Showing posts from August, 2016

Book "Lanza's Mob" a Myth-Shattering Landmark Work About Bay City Boss

James "Jimmy the Hat" Lanza, one of the most successful mob bosses you've never heard of, is brought to vivid life in Lanza's Mob: The Mafia and San Francisco, written by Christina Ann-Marie DiEdoardo, Esq., a criminal defense lawyer from the Bay Area originally from Queens, New York.
Lanza's Mob, the first detailed biography of Jimmy the Hat is a solid, well-researched addition to the Mafia library.

The book, however, details much more than Lanza and his crime family. It provides an insightful history of San Francisco itself, as well its colorful, evolving underworld, initially populated by the Barbary Pirates. The book includes an overview of the formation of the Mafia in Sicily and in America, as well as how and when it first planted roots in the Bay City.

Written in a wry, witty highly absorbing voice, the book is rock-solid in terms of its scholarship, which traces the Lanza family's roots from Sicily to America, uncovering missing facts while highlighti…

Dreading Violation, Reputed Mobsters Seek Parole Specifics

This has been quite a news-filled period for the New York Mafia.

We were counting on writing an entirely different slate of stories, but then the barrage of busts, sentencing hearings and what not interrupted.

That trio of mob-linked bank burglars was busted. Law enforcement hinted strongly that the arrests were only the beginning, and that there would be more to come. (And they were correct, just not the way we thought.)

A few days later and Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and more than 40 made members and associates of four of New York's Five Families were arrested in a massive Cosa Nostra takedown. The federal indictment alleges the existence of a unique criminal operation dubbed the "East Coast Syndicate" in the indictment. (On the same day, we were all shocked to learn about the other, unrelated bust of a small drug ring in Queens.)

Gangsters Out: Exclusive Interview with Former Hells Angels President

From Gangsters Out, an exclusive interview with a former Hells Angels president who was accused of cooperating with law enforcement, charges he denies....George Christie, a founder and president of the Hells Angels' Ventura Chapter (in California) wrote a book in response to those allegations. It will be released next month...
I recently found out that George Christie, long time President of the Hells Angels Ventura Chapter, was out in bad so I reached out to him and asked if he would do an interview. I can tell you one thing - this guy is the real deal. There have been other fly by night flashes in the pan that I refused to endorse. This guy I do endorse. Completely. He is what they meant when they made up the term old school. These new kids on the block have no idea what old school is simply because they've never been to school. We look forward to hearing more from him. 

Sopranos Based on Which Crime Family? Not DeCavalcantes...

David Chase: "90 percent of [The Sopranos] is made up (and the rest is) patterned after this [crime family]..."
If you’ve ever wondered where David Chase got all those fantastical ideas for “The Sopranos,” maybe he, like the feds, had his own mob informants. Or maybe the feds were his informants.

Tonight’s special episode of “American Greed,” titled “Mob Money,” is the story of the rise and fall of New Jersey’s DeCavalcante crime family, New Jersey gangsters who bear more than a passing resemblance to “The Sops.”

The DeCavalcantes were always, by mob standards anyway, minor players in the estimated $50 to 90-billion-a-year, ah (what the hell do you call it?), industry. In fact, the five families of New York called them “the farmers” and thought of them as country bumpkins.....

The Sopranos is based on New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family has been written so many times, most viewers would probably agree. We've written things like: "Many crime families and crews we…

Mob "Banker" Film, Federico Castellucio's Directorial Debut, Is a Gem

The Brooklyn Banker review By Nick Christophers
Federico Castelluccio may be better known as "Furio," the name of the character he played on the acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos, but he has come a long way since then.

He can now add to his resume the role of director of The Brooklyn Banker, a gem of a film that premiered last week at Manhattan's Cinema Village to a sold-out crowd. A national campaign also kicked off.

The project, first released as a trailer titled Lilly of The Feast, came together last year, and is the brainchild of Federico and Michael Ricigliano, a prolific writer who penned the screenplay. The title was changed when the film was completed.

"Really Big Cars" on Manhattan's "Itty Bitty Streets"

In 2003, Winter Hill turncoat Steve Flemmi told federal and state authorities that he had walked in on the May 10, 1993, murder of South Boston nightclub manager Steven A. DiSarro at the Sharon home of Francis Salemme’s former wife, according to a DEA report filed in Boston federal court. Flemmi said Francis Salemme and two others watched as Salemme’s son, Frank, strangled DiSarro to death. Flemmi named the two other witnesses as Frank Salemme’s younger brother, John, and a friend named Paul Weadick.

