Court Records Expose D'Avanzo Mob Ties

Last year, the Miami New Times obtained from a confidential source hundreds of pages of sealed court documents that reveal information provided to the FBI by former infamous South Beach nightclub king Chris Paciello -- and it seems Paciello dished up a lot more details on goodfellas and their crimes than was originally thought.

Lee D'Avanzo

"Between December 2000 and May 2001, the FBI met with the fallen club king eight times and conducted 15 hours of interviews. During those meetings, Paciello detailed not only his own criminal history but those of dozens of his Mob colleagues," a New Times article notes.

Additionally, many secrets in the documents center on Lee D'Avanzo, one of Paciello's early criminal cohorts. In fact, Paciello is a large part of the reason why Lee went away to prison. [We are not sure if this is the sentence Lee is still serving or if it was an earlier conviction.]

It adds: "Most significant, Paciello fingered two made members of the Bonanno family, which led ultimately to the takedown of almost the entire upper echelon of the organization, including family boss Joseph "Big Joe" Massino. This is something that even undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone, AKA Donnie Brasco... never managed to achieve during his six years infiltrating the Bonanno family in the 1970s."

The result is: we get a pretty good glimpse of part of the man known as Drita's husband (or is she divorcing him? I'm still not sure -- but then I don't think she is, either), and despite what one commentator wrote in a previous post, we believe D'Avanzo indeed had organized crime ties; ironically, it seems he worked for TG Graziano, as that is who Lee and his crew kicked up to and also went to for permission to whack people. However, Lee also had access to "Eddie Garofalo's uncle," whoever he is, for protection.

No, Lee was never made; some purists believe "Mob Wives" is guilty of false advertising and is based on lies. But I'd say having a mob associate for a husband... is good enough. Also, I think having Mafia blood ties also gives "Mob Wives" the credibility it needs -- at a cost, though, as the Mafia is a secret criminal organization, which this show seems to have forgotten.

Say what you will about Paciello; he had some hot women.
Not every guy gets down with Naomi Campbell.

And the New Springville Boys, whatever their ages, were robbing banks and strapping bombs to their chest (sort of), and were more than willing to murder people. (Love you, too...)

On another note of interest: during Paciello's 2004 sentencing hearing at federal court in Brooklyn, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres noted: "Mr. [Paciello]... provided us with information that led to the arrest and later cooperation of made members of the Bonanno crime family. Prior to December of 2002, [none of them] had ever cooperated. In the last 14 months, we've arrested virtually ever criminal supervisor in the Bonanno family. Those prosecutions resulted in part from the cooperation of Mr. [Paciello]."

So it was Paciello who helped create all those rats in the Bonanno family; I recall years back, shortly after the turn into the millennium, how it seemed the Feds were turning a Bonanno a week, it seemed, then when Joe Massino lost his trial, he, the "Last Don," also turned. Ironic, since Massino had built a solid wall around the family, learning from the Donnie Brasco incident, as well as the flaws of John Gotti as Gambino boss.

A goldmine of info in the documents centers on D'Avanzo. In May 2001 Paciello told the FBI that after his father died, his family moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island in 1989, where he first met Lee D'Avanzo, the leader of the New Springville Boys, "a ragtag group of wannabe wise guys whom the government would later characterize as a 'farm team' for the Bonanno crime family," the New Times reported.

"D'Avanzo was a meaty tough guy with a cleft chin, piercing eyes, and jet-black hair. A cousin of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, he was the son of a car thief and loan shark who was killed in 1977 after trying to run down an FBI agent. [The younger D'Avanzo achieved notoriety last year as the husband of Drita D'Avanzo in the VH1 reality series Mob Wives.]"

D'Avanzo's only legit job, according to the papers, had been working for the sanitation department, for one month. He was known to save his money from scores, too.

Although Chris became popular and moved around in various circles, he considered D'Avanzo's New Springville Boys as the closest to being his real friends.

Paciello revealed numerous criminal activities he committed with Lee and others, including stealing night deposit boxes, burglarizing stores and home invading the residences of drug dealers [I don't consider that last one much of a crime, provided no children were present].

According to the papers, Paciello also imparted a juicy tidbit D'Avanzo had once told him: Lee admitted to having about $100,000 on the street, and to charging usually 3 points in mob interest, or vig. Lee added that if he ever ran into a problem, he could go to "Eddie Garofalo's uncle" for assistance.

D'Avanzo: Go-To Guy for Gats

The papers also reveal that D'Avanzo was known as the go-to guy for gats. "D'Avanzo always had guns. He would keep a shotgun next to his bed. Whenever [Paciello] needed a gun, D'Avanzo would provide one," the papers note.

In late 1992, Paciello, along with D'Avanzo and some friends, stole a U-Haul truck, which they knew had marijuana in it. They drove the truck to Staten Island, broke into it -- and were shocked to discover there was about a ton of marijuana stuffed in the back.

