Showing posts from December, 2015

Taboo Topic? Mafiosi and the Church

This is a revise of an old story that I've been sitting on entirely too long.... Italy has exported two global entities -- the Mafia and the Catholic Church. Ironic.

Made men generally are Roman-Catholics. Still, not much has been generally written about Mafiosi making (or not making) peace with the New Testament God before shuffling off this mortal coil.

At the same time, Sicilian or Italian mobsters are very dedicated to their faith. In fact, some of them study the bible. "In Italy, there is not a single Mafioso who isn't religious," Padre Nino Fasullo, an anti-Mafia priest in Italy, once said. "For a phenomenon like the Mafia, which has no intellectual justification at all, religion may represent the only ideological apparatus to which it can refer. ... We're all in the church. Even the Mafia. Unfortunately. The church is embroiled in it. But regrettably not everyone in the church is convinced that opposition to the Mafia is necessary."

Giving Friends of Ours Blog Due Credit

Taking a cue from my good friend over at Friends of Ours, who did this on the appropriate date, I am posting, for posterity's sake, the New York Daily News's original 1957 article on Appalachin. 
The Friends of Ours blogger, Philip Crawford Jr., has an excellent book available now: The Mafia and the Gays. It is an historical analysis of the Mafia's control of gay bars in major U.S. cities, including New York and Chicago.

The unjust illegality of such establishments essentially green-lighted the Mafia to come in and cater to that demand.

New England Mafia "Sleeps with the Fishes?"

EXPANDED, REVISED  Two New England Mafiosi in their 70s, including the alleged acting Patriarca Family boss, are going to prison after copping to a years-long extortion scheme in federal court. 
On December 16, Antonio “Spucky” Spagnolo, 73, and Pryce “Stretch” Quintina, 75, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to affect commerce by extortion, reported
Prosecutors alleged that Spagnolo, of Revere is the acting boss of the New England Mafia. Co-defendant, Quintina, also of Revere, reported to Spagnolo, prosecutors said.

Who Really Killed Tommy DeSimone?

It's one of gangland's most high-profile, enigmatic hits -- and the identity of the killer has been debated for decades.

Thomas "Tommy Two-Guns" DeSimone killed a made member of the Mafia -- and for that, among other things, he was killed in what's been described as a classic setup. The truth is, we know very little about this murder, including who pulled the trigger. (Or fired up the chainsaw depending on who you believe). DeSimone, technically, disappeared, meaning there's zero evidence as to how he was killed; in fact, it can't be said with absolute certainty that he was killed.

Still, he was killed.

Guys like him don't just disappear into thin air. They'd never leave New York because everything they want -- a certain lifestyle, basically -- is in New York and cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

At the same time, there's no shortage of answers as to who and the why. Answers sell books and films, etc.

There's reason to fabricate informa…

Linda Scarpa's Mafia Daughter Memoir Debuts

By Nick Christophers, guest contributor, editor of Mob Candy (see his website):

We have been inundated with books, films and TV shows on the subject of the Mafia over the years. Wives, girlfriends and daughters have taken to the pen to expose their experiences. Yet many of them have either “sugar-coated” their stories or they really had no knowledge of “the life.”

One of the earliest books that delved deep into the life was “Mafia Marriage” by Rosalie Bonanno, who was married to Salvatore Vincent “Bill” Bonanno, the son of Cosa Nostra boss Joseph Bonanno.

Since then there have been many attempts to expose the true meaning of living in that world, e.g., “This Family of Mine” by Victoria Gotti, daughter of John Gotti, former boss of the Gambino crime family; “The Godfather’s Daughter” by Rita Gigante, daughter of Vincent Louis Gigante, also known as “Chin,” one-time boss of the Genovese crime family; and “Mob Daughter” by Karen Gravano, daughter of Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, …

Anastasia's Home with "Strange Tiled Room" for Sale

This first ran in late December of 2015...

In North Jersey's Fort Lee sits a mansion for sale that was once owned by one of the most powerful and feared Cosa Nostra bosses in the American Mafia's history: Albert Anastasia.

Described as a sprawling Mission-style estate, it's located at 75 Bluff Road and, according to a recent published report, it hasn't changed much since Anastasia had it built in 1947.

The house was bigger than others in the area back then. In fact, the 25-room luxurious spread ruined the scenic view of Manhattan for at least one family, though they aren't known to have complained.

Mobster Left His Life in San Francisco

The American Mafia lost a few members in 1947, some well known, some not so well known.

Among that year's deceased were Jacob "Gurrah" Shapiro, a New York-based labor racketeer who worked with Louis "Lepke" Buchalter (executed in 1944); Al Capone and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. (On the other side of the legal fence, Fiorello La Guardia, the Mayor of New York who very publicly targeted New York's Mafia, died in 1947.)

Nicholas DeJohn died that year. Ever hear of him? He was a mobster who came up in the Outfit then hauled ass for San Francisco, where he found a role in the local organized crime landscape. He died brutally in 1947; he was strangled to death, in fact. His body fermented in a trunk of a car for two days before it was discovered. The murder was never solved -- but a piece of evidence showed up in a certain pawn shop that puts an interesting twist on DeJohn's story....A hint -- Gurrah, Lepke and Bugsy had all been a part of it.

Insider: John Alite Talks Terror, the Mafia

John Alite, former Gambino crime family associate, offers part two of his discussion centering on "the link between the Italian Mafia, ISIS and how buying drugs lines the pockets of terrorists."

"They both work off the same methods, which is fear and laundering money from drug sales," Alite said.

He notes that terrorists he met while in prison seemed to be "misfits, insecure and vulnerable when brought into" organized terrorism groups.

DISCLOSURE: I write for The Insider Magazine.

The Godfather's Loyal Clemenza "Never" Would've Testified, Actor Said

One of the best things about The Godfather was Richard Castellano, aka Peter Clemenza, a caporegime under Don Vito Corleone.

Never mind that the film likely served as one of the mob's greatest recruitment tools ever. And if you're wondering, I did ask a couple of wiseguys what they thought of The Godfather. One, who asked to be referred to as anonymous, told me that Don Vito actually was based on a composite of all five titular family bosses. Also, he revealed, a made guy was murdered as a direct result of the film's release, a story I'll save for another time (it had something to do with the actor who played Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo -- "a top narcotics man," in consiglieri Tom Hagen's words).

Former Gambino capo Micheal "Mikie Scars" DiLeonardo was succinct. "Epic," he described the first two Godfather films.  As for the widely despised third offering: "I walked out of the theater when the helicopters started shooting…