Showing posts from March, 2019

New Jersey Board Of Ed Regrets Having Lillo Brancato Speak At High School Anti-Drug Event

Every once in a while we come across a Lillo Brancato story that updates us on his latest doings.

Last we heard he was trying to relaunch his film career, a long-term, ongoing effort that draws a heated, angry reaction from time to time. In fact, it's somewhat similar to the reaction the Union City Board of Education is currently getting for inviting the former actor/convict to speak at an anti-drug event at one of its high schools.

District Superintendent Silvia Abbato issued an apology last Wednesday night, hours after students at Union City High School got to hear Brancato talk about drug addiction. (Anyone out there attend that event? We'd like to hear from you.)

Brancato got his big break as a teenager alongside Robert De Niro in the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, later landing roles in films like Crimson Tide and Enemy of the State before playing the role of Matt Bevilaqua in six episodes of The Sopranos.
Then in 2005, Brancato and Genovese crime family associate Steven Armento…

Why Did Sonny Franzese Give Newsday That Big Story About His Life? An Observation....

“One time, I met an FBI agent on the street. And he said to me, ‘[On] account of you, we could have broke the Mafia up. We had Joe Valachi, and if you would have opened up, it would have destroyed the Mafia. You wouldn’t help us.’ I said, ‘Go and F yourself!’ And I walked away from him.”
--John Sonny Franzese speaking to Newsday reporters....

John Sonny Franzese was the ultimate stand-up wiseguy. He was the embodiment of omerta, a man inherently incapable of breaking the Mafia's codes. He spent decades in prison because he refused to name names. Even at the advanced age of 90, he served the sentence handed down rather than talk, even though everyone, including himself probably, thought he was giving the FBI the gift they had craved for decades: the thought of Sonny Franzese dying in a cage.

Guys like John Sonny Franzese simply don't talk to newspapers. They especially don't give huge, splashy interviews with color photographs and a video.

Granted, guys like Sonny Franzese d…

The Good Old Days? (And How The Gambinos Kicked Someone Out; That's Right, Out, Of The Family)

It's always the end of the world.... It always seems like today everything is going to hell in a handbasket.

Exhibit A: when was the following written?

"The old images seem like a caricature now: the shadowy world of secret rituals, the aging dons behind high-walled estates, the passion for vengeance and power over other men. For years, the Mafia was the stuff of novels and movies and whispers on Mulberry Street.... "

March 1987.

Anthony Salerno, Anthony Corallo and Carmine Persico -- the bosses of the Genovese, Lucchese, and Colombo families -- were convicted in Manhattan five months earlier...

Also in March 1987, the Pizza Connection Case ended with the former boss of Sicily's Mafia and 16 other men convicted in Manhattan of running an international ring that distributed tons of heroin, with a street value that Federal authorities estimated at $1.6 billion, using pizza parlors to disguise drug meetings and money-laundering.

John Gotti had a few more years as boss, …

Crime Today Doesn't Pay, Says Reputed Colombo Wiseguy John Sonny Franzese, 102, In Incredible Newsday Interview

John (Sonny) Franzese is 102 and has a pacemaker, hearing aids, and a broken hip.

He got out of prison in June 2017 (he was the oldest inmate in the federal prison system) and now lives in a nursing home. He recently gave Newsday, Long Island's newspaper, a shockingly in-depth interview about his life. (Why? Because "he remembers reporters treating him fairly after his conviction for conspiracy to rob banks in 1967.")
It's an amazing interview during which Franzese spoke about his life, New York City and Long Island.

But if you're curious about whether age has loosened his lips, we can tell you Nope... Certain topics of course get no reply.

And his memory is sharp enough to recall in vivid detail the various allegations law enforcement has lobbed at him (no mean feat for a man at any age). But when asked about the Colombo family, the rackets, Frank Costello and Joseph Bonanno, Omerta — "Franzese professed ignorance, even confusion.

“What does that mean?” he…

Tony Pro’s Great Nephew Nabbed In Midtown Manhattan On Assault Allegations

A great nephew of a former legendary power in the Genovese crime family was arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly assaulting a lady friend in a Midtown Manhattan apartment last November.

Danny Provenzano, 55, an actor/indie film director, was in custody awaiting arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court after surrendering to authorities. Danny is a great-nephew of the late Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, a reputed capo for Vito Genovese.

Danny was arrested over allegations that he got into a dispute with Pamela O’Neil, 51, over money he owed her. On November 26, she alleged that he shoved her to the floor inside a W. 31st St. apartment, according to the NYPD. He also slammed her arm in a doorway, causing bruising and back pain, cops said.

O’Neil, who is disabled, had won a disability settlement that she also alleges Provenzano stole from her. She also alleges that he has been harassing her on social media.

