Lowdown on TG, Father of "Mob Wives" Gals

TG Graziano had five acting capos around him.
One of the first things Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano did as acting boss of the Bonanno family was bust down the five acting capos that Anthony "TG" Graziano had around him, according to our colleague and former Bonanno capo Dominick Cicale.

"What is this? The Bonanno family or the Graziano family?" Basciano complained to Dom, referring to the Staten Island-based capo who reportedly has since been shelved by the family because of "Mob Wives," the reality show that was the brainchild of TG's daughter Jennifer; Renee, one of the show's stars, is another of his daughters.

Print version now available!
We also learned from Dom that TG had Junior Pagan around him because Junior did all his heavy lifting on the street. TG was not personally a violent man.

TG Graziano is one of the mobsters mentioned in our book, Vol. One, which reminds us to mention that finally -- finally, we can reveal that our ebook, written with Dominick Cicale, is available in a print version. At 62 pages long, it is priced at $6.99 ($6.29 if you belong to Amazon's Prime program and free for members of  Kindle Unlimited).

The print edition of Cosa Nostra News: The Cicale Files, Vol. 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire has a slightly different cover. We couldn't use the ebook version because of the resolution -- and Dominick needed to take a new photograph.

TG, as we note in the book, was among the background guys involved in the murder of Gerlando "George from Canada" Sciascia, a respected capo of the Bonanno family's Bronx-based faction. George was tight with Vito Rizzuto, the former boss of the Montreal Cosa Nostra. In fact, the two were lifelong friends having both grown up in the same Sicilian town. George also was the mob's chief supplier of drugs; that was his background. He was a key player in a Corsican-based smuggling operation in which the Sicilian Cosa Nostra supplied the New York crime families with heroin through Montreal, Canada.

TG didn't play a direct role in the hit, which then Bonanno boss Joseph Massino tried to cover up, meaning he didn't want the Bonanno family to be implicated -- not only by law enforcement. He also didn't want Vito in Canada to know. Then there was Sciascia's own crew to think about; Massino didn't want any of them getting cute ideas.

The hit was made to look like a street crime, unconnected to Cosa Nostra.

The Bonanno family hierarchy, including capos, soldiers and associates attended the funeral, sending the message that the Bonanno family had nothing to do with the killing. To the savvier who had a special interest in what happened to George, a category that included Vito Rizzuto, it meant that the Bonanno family was doing all it could to make other crime families believe they were not involved when they were.

If it had been a sanctioned hit, the Bonanno family wouldn't have attended.

Boss Massino didn't attend, in any case. He stopped going to all the usual haunts where he knew Feds hid in trees with video cameras and lipreaders.

Killing George was probably a big mistake for Massino. It was the one murder that enabled the Feds to seek the death penalty against Massino, which was only among the many reasons he flipped.

So the question arises -- if Massino wanted to distance himself so much from the hit, why did he do it in the first place?

It appears Massino committed this murder out of ego. George was not a threat to him or the family. In fact, Sciascia, five years prior to his death, was seeking to move to Canada, but Canadian border officials denied him.

We go into the details of the hit on George from Canada in the book. One of the apparent reasons that George from Canada was taken out was because he made certain allegations against TG Graziano that were actually true -- but Graziano was then in Massino's good graces, so it was a coin toss that George lost.

George had been pressing his luck for some time. He once threatened to go to war with Philip "Rusty" Rastelli's brother, who once claimed that George owed him a lot of money.

"You got nothing coming to you," George told the brother, adding he'd go to war "tomorrow" before he'd pay.

It's likely that the more immediate reason Massino decided to whack George was because he accused Graziano of dipping into his own supply.

As we wrote in the book:

Sciascia, always known for his outspokenness, had charged that the Staten Island-based mobster was liberally dipping into his own drug supply. This happened after one meeting involving Sciascia, Vitale and Graziano. Sciascia noticed that a glassy-eyed Graziano was unable to follow the discussion and was also unsteady on his feet. Sciascia was literally stunned. 

He talked about it with Vitale afterward, when the two were alone.

“TG is a captain,” Gerlando said, alarmed. “You’re supposed to be representing your family and you’re walking around high? You’re going to other, outside families and making a fool of yourself? It reflects on the family. Every time I see this guy, he is stoned.”

Vitale told Massino of Sciascia's concern, probably not realizing he was sealing George's fate (Sal was fond of George, as he said in testimony).

Still, George's concerns about TG did arouse Massino’s suspicions enough for him to actually make inquiries of Graziano, who swore on his “children’s eyes” that what George had said was untrue. Rather, Graziano told Massino, Sciascia had merely witnessed side effects of prescription medication that Graziano was taking for stomach problems. Massino decided to believe Graziano, a member of his inner circle.

Dominick Cicale never met TG Graziano but due to his closeness to Vinny Basciano and other members of the family, he knew quite a bit about TG.

Dom said that it was widely known that TG used cocaine (Dom refers to TG's actions in the 1990s and earlier; we are not saying this is the case today.)

"He always used to sniff coke. In fact, Vinny told [TG] to slow down," Dom added. "He would party -- he was heavy into hanging out and doing coke and drinking. One time [TG] was in a club and he had the white all over his nose and he was all wired up. It was an embarrassment."

Regarding Graziano's response to Massino over Sciascia's claims, Cicale added, "Massino was a jerkoff. He just lied to protect TG."

It is the hypocrisy that bothered Dom. Many of the old timers in the family never ceased to criticize a young man in Dom's crew back in his street days, accusing him of drinking and doing drugs. Many of these same old timers, Dom knows, had done lots of drugs themselves. He didn't consider the flack the guy was getting to be fair.

