Showing posts from March, 2018

In a First, Skinny Joey's Attorneys and Fed's Reach Plea Agreement

Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino, the alleged Boca Raton-based boss of the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra, has inked a plea deal weeks after his racketeering trial ended with a hung jury.

In a filing this week, the judge who presided over the case said the government and lawyers for Merlino had reached a plea deal, the Associated Press reported. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Merlino’s hearing on the plea is scheduled for April 27.

This case would be the first time Merlino has plead guilty to a crime.

Merlino has made going to trial and refusing plea deals a badge of honor.

Merlino, 55, moved to Boca Raton when he was released from federal prison in 2011 after serving most of a 14-year sentence for racketeering, extortion and illegal gambling.

He's insisted he'd retired from any illegal activity he may have been involved in. He opened a Boca restaurant that bore his name and hung around there chatting up patrons. He was the maitre d' because his criminal record banne…

Remembering the 1972 Neapolitan Noodle "Mistaken Identity" Shootings

Frank "Punchy" Illiano added

The mistaken identity slayings left two dead. 

And The Godfather was playing in New York theaters at the time. 

This past week marked The Godfather's 45th anniversary as an Academy Award triumph, cementing its status as one of the greatest films ever made. Released in 1972, it received 11 nominations and emerged with three Oscars.

The Godfather II, released in 1974, also got 11 nominations, and won six Oscars. (We won't mention Godfather Part III.)

Legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola expressed regrets about making both sequels, including The Godfather Part II. In 2011, Coppola, when asked if he'd ever consider returning to the story, said: 'There should have only been one."

In August 1972 four innocent businessmen were blasted at the Neapolitan Noodle restaurant at 320 East 79th Street in Manhattan, two of them killed. It was a case of mistaken identity. The hit was revenge for the killing of Joseph 'Crazy Joe&#…

Guy Walks into a Bar One Night in Queens...

Paulie drove to a bar outside LaGuardia airport. This was in the 1990s. He was meeting Stevie, a man with the kind of reputation that, once you heard about it, you couldn't forget it.

Stevie had done serious prison time and was charged with crimes such as extortion, assault, and kidnapping.

Stevie's eyeballs were not aligned. Based on a layman's Google search, exotropia could be the condition. It was bizarre in that it seemed to be a physical manifestation of part of his personality. Looking him in the eye even in casual conversation was unnerving, but then that might have been an occurrence only for those who knew of his decidedly unnerving past.

Otherwise, he was a convivial and funny man, who had everyone laughing one Christmas Eve dinner. He was a tall, hulking, rough-hewn type, who was a hustler, someone who worked outdoors year-round with his hands. He sold merchandise at flea markets and made a killing selling seasonal products, ACs in summer, Christmas trees in …

Selection of Godfather Author Mario Puzo's Papers Gifted to Dartmouth—and a Mystery Solved?

With thanks to Julie Bonette, Media Relations Officer, Dartmouth College.

... When Michael Corleone was discharged early in 1945 to recover from a disabling wound, he had no idea that his father had arranged his release. He stayed home for a few weeks, then, without consulting anyone, entered Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and so he left his father’s house.... --The Godfather

Michael Corleone, The Godfather Vito Corleone's  WWII veteran son who reluctantly assumed control of his father's criminal empire, and during a Catholic baptism ceremony had all his enemies murdered, was depicted in the book and films as a Dartmouth graduate.

In fact, both Hanover and Dartmouth colleges figure prominently in Mario Puzo's works. The oddest thing about this is that Mario Puzo—the son of Italian immigrants raised in 1920's Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan—never attended either college, so his affinity has been something of a mystery.

That said, the puzzle may have been solved…

For Former Gambino Associate John Alite, the Darkness Lasted More Than an Hour

John Alite's new book, Darkest Hour, is part of a planned trilogy written with author S.C. Pike that details John Alite's early years.

John Alite signaled from the beginning, nearly six years ago in May 2012, that he was taking a different approach following prison after testifying against ex-Gambino acting boss John (Junior) Gotti. (Alite also testified against Charles Carneglia, whose brother is getting out soon with Gene Gotti, in June 2019 and September 2019, respectively.)

 Alite never intended to disappear and pop-up in Tucson, Arizona, under an assumed name.

