Friday, October 20, 2017

New Family Secrets Mob Bus Tour Hosted by @FrankCalabres15 ‏Inflames Victims Families

A century-old code of silence practiced by the Chicago Outfit is being broken several days a week on a bus tour by a former gangster who is taking his personal mob knowledge to the streets.

The "Family Secrets Tour," hosted by Frank Calabrese Jr., is a two-hour guided expedition to mob murder sites around Chicago. "Frank Jr. takes you to the actual crime scenes he experienced firsthand while working as a member of his father's Chinatown crew," states a description of the tour.

Calabrese's new business, at $40.00 per person, began in early October and will "teach you what it was like to think, look, and act like a mobster and how to blend in with the mean streets of Chicago."

"Family Secrets" was the name of an FBI investigation into mob murders and rackets that began in 1998 when Calabrese Jr. wrote a letter to authorities offering to help prosecute his father. Frank "the Breeze" Calabrese was an Outfit boss and killer who controlled his mob crew-and his own family-with an iron fist.

14 mob bosses and associates ended up charged in the landmark case and Calabrese Jr. was a main witness. When the investigation and court cases were finished in 2007, federal investigators had solved 18 gangland murders dating back to 1970.

Now, ten years later, the reformed hoodlum is leading a new bus tour that takes patrons to locations where wayward mobsters were rubbed out. Calabrese Jr. gives his account of growing up in the mob and describes the hits, runs and errors of his family's murderous rackets.

"Don't do this to us. We've suffered enough" said Ellen Ortiz, whose husband Richard was murdered by Frank Calabrese Sr. in 1983. The widow Ortiz, 75, says junior's bus tour is "disgraceful."

Richard Ortiz was a Cicero bar owner whom Calabrese Sr. believed to be dealing drugs and floating juice loans without the blessing of the mob. The Outfit boss blasted Ortiz several times with a shotgun, obliterating his face. Now the thought of Calabrese Sr.'s son leading a tour to mark that murder and others grates on Ellen Ortiz. "It's not right, it's not right" she told the I-Team.

Her son, 12 years old at the time his dad was killed, now has a more direct observation of Calabrese's Family Secrets Tour. "He was the rat so I think the rat should just crawl back in his hole" said Tony Ortiz, now 46.

"The tour doesn't focus on murders -- it focuses on the evolution of the Chicago mob" Calabrese Jr. said in an interview with the ABC7 I-Team. He maintains the tours are therapeutic for him. "I haven't really thought deeply why the exact reason is I'm doing this. For a few reasons. I mean I want to make money too just like anybody else. I want to do good."

The son-of-a-mob-boss, who wrote a 2011 book about his experiences as well, said he is not trying to glorify Outfit life. "They have that right to say 'was he making money, you know?' I'm trying to take something that was bad and make it good for more than one reason" Calabrese Jr. said.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie and Christine Tressel.

Reports Claim Mexican Drug Cartels Sent an Illegal Immigrant to Start #CaliforniaFires

Acting ICE Director Tom Homan has announced that a suspected northern California arsonist, Jesus Fabian Gonzalez, is a Mexican national who is in the United States illegally. This supports legal marijuana industry leaders’ fears that the Mexican drug cartels are behind the area’s recent deadly wildfires.

Earlier, Breitbart reported that Gonzalez is an illegal alien who has twice been deported back to Mexico. Several days ago, the news broke that ICE had formally issued a detainer for Gonzalez.

Authorities initially arrested Gonzalez after they observed him walking out of a park that had just been set ablaze. Gonzalez claimed he had started the fire because he was cold. It was 78 degrees outside at the time.

On October 14th, GotNews exclusively reported that both senior DHS officials and legal marijuana industry leaders suspected cartel involvement after observing the disproportionate impact the wildfires were having on the state’s legal marijuana crops.

