IN MEMORIAM: Mob Musings, Including On The Ravenite Social Club In The 1980s

We're reposting this centaur of a story, which we originally posted in 2016, as an in memoriam to "Charlie P" or "CP," who died of COVID-19 last year, as we recently learned. His death prompted us to revisit and edit the original. Then, following more recent communications (this past weekend), we decided to go one step further and repost the entire thing. In keeping with our agreement, we will never identify or write about Charlie P further. (Charlie or Charley, etc., makes no difference because it wasn’t his real name.)

John Gotti, right, Gambino capo Joseph Gambino, son of founder.
John Gotti, right, Gambino capo Thomas Gambino, son of founder.

This story is based on notes I took during informal discussions with an old timer I will call "Charley P." I call him Charley Partanna, just to call him something. I'm hoping this can be an occasional column but Charley didn't want to commit to anything without remuneration involved.


In 2003, Winter Hill turncoat Steve Flemmi told federal and state authorities that he walked in on the May 10, 1993, murder of South Boston nightclub manager Steven A. DiSarro at the Sharon home of Francis Salemme’s former wife, according to a DEA report filed in Boston federal court. Flemmi said Francis Salemme and two others watched as Salemme’s son, Frank, strangled DiSarro to death. Flemmi named the two other witnesses as Frank Salemme’s younger brother, John, and a friend named Paul Weadick. Salemme later told Flemmi that Rhode Island mobster Robert P. DeLuca Sr. "was present during the burial" of DiSarro, Flemmi said, adding that Salemme had expressed concern about DiSarro’s friendship with a law enforcement cooperator....

You gonna whack a guy, why do it in front of an audience? I mean, you want your kid to do it, whack a guy out by strangling him to death, okay, I can understand that. Dumb as it is. Why have your son strangle a guy in front of you and three other people? Not to mention, you supposed to kill him before the Fed's talk to him... Once they ID your front partner as a witness and you kill him then, you might as well wave a sign cause chances are everyone but you and the dead guy are rats.

Is this brain surgery here? Quantum physics? Or killing a guy? You kill a guy, use a pistola. "Two behind the ear" mean anything? I didn't even start talking about location .... Of all places you whack a guy in your ex-wife's house, where another asshole rat just walks in on you and watches your kid strangle someone to death? That might explain the strangling, at least because you gotta be a dumbsky to shoot a guy in the head inside your ex's house. You'll never get that stuff out of the carpet.

And why bury the guy on the other side of town and get even more guys involved? Just dump him. Leave him in a trunk. Not your trunk, of course. (Hey, I don't make no assumptions about how some of these guys think.) Then there's rivers and other out of the way places, but that requires a little effort and creativity, and god forbid we have to go a little bit out of our way…

Christ, what these guys get arrested for! I mean it's absolutely unfcknbelievable! They don't even have to do nothin' no more! They talk about doing it instead! And then they get arrested for all these things they're gonna do that they talked about. Only thing worse than talking about what you're gonna do is talkin' about what you already did. Especially if you talk about all the guys you clipped. Or had clipped.

Francis Salemme
 Cadillac Frank Salemme with wife Donna.

You don't talk about them. No, you don't talk about whacking people and you don't talk about your reasons for whacking people. Especially if you dress like a mob boss and act like a mob boss. (Meaning you get a crew of guys just focused on you... specifically, you.... meanin' you got this guy openin' your car doors, this guy puttin' your coat on for ya, that guy holdin' a huge fckin' umbrella over ya head).

Would you believe there once was a boss who actually wanted everyone to know he was a boss?

Now think about that. You want the whole world to know you're a boss... so how do you do that? It's not as easy as it sounds. First you start wearing clothes that are too expensive for you to afford on the salary you tell the IRS you make. You gotta look the look, walk the walk and, here's the most important part, you gotta talk the talk.

Bottom line is guys in Cosa Nostra aren't allowed to talk about Cosa Nostra with anybody outside a Cosa Nostra. Now, I swear to fcking God, some of these guys that get made, get their button, you know what? They start to realize, wow, I can't tell Donna or what's her name what I just done ova here. And it really starts botherin' them that no one can know about it.

I mean what's the point of belonging to the secret criminal society of all criminal societies, the Mafia, if you can't brag about it? What's the point of joinin' if it don't get you laid, is the mentality of some of them out there.

So what's next? Well, ya know what that mob boss did.... You have all the guys come in and see you like once, twice a week. No matter where they are, how many miles away with whatever action they got going on, you order em all to drop whatever the fck and come in and see you once or twice a week. One guy starts acting up, he don’t come in, you do him as an example, and all the other guys gonna know you’re not fcking around.

And you have to have em meet you in the most public place possible. Like in a crowded, gridlocked city and you have em come to a social club. In fact perfect place, you wanna know the perfect place? Social club on Mulberry Street.... you get all your guys in to see you while you sit in the back of a social club on Mulberry Street. That's the perfect way to show everybody you are a boss .... Cause you're a mob boss, where else you gonna meet them? Gotta be a social club with a good espresso machine cause all these guys coming in are coming in from all the boroughs and even neighboring places and maybe some not-so-neighboring places. So they deserve a nice espresso at the very least. See where I'm headin? They're sitting in traffic for hours and hours in Cadillacs and Lincolns -- really big cars -- and then they gotta drive to this itty bitty little street in downtown Manhattan... Like squeezin' an elephant through a keyhole. And there's no parking by the parking... And it ain't like ya can just go around the block a couple times cause that'd take longer than the entire ride from home, wherever the fck that is. So you gonna have all these Caddys double parked on both sides of Mulberry Street. And the itty bitty street gets... ittier and... bittier....

We're still outside now, right? Still outside.... Now here's the icin on the cake. You're dressed like a mob boss and every single one of those guys who gets outta those double-parked Lincolns on both sides of Mulberry Street is gonna be seen walking inside the joint. But the thing is, nobody is watching inside the place. The public or the Fed's, whoever the fck is watchin, ain't gonna see you. So whaddya do? Think about it. It’s actually very simple. You get outta your chair and you walk outside the club and stand there and all the guys comin' in to see you, well, they get to actually see you, first thing. Whaddaya gonna do then? Well you gotta greet em, right? So you hug each one of them and give em a peck on the cheek. The guys who are more important to you, maybe you show them a little something extra. Like you squeeze their shoulder when they're heading past you to go inside the club while you're gettin ready to kiss the next guy and the next. You do something like that so the people watchin' know, hey, that guy's a little more important than all the other guys cause the boss squeezed his shoulder but not the thirty other shoulders that zipped by before him.

Now you can't say shit in a club, with all those bugs everywhere. Even if you dress like a gangster and act like a gangster, you start talking like a gangster inside a club the Feds gonna put your head on a stick. So you gotta go on the walk talk.... Only problem is, New York in winters gets fckin' really cold outside. You freeze your nuts off, your ears, your nose. And no wiseguys gonna wear a knit cap, actually no hat ever. It fcks the hair up.

You ain't gonna walk talk someone in zero degree weather or else you'll lose more a ya toes...I mean you try to order a hit, your nose gonna start running. Easiest thing, save it for another time and place. But NOT INSIDE THE MAFIA SOCIAL CLUB, NEXT TO WHICH THE FEDS SET UP A BASE CAMP .... this is very important stuff, there....At the same time, going up one or two flights of stairs is NOT enough of a buffer. At least that is what I think.

For one thing, talk spreads that the boss talks business above the club.... Some 90-year-old woman live there? You call the daughter, hand her a stack of bills and say, Hey, can you take mom a few days?..... would ya mind?

It don't really matter because everyone is going to jail anyway….


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