It was not long after the heist that then-Bonanno capo Anthony Graziano, "a stocky, brutish man with a permanent smirk," learned about the huge haul. Paciello was ordered to deliver $50,000. (The New Times article notes that "documents that describe this incident only list Paciello as 'source,' but it is clear from the context that this is Paciello.")

According to the FBI report: "[Paciello] went to Graziano's house and met in the garage with Graziano. Graziano questioned [Paciello] about how much money [he] had from the score. [Paciello] lied and said only $150,000. [Paciello] told Graziano that [he] had used the money to purchase a home for his mother."

Graziano, an old hand at "reading" people for truth, knew he was talking to a man who lied. He told a soldier in his crew: "deal with this kid." When the soldier found Paciello, he told the to-be club king: "You want to be around for all the weddings, but none of the funerals." [Get it?]

Paciello admitted in the documents that during the next six months, he and the New Springville Boys pulled off several bank jobs -- one of which involved a fake bomb strapped to one of the robber's chests that alone help net a $300,000 haul.

Paciello's relationship with D'Avanzo was at an end by 1997. Paciello had by then become the supermodel-dating Miami nightclub icon, and his New York friends didn't seem pleased with how much cash he was making for himself.

According to FBI papers, on May 10, 2001, "[Paciello] stated that he didn't care much for D'Avanzo and that [D'Avanzo] became jealous of Paciello's success." In fact, Paciello would learn -- from none other than Hector Pagan -- that D'Avanzo's friend Danny Costanza had approached Bonanno capo Graziano and asked for the nod to kill Paciello. Graziano refused, possibly thinking it was more profitable to go the other way considering Paciello had become a cash-flushed successful Miami club owner. Graziano likely later regretted that decision.

Paciello gave up the capo to the feds, offering information about TG's Florida-based drug business; this later led to TG's conviction for drug distribution.

Eleven members of the New Springville Boys were eventually indicted, then convicted of bank robbery, loan sharking, and drug dealing, based in large part on Paciello's discussions with the FBI.

D'Avanzo was sentenced to 62 months in prison.



  1. I always wondered about Drita's husband. Good article coverage! Whether you're related to the Don himself or related to an associate, the show is about those tied and familiar with "the lifestyle".

    I've clicked on your highlighted links and understandably, legit gangsters are enraged by "Mob Wives"...but what about books, TV shows and movies that are mob-based?

  2. I think the show "Mob Wives" is different than the millions of books and magazines covering the mob -- it is on TV, very high profile, and this is a case of mobsters probably seeing those who star on the show as betrayers; it's personal. These guys have everything to lose and nothing to gain from this show and probably are constantly worrying about what their daughters/wives or whomever may say about "the life." Most of the cast members are careful never to say anything the law will find of value, but they are also bringing "added heat" on these mobsters. For example, many blogs and newspapers are hot on the trail of finding who these women are connected to, whether it be father or husband. This blog story -- and half a dozen others on this site, maybe? -- would never have been written had it not been for Mob Wives.

    Also, I can just picture a Fed working OC walking up to a mobster leaving a restaurant and telling him something like: "Hey, your daughter looked great on mob wives the other night. You must be very proud of her," while smirking.

  3. My name is ray am a chauffeur and body guard I read the articale will not beleave any of it because I was not there so all this is here say but I can say Drita is a class act when I drove her she was always plesent never disrespected her self or her husband lee. So lee if you read this am old school from Brooklyn your wife is a class act she never did anything to disrespect you. I wish lee and drita well and there kids god bless

  4. Most ppl just love to find out anything they can about the mob wether its a 28 year old citizen such as myself or a pig and i would think that nothing that has been on "mob wives" isnt anythng that the pigs dont already really know. The women r good lookin and a bit childish at times but renees sister has most to do with whats placed on air as far as info that could incriminate anyone except for the women themselves. Unfortunately its advertising to the world that this thing of ours is real and we all know there is no mob ;)

  5. I kinda agree with u and its soo funny that love frm the show had air time bfore any of these women on "i married a mobster" from her marriage to the so called untouchables car theiving rings boss and maybe that is what inspired the creater of this v1 showh becus love herself was and is crazy just as her friends and jenn TG'S off cam daughter who owns just jenns productions figureda show can b made on obvious facts that anyone who would care to do enuff research could basically figure out but more just to follow some womens lives n not really the husbands. Anyone who chosed airtime as far as men well that is just ashame

  6. people often have negative opinions of the mob ,being a teamster i wouldnt like anyone touching my retirement money!! with that said ,,when they were strong neighborhoods were safe and unions were greatly respected,,,today krooklyn is full of arabs and chinese,,our neighborhoods are worse off then ever,,like john gotti rip once said ,,they gonna wish there was la cosa nostra!!!! sal the KROOK

  7. Look at his hands how big the are!! Now i know why drita is with him LMAO


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