Showing posts from June, 2015

Cosa Nostra Has Decorated War Vets Too

Yes, mobsters are criminals, but some of them are heroes, too, or at least damn good Americans.

Before you shake your head in befuddlement, understand we refer here to gangsters who fought in American wars and were decorated for their valiant efforts.

John "Johnny Green" Faraci, a Bonanno crime family member, was described as "a large-scale loanshark with numerous loanshark victims," who, by one law enforcement estimate, had half a million dollars in loans out on the street. He died in January 2011 at age 88.

Ten years before his death, the aging Bonanno soldier and three underlings faced federal loansharking charges after a would-be victim went to the FBI and agreed to wear a wire. "I got a nice baseball bat in my trunk; bust your legs up," one of Faraci's crew members said to the cooperator, according to the arrest complaint. In another taped conversation, the same guy bragged about his abilities: "Yesterday I got a hold of a young guy in my n…

Excerpt from Novel About Meyer Lansky, Greatest Jewish Gangster

Excerpted from I Pity the Poor Immigrant: A Novel  by Zachary Lazar (Fiction; April 8, 2014). The Bomb magazine published this first proof.

Lazar is the author of three books, most recently the novel Sway, about the Rolling Stones' early days, and the memoir Evening’s Empire: The Story of My Father’s Murder, which may be of interest to regular readers. 
When he was just six years old, Zachary Lazar's father, Edward, was shot dead by hit men in a Phoenix, Arizona parking garage. The year was 1975, a time when, according to the Arizona Republic, "land-fraud artists roamed the state in sharp suits, gouging money from buyers and investors." How did his father fit into this world and how could his son ever truly understand the man, his time and place, and his motivations? In Evening's Empire, Zachary Lazar brilliantly attempts to reconstruct the sequence of events that led to his father's murder.
Lazar's writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the …

Philly Mafia Prince Sought Bulger's Demise

Phil Leonetti is one of our favorite former gangsters. 

His inherent talent for being unintentionally hilarious we deem as legendary. And despite all the years he's spent out of his former life, he still doesn't seem to appreciate the magnitude of some crimes. Like murder.

Did you see the interview where the newscaster asked him if he, Phil, thought it odd that he had married the widow of a man he himself had murdered?

West Side's "Deadly" Interest in Joe Massino

Crime families opportunistically form and break alliances.

Shortly before the third shooting war began, Colombo leaders including Carmine Sessa met at the Persico family estate in Saugerties, New York, to plot the murder of Vittorio "Little Vic" Orena.

When the other crime families learned of the pending war, leaders of the Luchese, Genovese and Gambino families tried to resolve the problem before the shooting began by meeting with Colombo leaders. (Notice one family is missing?)

Alfonso "Little Al" D'Arco, former acting boss of the Luchese family, discussed this series of meetings meant to stop the third Colombo war at Orena's trial. The talks only postponed the shooting, which formally broke out in late 1991.

D'Arco said the four-family meetings had been held in apartments and hotel rooms around New York City.

Judge Throws Book at Gangster Who "Chose Omerta"

The man who saved the life of Vito Rizzuto's mortal enemy was sentenced to seven years in prison for exchanging gunfire with at least one man firing an AK47 (presumably a Mafia shooter sent to kill Raynald Desjardins, then a major figure in the Montreal underworld).

Quebec Court Judge Gilles Garneau added two years to the prosecution's recommended sentence.

Jonathan Mignacca, 30, a St-Léonard resident, was found guilty in January for discharging a firearm while with Desjardins, who reportedly split with the Rizzuto organization after serving a lengthy prison sentence. Allegedly Desjardins (whose nicknames include "Old" and "China," both rather baffling) buffered Rizzuto from becoming ensnared in the drug trafficking case.

Perspectives on AMC's "Making of the Mob"

This was written by a guest columnist for Cosa Nostra News....