Dom noted that a key reason why TG  was close to Hector "Junior" Pagan (other than their family ties) was that Junior handled things on the street for him. He did TG's violence because TG himself "was not a violent man."

As we reported in a September story, Junior Pagan Slated for 2020 Prison Release: Brooklyn Federal Judge John Gleeson doled out to Hector "Junior" Pagan an 11-year prison term for a criminal career overflowing with drug dealing and the violence of armed robberies and kidnapping.

Pagan also was the shooter who killed Luchese associate James Donovan during a street heist for which two of Pagan's former cohorts have gone away for 36 years each, due in part to Pagan's own testimony.

Cicale not only met Junior, but knew Junior quite well.

"He was someone I would not have around me on the street. Look who he was with: Nicky DeCarlo," Cicale told us when we asked for his impression of Junior.

Nunzio "Nicky" DeCarlo, a long-time drug abuser, died three months following the Donovan murder at age 46. He was released from prison in 2003 -- he'd served decades for a 1986 murder committed while Nicky was a member of Greg Scarpa Jr.’s crew.

As noted in The Truth About the Murdering Mob Rat: "Weeks later detectives [investigating the Donovan murder] followed a trail from a bank surveillance camera to find a man spotted depositing the stolen checks—and who was subsequently arrested on an unrelated narcotics charge—placed calls from Rikers Island that were ultimately traced to a parolee, Nunzio "Nicky" DeCarlo. 

Federal prosecutors identified DeCarlo as a member of the Colombo crime family when he was arrested in 1987 on racketeering charges. He was later convicted and served 18 years in prison. Those calls plus other clues, including DNA from discarded cigarette butts that Detective McMahon had collected from the scene and phone taps—another almost unheard-of tactic for the Business Integrity Commission—led investigators over the following months to three other men: Hector "Junior" Pagan, Richard Riccardi and Luigi Grasso.

DeCarlo died in October 2010 at his Staten Island home from an overdose of drugs, including heroin, according to the New York City Medical Examiner's office.

Junior is on pills, Dom said. "That's how he does his bit [prison time]. He gets high and he sleeps. They [prison administrators] give him pills."

Also, Dom noted, when TG Graziano was once arrested [we have to check with Dom which arrest he refers to; it has to be prior to the Pagan-related arrests), it was learned that he had appointed five acting capos to be around him.

"He thought it was his crime family," Dominick told us. "Vinny knocked them all down."

Asked for their names, Dom didn't want to reveal that information.

Cicale also noted that the reason TG had five acting capos -- usually, a capo has one, maybe two -- had more to do with money than power.

"TG figured, let me put all these guys in an acting position so they send me more money.

"Junior said he's all about the money."


  1. Vinny was right to demote tg, then he got shelved. Serves him right. Massino should not have clipped george from canada. Come to think about it, thats another major reason why massino is still on vitos hit list from the grave.He killed his best friend, and was the first boss to cooperate. Knowing that Dom Manno And Rocco S are so old school, they will have to come after him. On the bb's, some guy was saying massino relocated to a rattlesnake farm in the pheonix az area. Ironically thats the same place sammy gravano went.

  2. Ed, will the print version be available in Barnes and Noble?

  3. No - we are only on Amazon and the print also has distribution through Createspace's online bookstore.... I have to add more links, thanks for reminding me....

  4. George from Canada was a great guy, and was a real "live the life" mobster born in Sicily. Massino had another problem besides Vito,an internal problem, George was in charge of the "Zips" and there would have been an up raising from the Zip faction within the Bonano Family, and Massino didn't want that headache either. Remember this, George was very well liked and respected, and the Zips would have never collaborated or agreed with Massino on George being whacked. That's another reason it was made to look like a renegade killing.

  5. Vito wasn't stupid and probably knew massino ordered the hit. I think that was when he decided to not take orders from ny anymore. He realized he was earning more money and is more powerful than most of the families combined.

  6. Hey Ed, can you do an article on the buffalo crime family, or if you have already can you link me it. Thanks

  7. Vito was still sending money to NY after the George hit and I'm sure he knew what went down but he was old school and wasn't gonna do anything stupid or react out of rage and make things worse, George lived 2 blocks away from me in the bronx and that killing was a big mistake imo and hurt alot of bronx based Bonanno guys and their crews

  8. As always all about the money and power trip. Philly

  9. Vito stopped sending tribute and halted the relationship with NY when Massino rolled over, and he then refused to take orders from acting boss Vinny Gorgeous. That's the exact time line.

  10. Buffalo, heard those guys are more concerned about the snow than the FBI.

  11. Im sure Dom Manno and Rocco S. aren't going to be taking orders from ny. Im also pretty sure vito didn't ask for ny's permission to avenge the deaths of his brother,father and son.

  12. Matter of fact, when Bonano acting boss Salvatore Montagna was about to be deported, he chose Montreal over Sicily,
    Nick Ritzzuto "sent word" to NY that Montagna "has no standing here" Then Montagna went to Montreal, and the war was on. Within 2 months of Montagna arriving, the bodies stated dropping.
    In actuality, Nick Rizzuto's words started
    the war, that has now claimed 42 so far, in three counties.

  13. Of course not, I'm talking about before Massino flipped and after George was clipped

  14. True but when the iron worker was deported he was no longer acting boss

  15. Oh I get what you are saying now thanks bud. I predict Dom Manno and Rocco s. are gonna go after massino. They wont give a rats ass if it brings heat to ny, they are going to avenge vito's honor and thats that.


Post a Comment