Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boss or Not Boss - James "Little Jimmy" Marcello



There seems to be some disagreement among a handful of my readers regarding James "Little Jimmy" Marcello. Several media sources report that Marcello is the currently "the man" of the Chicago Mob. Others report that Marcello is not the boss now nor has he ever been boss.

With Little Jimmy back in custody and looking at a possible long prison term as a result of Operation Family Secrets, it is probably a moot point. Most likely, "The Outfit" has begun it's search for Marcello's successor, if he is in fact the guy in charge.

I am curious for my readers and fellow mobologists to weigh in with their comments and thoughts. Feel free to share your opinion by sending me an email. I will report back on any new revelations that you might have for us.

Dapper Don Took Secrets to His Grave

Friends of ours: John Gotti, Junior Gotti

As doctors tried to ease the pain from his cancer, John Gotti had one request.

"No truth serum," he wrote on a chalkboard to his youngest son, Peter, who was at his father's bedside in the final days of the mob boss' life.

Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, was loyal to the end to the Mafia code of silence, his other son, John "Junior" Gotti told the Daily News for an interview in Wednesday's editions. "I'm proud of my father, right down to his last breath," Gotti said.

The elder Gotti kept famously mum about the mob, never publicly acknowledging his role in the organization or even its existence. Before his 1992 sentencing for murder and racketeering, Gotti instructed his lawyer to "get it over with without anybody making any speeches."

"Junior" Gotti, 42, is scheduled to go on trial again in August after two previous juries deadlocked on charges alleging he arranged the beating of Guardian Angels founder and radio host Curtis Sliwa.

His lawyers have argued that he gave up all mob activities after he pleaded guilty in another racketeering case in 1999, serving five years in prison. Last month a federal grand jury charged that Gotti never gave up that life, accusing him in a written indictment of committing a series of mob-related crimes in the last year.

Search For Bulger Goes To Chicago

Friends of ours: James "Whitey" Bulger

Investigators searching for fugitive gangster James "Whitey" Bulger went to Chicago last week, delivering subpoenas to two labor union officials and taking a Palm Pilot from one of them, a lawyer representing the union said.

The Palm Pilot was turned over by a union employee with Local 134 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said attorney Matthew J. Cleveland. Cleveland said the union was told by federal investigators that neither the union nor its employees was being investigated. "They were just following up on some leads regarding the Whitey Bulger case," Cleveland said. "The union itself is not a target, nor any employees or the officers of the union."

Subpoenas were delivered to two union employees, Charles Dunn, a business representative for the union, and Michael Caddigan, the union's office manager, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

Cleveland would not confirm the identities of the union employees who received subpoenas, but said that the employees had already spoken to investigators. "They cooperated with the federal agents," he said.

Neither Caddigan nor Dunn could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. Messages were left for both men at the union's office in Chicago. Cleveland said he did not know that kind of lead investigators were following in Chicago.

Samantha Martin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, would not comment on the leads investigators are following in Chicago. The FBI in Boston referred calls to Sullivan's office.

"We can't confirm or deny any specific investigative activity for Whitey Bulger," Martin said.

This is not the first time that the search for Bulger has led investigators to Chicago. Kevin Weeks, a former enforcer for Bulger's Winter Hill Gang, has told investigators that he delivered fake identification to Bulger in Chicago in 1996.

Bulger, 76, a longtime informant for the FBI, disappeared 11 years ago, fleeing Boston just before he was indicted on federal racketeering charges in January 1995. He's been charged in 19 murders and is on the FBI's "10 Most Wanted" list.

Bulger's former FBI handler, retired FBI agent John Connolly Jr., was convicted of racketeering charges in 2002 for warning Bulger to flee before his 1995 indictment. Connolly is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Considering Rockford's Bid for a Casino ...Mob Ties and Denials in Chicago: Deja Vu All Over Again

Friends of ours: Al Capone, Harry Aleman, Pat Marcy, Michael Magnifichi
Friends of mine: Robert Cooley, Donald E. Stephens, John D'Arco Sr., John D' Arco Jr., Betty Loren-Maltese, William "Bill" Hanhardt, Nick Boscarino, William "Bill" Daddano III

Nov, 2004. If you've been around Chicago politics long enough, you see certain cycles that repeat themselves—like those cicadas that crawl up from the ground every dozen years or so. Once again, people are questioning the organized crime associations of important public officials. Once again, those officials and their hired guns (usually a former U.S. Attorney or ex-FBI agent) are trying to laugh off those associations. Donald E. Stephens, the long-time mayor of suburban Rosemont, is a case in point, but there's a lot more at stake in his background than a history lesson. His city is on the verge of getting a casino license that could soon make it the gambling capital of Illinois. But if you know even a little bit about this mayor's old buddies, like I do, you wonder how this could ever happen.

When we were doing some research for my book, When Corruption Was King, we came across a newspaper clip from 1969. The Chicago Crime Commission had the insurance agency Anco Inc. on its watch list of "hoodlum-tainted" businesses. The company's president, John D'Arco Sr., had been a former alderman and was then Democratic committeeman for the First Ward. None other than Mayor Richard J. Daley jumped to his defense and charged, "It is one thing to have facts and another to report hearsay."

Questions about D'Arco's past faded from the press, but cropped up again, in 1980, when he engineered the appointment of Bill Hanhardt as Chief of Detectives for the Chicago Police Department during the administration of Jane Byrne. This time, Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek defended D'Arco, saying, "None of the allegations against him had ever been proved."

What a joke that was. Anybody could have gone to the newspaper clip files and found arrest reports on D'Arco linking him to Al Capone and various stick-ups, including one that cost a victim her life.

Meanwhile, at this very time in 1980, I was sitting with D'Arco most days in Counsellors Row restaurant across the street from City Hall. At the head of our table was Pat Marcy, the Outfit’s chief political operator. I watched as D'Arco and Marcy rigged city contracts, appointed judges, and even fixed murder cases for Mob hit men.

In fact, I helped them do that for the notorious killer Harry Aleman. In 1986, I went to the organized crime strike force and offered to wear a wire to help bring charges against Marcy, his political organization and associated mobsters. In the resulting trials, we ended up convicting, among others, D'Arco's son, State Sen. John D'Arco Jr., First Ward Alderman Fred Roti, some judges and even got to re-try Aleman for the murder case I helped fix. (Marcy died of a heart attack during his trial).