Snopes subsequently set out to debunk GotNews’ reporting, labeling it “unproven.” Its researchers wrote “According to statistics published by the California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, arson (the cause claimed by Got News) was responsible for just 0.37 percent of the 291,282 acres of land burned by wildfires in the state in 2015 and 7.8 percent of fires overall.” Snopes neglected to mention that the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office arrested a suspected arsonist on October 15th.

Similarly, High Times rebuked GotNews’ original story as “actual fake news,” and attacked GotNews’ sources.

Full Details with links at GotNews.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

10 Years Later, Frank Vincent's @ChicagoOvercoat, is Still Finding New Audiences, Watch it Free!

On September 29, 2007, a group of young filmmakers just out of Columbia College began principal photography on their first feature film. They penned an ambitious script written from the perspective
of men in their sixties looking back at their lives with regret. In order to get the green light, the team needed to attach a star, so they sent the script to acclaimed actor Frank Vincent. Frank loved the character and signed on to the project despite the age of the crew, and the rest was history.

Chicago Overcoat, stars Frank as Lou Marazano, an aging mob hit man who tries to do right by his family and get back a piece of the glory days. Kathrine Narducci (The Sopranos) co-stars as Frank’s on-again, offagain girlfriend, along with veteran actors Danny Goldring (Boss) as a tenacious homicide detective and Mike Starr (Dumb and Dumber) as a no-nonsense street boss. The cast also features Emmy Award winner Armand Assante (American Gangster) and Golden Globe winner Stacy Keach (American History X).

After premiering at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2009, Chicago Overcoat got picked up by Showtime in 2010. The movie was then released on Redbox, Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster Express, iTunes, and Hulu, to name a few. Most recently, Chicago Overcoat became available to stream for free to all Amazon Prime members, where it is now finding yet another audience.

Chicago Overcoat Free on Amazon Prime.

The tenth anniversary of principal photography is a bittersweet occasion for the cast and crew, as it follows the news of Frank’s passing on September 13 due to complications from heart surgery. The team was gearing up to commemorate the occasion when they learned about Frank. “The world lost a legend, and I lost a personal hero,” said writer/producer John W. Bosher. “Frank is truly missed.”

Frank’s distinguished career has included memorable performances in such iconic films as Raging Bull (1980), Wise Guys (1986), Do the Right Thing (1989), Goodfellas (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Casino (1995), and Cop Land (1997), in addition to his co-starring role as Phil Leotardo on HBO’s The Sopranos (2004-2007), for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding
Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series” in 2008.

Frank’s rare starring role in Chicago Overcoat gave him an opportunity to truly shine, and his performance earned the praise of many critics, including Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times, Reece Pendleton of Chicago Reader, and Rob Christopher of The Chicagoist. In Variety’s review, critic Alissa Simon noted that Chicago Overcoat “boasts the most charismatic mafia murderer since Tony Soprano...” Frank also received a “Best Actor” nomination at Italy’s Milano International Film Festival Awards in 2010.

But to the Chicago Overcoat team, Frank was much more than a movie star. “We became quite close with Frank and his wife over the years,” said associate producer/casting director Chris Charles. “And we had plans to work together on other projects.” Looking back at Chicago Overcoat, the group also recognizes that Frank was one of the major reasons for the film’s success, which ultimately helped launch their careers. “Frank really took a chance with us,” Chris added. “And we’ll never forget it.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

3 #MS13 Members Plead Guilty in Savage Death of Teen Girl in Gangland Revenge Killing

Three MS-13 affiliates pleaded guilty to their roles in the savage death of a teenage Virginia girl in what prosecutors say was a gangland-style revenge killing.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Cindy Blanco Hernandez, 19, Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo, 18, and Emerson Fugon Lopez, 17, pleaded guilty to a host of charges that included abduction and in two instances, gang participation. The three will be key witnesses in the trials of three other gang members charged with directly killing 15-year-old Damaris A. Reyes Rivas.

