Showing posts from February, 2014

Rudy's Friendship with Falcone Cause of Mafia Death Threats

The Sicilian mafia ordered the assassination of former mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani , a court in Palermo has heard, according to the UK's  Mail Online . (Another surprising revelation from a separate trial in January unearthed a plot to blow up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.) So know we actually have, in the form of Italian court records,  corroboration for a claim Giuliani has been making for years . (More recently, we learned the Sicilian Cosa Nostra also had plans to whack former New York Governor Mario Cuomo , until they learned the extent of his security detail.) Giovanni Falcone fearlessly hunted the Sicilian Mafia. As we reported, Giuliani claimed that the Mafia in Sicily put an $800,000 contract on his head; He said this repeatedly as we note in the above linked story. He also repeated this as a guest on Oprah Winfrey's OWN cable-channel show, "Oprah: Where Are They Now." A the Mail reported, which jibes with our take: "the oneti

Why New York's Five Families Have Regained Power

A recent  report noted that, despite stronger federal laws and the long parade of mob turncoats waiting to testify in court, New York's five Cosa Nostra families have managed to hold on, regroup and rebuild. They have survived, law enforcement officials and mob experts said, because of their "persistence and ability to adapt," the article noted. In fact, the New York Mafia "has quietly staged a comeback and is now more powerful than it has been in years," Richard Frankel, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York office, told the WSJ. The Mafia's obituary seem to be written about every few years. The king of all examples: In an uncharacteristic blunder, noted mob author Nicholas Pileggi wrote an article for New York magazine titled "The Decline and Fall of the Mafia" -- in 1970! The fact is, the American Cosa Nostra was organized specifically to perpetuate its

"Dark Web" Armories Ship Glocks, AKs to Your Front Door

Website offers  Q&A   with a spokesperson for The Armory, a  notorious weapons marketplace lurking on the "dark web," a place full of shady characters and illegal products. If you know two things about the deep web (perhaps based on new knowledge from House of Cards), then you know that it’s full of (A) shady characters and (B) illegal stuff for sale. You can browse the online aisles for drugs, child porn or the services of hitmen, or even tool up to do the task yourself by buying guns from a darknet arms dealer.

Profile of Mafia's "Weakening" Power Over Labor Unions

Sal Avellino ran the Luchese family's  interests in carting on Long Island. He ordered a shameful double killing. Organized labor is no longer the cash cow it once was for organized crime.  That was the apparent thrust of a recent report that noted the mob's infiltration of unions in the U.S. started to steadily weaken in the 1980s when then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani took aggressive measures, putting away many of the mob's legendary bosses, creating opportunities for a whole new generation of wiseguys to move up. As history shows, many weren't up to the task. But considering law  enforcement's evolution in terms of investigating organized crime, it may not have mattered who was in charge. The WSJ article offered two reasons for the cause of the Mafia's decline on the union front: the 1986 Commission Case, during which defendants were charged with membership in the  Concrete Club, followed in 1990 by the so-c

How Ndrangheta Dominated the Drug Trade

La Cicciolina, sans exposed breasts. The following was written by Charles DeLucca , our itinerant journalist, who occasionally files reports with Cosa Nostra News based on his observations and thoughts regarding organized crime, Italian-style, in all its various guises and locals. Most of the time, when I mention I am of Italian nationality, people ask me about every single issue relating to Italy. From Berlusconi to La Cicciolina (a Hungarian-born Italian porn star, politician and singer, famous for delivering political speeches with her breasts exposed). They also ask my about the dynamics of organized crime. Certain topics are off limits because it’s really, really difficult to explain the truth about certain groups. For instance, most of what we know about the American Cosa Nostra is from the movies, TV and pentitis (plural for “those who repent”; rats, turncoats, in other words). Nobody knew much about la Camorra until Robert Saviano published Gomorrah

"Mob Wives" Ends on So-What Note, But Season 5 Is On

Natalie, far right, had the gall to tweet... Mob Wives: New Blood was renewed for a fifth season this morning, following a terminally boring show finale last night. (Yes, we know the Reunion is next week, and Natalie and Renee are going to fight some more.) The question remains, though: Who will be returning/not-returning for the fifth and, we predict, final season... It's hard to write with passion about this show. I have come to a realization: the show, scripted or not, is serving merely as a platform to enrich these women so they'll never have to work again. Is it coincidence that Renee, suddenly in the last episode, has written a novel, and has even found a publisher? (Probably sis acted as the agent and probably hired the ghostwriter, too) And the publisher is even throwing a book debut party--just in time for the season finale. (Of all the curve balls in reality TV, this is the most spectacularly offensive.) Now, I can't recall, was there even one scen

New York's Five Families Down but Not Out -

Mostly old news in this WSJ article, but we are extracting a few intriguing morsels for our own story: For more than two decades, New York City's five organized-crime families were plagued by convictions brought on by strengthened federal laws and the increasing habit of higher-ranking members cooperating with the government. Those years of high-profile decline created a perception that the city's mafia is on the verge of extinction. But law-enforcement officials and mob experts say the five families, while not the force they once were, are far from sleeping with the fishes. They have survived, the experts said, because of their persistence and ability to adapt. "I don't know that I'd say La Cosa Nostra was what it was in its heyday but I wouldn't say by any means it's gone away," said Richard Frankel, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York office. Read rest at