As we all know, the First Ward's choice for Chief of Detectives, Bill Hanhardt, was arrested many years later for leading a nationwide jewelry theft ring. He, too, had his FBI agent defenders, right until the day of his conviction.

Now here comes Rosemont's Mayor Stephens, another dinosaur who wants us to pretend he was never a reptile. This is especially laughable for me, because on at least two different occasions, I heard Marcy and D'Arco talk about him like he was another one of their go-fers. But what I say now should have little bearing on this debate.

The public record on Stephens is already damning enough. It's not just that his old Mob friend, Nick Boscarino, was convicted for an insurance scam. He was convicted for scamming the city of Rosemont, much like mobsters scammed the city of Cicero, and in that case, the mayor, Betty Loren-Maltese, was convicted, too. It's just not that some of Stephens's other buddies, like William Daddano III have Mob ties. They are tied to people like Michael Magnifichi, who I know to be long-time bookmakers.

The average person has no idea about all the ways mobsters get their hooks into legalized gambling. It starts even before the casino is built, when they use their political friends to win contracts for construction. It continues as they infiltrate the key unions involved. Outfit bookmakers hang out at the casino to take illegal sports bets, and finally, one way or another, the Mob finds a way to skim some of the cash that flies around the legal games. They did it in Las Vegas, and you can bet that they'll find a way to do it here.

In fact, you could say that law enforcement authorities who try to keep mobsters out of casinos already have the deck stacked against them. But if you were going to put a casino anywhere in Illinois, why would you start in the one city (Rosemont) that has the longest-serving mayor with Mob connections?

Thanks to Robert Cooley Co-author of When Corruption Was King with Hillel Levin.

Editor's note: According to Cooley, two Chicago newspapers declined to publish this editorial.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mafia Cop Trial Defense Was 'Excellent,' Judge Says

Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

The Mafia Cops corruption case swerved yet again into the unforeseen — and the astonishing — as a federal judge angrily exonerated one defense lawyer of professional neglect even as he briefly threatened to arrest another for his absence from court.

The first decision by the judge, Jack B. Weinstein, effectively put to rest charges that the first lawyer, Bruce Cutler, had bungled the defense of his former client, Louis Eppolito, a retired New York detective. In April, only days after a jury found him guilty of at least eight murders for the mob, Mr. Eppolito accused Mr. Cutler of botching the job and subpoenaed him to appear in court in his own defense.

Mr. Cutler did just that, taking questions from Joseph Bondy, his old client's new lawyer, on everything from his courtroom style (the words "eviscerate" and "pulverize" came up) to his decision not to let his former client testify. If Mr. Eppolito had testified, the prosecution would have buried him in evidence, Mr. Cutler said. He added that he would have gone so far as to tackle Mr. Eppolito — no mean feat for a man with a 54-inch chest — rather than to let him take the stand.

Nonetheless, after two hours of intense interrogation, Judge Weinstein cut the hearing short, ruling that Mr. Cutler had not only put on a "professional" defense but that Mr. Eppolito's "immorality and lack of credibility" had led him "to ignore his testimony on any point." The immediate result of this was that Mr. Cutler — surprised but apparently much relieved — got to go home, more or less unscathed, on what could have been a brutal day in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

Momentum for the hearing had been rising since the day that Mr. Eppolito told the press that Mr. Cutler had "abandoned" him and filed a motion for a new trial. Beyond a glance into Mr. Cutler's methods ("After the government's case is eviscerated," he explained, "I sum up and then I win"), the hearing was rather tame. Judge Weinstein was unimpressed enough by Mr. Bondy's arguments that he said he saw no need for the government to cross-examine Mr. Cutler — in essence saying that its point (that Mr. Cutler was, in fact, a fine lawyer) had already been made.

Mr. Eppolito, along with his co-defendant, Stephen Caracappa, were trying to prove that they deserved new trials based on the issue of inadequate representation, among others. While Judge Weinstein rejected Mr. Eppolito's motion for a new trial based on the representation grounds, he has not ruled on the former detective's other motions. It was also unclear how today's ruling would affect Mr. Caracappa's case against his defense lawyer, Eddie Hayes.

On Friday, Mr. Eppolito testified for the first time since his case originally went to court. He assaulted Mr. Cutler's reputation, saying that although he had paid the lawyer a $250,000 retainer, Mr. Cutler had never fully explained to him the charges in the case and had refused to work through lunch.

In fact, he said, Mr. Cutler not only refused four times to let him take the stand, he refused to speak with him at all. "Tell him he's annoying me," Mr. Eppolito quoted Mr. Cutler as having told a colleague one day. This was within earshot of the client, who said he had answered, "I'm not deaf."

Mr. Eppolito's testimony made it evident why Mr. Cutler had kept him off the witness stand during the trial. Mr. Eppolito revealed himself to be a man with a tangential relation to reality — who, in one breath, said he wanted to attack a man with a hatchet and in the next proclaimed, "I'm not a violent guy."

In a particularly odd moment, Mr. Eppolito swore — in open court and on penalty of perjury — that he would have no trouble lying, none at all, if he thought it would help his case.

It was perfectly in keeping with the hearing that the chief investigator for the case came around to his adversary's point of view.

"I hate to agree with Cutler," the investigator said, referring to Mr. Eppolito, , "but this guy should be nowhere near the stand."

Thanks to Alan Feuer

Mafia Cop Testifies It's True He's a Liar

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Lucchese Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa, Burton Kaplan


Mafia cop Louis Eppolito took the witness stand yesterday to get his conviction tossed - and seemed to prove that his lawyers made the right decision by not allowing him to testify during his racketeering trial. Finally getting the chance to speak in his own defense, Eppolito admitted he's a liar, a phony and maybe even a racist.

"You'll tell a lie if it will help you?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Henoch asked.

"Yes, if it will help me get a movie done," replied Eppolito, who launched a fledgling career as an actor and screenwriter after his retirement from the NYPD in 1989.

Eppolito, 57, and his former partner, Stephen Caracappa, 64, were convicted in April of participating in eight gangland murders while on the mob payroll. The former cops are arguing that their trial attorneys - Bruce Cutler, who was paid $250,000 by Eppolito, and Edward Hayes, who pocketed $200,000 from Caracappa - failed to properly defend them.