The AMC miniseries "Making of the Mob: New York" will be be shown over the next two months, highlighting the history of the American Mob and making it a topic of discussion around many water coolers.

Movies like Goodfellas and Donnie Brasco, mixed with The Sopranos, and other guilty pleasures such as Vh1’s Mob Wives and previously high-rated exploits like Growing Up Gotti have always generated huge interest referencing the affects that the Mafia has had on pop culture.

Making of the Mob: New York is an eight-part docudrama chronicling the rise of successors like Carlo Gambino , John Gotti, “Lucky” Luciano, Frank Costello and many more who have inspired countless hit films and TV stories- oftentimes glamorizing the reality behind the myths and every generation’s fascination with the major head bosses of the most infamous crime families.

Meyer Lanksy: Gangland Figure Tough Until the Bitter End

Meyer Lansky spent the final years of his life in sun-baked Miami Beach, Florida, which was not his first choice.

He had fought like hell to stay in Israel, believing it to be the one place where he could live out the rest of his life and die in peace. But following two years of legal battles, he was tossed out. 
How sincere was Lansky about wanting to live in Israel?

Rapper Sings of Mafia's So-Called "Good Life"

Sicilian hip hop singer Marracash has a song called Ero Vivo.

It includes wiretaps and promises made to new recruits. As the song progresses, Marra realizes the smoke & mirrors that have been sold.

As for the name, Eros was a Greek god of love.

Appropriately Named "Op Rock Bottom" Snags Eight

Authorities busted an online enterprise that used an offshore website for sports betting, the Rockland County District Attorney said this past Thursday.

Eight were arrested on charges of gambling and loansharking in a probe named "Operation Rock Bottom."

The arrests follow a search-and-seizure operation in April, when law enforcement hit a dozen properties, seizing gambling records and more than $750,000 in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Tony Lodi Is Out; Spilled the Beans on Fiumara Crew

Anthony "Tony Lodi" Cardinalle, indicted in early 2013, was once upon a time one of 30-plus 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, cooperated with the FBI and Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office. He plead guilty to two counts, racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit extortion, and copped to his role in a plot to shakedown a cooperating witness who owned a waste hauling company.

The Mafia Hit the Jackpot With the Slot-Machine

From its inception, the American Mafia included among its plethora of rackets the slot-machine.

So popular during the twentieth century's first few decades were these little games of chance, it's difficult today to truly comprehend it.

Perhaps the most suitable image to remind us is the photograph above of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia sledgehammering a machine (the scene also was captured on film footage).

All the historical Mafia bosses, especially the men who served as heads of New York's Five Families—Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, Vito Genovese and, most famously of all, Frank Costello, for example—reaped fortunes from slot machine profits.

Exposing the Mafia's "Honorable Men" Myth

By Nick Christophers, from the May issue of Saint Red Magazine.

People look at him and think 'there goes a good looking man with style'. But when they learn about his checkered past, fear sets in. It is a normal reaction and comes with the territory for someone like him. John Alite was John Gotti Jr.'s bodyguard and did what he was told within the world of the mafia. But those days are over as he begins to build a new life.

Coming from an Albanian family the world of crime was not so foreign to him. Albania itself has been pegged as a breeding ground for criminality. Yet not all Albanians follow that lifestyle. John himself attempted to lead a law-abiding life but somehow was side-tracked. He was raised in Jamaica, Queens in the 1970's were it was a strong-hold for the mob.

Luchese Chief "of Interest" in Meldish Mob Hit

Suspects were never in short supply regarding the Michael Meldish murder.

The former Purple Gang boss was offed in November 2013 in what's described as a classic gangland hit tableau.

His body, expensively attired, ensconced in a camel-colored leather jacket, was slumped over in the driver's seat, his head back, his mouth agape.

“Michael was a stone-cold killer,” Joseph Coffey, former commanding officer of the NYPD’s organized crime homicide task force, told the New York Daily News.