud.
Don't believe it? Read here.

The Iceman Knew How to Spin a Cracklin' Yarn

Richard Leonard "The Iceman" Kuklinski was born on April 11, 1935, and died on March 5, 2006. He was considered by law enforcement to be a hit man for the Mafia, a charge the 6-foot-5, 300-pound, bearded bear of a man did not dispute and actually seemed to revel in.

The Iceman, so named for his modus operandi -- at least one of them; he had several -- of freezing the bodies of victims for years. When found, the internal organs of at least one of the corpses still had frost on them. This was owing to the hit man's failure to wait for the bodies to properly thaw out before dumping them from his Cadillac. He supposedly worked for Newark's DeCavalcante crime family and New York City's Five Families, and claimed to have notched between 100 and 250 hits. Law enforcement doesn't dispute these figures, but remember: the more evil the man, the more angelic his captors appear.

But Kuklinski was not all business. He still found time to find the lo…

'I Married a Mobster’ Rejoins Reality TV Lineup

From the

I'm not normally a violent person, but I swear, if that bastard had leaned any closer to my don without letting me pat him down first, I would have plugged him between the eyes. Shoot first, ask questions later. I didn’t survive this long in the Mafia — “this long” being about two hours — without learning that.

Whew; sorry. I’m still a little amped up from filming my television debut as an extra in a brief re-creation in the Investigation Discovery docu-series “I Married a Mobster.” I arranged the job only partly because I really, really, really wanted to be on TV. The other reason was to get a look at a little-appreciated corner of the television-acting universe. Documentary programming on cable is full of re-enactments; the scenes often flit by almost unnoticed. But what I learned by participating in one is that a surprising amount of care and acting skill go into making them.

On “I Married a Mobster,” which begins a new season on Wednesday night, signific…

Wives Talk More About Mob Life in Season Two


The public is fascinated by stories of the mob, and often idealizes “the life” as something of an off-the-grid fairytale for those who live it. Sure, there is crime involved, but it stays contained within their little mob world, right? Anyone who gets hurt knows what he was signing up for, right?

Not always.

Investigation Discovery’s I Married a Mobster takes a look at the wives of the mob, some who knew what they were getting into, some who did not.

“The women in I Married a Mobster literally dance with the devil,” Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Investigation Discovery explains. “They are strong, resilient and fierce. Indeed, their stories will leave viewers wondering what gets mobsters into more hot water: crossing their Dons or their Donnas!”

In the case of mobster Michael “Mikey Scars” DiLeonardo, crossing his Donna was a big mistake. On August 15, Season Two of I Married a Mobster will look at the story of Toni Marie Fappiano, who married DiLeonardo…

Nora Schweihs Arrested in 2004


"According to booking information with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office attained by Starcasm, Nora was booked on 12/5/2004 and charged with DUI/refusal, resisting an officer with violence and possession of a controlled substance – cocaine. If you’re keeping score that’s one misdemeanor and two felonies. Schweihs was released on $6,250.00 bond the same day.

"Nora was eventually convicted of the DUI, but the more serious charges were dropped. The record also revealed that her place of residence at the time was Hollywood, FL and that she was born 03/12/1963.

"You can find out more about Nora in our initial post about the cast here and I’ll be following up with her serious connection to Chicago’s “The Outfit” crime syndicate in the form of her notorious father, Frank “The German” Schweihs."

Nora Gives Chicago's 'Mob Wives' Its Juice

UPDATED, TWEAKED: We've been quiet about the Chicago edition of "Mob Wives" as we have been trying to wrap our arms around the show, get some "situational awareness" as to what's going on -- who is the crazy one, the "good" versus "bad" one; basically, the general plot. [Truth be told, we find it a chore to watch this show; we like the New York cast much better.]

Well, we have finally reached some conclusions about the show and are ready to add our voice to the chorus.

[At the same time, we are still trying to make up our mind about whether the boss of The Outfit -- the single Mafia family that has controlled Chicago since Capone -- is playing both sides against each other, so to speak.

[As we noted in an earlier post, in 1993, John “No Nose” DiFronzo took over as the boss of the Chicago Outfit. DiFronzo was a veteran enforcer and caporegime of the family. He got the nickname “No Nose” because he sliced off part of his nose while jumpin…

Big Ang's Son Arrested for Peddling Painkillers

The news about AJ's arrest back in June has finally happened on Big Ang's show -- so we can see this show was filmed about three months back.

For interesting background, read this post about Big Ang's own legal problems.

From the New York Post::

Big Ang’s son is in big trouble.

The offspring of the buxom, big-lipped reality-TV star featured on VH1’s hit series “Mob Wives” was arrested today for peddling painkillers and other drugs in Brooklyn, The Post has learned.
Anthony (AJ) D’Onofrio, 23, surrendered at the 68th Precinct stationhouse in Bay Ridge after he was indicted in a five-person narcotics ring involving the sales of Oxycodone, marijuana and cocaine, police sources said.

The operation began in October when undercover officers with the NYPD’s Brooklyn South Narcotics Unit made contact with dealer Michael Donovan, 22, who soon introduced the undercovers to D’Onofrio and three other pushers, sources said.