Eppolito's current defense lawyer, Joseph Bondy, objected yesterday when the prosecutor asked Eppolito about his frequent use of the N-word and his admission that he always washes his hand after shaking a black man's hand. But Federal Judge Jack Weinstein ruled the questions were appropriate. "We're trying to determine if it was desirable to keep this witness off the stand; this is what the jury would have heard," Weinstein pointed out.

Eppolito acknowledged using the N-word and slurs for Asians and Hispanics. But he said he only used them as slang terms - "not to hurt their feelings."

He also insisted he's not violent. But he confirmed an anecdote in his autobiography, "Mafia Cop," in which he described shoving a shotgun into a man's mouth and feeling "this wonderful, heady urge to pull the trigger" as the man soiled his pants.

Eppolito was later asked how he knew mob associate and garment dealer Burton Kaplan, who testified that he had been the go-between for Luchese underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso and the mob cops.

"I bought clothes from him. He's the one guy who would switch the [36-inch] pants with a bigger [54-inch] jacket," the rotund convict explained.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yet Another Chapter in the Mafia Cops Case

Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Louis Eppolito, the convicted killer in the Mafia Cops corruption case, has been arguing for weeks that his lawyer failed him by not allowing him to testify at the trial.

Two months after his conviction, Mr. Eppolito got to take the witness stand. But he may have demonstrated that his lawyer had made the correct call. Mr. Eppolito's testimony, the first he had offered in the case, was a hodgepodge of stories, contradictions and excuses. He said, for instance, that his lawyer, Bruce Cutler, had ordered him at least four times not to testify and that, despite the fact he wanted to testify, he never did — because he was afraid of angering the judge.

In a particularly odd moment today, Mr. Eppolito swore — in open court and on penalty of perjury — that he would have no trouble lying, none at all, if he thought it would help his case.

The testimony came at a hearing intended to determine whether Mr. Eppolito and his co-defendant had received inadequate representation from their lawyers, Mr. Cutler and Edward Hayes, and thus deserved a new trial. The lawyers, who had been subpoenaed by their former clients, appeared in court today to address the accusations in their own defense.

If Lewis Carroll had traded in his travels through the looking glass to write about the courts, he might not have dreamed up anything as bizarre as today's hearing.

Everything was backwards. The defendants attacked their former lawyers — men they had once paid money to defend them. The prosecutors defended the defendants' lawyers — men they had repeatedly attacked over the course of the monthlong trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Then again, this was a case in which the unusual became pretty standard.

At the sentencing two weeks ago, not only did a bearded man suddenly jump up to accuse Mr. Eppolito of having wrongly sent him to prison 19 years ago, but a bootleg copy of Mr. Eppolito's screenplay, "I Never Met a Stranger," was circulating quietly in court.

Crazy Horse Too
The trial itself included "eight bodies," insult-laden arguments, subpoenaed book deals and a wildly extravagant cast. The characters ranged from an illiterate sixth-grade dropout who kept secret for nearly 20 years that he had buried the body of a murder victim at his business, to a Connecticut accountant who stole $5 million and then made amends to the government by secretly recording everyone from the defendants to exotic dancers at a strip club called the Crazy Horse Too.

From the very moment when, freed on bail last summer, Mr. Eppolito strolled from the courthouse in a guayabera and diamond-patterned lounge pants, then lifted his hem to show reporters the monitoring anklet clamped to his leg, it was clear that the trial would be no ordinary drama. There was testimony about Mr. Eppolito's snake collection and the fact that his headshot — he turned to acting after he retired — had once hung in a Chinese restaurant. In the same vein, the jury learned that Mr. Caracappa had once been working on a deal to sell a George Foreman punching-bag machine and had, at one point, run a background check on his future wife through the police Bureau of Criminal Identification.

Arguments could certainly be made that neither Mr. Hayes nor Mr. Cutler was on his A-game at the monthlong trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Mr. Cutler's defense case took 13 minutes to present (five less than it took to poll the jurors when his client was convicted). Much of the evidence he introduced was done so with non sequiturs: Exhibit W for "waffle," he said. Or Exhibit Z for "zephyr," which he described, to no specific purpose, as "a gentle breeze." But he, at least, showed up. Mr. Hayes, on his own big day, inexplicably left the state. It turned out he had gone to Los Angeles — he had another case — and left the matter of Mr. Caracappa's defense to his law partner, Rae Koshetz.

Thanks to Alan Feuer

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Be A "Made Man" This September

Friends of ours: Bonnano Crime Family, Bill Bonnano

Mastertronic today donned its finest Italian suit and tightest leather gloves as it confirmed the release of Made Man, a Mafia action game epic from Manchester-based Silverback Studios, for PS2 and PC in September.
Made Man by Silverback Studios

Prepare to get 'made' in the most compelling and thrilling mafia experience you've ever seen. Work up the ranks of The Mob, from opportunist G.I. fighting in Vietnam, to 'wise guy' on the make, doing deeds and winning favour from the Don in New York City.

Your mission is to be 'made' – that is, being firmly accepted into the fold of the Mafia elite. But what dirty deeds must you perform to get there? What will you have to sacrifice, and who might double cross you, on the way?

Made Man is a story of friendship, betrayal and greed told in seventeen action-packed chapters that span three decades, from the blood-soaked jungles of '60s Vietnam to the grime and high-rise hell of '70s and '80s New York City. The game has been created in conjunction with genuine Mafia insiders; New York Times best selling author David Fisher and Bill Bonnano, former high ranking member of the infamous Bonnano crime family. Such valuable insights ensure that Made Man's atmosphere, characters, style and violence are all as authentic as possible to real life.

"Made Man indoctrinates you into the family of the modern Mafia and lets you live the power, corruption and violence during the '60s, '70s and '80s," commented Andy Payne, Managing Director of Mastertronic. "Working closely with David Fisher and Bill Bonnano has resulted in a Pulp noire-style plot for the game rivalled only by Oscar-winning big screen epics. With Made Man, we're doing to the Mafia videogames genre what The Godfather did to Mafia movies."

"This is about as close to really being in the mob as a game can be. You turn your back on the wrong person, that's it, game over," continued Bill Bonnano, real life Made Man and former member of the Bonnano crime family. "I have worked with author David Fisher to make sure every level, every scene, every detail, actually represents the inner workings of organised crime. No question about it this is as real as it gets."

