You Ain't Gonna Get Me, Sucka: Former Genovese Turncoat Pens An Open Letter To His Old Pals

What do wiseguys chat about in their "off" hours, when they're unwinding over a scotch and rocks, say, at a tony Upper East Side steakhouse? They talk about killing rats, of course.

Farby Serpico

Apparently, some Genovese wiseguys recently did just that: They met and discussed the new name/whereabouts of Genovese family turncoat Michael (Cookie) D’Urso, 49, spurring him on to actually write an open letter to his former colleagues to warn them not to take revenge.

In the letter, D'Urso seems to describe how he obtained the news about a potential hit, though this may be misdirection: "You’d be surprised to find out how many confidential informants there are in your circle, who would love to tell the feds they heard about a murder plot to kill me." 

The letter appeared in The New York Post with an introduction written by Jerry Capeci of GangLand News.

D’Urso flipped against the Genovese crime family and wore a wire hidden within a $3,000 Rolex wristwatch for three years -- all the while recording thousands of hours of "privileged" conversations among high-ranking members of the Genovese crime family.

He collected dirt on more than 70 Genovese wiseguys, including late boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante, who died in a prison hospital on December 19, 2005; boss Dominick "Quiet Dom" Cirillo; and the Genovese family's official boss today, Liborio "Barney" Bellomo.

Two former Genovese acting bosses he brought down were Frank "Farby" Serpico and Ernest Muscarella. Also: then-acting capos Rosario "Ross" Gangi, Alan "Baldie" Longo, Sammy "Meatballs" Aparo and Peter "Petey Red" DiChiara.

"For an associate, D'Urso had unbelievable access to wiseguys who were close to the Administration," said one law enforcement source. D'Urso "was good, and he was fortunate."

In March 2007, for serving as the wheelman in the 1996 murder of John "Johnnie Boy" Borelli in Queens, D'Urso was given five years' probation and a $200 fine, payback for his help in taking down some of the New York Mafia's "giant icons."

Law enforcement sources had called D'Urso an "informant extraordinaire," who recorded 500 tapes -- literally thousands of hours of conversations, some of which were remarkably revealing in their candidness, such as Genovese soldier Paul "Slick" Geraci saying: "If you're not the kind of guy who is capable of hurting someone... you might as well stay home."

Below is an edited version of D’Urso’s letter:

This letter is a heads up to the individuals who were seen and overheard during the Christmas holidays at the TBar Steak & Lounge on the Upper East Side talking about me.

Law enforcement folks told me you were talking about my new identity and where I might be living today. I hope that 20 years later, no one would be so stupid to get himself into very serious trouble over me.

While I still have some respect for the life I once lived and the life that some of my old friends and acquaintances still choose to live, rest assured I WILL NEVER GET CAUGHT SLEEPING AGAIN. I am ready, able and willing to defend my family and myself. Also, I have very capable ex-law enforcement friends with gun permits who are with me all the time. And don’t forget, there are cameras everywhere today that can track people to and from any location.

As you know, I didn’t create this mess. I was extremely loyal until my life was in danger for the SECOND time. The people that got in trouble because of me can thank Farby for threatening me on the phone and putting me in the position that led to me cooperating. What boss gets on the phone to actually threaten someone? Did he not expect a response? As a street guy was I supposed to just let someone I don’t know abuse me? No f- -king way.

I hate the fact that some of my Bronx friends got caught up in my cooperation. They are legitimate tough guys. They know who they are. If I had been with them before, I believe they would have been by my side the second I got shot and would have helped me get even. I am truly sorry you guys got wrapped up in the investigation.

There was only one person who raised a finger to try and help me get revenge when I got shot, and my cousin got killed.

Unfortunately he [Editor: Vito Guzzo] got 38 years in prison. He was arrested before I cooperated. He was facing the death penalty and I paid for his capital punishment attorney while I was cooperating. The government didn’t need me to convict him.

When Sammy Meatballs [Editor: Salvatore Aparo] came to me with tears in his eyes and said, “If I send for you don’t come,” I knew that Farby was going to have me killed. I had no choice but to reach out to the government. Those of you who truly knew me know that I would have done 100 years for the right people and the right reasons.

There could not be a brotherhood without loyalty. But no real man can ever accept being told not to seek retribution when someone shoots you in the head and kills your cousin.

I understand why people have to act like tough guys when my name gets brought up. I would do the same if I was in their shoes. But just because I have been respectful and not rubbed anything in any of your faces, do NOT think that I will go on the defense if I see any of you. I am not running and I don’t need a weapon to protect myself. I am a black belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and have been training in mixed martial arts for over 14 years. A bat and a knife won’t help you so you will have to use a gun.

But if you, and your bosses, feel that getting me is worth risking life in prison, then come find me. Just keep in mind that your bosses will get prosecuted for the murder as well.

And rest assured that if I feel my life is threatened, I WILL BE ON OFFENSE, NOT DEFENSE. I FEAR NO ONE AND NEVER WILL. And remember that there is no statute of limitations for the murder of a federal witness. And you’d be surprised to find out how many confidential informants there are in your circle, who would love to tell the feds they heard about a murder plot to kill me.

To the gangsters in my neighborhood: If you stop and think, you will realize that I left all of you out of my cooperation on purpose. I didn’t hurt any of you. I didn’t seek you out. I could have started a beef to draw you out. But I didn’t want to see anyone in the neighborhood get in trouble whether we were on good terms or not.

I bring this up because I still come in and out of the neighborhood every so often. If you see me, do yourself a favor and do not confront me. It may look like I’m alone but I’m not. Again, I am respectful but fear no one and you might not be happy with the outcome of a confrontation.