Mob Hit Man, 86, Sprung After 50 Years in Prison

From Fox News:

An 86-year-old mob hitman is on the streets after serving nearly 50 years behind bars for a 1961 rubout ordered by Mafia legend Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, according to the New York Daily News.
"The mobster... is still remorseless about his crimes..." Harold “Kayo” Konigsberg, who used a cord from venetian blinds to strangle Anthony "Three Fingers" Castellito in his upstate New York home, was quietly sprung from a New York prison in a surprise parole from a life sentence, allowing him to spend his final days at a gated community in Florida, according to the paper.

[To read a transcript of the parole hearing, click here.]

The gangster was released in June from Mohawk Prison in Rome, N.Y., where he'd been held for nearly a half-century after being sentenced for 20-to-life for the contract killing of Castellito, a Teamster rival of Provenzano. Castellito's body was allegedly buried in New Jersey but was never found.

Philadelphia Capo Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

The US Department of Justice reported:

Martin Angelina, 50, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to participating in a racketeering conspiracy involving loan sharking and illegal gambling, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and George C. Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.

At the plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Angelina pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) Family through a pattern of racketeering activity. He admitted to the court that he attempted to collect payments related to usurious loans by using extortionate means and operated an illegal video poker machine business in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 3, 2012.


When Licavoli Tapped His Cane, Lives Would End

I know a collector who owns the cane that belonged to Jack Licavoli, the Cleveland mob boss during the 1970s -- that volatile time when Danny Greene declared war on his former partners in the mob. And the cane played its own role in history, including in the story of Greene.

"Jack White," or "Blackie," as Licavoli was called, would tap the cane on the floor whenever he ordered a hit, as if to punctuate his declaration. I have been told about this mannerism by an anonynmous source who spoke with guys who were present many times when such orders came down, along with the tip of the cane. (Licavoli may have carried the cane as a result of being shot in the leg in 1928, but I have not been able to confirm this.)

He must have really banged that thing pretty hard when he ordered Greene to be taken out; as anyone who knows his history, or has watched the film "Kill the Irishman," that dude was like a giant hemorrhoid growing right out of the crack of Jack's …

Colombo Capo "Jr. Lollipops" Carna Dies in Prison

Reputed Colombo capo Joseph "Junior Lollipops" Carna, a 30-year Mafia veteran, died of natural causes at a federal prison hospital while serving a six-month sentence for money laundering, according to officials on Friday. So reports the NY Daily News.

Carna, 71, was set to leave the Devens Medical Center in Massachusetts on Oct. 14, said a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Carna supposedly was involved in the "Deep Throat Killings" of 1982, in which former nun Veronica Zuraw was killed by a stray bullet during a a planned hit outside her Gravesend home. The targets were the Perainos, family associates who were believed to be skimming from the Colombo bosses' shares of the profits from the triple-X film Deep Throat.

The targets of the hit were porn king Joseph Peraino — who was left paralyzed — and his son, Joseph Jr., who died.

Carna got his unusual nickname -- Junior Lollipops -- from his father, who owned an eatery called "Lolly's" in Br…

When Corruption Infected 'New York’s Finest' -- 40th Anniversary of Knapp Commission

Forty years ago, a miasma of general lawlessness descended upon New York, rendering our “Fun City” designation something of a bad joke. Myriad problems — the city’s looming fiscal instability; a crumbling infrastructure; the vise-like grip of the Mafia; an influx of cheap heroin — had combined to make parts of the city a living hell.

And perhaps the ugliest fact of all was this: The most frequent predations against the populace were carried out by rank-and-file NYPD cops, who awaited a cash payoff or similar “consideration” from everyone in town. So reports the in "New York’s Foulest."

Sure, members of New York’s Finest were heroic when the situation demanded it, but the impolitic question being whispered four decades ago was no longer whether the average NYPD cop was corrupt, but rather just how corrupt was he?

At one Brooklyn precinct, entrepreneurs running a card game from a second-floor apartment were left undisturbed, so long as they remembered to throw $10 to…

No Rat: Philly Mobster Cops Noncoop Deal

Gaeton Lucibello finalized a plea agreement that does not require him to rat out any of his near-dozen Cosa Nostra pals facing trial later this year, including the family's chieftain.

He won't testify about any alleged crimes committed by Philly mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi or any of the members of the Cosa Nostra organization he runs in Philadelphia.

Added David Fritchey, chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in the U.S. Attorney's Office: "It's a noncooperation agreement."

Is every mobster in Philly, under indictment or not, breathing a collective sigh of relief? Probably -- probably definitely.

Lucibello, 59, whom prosecutors have said is a "long-standing soldier" in the Philadelphia crime family, has admitted to helping shake down a bookie and running two illegal video-poker machines as part of a racketeering conspiracy.

Lucibello, known as "Gate" and "the Big Guy," beat a federal racketeering charge i…

Penn Station Gem Shops Broad Array of Mafia Books

Manhattan has changed with the times to a startling degree, and not always in good ways.

Take for example the death of the mega bookstores, which rolled into the city like the Russian T-34 tanks at Stalingrad in 1942, only to start fading from the region with startling rapidity in a handful of years. Back when I covered my nut by freelance writing I even reported on this tragic phenomenon for The Real Deal. Rising rents, a whopping global recession, along with the advent, and then onslaught, of ebook readers hungry for content that is practically given away by online behemoth helped solidify this trend.

Walk around Manhattan and you likely won't see a single bookstore.

Gone is the giant Barnes & Noble that occupied nearly an entire city block on the Upper West Side, where you could easily disappear for a day, sitting in a comfy chair beside a stack of books you handpicked from the shelves. On those disgusting, sopping 90-degree summer days, it provided an icy haven…