Players assume the role of Joey Verola and play through the key events in his life of crime. Along the way players will experience many innovative gameplay features, including:

Jump to cover – Avoid a hail of bullets by using the jump to cover technique, which launches Joey in the direction of the nearest safe spot. From there, Joey can sidle along and around the cover spot as well as fire over or around it before ducking back into safety. Joey can also create his own cover spots by strategically blasting away at the game's destructible scenery.

Picture-in-picture (PIP) – Remotely view the action at key locations away from Joey's immediate environment by taking advantage of the picture-in-picture views. PIP allows players to memorise the locations of sentries and important items, as well as heightening Made Man's movie-like dramatic style.

Dual weapons and melee combat – Joey can wield two firing weapons simultaneously for double the carnage! Melee weapons are also available for brutal bar room-style brawling and hand-to-hand combat using anything from chair legs, crowbars and knives to inflict the most damage.

Missile combat – Joey can throw all manner of explosive missiles including grenades, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs for maximum firepower. Missiles may also be used in stealthier stand-offs, in the form of empty drinks cans and rocks that can be used to distract and stun the enemy.

Proprietary physics system – Silverback's proprietary physics and 'rag doll' system is designed from the ground up to feature rich and dynamic environments that allow the player to destroy surroundings and enemies with realistic and spectacular results.

In addition to the key features above, Made Man also features a comprehensive reward system. As Joey fights he will be rewarded for performing various types of hits and kills. As Joey amasses these rewards he increases the effectiveness of his abilities and also gains new skills. Beware of hitting innocent civilians however, as doing so will actually punish the player by reducing accumulated points and, if too many innocents are targeted, Joey's speed, reload time and accuracy are all negatively affected.

Made Man is being developed by Manchester-based Silverback Studios and will be published by Mastertronic for PlayStation 2 and PC in September at full price.

Sign up for a life of crime.

Thanks to XGP Gaming.

Putting the Muscle on the Sopranos

Friends of ours: Soprano Crime Family

James Gandolfini, star of HBO's mob drama "The Sopranos," is muscling into a salary dispute between two of his castmates and the cable network before production begins on the show's last batch of episodes.

Gandolfini, whose own bitter contract squabble with HBO three years ago escalated into a court battle before it was settled, is hosting a sit-down this weekend with co-stars Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico, according to sources.

With less than two weeks until the scheduled production start of the show's last eight episodes, Gandolfini is said to be looking to intervene in the network's standoff with Van Zandt and Sirico over their demands for higher pay.

Only a handful of "Sopranos" actors -- including Emmy winners Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli and Vincent Curatola -- have closed deals to appear in the final installments of the HBO gangster drama.

Following the network's decision in the summer to extend the sixth season of "Sopranos" from 13 to 20 episodes -- 12 to air this year and eight in 2007 -- the cast of the Emmy-winning series began negotiations for substantial salary increases for the final batch of episodes.

With the first table read scheduled for July 5, several key cast members, including Lorraine Bracco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Steven Schirripa and John Ventimiglia, have not signed on the dotted line to continue. But it has been Sirico and Van Zandt, who play iconic characters Paulie Walnuts and Silvio Dante, respectively, who have had the toughest and most publicized renegotiations.

With each of the two actors and HBO still more than $500,000 apart on the money, and Sirico and Van Zandt not budging on their $200,000-an-episode asking price -- more than double their most recent fee -- a conclusion of the groundbreaking series without Paulie and Silvio looms as a real possibility.

Talks between the actors and HBO are still ongoing.

"HBO has made generous offers to the cast, and, as always, we're confident that we will resolve all of these matters amicably," an HBO spokesperson said.

Bob McGowan of McGowan Management, who manages Sirico and Van Zandt, declined comment Wednesday.

Dropping a Dime

Friends of ours: Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi
Friends of mine: Bruno Caruso, Ron Jarrett

Thanks to John Kass, today you're invited to participate in a time-honored Chicago political tradition.

It's called "dropping a dime." And everyone can play.

All you do is go to chicagotribune.com/clout, click on the "list of clout" and peruse Mayor Richard Daley's list of politically connected city payrollers and their clout-heavy sponsors that was introduced into evidence this week at the federal City Hall corruption/patronage trial.

Included among the sponsors were unions, tough guys and mayoral brains, including his brothers, like Bill Daley. (If Bill's picture keeps appearing on the front page in connection with stories about the federal trial, will he still become White House chief of staff under a President Hillary Clinton?)

There are so many intriguing questions associated with this list. One name is Andriacchi. There are many people with this name. But could this person be related to Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi, known to the FBI as a reputed boss of the Chicago Outfit? Or is it another, completely unrelated Andriacchi?

Another is Ronald Jarrett, sponsored for his city job by former laborers union boss Bruno Caruso, a reputed Outfit associate. Is this the same Ron Jarrett--the master jewel thief--who was killed in an Outfit hit in Bridgeport a few years ago? Or, is it just a typo?

If you know, then drop a dime and give a shout on city jobs clout.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Judge Rules Alleged Mobster, Frank Calabrese, Should Stay Behind Bars

A federal judge ordered Monday that alleged mobster Frank J. Calabrese Sr. should stay behind bars while he awaits trial on murder conspiracy charges.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said none of the suggested conditions for Calabrese's release "could reasonably ensure against attempts to obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses." Zagel sided with the prosecution, saying there was a "serious risk" Calabrese would attempt to prevent testimony from his brother and other potential witnesses "through intimidation, injury or bribery."

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez has argued that Calabrese is unlikely to flee if released on bond and won't obstruct justice by contacting witnesses. Lopez also has said Calabrese would be avoided by anyone connected with organized crime. Lopez said he does not know whether he will appeal the ruling. The U.S. attorney's office did not immediately returns calls for comment.

Convicted in a federal investigation of loan sharking and other crimes, Calabrese was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and was due to be released this year before he was indicted on the murder conspiracy charges in April 2005.

Defense attorneys sought Calabrese's release on medical grounds. Calabrese told Zagel last year he suffers from an array of health concerns, including arthritis, nose problems and the loss of 90 percent of his pituitary gland.

During a hearing last week, prosecutors played a series of secretly recorded conversations between Calabrese and his son, Frank Calabrese Jr., that they claim show the elder Calabrese's involvement in several murders.

The government alleges Calabrese was a member of the South Side/26th Street crew and, with others, murdered 13 people in Chicago and surrounding suburbs between August 1970 and September 1986.

