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 also admitted his role in a plot to shake down a cooperating witness who owned a waste hauling company.

"Tony Lodi" is allegedly one of nine members of a three-family panel said to have been in control of private garbage collection routes, all of whom pleaded guilty before their racketeering trial could begin; it was scheduled to commence last month. In addition to the Genovese family, the Gambinos and Lucheses also were involved in the racket.

Like most readers of this blog, ol' Tony Lodi was a big fan of HBO's "The Sopranos." (If you're a fan go to this link and read. I spent an entire Saturday working my way through the piece.)

Tony Lodi

Gang Land News first reported Cardinalle’s connection to Satin Dolls. The Daily News specified, however, that, according to his lawyers, Cardinalle isn't really the owner of the club (at least not on paper, anyway). His wife was once listed as the owner and the current owner is his daughter.

The club served double-duty as the Bada Bing on "The Sopranos," and is a destination near and dear to fans of the show and also the place were Paulie "Walnuts" Gaultieri had a vision of the Virgin Mary.

When James Gandolfini, the actor who played Tony, died last year, a sign hung out front, saying: "Thank You Jimmy, Farewell Boss."

According to GangLand News, in July 2010, Toni Lodi and four other "Lodi Crew" members — including soldiers Peter Leconte and Anthony (Muzzy) Pucciarello — took control of the waste hauling business away from the lead defendant in the case, Carmine "Papa Smurf" Franco.

Genovese capo Tino Fiumara had run the Lodi crew until his death in September 2010. The Feds had started the probe with the powerhouse capo as their target. But then Fiumara died, so the Feds were stuck with an unknown gangster named "Papa Smurf" as the lead figure in the case -- and media stories. Too bad nobody caught the Tony Soprano connection a year ago; the Feds might have gotten better headlines, although the novelty of a mobster named Papa Smurf probably did pretty well for them.

GangLand News acquired a transcript of some recordings made during the investigation by an undercover agent before Cardinalle flipped. On them can be heard the voice of none other than "Tony Lodi," shooting his mouth off, "bragging about his clout and his many mob-tied ventures."

On July 27, 2010, "Cardinalle was heard pumping up his mob creds by telling the FBI's operative why he needed to be a silent partner in the scheme. 'You will never get a garbage license in New Jersey if you mention my name,' he said. 'You won't. They got a picture of my face up in the Attorney General's Office.'"

Two weeks pass and Cardinalle "was overheard talking tough to the wired up FBI operative, Charles Hughes — who tape recorded more than 500 conversations between March of 2009 and June of 2012 — about how Hughes could earn some extra cash working for an unidentified mob gambling business."
Memorial to the man, inside Satin Dolls, aka the Bada Bing. 

"'I don't need my name in the papers,' Cardinalle said. 'They have the biggest online gambling companies, they take credit cards and this kid Peter and his boss, they will give you a commission. When they lose they give you 25%, talk to him. They told me do not bring this guy (Hughes) around us unless he is a good guy because we don't need no rat. I told them he ain't a rat, 'cause if he is a rat I will kill him myself.'"

Cardinalle has long been associated with gentlemen’s clubs in Bergen and Hudson counties, according to In the 1990s he admitted evading taxes on income derived from Cots Inc. and A&J Entertainment Inc., which owned AJ’s Lounge in Secaucus and the Navel Base in North Bergen, authorities said.

He was also involved with The Harem in Lodi, an all-nude “juice bar” that was closed down by town officials in the early 2000s.

In court papers filed in the waste-hauling case, William Pepe of Madison, the manager of Satin Dolls, stated that Cardinalle’s family owns both Satin Dolls and AJ’s, a go-go club in Secaucus. Cardinalle owns the real estate and the buildings that the clubs are in, Pepe said in an affidavit, which also noted that one of Cardinalle's co-defendants, Howard Ross, “essentially [held] court at the bar” of the Lodi club, recounting “grandiose stories” of his life as a major drug dealer, trying to drum up financing for various scams, and “bragging about his Mafia connections.”

Ross was such a bullshitter, he once "told me that he was very close with Joseph Colombo. Colombo was killed in 1971 when Ross would have been a pre-adolescent,” Pepe added.


  1. He was facing 40 at his upcoming sentencing May 23, that may have influenced his decision to rat at 62 years of age? Either way, it's a nice notch in the Fed's gun belt.

    The first time I read your article on the Soprano's ending I read that entire link to
    The Sopranos: Definitive Explanation of "The END". It's long, very long but it answered all my questions. It's The Answer!

    1. Thanks -- glad you found the END as intriguing as I did....

    2. But the report is that everyone was getting sweetheart deals; Mr Tony Soprano couldn't even cop to a sweetheart deal??? He got the 40 cause he flipped which means it's a meaningless number.....

  2. The original Satin Dolls owner was Vinnie Ravo who eventually died in prison. He was a fearless old timer drenched in gold always in a gorgeous caddy. Years ago while I was working at a relative's auto wrecking yard I was told that Vinnie was picking up a front bumper and some other parts for a relative of his. I was looking forward to seeing him as he was a good ball buster and always good for some laughs. I got an even bigger laugh when someone showed up in a Colonial Cement truck and said he was there to pick up Vinnie's parts and proceeded to find spots around this huge cement truck to place the parts. You can't make this stuff up. For the readers who don't live in Jersey, Colonial Cement was a big cement company for many years. I don't know if it's still around.
    Old School-Anonymous

  3. Lot of associates -- this bust, the Ndrangheta thing. Wonder if they closed the books...


Post a Comment