Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Whitey Bulger's Femme Fatale Speaks Out

In an exclusive interview - her first since being paroled from state prison - a femme fatale associate of James “Whitey” Bulger is revealing for the first time who she believes ordered her death 25 years ago when she survived three gunshots to the head.

Eva “Liz” McDonough, 51, said she believes South Boston mob boss Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi wanted her dead for asking too many questions about her missing cousin, Debra Davis.

“I wish I could (expletive) see him face to face. I’d probably spit on him,” she said of Flemmi, 73, who is serving life for 10 murders, including Davis. “She used to tell me Whitey didn’t like her. I just want to know why. Why? She’s probably more at peace than I am.”

McDonough still wears hats - flaunts them, truth be told, for pure amusement in the North End neighborhood where a cowboy hat famously took the worst of the bullets meant for her brain.

Never to be caught, her would-be executioner came masked March 20, 1984 to a dive called One If By Land and left her with scars on her scalp and right ear. McDonough has been vocal in the past about the now dead drug dealer she thought fired the gun, but now says she believes Flemmi ordered the hit because she was badgering him about her cousin, and his girlfriend, Davis, 26, who went missing in 1981.

“One time I got little rough with him,” said McDonough.

In an age of cutthroat chauvinism, Flemmi and serial psycho killer James “Whitey” Bulger were surprisingly tolerant of the lusty McDonough, trophy moll of late Boston Mafia made man Nicky Giso, with whom she has a son, 25.

She said she confronted Flemmi, her lips loosened by liquor, at his and Bulger’s headquarters at the Lancaster Street garage and demanded, “ ‘I want to know where the (expletive) Deb is.’ I always knew he was worried I would say something to the (Mafia) and they would have that on him.

McDonough has four months left on the parole she was granted from MCI-Framingham on Aug. 18 after serving 18 years for burglary and drug possession. The woman who once posed as a cleaning lady and census taker to rip off Boston’s legitimate rich will be on probation until 2018.

Swearing - admittedly, not for the first time - the addictions to booze and dope are in her past - McDonough is still a standout in Dior eyeglasses, high-heeled spat boots and a fedora. But instead of loathsome lovers lavishing her with furs and Mercedes Benzes, the 7th-grade dropout uses money she earned making salads in a restaurant pre-release to bargain hunt in consignment shops. She hopes to land a job.

“They say to receive a blessing you have to pass one on. I worked on myself, really worked on myself,” the sober house resident said. “I’m grateful the Parole Board gave me a chance. Parole and probation continue to help me with re-entry.

“I don’t have what I had,” she said, “but I’m comfortable. I have myself, and that’s priceless. My intentions are, down the road, to open a sober house for abused women. I want to give other addicts hope.”

Asked if she wonders how Southie moll Catherine Greig is holding up on the lam now 14 years with Bulger, McDonough said, “I know she’s living the best that anyone could live. They’ve got plenty of dough, right or wrong. I think he’d rather have a woman as a partner. He doesn’t trust men. He’s no fool.”

As for those persistent rumors Bulger is bisexual, McDonough, who spoke fondly of his “movie star” charisma, nearly fell out of her chair, laughing. “He likes broads too much. Maybe just too young,” she said. “But gay? Naw!

“He got a kick out of me. He used to say, ‘Smile, they’re (the FBI) snapping (photos)!’ I laugh at these guys who say they ‘talked’ to him. He was by appointment only. He liked to have a good laugh, too, don’t think he didn’t.”

Bulger, she said, “hated women who smoked” and would have ditched even Raquel Welch if she’d lit up in his face. To push his buttons, McDonough would jump into his car when his back was turned and puff away.

“He knew I was busting his (expletive). He thought it was daredevil (expletive).” Then, her face darkening, she said, “I just wish I was smarter than I was. Drugs brought me to my knees.

“That era’s gone. It was glamorous. It was a lot of fun. But, it stripped me of my pride, my dignity. I guess sometimes it takes a wise woman to play the fool.”

Thanks to Laurel J. Sweet

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