Everyone should just focus on their families, their well-being, and staying out of jail. Continue to make money the smart way and leave the violence that gets you life in prison alone. For those of you that have money, find ways to keep it and for those of you that don’t, find ways to make it without violence. Times are different today.


Sammy Meatballs

Why Michael (Cookie) D’Urso Flipped

D'Urso didn't flip in 1994 after surviving an assassin's bullet, fired at point-blank range into the back of his head. (His cousin, an affluent Genovese loanshark who was the true intended target, wasn't so lucky.)

D'Urso, who lost hearing in one ear from the wound, decided instead to kill the man he believed responsible for his cousin's murder -- twice. He never made a third attempt, as Genovese capo Rosario "Ross" Gangi stopped D'Urso cold in his tracks.

"If we find out it's you, you got a major problem," Gangi warned the half-deaf Genovese associate.

D'Urso, his life imperiled via a direct threat from a high-ranking member, didn't flip then, either.

D'Urso, in testimony at the trial of former Colombo crime family mobster John "Jackie" DeRoss, discussed what finally prompted his decision to leave the underworld in 1997.

A clerk at a Genovese-run betting parlor seemed to have trouble carrying out certain essential duties of his position. On at least two occasions he failed to actually place the bets for his customers. D'Urso had placed bets on both occasions and estimated that he was out around $50k, all due to the bookie's ineptness.

D'Urso was furious with the bookie. Since writing a letter of complaint to the management was out of the question, he seized on the next available option. (Ironical indeed ... little did we know, he would write such a letter!)

"I gave him a beating," D'Urso said.

Shortly thereafter, presumably within a day or two, his pager went off. D'Urso called the phone number on his bleating beeper, only to find one hostile SOB on the other end of the line.

The guy who'd called D'Urso beeper was "just screaming at the top of his lungs," D'Urso said. "He says, 'You can't hit my clerk.' 'I says, 'Oh, no? I'm the one who got screwed here,' I says. 'I'll go hit your clerk right now.' "

The man on the other end, furious even before Cookie had said a single word, must've become apoplectic.

"I didn't know at the time who he was," D'Urso said.

He was Frank "Farby" Serpico (no relation to the former NYPD cop, whom Al Pacino played in the titular film), the new acting boss of the Genovese crime family.

D'Urso, in testimony, said he'd finally had enough.

He explained:
"I was disappointed, you know, getting screwed for the money, getting shot in the head once before, and my life being on the line again, I decided to reach out to the federal government."

Farby came from the 116th Street crew, one of the Genovese crime family's most powerful crews, and where the Mafia's true power allegedly resides today. Known as the Uptown crew, many powerful Mafiosi are from there, including Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, who in his day as "front boss" based the crew out of his Palma Boys Social Club at 416 East 115th Street in Manhattan's East Harlem. The crew historically traces its roots back to the 1890s, when Giuseppe Morello and Nicholo, Vincenzo and Ciro Terranova arrived from Sicily and went to work gaining control of East Harlem's Little Italy using "Black Hand" extortion techniques and running illegal gambling dens, among other things.

Serpico had risen in the ranks in the mid-1990s, following the 1992 death of Fat Tony Salerno. The Chin's designated acting boss, Liborio "Barney" Bellomo (alleged official boss today) was imprisoned in 1996, and also was part of the East Harlem crew.

D'Urso himself later recorded Geraci telling him that Serpico wasn't really the boss. (During the conversation the Fed's even videotaped Slick, so as to capture the anticipated incriminating motion.)

"[Serpico's] still there, but he ain't the guy," Geraci explained. "He never was the guy. This guy is the guy," Geraci said, touching his chin.

At the Bronx home of soldier Pasquale "Patty" Falcetti (with once again, a wired D'Urso there, as well as FBI surveillance), a veritable roadmap was drawn. Falcetti's words depicted a large red arrow that pointed from the imprisoned Gigante toward his son, Andrew, who spoke for the Chin.

"Whatever the kid [Andrew] says, it comes from him [Vincent Gigante]," Falcetti said, touching his chin. "Who's going to challenge that?"

The conversations occurred three years after Gigante was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to 12 years in prison; it marked the end of Gigante's historic reign.

There was much more incriminating information recorded.

While D'Urso was "undercover," Gigante was rarely referred to in the hundreds of hours of taped conversations. But there were memorable moments.

"Don’t let anyone tell you we’re dead...." as Alan “Baldie” Longo told D'Urso in October, 2000, while he and D'Urso met at an Upper East Side cafĂ©. (This was prior to the remarks about Chin using his son Andrew as a conduit to remain in control of the family from prison.)

Longo "believes the Genovese family is so much stronger than the other families in the event there was a war," said an FBI report, adding that Longo said the Genoveses have "30 or 40 quality guys," naming Aparo, Falcetti, and DiChiara, as some of them.

Longo, heralding how alive the Genovese crime family was, told D'Urso that he and other "tough guys" would soon be inducted to increase the family's muscle that much more. "Whenever we step out and do something (murder, according to the FBI report ) we going to get the guys we can trust and do it," Longo said.

D'Urso also was told by Longo that a Genovese hit squad might need him, D'Urso, to help whack a man believed to have been an informant. "If there’s a problem, the guys . . . we’re going to pull together—you’ll be one of them," Longo said. "If we ever step out and do something, we go to the guys we can trust and do it. We ain’t going to put guys on the line who are going to become rats a day later."

At the same cafe meeting, Longo "reiterates that the Genovese family is the strongest LCN [La Cosa Nostra] family, rivaled only by 'Joe's family,' meaning the Bonanno family headed by Joseph Massino," according to court filings quoted in media reports.