According to prosecutors, Calabrese's victims included reputed mob enforcer William Dauber and reputed mob hit man William "Butch" Petrocelli.

He is among 14 alleged mobsters and mob associates indicted in the federal government's Operation Family Secrets, a long-running investigation of at least 18 mob killings. Each of the men faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Calabrese's brother, Nicholas W. Calabrese, also was charged but has been cooperating with prosecutors.

Friday, June 23, 2006

N.J. Mafia Family Gets New Boss

Friends of ours: DeCavalcante Crime Family, Joseph Miranda, Francesco Guarraci, John Riggi, John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato, Stefano "Steve the Truck Driver" Vitabile
Friends of mine: Joey Garafano


For years, the joke among New York mobsters was that you couldn't have a "sit-down" with a member of the DeCavalcante crime syndicate until after 4 o'clock. That's when the whistles blew and the job sites closed for the day.

Members of New Jersey's only homegrown Mafia family worked blue-collar jobs and shunned flashy cars and expensive suits -- a social camouflage that helped them quietly control labor unions and maintain a stranglehold on construction in the Garden State. "They were very proud of the fact that they held real jobs," said one former DeCavalcante associate.

Then, in the 1980s, the family began inducting aspiring wiseguys from New York City who loathed manual labor and preferred owning strip joints instead of plumbing supply stores. The move proved disastrous, leading to the conviction of more than 30 DeCavalcante mobsters, including seven with the high-ranking title of caporegime, as well as the family's longtime consiglieri.

In the wake of the turmoil, acting boss Joseph Miranda tried to rebuild the family, inducting up to a dozen new members, authorities said.

The 83-year-old Miranda's latest move involves quietly stepping aside and handing the reins to a new generation of old-school mobsters.

The family's new boss, two sources familiar with the inner workings of the crime syndicate told The Record, is a well-respected but little-known Sicilian immigrant in the mold of the group's forebears.

Born in the DeCavalcantes' ancestral home city of Ribera, Sicily, 51-year-old Francesco Guarraci lives in a modest Elizabeth home; runs the longtime family outpost, the Ribera Social Club, and drives to work each day to his job as a foreman in the historically family-run Laborers' Local 394, the sources said.

"He has very quietly become the top guy," one of them said. "We're not sure exactly when it happened, but Miranda seems to be completely out of the picture."

Telephone messages left at Guarraci's listed address were not returned.

Guarraci's name never surfaced in any of the myriad DeCavalcante indictments or government flow charts in the past few years. Then, in February, the parent union of Local 394 named him as a soldier for the DeCavalcantes, who they said were trying to wrest control of the local.

The local has been the "lifeblood" and "cash cow" of the family since the 1930s, the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) alleges. An investigation by the union found that the DeCavalcantes made hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by extorting money from contractors and engaging in labor racketeering, according to a legal brief filed in federal court that seeks trusteeship of the local.

Lawyers for the local dispute the allegations, contending that organized-crime control ceased years ago.

Imprisoned DeCavalcante boss John Riggi was the local's business manager from 1966 until 1988 and succeeded DeCavalcante as boss in 1976. He has been in prison since 1990 and currently is incarcerated in a federal medical facility in Massachusetts. But authorities say he has continued to run the family from behind bars, with the help of acting bosses. Riggi is believed to be the longest-serving mob boss in history, having run the family for 30 years.

In 2003, Riggi received an additional 10-year term after pleading guilty to ordering murders, including some while he was in prison. The 81-year-old boss is scheduled for release in 2012. The hole left by his absence has been filled by a string of acting bosses.

Since 1990, five of them have been jailed or murdered or have defected from the mob, including one, John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato, who authorities said was killed, in part, because he was reportedly bisexual and frequented swinger clubs.

Last Monday, the family's longtime consiglieri, Stefano "Steve the Truck Driver" Vitabile, was sentenced to life in prison for ordering the hit on D'Amato.

Guarraci had been eyed for years to eventually take over the top spot in the union, said a former associate now living under an assumed name after testifying against family members.

Guarraci doesn't top the DeCavalcante organizational charts at all of New Jersey's law-enforcement agencies. The state police, for instance, maintain that Miranda remains in control of day-to-day operations.

"We still have Miranda in charge," said state police Capt. Mark Doyle, who heads the organized crime unit.

Doyle conceded, however, that the state police aren't devoting a great deal of resources to investigating the DeCavalcante clan -- or the Mafia in general -- except in cases of public corruption. Corruption and street gangs are currently the top priorities for the state police, Doyle said.

"That's the big, big push," he said. "Right now, OC is not killing anyone on the street. These gang bangers are."

At the same time, Doyle called the DeCavalcantes "a bunch of weak sisters."

The bespectacled Guarraci was inducted into the crime family in 1989 during a ceremony led by Riggi, according to the former associate.

Guarraci wasn't scheduled to be "made," but was inducted in place of another associate, Joey Garafano. Garafano was killed after stealing the license plates from the car of a fellow wiseguy's wife and putting them on a "crash car" used in a high-profile mob hit, the former associate said.

"He would be a perfect fit for new boss: old-school, born and raised in Ribera," the former DeCavalcante associate said. "Frank would be a favorite, because he's tough and real low-key and very well-liked."

Guarraci has deliberately kept a low profile, said a law-enforcement source who would talk only off the record because he wasn't authorized to discuss the mob family.

"He really stayed under the radar for a long time," the source said. "Even when he was made boss, a lot of us didn't even know who he was."

Thanks to Tom Troncone

Parents Complain about 'Mafia' Game at School

Some middle-school parents in Raymond said they are outraged that their fifth-graders have been playing a controversial game during school, reported WMUR-TV in Manchester.

The game is called Mafia, and the parents said it has given their children nightmares.

Parent Rae Coppola said she was disturbed to see the homework assignment her 11-year-old daughter was getting ready to turn in for her class at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in Raymond. Coppola said her daughter's assignment was to list the rules for the game. "There's absolutely nothing fun about killing people and for these children to have to come up with ideas on their own about how to kill people," Coppola said.

According to Wikipedia, Mafia is a party game in which some players are "Mafia members" and others are "honest people." Each team tries to eliminate the other team, with the "honest" group trying to figure out who the Mafia members are.

Toward the beginning of the game, a narrator or moderator usually tells a story about how a player was eliminated, or "killed," by the Mafia.