While John Alite failed in his attempt to help put Junior away, the Feds thought highly enough of him to spring him early, granting him a five-year supervised release stint that enabled John to spend Easter Sunday in Howard Beach, where he ate a holiday dinner ensconced with his family.

“I’m shocked,” a former Howard Beach neighbor told Gang Land News at the time. “He testified that a lot of ba…

Ten Luchese Mobsters Rounded Up Tonight in Big Loansharking Bust: "Operation The Vig Is Up"

Ten members of the Luchese crime family in the Bronx and Westchester County were arrested by the New York Attorney General's Office tonight (March 27) on charges stemming from a gambling-loan sharking operation that had nearly 50 "clients."

The investigation was dubbed "Operation The Vig Is Up."

Loanshark victims were required to make weekly, high interest “vig” payments, either by directly paying individual defendants, or by dropping off cash payments at two businesses: McKiernan's Lawton Street Tavern or smoke shop The Glass Room. Both storefronts are located in New Rochelle, New York.

Dominick Capelli, a "made member" of the Luchese family, allegedly ran the loan-sharking operation.

Investigators used wiretaps, search warrants, undercover police officers, and hidden cameras to build up enough evidence and identify more than 47 distinct loan-sharking victims, who were charged exorbitant weekly loan rates averaging more than 200 percent per year.

Acting Capo Ronald Giallanzo and Crew Engaged in "Bloody" Shootouts with Rivals

Don't let the hangdog look fool you.

Ronnie G may not be a "legitimate tough guy," but it's certainly not for lack of trying. (Gang Land News refers to him as a "tough-hardnosed wiseguy with a well-earned fearsome reputation," which is not the same thing. We'll return to this.)

Acting Bonanno capo Ronald Giallanzo and nine others were arrested a year ago. They all have copped pleas, as recently as last week. The indictment and detention memo make clear the Fed's view that Ronnie G and his crew posed a threat and were a violent bunch of guys who, in addition to running a multimillion-dollar loanshark book and a gambling operation, went to war with a rival drug dealer.

That led to a shooting that wounded an associate of the rival drug dealer. Afterward, in a heated cellphone exchange, Giallanzo’s family was threatened. Giallanzo ended the call and ordered the man‘s murder.

As per the detention memo, in which the Feds argued not to let Giallanzo out on …

Does Sopranos Theatrical Prequel Interest You? Us, Not So Much...

Tony Soprano, aka James Gandolfini, died on June 19, 2013, in Rome at the age of 51. Personally, our interest in a new Sopranos project went with him.

That's why we've been sitting on this. Even though it's a prequel, the whole idea of a new Sopranos film is bittersweet, at best.

David Chase, creator of the iconic HBO series, will co-write and produce the movie, which is set in 1960s Newark. reported that creator and showrunner Chase sold a script to New Line, the Warner Bros. unit. The working title is The Many Saints of Newark. Chase wrote the script with Lawrence Konner, a veteran TV/movie writer who wrote a handful of Sopranos episodes.

It's been 11 years since we all thought our cable died in the final moments of the long-running series. The groundbreaking show ran for six seasons from 1999 – 2007. It won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards for its first two seasons. Other stars on the show included Edie Falco, Stev…

Bonanno Acting Capo Ronnie G Must Sell Howard Beach Mansion as per $1.25M Forfeiture

Reputed Bonanno crime family acting capo Ronald (Ronnie G) Giallanzo, who pleaded guilty on Monday to running a loansharking ring based in Queens, was ordered to sell his 86th Street Howard Beach mansion.

He must put whatever price he gets towards the $1.23 million he's been ordered to forfeit, but can keep the rest. (He'll still probably come out of this a millionaire; the crew allegedly netted $26 million and the Fed's initially were looking to seize ... $26 million..... why'd the number shrink?)

Giallanzo, whose uncle is Bonanno mobster Vincent Asaro, and nine other Bonanno members and associates were arrested a year ago on a broad swath of criminal chargees, including racketeering, kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder in Brooklyn federal court.

All 10 ultimately copped pleas, seven last year, Giallanzo and Bonanno soldier Michael Palmaccio this past Monday, and Nicholas (Pudgie) Festa (the only defendant not from Queens, he's from Oceanside on Long Island)…