The January killing of Reyes Rivas, which ultimately resulted in the arrest of 18 young people, galvanized the country and highlighted the brutal nature of one of the nation’s most violent and powerful street gangs.

According to the prosecution, Reyes Rivas was taken to a Virginia park, where she was stabbed with a knife and jabbed with a stick by a large group of MS-13 members. Her body eventually was discovered after it was dumped under a highway overpass on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

FBI agent Fernando Uribe testified in July that Jose Cerrato, a 17-year-old alleged gang member, filmed and narrated the killing on a cellphone with the intention of sending the footage to MS-13 leaders in El Salvador. It’s unclear if the video was ever sent to El Salvador, but Uribe testified that Cerrato was promoted in the gang for his role in the murder, the Washington Post reported.

Reyes Rivas allegedly was killed as revenge for the death of 21-year-old Christian Sosa Rivas. Sosa Rivas was killed around New Year’s Eve after he purportedly was lured to a local park by Reyes Rivas. Some of the eight people charged in connection with his death are believed to have thought Sosa Rivas was a member of a rival gang who was claiming to be an MS-13 member, and the defendants’ purpose was “gaining entrance to and maintaining and increasing position in MS-13 according to the Justice Department.”

Reyes Rivas’ killing was uncovered when investigators found the videos of her killing while looking into Sosa Rivas’ death.

According to testimony by Uribe, 17-year-old Venus Romero Iraheta, an alleged MS-13 cohort and girlfriend of Sosa Rivas, blamed Reyes Rivas for luring Sosa Rivas to his death before stabbing her in the neck with a knife 13 times.

Wilmer A. Sanchez Serrano, 21, another MS-13 affiliate, is accused of stabbing Reyes Rivas in the neck with a sharpened stick.

MS-13, which has become a major focus of President Trump’s Justice Department, was founded more than two decades ago in Southern California by immigrants fleeing El Salvador’s civil war. Its founders took lessons learned from the brutal conflict to the streets of Los Angeles, and built a reputation as one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs in the country.

With as many as 10,000 members in 46 states, the gang has expanded beyond its initial and local roots and members have been convicted of crimes ranging from kidnapping and murder to drug smuggling and human trafficking, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jason Shatarsky told the Associated Press.

The gang now has a large presence in Southern California, Washington, DC, and many rural areas on the East Coast with substantial Salvadoran populations like the Carolinas. And in any community where the gang operates, its members often prey on their own people, targeting residents and business owners for extortion, among other crimes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco #NationalPastaDay

Nuovo Vesuvio. The "family" restaurant, redefined. Home to the finest in Napolitan' cuisine and Essex County's best kept secret. Now Artie Bucco, la cucina's master chef and your personal host, invites you to a special feast...with a little help from his friends, The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco. From arancini to zabaglione, from baccala to Quail Sinatra-style, Artie Bucco and his guests, the Sopranos and their associates, offer food lovers one hundred Avellinese-style recipes and valuable preparation tips. But that's not all!

Artie also brings you a cornucopia of precious Sopranos artifacts that includes photos from the old country; the first Bucco's Vesuvio's menu from 1926; AJ's school essay on "Why I Like Food"; Bobby Bacala's style tips for big eaters, and much, much more.

So share the big table with:


  • Tony Soprano, waste management executive "Most people soak a bagful of discount briquettes with lighter fluid and cook a pork chop until it's shoe leather and think they're Wolfgang Puck." Enjoy his tender Grilled Sausages sizzling with fennel or cheese. Warning: Piercing the skin is a fire hazard. 
  • Corrado "Junior" Soprano, Tony's uncle "Mama always cooked. No one died of too much cholesterol or some such crap." Savor his Pasta Fazool, a toothsome marriage of cannellini beans and ditalini pasta, or Giambott', a grand-operatic vegetable medley. 
  • Carmela Soprano, Tony's wife "If someone were sick, my inclination would be to send over a pastina and ricotta. It's healing food." Try her Baked Ziti, sinfully enriched with three cheeses, and her earthy 'Shcarole with Garlic. 
  • Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri, associate of Tony Soprano "I have heard that Eskimos have fifty words for snow. We have five hundred words for food." Sink your teeth into his Eggs in Purgatory-eight eggs, bubbling tomato sauce, and an experience that's pure heaven. 