Coppola said that her daughter was not having fun playing the game."I had noticed her acting weird," she said. "She was up to 11:30 at night. She couldn't sleep, had migraines, had a stomach ache."

Coppola said that after seeing the assignment, she went to the school the next day to complain."I was just absolutely mortified that they're teaching violence in schools," she said. "Teaching starts at home, and I'm trying to teach my child that certain things are not appropriate. I don't even let her watch PG-13 movies."

Coppola met with Principal Caesar Meledandri, who put a stop to the game. She also received a letter from the teacher apologizing, but she said it's not enough. "I want the school to notify the parents, because I know a few of her other friends have been having nightmares and been really upset about it, and parents probably have no idea what's wrong with their kids," she said.

Another mother told the televison station that her daughter was afraid to go to sleep because she was worried she would sleepwalk and act out the game.

Acting Superintendent Michael Shore said that he's looking into the game. "Immediately, with any type of complaint, we would investigate the situation," Shore said. "After the investigation is complete, we would be in a situation where we would consider reprimanding, termination or suspension."

Coppola said she wants the teacher fired. "I send my children to school to learn -- not learn how to play games to kill people, but to learn how to read and do math," she said.

Shore said the investigation should be finished by next week.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Boulis Kin, 2 Felons Own Martha's Site

Friends of ours: Michael Giorango, Gambino Crime Family, John Gotti

The company that bought the Martha's Restaurant property includes a nephew of murdered SunCruz Casinos founder Gus Boulis and two felons -- one with reputed mob ties.

Spiros Naos, Boulis' nephew and part of SunCruz's current ownership, said Thursday he is unwinding his 14-month-old business relationship with the Chicago-area criminals because of "perception" issues. "Any reasonable business person would do the same thing," Naos said.

Naos' partners, Michael Giorango and Demitri Stavropoulos, were convicted in 2004 for separate crimes. Giorango, 53, a reputed organized-crime figure with the nickname "Jaws," is on probation after being found guilty by a Miami federal jury for promoting a prostitution ring. He also has a past conviction for illegal bookmaking. Stavropoulos, 38, is serving the final days of a nearly 18-month sentence after pleading guilty to operating an illegal gambling business and filing a false tax return. He also had to forfeit more than $1 million.

The trio bought the Martha's property in April 2005, even as prosecutors were building a case against other mob associates for the 2001 gangland-style killing of Boulis, founder of the floating-gambling empire.

Naos, 31, said he is "sensitive" about whom he does business with but insisted he didn't know the extent of Giorango and Stavropoulos' criminal background when they bought the Martha's property from Boulis' estate for $6.2 million. Naos said he originally was equal partners with Stavropoulos, whom he had met at a Greek wedding not long before the deal. Stavropoulos, in turn, split his stake with Giorango, Naos said.

Martha's wasn't their only business deal. Two months after the Martha's sale closed, the three partners and SunCruz Chairman Robert Weisberg paid $4.5 million for marina property near Myrtle Beach, S.C., where a SunCruz vessel docks.

Naos said Giorango and Stavropoulos were "transitioned out" of the South Carolina deal once Naos and Weisberg learned of the felons' backgrounds. Nothing in South Carolina property records could be found to reflect the change, which Naos described as a confidential financial matter.

Efforts to reach Giorango and Stavropoulos through their lawyers were unsuccessful. Giorango has another South Florida tie: State corporate records show he is manager of 2601 Associates LLC, owner of Miami Beach's Lorraine Hotel, one of the places where prosecutors alleged his prostitution ring operated.

While SunCruz's parent company signed a 10-year lease for the South Carolina marina property, Naos said SunCruz has no involvement with the Martha's property. In fact, the same month the property was sold, SunCruz pulled the plug on a gaming boat that docked behind the restaurant.

Both the Martha's and South Carolina marina property purchases were financed by the same Chicago financial institution, Broadway Bank.

The $4.8 million loan for Martha's, later increased by $1 million, and the $3.6 million loan on the marina property, among others, thrust Broadway Bank executive Alexi Giannoulias -- the Democratic nominee for Illinois state treasurer -- into the media spotlight earlier this year. Chicago-area newspapers wanted to know why the family-owned bank made loans to the felons.

While there was nothing improper about the loans, Broadway Bank would not make them again, said Giannoulias' campaign spokesman, Scott Burnham. Giannoulias ''is on the record saying that he didn't know the extent of the legal problems of these two individuals,'' Burnham said.

Giannoulias' campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from Naos, but not because of Naos' ties with Giorango and Stavropoulos, Burnham said. Rather, Burnham said it was SunCruz's connection with Jack Abramoff, who is embroiled in an influence-peddling investigation in Washington.

Abramoff, entrepreneur Adam Kidan and Ronald Reagan administration official Ben Waldman acquired SunCruz from Boulis for $147.5 million in September 2000.

Less than five months later, Boulis was murdered. Three men, a former advisor to Gambino family crime boss John Gotti and two mob wannabes, have been charged.

Thanks to Patrick Danner

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Private Eye Who Investigated 'Mafia Cops' Attacked - Possible Retaliation For Her Work Exposing Corruption

Friends of ours: Gregory Scarpa
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

A private investigator, who helped prosecutors look into several mob murders, was attacked in her car at the intersection of the Shore Parkway and the Bay Parkway in Brooklyn. She was found inside her car, strangled but still alive.

Angela Clemente was involved in many cases for Congress and local prosecutors. Investigators are concerned that that someone strangled Angela Clemente because of her work exposing corruption.

Some detectives wonder what really happened to Ms. Clemente, but police said she told them her attacker was a white man who drove off in a black car. In a statement, the Brooklyn D.A. said, "This is of great concern for us. We have a very active investigation going."

Clemente told detectives that she went to that part of Brooklyn to meet a possible source, after finding a note on her car windshield Thursday night in New Jersey to be there.

Last march Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes announced the arrest of former FBI supervisor Lindley de Vecchio, essentially charging him with protecting mob capo Gregory Scarpa Sr. Angela Clemente did a lot of the legwork that led to indictments in that case.

Her work also led to the investigation of the so-called mafia cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. It is unknown at this time whether this work led to her attack.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Family Torn Apart by Mafia Cops

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
Friends of mine: Louie Eppolito, Steven Caracappa


On Easter Sunday, Mike Guido inched along the Gowanus Expressway, his mother Pauline beside him in a fog of sadness.

