Mafia Uses Same Initiation Ceremony, As Per Luchese Defector Testimony

The Mafia still makes 'em like it always did...

Lucchese crime family uses same initiation ceremony

We're referring to the initiation ceremony -- the one that uses the gun, the knife, the picture of the saint, the pin...

John Pennisi, 49, a Luchese member who flipped last year, detailed on the witness stand his life in the New York Mafia, touching on his initiation ceremony and how members of the Brooklyn crew began moving to Staten Island, raising the existential question of whether Luchese wiseguys who live on Staten Island can still credibly call themselves the Brooklyn crew....

Pennisi was made in a 2013 secret initiation ceremony in the dark basement of a house on Staten Island. (In a refreshing twist, he was made on his wife’s birthday rather than his own birthday.)



Then-acting boss Matty Madonna, who was from the Bronx, presided.

“There was a gun, a knife, there was a picture of a saint, an ashtray, a lighter, and like a diabetic pin, needle to check your blood,” said Pennisi.

Madonna asked Pennisi which finger he used to pull the figurative trigger and the man who sat beside him, the capo of the Brooklyn crew on Staten Island, John (Big John) Castellucci, pricked his finger with the needle, according to his testimony.

“They took the saint, and they poured blood drops onto the saint, and then he said to me we're going to light the saint on fire, and you're going to put your hands out and you're going to move the paper of the saint back and forth in your hands and repeat after me,” said Pennisi.

“Matty [Madonna] said if I was ever to betray any member of the family, that my soul would burn like the saint is burning,” he said.

Pennisi testified during the trial of Luchese soldier Eugene (Boopsie) Castelle, who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit racketeering and operating an illegal gambling ring after a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein. (Boopsie faces more than 20 years.)

Pennisi began cooperating with the FBI in late 2018, when he walked Al D'Arco -style into a Bureau office to discuss his “concerns and basically crimes that [he] committed. " And he's been sharing information about the Mafia since then.

Pennisi also discussed how the Luchese family had erected a stronghold on Staten Island over the years, when members of the Brooklyn crew began hauling up and moving there.

“We were the Brooklyn faction of the Lucchese family, but we operated out of Staten Island,” he said.

“There was no real Staten Island crew,” said Pennisi. “Although we were in Staten Island, we were the Brooklyn part of that family.”

“It’s just wherever they put you," he said. "It doesn’t mean that you have to come from Brooklyn.”

As noted, the Luchese crime family is currently comprised of seven crews: two in the Bronx, two on Long Island, one in Manhattan, one in New Jersey, and Big John Castellucci’s Brooklyn crew, the one based in Tottenville, Staten Island.

(Brooklyn-based Patty Red Dellorusso is the new acting underboss and Bronx-based wiseguy Andrew DeSimone is consigliere.)

Each Luchese crew has seven or eight people, plus the capo who runs the crew. (Is that figure made members only, or does it include associates, we wonder).

Pennisi himself had lived on Staten Island, for a short time after getting out of prison in 2007, and he also lived on Long Island.


This was based on a transcript of Pennisi's testimony obtained by the Advance...


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