As Artie says, "Enjoy, with a thousand meals and a thousand laughs. Buon' appetito!"

The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Former Staffer to Ex-U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman (R) Pleads Guilty to Extensive Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

A former congressional staffer pleaded guilty for his role in  orchestrating a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from charitable foundations and the individuals who ran those foundations to pay for personal expenses and to illegally finance a former congressman’s campaigns for public office, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez of the Southern District of Texas.
         
Jason T. Posey, 46, formerly of Houston, and currently residing in Mississippi, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering before Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas. Sentencing is set for March 29, 2018.

According to admissions made in connection with Posey’s plea, Posey served as director of special projects and treasurer of the congressional campaign committee for former U.S. Congressman Stephen E. Stockman, 60, of the Houston, Texas area, from in or around January 2013 until in or around November 2013. Posey admitted that, at Stockman’s direction, he and another congressional staffer, Thomas Dodd, 38, of the Houston, Texas area, illegally funneled $15,000 of charitable proceeds into Stockman’s campaign bank account and caused the campaign to file reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that falsely stated that the money was a contribution from their parents and from the staffers themselves. According to Posey’s admissions, Stockman also directed Posey to send a letter to a charitable donor that falsely stated that the donor’s $350,000 donation had been used to support a charitable endeavor, when in fact the funds were actually used for other purposes, including Stockman’s campaigns for public office.

In connection with his plea, Posey also admitted that he and Stockman raised $450,571.65 to support Stockman’s 2014 Senate campaign by falsely representing to a donor that the funds would be used to support a legitimate independent expenditure by an independent advocacy group Posey created. In fact, Posey admitted that Stockman personally directed and supervised the activities of the purportedly independent group, including the printing and mailing of hundreds of thousands of copies of a pro-Stockman publication to Texas voters. Posey also admitted that he submitted a false affidavit to the FEC in order to conceal the scheme.

Dodd pleaded guilty on March 20 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to make illegal conduit contributions and false statements to the FEC. Stockman’s trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 29, 2018.

Friday, October 06, 2017

A Treasury of Advice and Maxims from Hugh Hefner in Hef's Little Black Book

The legendary founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner invites you into his world with Hef's Little Black Book, an illustrated treasury of advice and maxims.

The only book ever written by the iconic publisher and unabashed hedonist, Hef's Little Black Book, features a new, updated Afterword from Hef himself.

Dedicated Playboy readers and fans of The Girls Next Door, the hit reality TV series that takes you behind the doors of the Playboy Mansion, will not want to miss this fantastic guide to the very good life from the man who lived it better than anyone.

Hef's Little Black Book.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Dalton Gang Met Their Match in Coffeyville, Kansas, On This Day, in 1892 #Gangsters

On this day in 1892, the famous Dalton Gang attempts the daring daylight robbery of two Coffeyville, Kansas, banks at the same time. But if the gang members believed the sheer audacity of their plan would bring them success, they were sadly mistaken. Instead, they were nearly all killed by quick-acting townspeople.

For a year and a half, the Dalton Gang had terrorized the state of Oklahoma, mostly concentrating on train holdups. Though the gang had more murders than loot to their credit, they had managed to successfully evade the best efforts of Oklahoma law officers to bring them to justice. Perhaps success bred overconfidence, but whatever their reasons, the gang members decided to try their hand at robbing not just one bank, but at robbing the First National and Condon Banks in their old hometown of Coffeyville at the same time.