Mike had just taken his mother to Green-Wood Cemetery to visit the graves of his father, Gabe, and brother, Nicky, who lay side by side on a verdant hillock just inside the fence at 20th St. and Prospect Park West, three heartbreaking blocks from where Nicky had been murdered by mob hit men on Christmas Day 20 years earlier, in a grotesque case of mistaken identity.

The name "Nicky Guido" had been passed to a homicidal maniac hoodlum named Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso by two NYPD detectives named Louie Eppolito and Steven Caracappa as one of those responsible for trying to kill Casso in a mob hit. Problem was that when the Mafia cops demanded $4,000 for Nicky Guido's home address, Casso balked and decided to get it free from "the gas company."

Which led to the murder of an innocent 26-year-old telephone company worker named Nicky Guido from 17th St. in Windsor Terrace, who had zero affiliation with the mob. "If Eppolito and Caracappa had never given the name Nicky Guido to middleman Burt Kaplan, who gave it to Casso, my brother would still be alive today," Mike Guido says.

On April 6, the Mafia cops were found guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court for the murder of Nicky Guido and seven others whose bodies popped up on the streets of Brooklyn like morning mushrooms in the worst case of police corruption in NYPD history.

These cops used their gold shields, handcuffs, and twirling lights and police sirens to run around the Borough of Churches killing and kidnapping people like fascist assassins in some despotic police state. Two of their victims, Israel Greenwald and Jimmy Hydell, became members of the "disappeared" like those who Jack Lemmon searched for in "Missing."

In 2005, Greenwald's body was exhumed from his grave in the cement floor of Garage #4 of a parking lot at 2232 Nostrand Ave., just blocks from where his shattered family had moved after losing their Lawrence, L.I., house when the family breadwinner vanished. "Thank you, thank you, thank you Lady Justice," Mike Guido said after jury found the Mafia cop guilty on all 70 counts. And so it was that on Easter Sunday following the verdict Mike Guido took his mother to visit his brother's grave. Buds popped, birds sang, sun shone as his mother placed flowers before a smooth marble stone that bore her son Nicky's name. She also put flowers on the grave of Gabe Guido, her husband, who'd died from a broken heart three years after his son was murdered.

"Then, after, when we sat on the Gowanus in traffic, on the way to Staten Island to eat Easter dinner in my sister-in-law's house, I looked to the right," says Mike Guido. "And there was Bush Terminal, where my father worked in an envelope factory to raise me and Nicky."

Then his mother nudged him and pointed to another austere building, and he realized it was the Brooklyn Federal lockup. "That where they are?" she asked.

"Yeah, Ma, that's where Eppolito and Caracappa will be eatin' Easter dinner."

"Good," she said. "Maybe we should send them a few jellybeans."

Mike Guido passes that jailhouse almost every day on the way to work. "I smile every time, knowing they're in that hellhole," he said. "And that they'll be going somewhere even worse to die in little cages like the animals they are."

Last week, Mike Guido decided to pass up the opportunity to read an impact statement at the sentencing of Eppolito and Caracappa, where they got life without possibility of parole.

"To start with, I had to go to work," he says, a concept lost on crooked cops and cheap hoods. "Secondly, they're beneath my contempt. I wouldn't waste my breath. There's a homeless guy who stands on 42nd St. and Seventh Ave. in Manhattan with a sign that says you can tell him off for one dollar. I'd rather give him a buck and tell him what I think of Eppolito and Caracappa than make a special trip to tell them."

Instead, on Father's Day Mike Guido will pick up his mother and make a special trip to Green-Wood Cemetery to pray over the graves of his brother and his father, who loved his sons so much that the loss of his youngest took away his very will to live.

"My brother was murdered 20 years ago," Mike Guido says. "But Eppolito's and Caracappa's life sentences are just about to start. I can feel my old man smiling. So on this Father's Day, both Nicky and my father can finally rest in peace. Together ..."

Thanks to Denis Hamill

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio Index

Felix 'Milwaukee Phil' AlderisioFelix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio was one of the Chicago Outfit's most feared hitmen. He is believed to have been boss from around 1969 to 1971. Originally from New York, he moved to Chicago when he was still a child. As a teenager, he moved to Milwaukee where he fought as a boxer under the name of "Milwaukee Phil". Unpopular as a leader, he was eventually convicted of bank fraud and extortion. While serving time for those convictions, he died at the federal prison in Marion in 1971 at the age of 59.


Chicago Syndicate Articles that include mention of Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio


Wintry Grave May Be Part of Mob's Legacy

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Prosecutors: Alleged Chicago Mob Figure Should Stay Behind Bars

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick Calabrese, William Dauber William "Butch" Petrocelli

Federal prosecutors used secretly recorded tapes Monday to bolster their argument that alleged mobster Frank J. Calabrese Sr. should stay behind bars while he awaits trial on murder conspiracy charges.

The government played for U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel tape recordings of conversations between Calabrese and his son, Frank Calabrese Jr., that they say show the elder Calabrese's involvement in several murders.

The younger Calabrese wore a recording device and made about 20 tapes while he was serving time in the same prison as his father and while visiting the prison after his release, FBI agent Michael Maseth testified Monday.

Frank Calabrese Sr. can be heard on the tapes talking about a secret induction ceremony of the Chicago crime organization called the Outfit. The ceremony signified becoming "made," that is, rising in the organization's ranks. Only mob associates who had taken part in a murder could be made, Maseth testified.

On the tape played in court, the elder Calabrese told his son how during the ceremony mob leaders placed holy pictures into the cupped hand of the newly made member and lit the pictures on fire. "And they look at you to see if you'd budge ... while the pictures are burning. And they, and they wait 'til they're getting down to the skin," Calabrese said.

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez argued that Calabrese is unlikely to flee if released on bond and won't obstruct justice by contacting witnesses. Lopez said Calabrese also would be avoided by anyone connected with organized crime. "He's the hottest potato in town," Lopez said. "There is not anyone who is going to go near him."

In a tape recording made April 10, 1999, in a federal prison in Milan, Mich., the federal government alleges Calabrese confirmed his role in the 1980 killings of Richard Ortiz and Arthur Morawski.

Prosecutors allege Ortiz had committed a murder not authorized by the Outfit and was killed in retribution. Morawski was not an intended target, but was killed because he happened to be with Ortiz when the murder was carried out, prosecutors say.