5 Mafia Films You Need to See

I read one of those 10 Mafia Movies That Made Their Mark lists and saw not a single surprise. Here's five Mafia films that'll surprise you -- and I mean in a good way. I have seen all of them, some once, others as many as a dozen times. From the bare-bones budgeted Wannabes to the major studio release Running Scared, these movies add technique or simple great story telling to etch their mark.... Chicago Overcoat (2009)   When Chicago mob kingpin Stefan needs a witness eliminated, Lou volunteers for one last big job so that he can retire. The task becomes complicated, however, when younger thugs resent Lou's interference.

'The Counselor' Masterfully Depicts Lives of Men of Violence

WARNING: THERE BE SPOLIERS HERE, APLENTY Reiner explains what a bolito is. Ridley Scott’s “ The Counselor ” evokes a certain chill in the viewer, despite the fact it takes place on the searing Mexican border. The film is a brilliant portrayal of men living lives of varying degrees of corruptness, from the entry-level outsider, the titular Counselor (Michael Fassbender), to the experienced professionals (such as Javier Bardem 's character, the nightclub-owning Reiner, who lives in denial; and the jaded, looking-for-an-exit Westray, played by  Brad Pitt ), all the way up the chain to the drug kingpins, personified by the character named in the credits as jefe, played by the great  Rubén Blades . Cartels have been working with the Sicilian Mafia for some time; the recent bust in New York and Calabria reveals the Gambino and Bonanno families are in league with the Cartels, seemingly the middlemen between the big Mexican narcotrafficantes and the Ndrangheta.

The Hijacking of the Italian Mafia

Home base for the Cosa Nostra (left) and Ndrangheta. The Heart Mafia... the Nappa Valley Mafia... India's Sand Mafia... something called the Swedish House Mafia... and of course, the Israeli Mafia. All those mafias were mentioned in articles brought to my attention via a single email from Google Alert, which is ever probing the content plastered all over the Web for several keywords of my choosing. This is one way I develop story ideas for this blog, which takes up a lot of my time, which, truthfully, could be more profitably spent on other endeavors. The word "mafia" is getting a bit overused these days, and I first held this notion years ago, before I'd even heard of most of the above groups (the Heart mafia?). In fact, except for the Swedish House Mafia, I've  never  heard any of the above-mentioned coinages prior to today. It seems like anytime you have one group dominating an industry or sector or area of expertise, you can label them the mafia (I u

Luciano Book Offers New Revelations About Mafia Chief

Christian Cipollini's book on Luciano is due this May. The Mob Museum Blog  by Beverly Ford and Stephanie Schorow: The Italian-born gangster and head of [the crime family known today as] New York’s Genovese crime family who died in January more than 50 years ago was grossing $12 million from bootlegging, gambling and other illegal activities by the age of 28. Now that’s lucky. He escaped several attempts on his life, including a notorious beating and stabbing attack in 1929 that left him with a scar and drooping eye. That’s lucky too. He orchestrated the execution of several crime bosses – even luckier still since he survived to become one of the top crime bosses in the nation until dying of a heart attack in Naples, Italy, in 1962 at the age of 64. But if you think that’s all to the story of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, think again. Author Christian Cipollini has made some remarkable new discoveries about the gangster while researching his upcoming book, “Lucky Luciano: M

What Was Found in Crazy Joe Gallo's Billfold After His Murder...

Arthur Nash posted the image below on his Facebook page:  New York City Gangland - Rare Photo Book . He is the author of  New York City Gangland , a compilation of some 200 rare photos of mobsters obtained primarily from private collections and law enforcement sources. Mob figures included go all the way back to Prohibition Days, but the book also includes contemporary gangsters, such as John Gotti. This images features items found in Joe Gallo's wallet after he was shot to death in Little Italy. Crazy Joe Gallo died on the night of his 43rd birthday, on April 7, 1972. Gallo had spent the evening celebrating at the Copacabana nightclub, then he and a few others stopped at Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. It was around 5 a.m. A short while later, shooters materialized at the restaurant and fired a volley of shots; Gallo staggered out of the eatery and fell dead in the street. Apparently Gallo thought he was safe because there supposedly

"Godfather" Theme Played for Philly Mobsters at Celebratory Dinner

From Big Trial : It was mood music for a corporate takeover. A few hours after a rowdy shareholders meeting formalized what federal authorities allege was Salvatore Pelullo's secret takeover of FirstPlus Financial, Pelullo hosted a celebratory dinner for company officers and members of the board of directors at a posh steakhouse in Dallas. As he sat at the head of a long table in a private dining room at DelFrisco's on that night in October 2007, a violinist serenaded Pelullo repeatedly with the same song, said Robert O'Neal, then chairman of the board and president of FirstPlus. O'Neal, testifying for the prosecution at the racketeering trial of Pelullo, mobster Nicodemo S. Scarfo and five other defendants, said the song was all too familiar and somewhat ominous.

