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Showing posts from July, 2018

Detailed: How the Mafia Helped the Allies Win WWII

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Lots of stories in the pipeline, foremost my interview with Larry Mazza about his years with Greg Scarpa and the Colombo crime family. However, considering that this month marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Sicily, aka Operation Husky, I thought this appropriate....


The summer 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily was an unmitigated success, what historians term as one of World War II's major turning points.

After defeating Italy and Germany in the North African Campaign (November 8, 1942-May 13, 1943) of World War II (1939-45), the United States and Great Britain, the two leading Allied powers, decided to hit Italy, accomplishing several goals: removing Benito Mussolini's fascist regime from the war, securing the central Mediterranean, and destroying the Axis bulkhead, pushing back Italian and German forces.


The Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943. After 38 days of fighting, the U.S. and Great Britain drove German and Italian troops off of Sicily and prepared to co…

Howard Beach Bonanno Mobster, Newspaper Publisher Sought to Threaten Sex Assault Victim

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Robert Pisani, an associate in acting capo Ronald Giallanzo's Bonanno crime family crew, was among a group of 10 reputed Bonanno crime family members accused of participating in various crimes over the past two decades ranging from racketeering to loan sharking and attempted murder.




Pisani's rap sheet stretched back to 1992 and included assault, insurance fraud, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment charges.

Leading the March indictment was Howard Beach’s Giallanzo, 46, who allegedly oversaw a criminal enterprise that netted $26 million in earnings since 1998, federal prosecutors said.

Following his March arrest, Pisani and his wife posted a $500,000 bond for his federal racketeering case and he was released. Then in May, just as he was departing the downtown Brooklyn federal courthouse after a hearing related to the racketeering case, Pisani was re-arrested by a plainclothes sex crimes detective.





According to the criminal complaint, Pisani allegedly groped a female…

Was Bronx Shooting Retaliation for Sally Daz's Dad, a Luchese Associate?

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UPDATED
The Salvatore (Sally Daz) Zottola shooting may actually be the second attempted gangland hit caught on tape; the first, in March 1993, was the attempted murder of Joey Chang, then-34, early one morning in the coffee shop he owned, the Warfield Breakfast & Luncheon Express, in Philadelphia.
The FBI had mounted a surveillance camera on the telephone pole across from the diner. Chang was shot during the Merlino-Stanfa war. Joey Chang was seriously wounded but he too survived, though partially paralyzed and with nerve damage that caused him to retire from Cosa Nostra.

NYPD officials have labeled the July 11 attempted murder of Salvatore (Sally Daz) Zottola as a botched gangland hit. He was shot around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx.
In a surveillance clip, below, a red Nissan can be seen driving past Zottola's vehicle and pulling to a hault. Zottola was on the driver's side of the car, not facing the video, and was either besidethe ca…

The Mafia and Sports Betting—How Things Used to Be

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Cosa Nostra is known for gambling, from sports betting to casino games. They perfected the routine of paying off police to stay away from their casinos and allow them to operate in peace.



In 1931, when gambling became legal in Nevada, the mafia was not the first one to profit from it. When they got there, others were already well-established and operated in their luxurious hotel-casinos.

As building casinos cost a lot, the mobsters found their own way how to get involved with the casino owners. They figured their way in and became partners with them.




This was the time when sports betting started gaining popularity. Wagering the outcome of certain sports games and making predictions about who wins and who loses was everyone's favorite pastime in that period. Then, when betting on the final outcome wasn't enough, the over/under linebetting appeared in 1960’s, where you wager on whether the total scored points are more or less.

Now, this is the time the mobsters saw an opportun…

South Brooklyn Bust: Five Mobsters Nailed for Racketeering, Loansharking, Illegal Gambling

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A 32-count indictment was unsealed on July 11 in Brooklyn federal court charging five mobsters from two crime families.


Two members and two associates of the Colombo crime family were charged with racketeering, including predicate acts of extortion, extortionate collection, money laundering and illegal gambling.

 The indictment also charges one member of the Gambino crime family with extortionate collection and a related conspiracy. 
 The indictment relates to the defendants’ alleged criminal activities in Brooklyn, Staten Island and elsewhere between December 2010 and June 2018.

