Probably The Best Mob Podcast You Will Ever Hear

Rudolph Giuliani, when he was US Attorney for the Southern District of New York*, personally devised the strategy behind the Commission Case, the first effort by law enforcement to attack the Mafia by way of its ''board of directors.” Or, as put forth in the 22-count indictment, the defendants were charged with conducting the affairs of ''the commission of La Cosa Nostra'' in a racketeering pattern that included murders, loan-sharking, labor payoffs, and extortion of the concrete industry in New York City.

Mathew Mari's VIEW FROM MULBERRY STREET podcast is a labor of love.

Giuliani said his vision began taking shape (yes, to simplify we’ll take Rudy at his word for now) after he read Joseph Bonanno Sr.'s 1983 autobiography, A Man of Honor, which, he said, described the inner workings of the Commission from an earlier historical era. The other vital component of his vision arrived via an August 1983 meeting between Rudy and Ronald Goldstock, head of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, during which Goldstock detailed tape recordings made via a bugging device planted in a Jaguar that was used to drive the boss of the Luchese crime family on his daily rounds.

By November 1986, all eight defendants in the case were convicted following a 10-week racketeering trial in Manhattan.

Reputed Bonanno consiglieri Stefano (Stevie Beef) Cannone, who played a role in our recent series of stories on Carmine Galante, became ensnared in the Commission Case by way of a June 1985 superseding indictment that added both him and then alleged Colombo boss Carmine Persico.

Death would spare Stevie Beef from the case.The precise date on which he passed presents something of a problem. Newspapers apparently reported his death months after the fact, according to the Writers of Wrong website, which notes that Cannone died in September 1985.

So for a few more months anyway, the sick, dying Cannone needed to keep his focus on decidedly less-spiritual matters in the earthly realm and defend himself against a new, super aggressive indictment. 

Enter Mathew Mari, a young attorney who Cannone knew from the neighborhood and hired to represent him in the Commission Case. 

It was the “biggest case I was ever in,” and maybe still is, Mathew says in episode two of VIEW FROM MULBERRY STREET, his new podcast (see below)—which is excellent. We love it and believe it just might be the best mob podcast we’ve ever heard.

“Steve was deadly sick with a serious heart condition. Even the FBI was afraid to move him.” The judge didn't believe it.

Attempting to persuade him, Mari says he told the judge that “even FBI agent Pat Marshall (the head agent in the case) will not move Mr. Cannone…" Ultimately, the judge gave Cannone house arrest while all the other defendants went to the MCC, Mat explains.

That was how Mat became part of the Commission Case, which involved so many wiretap recordings, he said, they “filled up two huge tables in the courtroom.” He said the judge gave the attorneys a year to go through the recordings and report on any legal issues they found.

One of the major issues, however, wasn't about the tapes but whether Joseph Bonanno, who Rudy alleged at the time was the boss of the Bonanno family, could be made to testify under forced subpoena.

“Bonanno took the position that he was too medically ill to answer the subpoena.”

The government’s response, Mat says, was to relocate the entire Southern District of New York to a courthouse in Tucson, Arizona.

“They moved the entire court staff of the Southern District to Tucson for a hearing to determine whether Joe was medically able to answer a subpoena.” 

Mari was among the slew of attorneys who also relocated to Arizona for the hearing.

“I was 35 and had to fly to Arizona, with big shot Jimmy LaRossa leading the pack.” 

LaRossa, the last of the gladiators, made a name for himself defending major figures in organized crime. (He died in 2014.)

Mari describes the hearing, which was conducted by Rudy. 

The lawyer for Bonanno was Albert Krieger (who died in 2022 at age 96). Krieger, Mat says, “was one of the greatest” and inspired him to become an attorney.

During a break in the hearing, Mari notes, he was approached by Krieger who asked Mari if he would be willing to meet the man himself....

“I was quite excited to talk to Joe,” who he had met earlier, when he was 14 years old. (Mat was born in 1950 and grew up in Knickerbocker Village, the Fourth Ward, "a great place to grow up," as he notes in episodes one and two. He's the first of his family to go into law.)

“He (Bonanno) started off by asking, ‘What do you think is going to happen?’ I told him they will lock you up until the Commission Case is over,” which, he notes, is exactly what they did.

“(Bonanno) said to me ‘When you go back to New York, I want you to tell the boys that Mr. Joe is no rat.’” Mari translates that to mean that Bonanno wanted him to tell the defendants in the Commission Case that the “book (Man of Honor) included no accusations of criminal activity and was all about dead people, not actual crimes. (Joe Bonanno nevertheless) realized it was a mistake for the book to go out under his name, and it caused lots of havoc. I appreciated his sincerity. It was quite a meeting --- it had a lot of emotional impact for me.”

There's so much more, but we don't want to ruin it. Mari details his relationship with Carmine Persico, which, decades later, caused him to revisit the Commission Case. 

Mat hits his stride toward the latter half of episode two, when he is soberly making a point about what happens when the government overreaches.

If you love this kind of stuff like we very much do, then check out this podcast. As Mat explains in the first episode of VIEW FROM MULBERRY STREET, “we will be talking about cases like the Commission Case, the Tommy Karate case, we will talk about famous people... You will get a different viewpoint, the other side, the side you never heard about, the side the government doesn’t tell you about, the side that the rats don’t want you to know about. We won’t reveal any secrets, betray any confidences. I hope people will look upon this podcast with respect and not disdain like we see is the case with so much of the nonsense that is overwhelming the internet.”

Mat, we look upon your podcast with great respect, as well as interest in checking out episode three as soon as it is posted.

* Versus whatever the hell you would call whatever Rudy has transformed into these days...