“The comments on his post sharing my name publicly are quite scary,” she said. “P…

BENZ BURNER: Fifth Colombo Mobster Pleads Guilty In Brooklyn Racketeering Case

We understand wiseguys like the convenience of modern technology. (So do we.) But threatening someone who owes you money by way of text message FOR MONTHS doesn't seem very prudent....

Jerry Ciauri, aka Fat Jerry, pleaded guilty yesterday in Brooklyn federal court to racketeering, including predicate acts of extortionate collection of extensions of credit.

He did so before United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II, joining four Colombo mobsters who also pleaded guilty earlier this month.

Vito Difalco, also known as “Victor” and “The Mask,” and two Colombo family associates, Salvatore Disano and Joseph Maratea, pleaded guilty to racketeering last week. 
 On March 15, 2019, Joseph Rizzo, an associate of the Colombo family, pleaded guilty to stalking conspiracy.

 The defendants’ criminal activities took place in Brooklyn, Staten Island and elsewhere between March 2017 and June 2018. (The indictment initially charged for alleged criminal activities going back to December 2010.)

Defense Claims Nearly Everyone But Gunman Responsible For Shooting Of Gambino Boss

Anthony Comello, the 24-year-old man suspected of gunning down reputed Gambino boss Francesco (Frankie Boy) Cali, is a right-wing conspiracy theorist who was influenced by online hate speech. So claimed his attorney today at a court hearing in New York City.

Attorney Robert Gottlieb also pointed his finger at politicians, including President Donald Trump, and blamed the shooting on Comello being radicalized by the QAnon conspiracy theory "and other rightwing conspiracy websites, hate words that have been spewed by citizens, including politicians, including right at the White House."

"Words matter," he said. "Hate words matter."

When Comello appeared in court in New Jersey last Monday, he held up the palm of his hands to showcase handwritten pro-Trump slogans including "MAGA Forever,” “United We Stand MAGA," and "Patriots In Charge."

In the center of his palm, he had drawn a large Q for the QAnon conspiracy theory, which was called t…

Gambino Soldier Sentenced In Case That Harkens Back To Buffalo's Todaro Crime Family

A longtime Gambino soldier who faced 20 years in prison when he was arrested in November 2017 got less than 2.5 years in prison.

Paul Semplice, a Gambino family soldier who was nabbed as part of a larger bust that also included several Bonanno wiseguys, plus wiseguys in Canada, including members of the Todaro crime family, a Buffalo-based group thought to be extinct, was sentenced on Friday, March 22, to 28 months in prison by United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen at the federal court in Brooklyn.

He was sentenced for conducting a loansharking scheme involving annual interest rates as high as 54 percent.

“Semplice targeted victims desperate for loans and used his status as a Mafia soldier to make sure they paid the exorbitant interest rate,” Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a media release.

“With today’s sentence, the defendant will pay for his crimes in prison.” Donoghue thanked the FBI and NYPD for their work on this …

Gambino Boss Frank Cali Was "Everything Over There”

Francesco (Frank) Cali was the kind of mobster who wasn't  supposed to exist anymore: Old school, shunning even the telephone; not prone to violence, meaning he wasn't buffered by the fear factor created by bosses like John Gotti.

In fact, Cali reached capo at such a relatively young age (in his 30s) that it rankled some Gambino wiseguys, and caused at least one to refer to him derisively during a wiretapped phone call. On another wiretapped call, however, a gangster speaking in Italian seemed to pay Cali the ultimate complement by referring to him as "tutto quanto" or "everything."

The New York mobster with Sicilian blood had been arrested and convicted only once. Amazingly, he wasn't brought down after mistakenly allowing a confidential informant into his inner circle.

Cali, a reputed leader of the Gambino crime family, was shot to death outside his house in Staten Island in a killing that echoed Mafia murders of the 1980s, but that seems to be shaking…

Family Of Remorseless Killer Of Gambino Boss In Danger; A Message To Anthony Comello

UPDATED:The Daily News asked Anthony Comello, 24, the man suspected of gunning down alleged Gambino boss Frank Cali last week, some questions in a very brief jailhouse interview yesterday conducted via video system. What Comello said pretty much seems to confirm what we were initially told about him: that he is batsh*t crazy. Comello—who once tried to make a citizen’s arrest of Mayor de Blasio (prompting a discussion we had with Mikie Scars about whether Comello would’ve shot de Blasio had he not erupted first against Cali)—told Daily News reporters Liz Keogh and John Annese that “You shouldn’t believe in stories. Don’t believe in fairy tales.” When asked if that meant he didn’t do the shooting, Comello responded, “I don’t need to clear my name. Have a good night. Be careful going home.” Before shutting off the video, Comello also had told the News: "I can’t talk to no press. I can’t.”

Get the f**k out of here before I blow your f**king head off.” —Mourner to ABC journalist at M…