The defendants—Jerry Ciauri, also known as “Fat Jerry,” a member of the Colombo family, Vito Difalco, also known as “Victor” and “The Mask,” a member of the Colombo family, Salvatore Disano, also known as “Sal Heaven,” an associate of the Colombo family, Anthony Licata, also known as “Anthony Suits,” a member of the Gambino family, and Joseph Maratea, an associate of the Colombo family—were arrested today an…

Bonanno Mobster Shot Multiple Times in the Bronx in Attempted Gangland Hit

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UPDATED, EXPANDED
Someone tried to whack a longtime Bronx-based Bonanno crime family associate early this morning.


Salvatore (Sally Daz) Zottola walked out of his Bronx home and into a hail of bullets at 6:40 a.m. this morning.

The shooter had pulled up in a dark-colored Nissan sedan and opened fire as Sally Daz walked to his car, shooting him multiple times – including once to the head and three times in his torso.




The gunman then leaped back into a waiting vehicle and sped away.

So far there have been no arrests.

Zottola remains heavily sedated at Jacobi Medical Center, but conveyed to law enforcement that he has no plans to help with the investigation.

It’s believed that Zottola knew his attacker however.

After Sally Daz yesterday, the most recent gangland hit was the 2013 Michael Meldish murder, also in the Bronx. That execution, allegedly sanctioned by the Luchese crime family, may have been in response to Meldish's attempted effort to whack a Bonanno mobster. There's pro…

Former New England Mafia Boss Found Guilty in Murder of Nightclub Owner

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Francis Salemme, the former New England Mafia boss accused of killing nightclub owner Steven DiSarro in 1993, was found guilty of the murder by a federal jury at the Moakley Courthouse in South Boston.


1993 surveillance photo: Salemme, left, Flemmi, back to camera, Salemme Jr. right at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass.


On June 22, the jury reached its verdict after four days of deliberations.

Salemme, 84, was charged in the killing of DiSarro, who owned the Channel and was a federal witness. DiSarro's body was found in 2016. Salamme associate Paul Weadick, 63, also was found guilty of the murder.

Sentencing is set for September 13. Murdering a federal witness carries a life sentence.

Salemme had been arrested in Connecticut in 2016, after living in Atlanta as "Richard Parker" in the federal witness protection program before fleeing.

"Today, one of the last New England mafia bosses, Frank 'Cadillac' Salemme along with an accomplice, Paul Weadick, have been…

Avenging John Gotti: The Plot to Kill Sammy the Bull Gravano

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“I didn’t know the Gambinos sent a hit team for Sammy. Kudos for that...”
--Text message from a blog source. He's not congratulating me....


After posting the"ban the bomb" story, I received an email with details about the bomb the Gambinos were going to use to finish Sammy the Bull Gravano.

"(It) was a directional Claymore-style bomb. It could have caused collateral damage ..."

The two communiques inspired me to write this...




As underboss, Gravano operated a loanshark book with $1.5 million on the street. This racket alone put at least $300,000 a year in his pocket.

As per his agreement as a defector, Gravano was allowed to keep $90,000 of his multimillion-dollar cash and property assets. He also was given $1,400 a month for living expenses. Still, Gravano departed the Witness Protection Program after eight months, in December 1995, because the financial aid and security regulations were too restrictive for his taste.

"Jimmy Moran" then settled with …

Why'd the American Mafia Ban Explosives? Well, Why Was Youngstown, Ohio Dubbed "Crimetown USA"?

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"To defy the Commission is to defy the world." 
--One mobster overheard telling another mobster.


The Mafia operated in the US successfully since 1931 in large part because of its rules.

(One TV program presented them in a neat, little package as The Mafia's 10 Commandments. Meanwhile, over in Sicily, in 2007 they claimed to actually find such a thing, though a ban on explosives isn't on it, of course. Read about it here. I think the documentary was based on that document.)
Of all the rules we know of, an interesting one, in view of the larger context (humanity, etc.) is the ban on explosives. Think about it: You can strangle, stab, shoot, drown, poison, ice-pick him ... just don't blow him up...
This is one thing about which the American and Sicilian Mafias disagree entirely. Throughout their history, Sicilian gangsters have shown a preference for bombs, using them precisely for the "dramatic mileage" they afford. In fact, bombs are so common over there…

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