Salemme later told Flemmi that Rhode Island mobster Robert P. DeLuca Sr. "was present during the burial" of DiSarro, Flemmi said, adding that Salemme had expressed concern about DiSarro’s friendship with a law enforcement cooperator.

This story is based on notes I took during informal conversation with an old timer who goes by the name of "Charley P."  I call him Charley Partanna, just to call him something. I'm hoping this can be an occasional column but Charley …

When the Mafia Took A&P to War

One of the many myths of the Mafia is that it doesn't kill civilians, meaning "regular people" with no mob ties.

In fact, there are occasions when the mob has killed, or tried to kill innocent people. Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso ordered the murder of a civilian in a case of mistaken identity. Gaspipe also ordered the murder of another citizen in an attempt to convince Peter "Fat Pete Chiodo not to testify; Luchese gunmen, who first tried and failed to kill Fat Pete himself, next tried to kill his sister -- and failed as well. (Ironically, the attempt on his sister's life only emboldened the fence-sitting mobster to testify against his former criminal cohorts.)

And to those who think, "Gaspipe was nuts," there are numerous other examples, such as the murder of an NYPD cop who married the ex-wife of "Joe Waverly" Cacace, a former acting Colombo crime family boss.

All these hits were isolated and carried out for specific reasons, it could…

New Yorker: "Mafia Decline" Caused by Ineffective Communications

This was published on Aug. 18 by the New Yorker magazine under its Daily Shouts rubric with the headline: FBI Report on Mafia Decline Caused by Group Text and E-mail Chains:
INTERNAL/CLASSIFIED After extensive investigation, our specialized team, the F.B.I. New-Media Task Force, has determined that organized-crime syndicates are being increasingly hampered by an inability to communicate effectively through text messages and e-mails. Agents have found that the Mafia and other large criminal groups are having difficulty planning crimes as a result of overly long strings of messages that are derailed by unrelated jokes and gifs. Our investigators are pleased to report that this pattern has led to a decrease in crime and an increase in criminal organizations’ cellular overage charges.
The bulk of this investigation involved the interception and analysis of Mafia members’ text messages. It was observed that poor texting habits led to many issues. For instance, unrecognized abbreviations ofte…

Travolta's Gotti Biopic Started Filming -- in Cincinnati

Filming for The Life and Death of John Gotti, starring John Travolta, reportedly started this month, with the first scene shot on Stone Barn Road in Indian Hill, Fox19 reported.

Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston, plays Gotti's wife in the film. Kevin Connolly, who portrays manager Eric Murphy on Entourage, is directing the film, which has been on and off for years. 
As for the surprise filming in Ohio, the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission has stated that filmmakers are taking advantage of Ohio's revised motion picture tax credit, which reimburses filmmakers for certain expenses.

Longtime Luchese Capo Accepts Plea Deal

Turns out, an alleged longtime Luchese capo decided he didn't really want to go to trial this month on an extortion beef, so he copped to a plea agreement this past Friday.

Alleged skipper Carmine Avellino (pic above) loses credit, one point, for indecisiveness. Because he made the Fed's wait by not copping sooner, he faces around four more months in prison as per sentencing guidelines.

Avellino, 72, admitted to conspiring with alleged Luchese associates Daniel and Michael Capra to threatening an individual who owed him $100,000. The victim, in his 70s, was beaten as per the Luchese Man of Honor's bidding.

What So-called "East Coast Crime Syndicate" Case Really Is About

The result of the years-long, multi-state probe was indictments charging 46 alleged mobsters for committing a seemingly prodigious grab-bag of crimes.

But there is a startling absence of factors common in most Mafia indictments. The case lacks specifics, as defense attorneys have noted. Also missing are traditional mob crimes, such as murder and major narcotics trafficking (the pain-alleviating compound lotion is presented as evidence of healthcare fraud). Still, defendants in this case face the possibility of dying in prison.
And save for Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, released on $5 million bail along with most of those arrested as per the East Coast Syndicate case, though two defendants were already in prison on other charges and three lammed it, there's a lack of mobstarpower, all things considered.