Rev. Al Was "Our Gun for Hire," Says Ex-Colombo Capo

Michael Franzese, former Mafioso (son of Sonny Franzese and an ex-capo in the Colombo family) turned born-again Christian minister, told Gang Land News some interesting information about the whole Rev. Al blowup, and adds a jarring twist to the story.

Namely that Sharpton once had very close mob ties, to the extent he was involved in certain rackets involving the Reverend using his civil rights bully-pit to generate cash that he shared with the mob.

"...Franzese says Sharpton, who has been preaching since his teenage days on the streets of Brooklyn, has yet to truly confess his many sins.

"He was a gun for hire, our gun for hire," recalled Franzese, the college educated wiseguy, in an exclusive Gang Land News interview.

"Franzese said that Sharpton often used his influence with black entertainers and others to earn cash payoffs from mobsters and mob-connected firms in legitimate ventures as well as scams.

"He built his reputation on defending the civil rights of blacks, but he would exploit them for money," said Franzese. The two were so friendly, the ex-mobster claimed, that the hustling would-be activist used the derogatory "N" word when he agreed to assist Franzese in a union organizing scam. At the time, Franzese controlled Daniel Cunningham, the mob-tied president of two Long Island-based security guard unions, and was looking to use the organizing drive to extort payoffs from hotels.

Franzese says Sharpton acted more like a mobster than an informant.

"We were going to unionize the hotel security guards in Atlantic City," Franzese recalled. Before asking Sharpton for his help, Franzese first got the blessings of Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo (Nicky) Scarfo to move into Atlantic City, and got permission from Genovese soldier Daniel Pagano, the mobster with whom Sharpton was allegedly most closely allied, to use his help....

"Franzese said he met Sharpton around 1980, several years after he dropped out of Hofstra University and decided to follow his legendary gangster father, John (Sonny) Franzese, into the Colombo crime family. Known as the so-called Yuppie Don, the younger Franzese tried to maintain a veneer of respectability as a mover and shaker in the business community as he used his father's clout to move up in the world of organized crime."

Read Capeci's story here:

Also of Possible Interest: Missing Letter Describes Fate of Franzese Surveillance Records From Storied Bank Robbery Trial:

"A letter from 1976 written by former District Attorney Bennett Cullison Jr. to Michael B. Pollack, attorney for John “Sonny” Franzese following his 50-year conviction in 1970 for “masterminding” a series of bank robberies, raises questions regarding the fate of surveillance records of the legendary gangster taken by several law enforcement agencies. Pollack, who has since been disbarred, was not available for comment.


  1. Wasn't this pretty much an episode or 2 of the sopranos?

  2. Yep, I remembered it too. On the show, Tony was in cahoots with the son of a civil rights leader, I believe.


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