After riding quietly into town, the men tied their horses to a fence in an alley near the two banks and split up. Two of the Dalton brothers-Bob and Emmett-headed for the First National, while Grat Dalton led Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers in to the Condon Bank. Unfortunately for the Daltons, someone recognized one of the gang members and began quietly spreading the word that the town banks were being robbed. Thus, while Bob and Emmett were stuffing money into a grain sack, the townspeople ran for their guns and quickly surrounded the two banks. When the Dalton brothers walked out of the bank, a hail of bullets forced them back into the building. Regrouping, they tried to flee out the back door of the bank, but the townspeople were waiting for them there as well.

Meanwhile, in the Condon Bank a brave cashier had managed to delay Grat Dalton, Powers, and Broadwell with the classic claim that the vault was on a time lock and couldn’t be opened. That gave the townspeople enough time to gather force, and suddenly a bullet smashed through the bank window and hit Broadwell in the arm. Quickly scooping up $1,500 in loose cash, the three men bolted out the door and fled down a back alley. But like their friends next door, they were immediately shot and killed, this time by a local livery stable owner and a barber.

When the gun battle was over, the people of Coffeyville had destroyed the Dalton Gang, killing every member except for Emmett Dalton. But their victory was not without a price: the Dalton’s took four townspeople to their graves with them. After recovering from serious wounds, Emmett was tried and sentenced to life in prison. After 14 years he won parole, and he eventually leveraged his cachet as a former Wild West bandit into a position as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Several years after moving to California, he died at the age of 66 in 1937.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Hugh Hefner Politely Declined Chicago Mob Overtures in Both Windy City and Sin City

The powerful Chicago mob twice made overtures to partner with Hugh Hefner and his Playboy clubs, including one in Las Vegas, Hugh Hefner revealed. Both times, Hefner said, he "politely declined."

10 years ago, Hefner, in Las Vegas for his 81st birthday weekend celebration at the Palms, told me the Chicago mob "very much wanted to invest in the Playboy Clubs." The first contact came during a Playboy party when Marshall Caifano, "a heavy hitter in the Chicago mob ... collared me during a party and said he wanted to talk with us." "I kind of backed away and said I didn't want to talk about business in a social setting. So he made a date to come over the next afternoon, and I sat down with my guys and said, 'What do we do with this guy. We can't be doing business with the mob.'" Hefner said he told Caifano, "'I don't know what kind of business you are in,' and he got kind of flustered and embarrassed and said, 'Gambling.' I said, 'Well, you've got your enemies and we've got ours, and I think it would be a big mistake to combine the two.'"

Later, reps from the mobbed-up Chez Paris, "probably the most famous nightclub in Chicago," said Hefner, leaned on him to collaborate on a club in Las Vegas. Again, Hefner held his ground.

Thanks to Norm!

When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Money. Mayhem and Murder

When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Money. Mayhem and Murder.

What is it about Las Vegas that captivates us? Is it how the skim worked at the Stardust and how millions of dollars walked out the door uncounted? Or what really happened when Frank Sinatra threw a chair at the casino boss of the Sands? Did you ever hear the story about how some very bad Vegas guys rigged the gin rummy games at the Friars Club and took a bunch of famous people to the cleaners? Howard Hughes had some weird notions about the Silver Slipper and put his money where his paranoia was.

It's all Vegas, and it is fascinating history. Vegas in the '50s and '60s was indeed another world. Those were the days when small-time gamblers like me, in town with my wife for a weekend of shows and great food, could ride down the elevator at one of the Strip hotels with Lucille Ball, have an A table at the Versailles Room at the Riviera to see Rowan and Martin, with Edie Adams opening, and laugh until it hurt when Buddy Hackett played the old Congo Room at the Sahara.

Behind the scenes, the Mob ran Vegas in those days. And stories abound. Through years of study and interviews and just talking to people from all strata of Las Vegas comes this book, a glimpse into the money, mayhem, and murders of early Vegas.

When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Money. Mayhem and Murder.