Colombo Turncoat Sues for Rights to 'Break Shot'

Simon & Schuster stole the rights to mob informant Kenny "Kenji" Gallo's life story, titled "Break Shot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia," Gallo is alleging in a lawsuit seeking an injunction and damages for copyright infringement. Yes, the book was recently featured on this site when I quoted from it, as well as recommended it to all readers. I was quite surprised that the book was unavailable on Amazon, except for "used" copies, one of which I snapped up; I had loaned my copy out and never got it back. I would think the publisher would relaunch a new version of the book considering that it could leverage the fact that it keys in on certain individuals involved with a new cast member of the hit show "Mob Wives." Kenji  has filed a lawsuit filed against the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, alleging that the company purloined the rights to the book by registering the copyright in the names of co-author Matthe

Ndrangheta, New York Mob Associates Arrested for Drug Smuggling

In New York, an alleged mob associate was arrested as part of a series of coordinated raids between U.S., Italian law enforcement officials. Following a two-year probe that involved wiretaps and undercover agents, law enforcement officials in a coordinated effort today launched predawn raids in both Calabria, Italy, and Brooklyn, New York, to smash apart a $1 billion global drug ring that included members of both the Italian Ndrangheta and associates of the New York Mafia -- specifically associates of the Gambino and Bonanno families More than 20 were arrested. In the U.S. one Ndrangheta member was arrested, as well as the two Mafia associates, and four others related to the various groups involved in the ring.

Tony Soprano Beats Papa Smurf Any Day of the Week

The recent flood of articles associating an unknown real-life mobster with a well-known fictional one is due to the enterprising work of journalist Jerry Capeci and his GangLand News website. Good ol' Tone, parking the SUV in front of the Bing, HQ for the mob boss and his key associates. Anthony Cardinalle was indicted about a year ago , one of 32 defendants nailed following a multi-year FBI probe into the mob's control of the private sanitation industry in New York and New Jersey. Cardinalle, a longtime Genovese associate known as "Tony Lodi," began cooperating with the FBI and Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office a week before Christmas, although GangLand News is also reporting that, according to sources, Cardinalle has been talking to the Feds months longer than that. In December, presumably after he committed to the other side, he plead guilty to the two counts charged against him, racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit extortion; he als

Memorial Ceremony for Scarpa, Bulger Victims This Saturday

Forensic analyst/congressional consultant Angela Clemente is holding a ceremony this Saturday to unveil a monument erected to memorialize 47 murder victims of mob hit men/FBI informants Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa, Frank "Frankie Blue Eyes" Sparaco, and James "Whitey" Bulger. Each victim's name will be engraved on the memorial, which stands about 6 feet tall and states: "Death cancels everything but the truth." In loving memory of all the victims who unnecessarily lost their lives; you will forever be entrenched in our hearts. Dedicated by: Angela Clemente I promise to dedicate my life to make sure that this will never happen again. The unveiling is this Saturday (Feb. 8) at 1:00 p.m. at “The New Beginnings” rehabilitation center. The address is: 12 Platinum Court Medford, New York 11763 Tel. 631-286-6166

Are Some Mob Wives Turning on Each Other?

Since I hyped a story about Big Ang's daughter , I feel it's only fair to balance the scales by alerting you all to this story, which says that the story was actually a complete fabrication deliberately spread by Renee Graziano and Carla Murino... [By the way one of the linked stories mentions that Ramona Rizzo ended it with her fiancé, presumably based on the fact he'll be in the joint for the next 15 years for dealing cocaine. Drugs are the last surefire way any mobster with balls enough can still get wealthy. A commodity requiring no advertising with a huge markup! Easier than skimming from unions, I guess. Even easier than loansharking. Just gotta watch you don't get caught.] From  All About the Real Housewives : Renee Graziano and her friend Carla Murino are up to their old tricks. Apparently, since last Thursday’s episode, they came up with a plan on how to get the heat taken off of them, and it’s by using Big Ang’s daughter, Raquel Donofrio! Sources EXCLUSIV

Bud Zuccaro Apparently Fourth Cooperator

Bud Zuccaro The fourth witness apparently is Peter "Bud" Zuccaro, who testified against Charles Carneglia (who had been Zuccaro's best man) and John Gotti Jr in Manhattan. The three other cooperating witnesses are Joe Massino, Salvatore Vitale, and a relative of the Asaros whom I refer to as The Mook, (a foolish, insignificant and contemptible person) Gaspare (Gary) Valenti. According to court papers CW-4 was an associate of the Gambino family, who pled guilty pursuant to a cooperation agreement in the Eastern District of New York to two counts of murder in-aid-of racketeering, narcotics distribution conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. CW-4’s information has been corroborated by, among other things, physical surveillances, consensual recordings and the testimony of other witnesses. CW-4 cooperated in the hopes of obtaining leniency in sentencing and protection in the Witness Security program. At sentencing, the government moved, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1