On the tape, Calabrese tells his son he was driving two other men in a car and told them when to approach the victims: "And I said, take your time now. Don't rush. Walk up to that car." He goes on to describe in detail how he pulled his car up next to the victims' car to ensure there could be no witnesses to the murders. "I'm shielding them from the street so nobody could see what they're doing," he says on the tape.

Calabrese also described in the recording the shotguns the two other men allegedly used to kill Ortiz and Morawski. "Tore 'em up bad," he said of the shotguns. "Them'll tear your body up. They're called double-oughts."

Convicted in a federal investigation of loan sharking and other crimes, Calabrese was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and was due to be released this year before he was indicted on the murder conspiracy charges in April 2005.

Prosecutors have asked that he be denied bond and held in prison pending trial, but defense attorneys have sought Calabrese's release on medical grounds. Last year Calabrese told Zagel he suffers from an array of health problems, including arthritis, nose problems and the loss of 90 percent of his pituitary gland. Zagel said the bond hearing would continue Thursday, and he hoped to make a decision Friday.

The government alleges Calabrese was a member of the South Side/26th Street crew and, with others, murdered 13 people in Chicago and surrounding suburbs between August 1970 and September 1986.

According to prosecutors, Calabrese's victims included reputed mob enforcer William Dauber and reputed mob hit man William "Butch" Petrocelli.

He is among 14 alleged mobsters and mob associates indicted in the federal government's Operation Family Secrets, a long-running investigation of at least 18 mob killings. Each of the men faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Calabrese's brother, Nicholas W. Calabrese, also was charged but has been cooperating with prosecutors.

Thanks to Carla K. Johnson

Bruce Lost His Bite

Friends of ours: John Gotti, Gambino Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

When Mafia cop Louis Eppolito faced the legal battle of a lifetime, his daughter tapped hotshot lawyer Bruce Cutler to defend him because she was confident "he would fight with bulldog ferocity to bring my father home." But in the wake of the former NYPD detective's conviction on racketeering conspiracy charges that included eight gangland murders, Andrea Eppolito believes the big-talking barrister was all bark and no bite in the courtroom.

"It feels very much like a personal betrayal," Eppolito, 29, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview.

"I paid a premium price for what was supposed to be premium legal representation, but I did not get the Bruce Cutler I paid for," she said.

Cutler could not immediately be reached for comment.

Although she was instructed not to discuss specifics of the case by her dad's new lawyer, Joseph Bondy, she said Cutler did not seem interested or committed to winning her father's acquittal. "It was like somebody flipped a switch off," she said.

The dark-eyed beauty said she chose Cutler not because he had represented late Gambino family crime boss John Gotti, but due to his 30-year acquaintance with her dad.

The relationship dated to Cutler's days as a prosecutor and Eppolito's as a city cop. "They used to work out at the same gym. ... I wanted somebody who believed in my father, who would stop at nothing to bring him home. He didn't even present evidence that was available to show my father didn't do it," she said.

The ex-cop's eldest daughter believes the feds relied on tainted testimony from self-serving snitches to prosecute her dad. A federal jury disagreed, convicting her father and fellow ex-cop Stephen Caracappa on April 6. Both face life in prison.

During the trial, the blustery Cutler was reprimanded by the judge for yelling and badgering witnesses, and in one case, the judge cut off his abusive cross-examination.

In a motion seeking to overturn the verdict and get a new trial, Bondy blasted Cutler's flimsy finale in the case. "[Cutler] spent the majority of Mr. Eppolito's closing argument speaking about himself," Bondy wrote.

"Bruce can be very charismatic. I wanted someone who was personally vested in my father's best interests. It was a disappointment. Why? It's a mystery I will never solve," Andrea Eppolito said.

Thanks to Michelle Caruso

Last Shot for "Mafia Cops": The Lawyers Did It

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, John Gotti, Luchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Wearing sharply tailored suits and sharing "Godfather"-style kisses in the courtroom, defense attorneys Bruce Cutler and Edward Hayes appeared a formidable defense team for two ex-NYPD detectives accused of eight slayings while on working for the mob.

Now, just two months after rogue cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were convicted of those murders and an assortment of other crimes, the so-called "Mafia Cops" are charging their high-profile lawyers botched the case and asking a federal judge to throw out the verdict.

Both Cutler and Hayes were disappointed by the allegations from their one-time clients, saying Eppolito and Caracappa were desperate men motivated by the life sentences awaiting if their appeal fails.

"I was just so personally offended," Cutler said. "One day you're begged to come in, and the next day you're knocked by the client, who to me is delusional in a certain respect. He's certainly ungrateful and shameless." But the new attorneys for both defendants were unsparing in assessing their predecessors.

"Hayes' indifference to Mr. Caracappa's defense, both in terms of preparation and understanding, was apparent throughout the case," alleged a 15-page filing made by Daniel Nobel, who now represents Caracappa.

Joseph Bondy, the new attorney for Eppolito, said Cutler "spent the majority of Mr. Eppolito's closing argument speaking about himself, including that he lost over 14 pounds during trial, loved Brooklyn as a borough of bridges and tunnels, and was an admirer of the great Indian Chief Crazy Horse."

Eppolito, the son of a Gambino crime family member, lodged his complaint against Cutler last month. But Caracappa's gripe against Hayes came just prior to U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein's June 5 decision that the pair would die behind bars for the bloody betrayal of their detectives' shields.

Weinstein said the life terms, along with a $1 million fine and a seizure of assets, would only be imposed after a June 23 hearing where the defendants would present their claims of ineffective counsel.

The allegations against Cutler and Hayes are at odds with their reputations. Cutler was best known for defending mob boss John Gotti, employing a merciless style of cross-examination known as "Brucification." And Hayes, author of the recent memoir "Mouthpiece," had a client list that included Sean "Diddy" Combs and Robert De Niro; he was the model for the defense attorney in Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities."

When the two decorated former detectives were convicted April 6, Hayes shared a tearful courtroom hug with Caracappa. Their rapport has since unraveled.

"He's desperate who else can he attack?" Hayes said. "I am surprised, however, since I didn't think he was like that."

Cutler said Hayes, a longtime friend, was hurt by the charges. Cutler, who marks 25 years as a lawyer next month, was more annoyed. "They started off blaming the government and the prosecutors, blaming this and that," Cutler said. "Who's left? Us. I am rankled and angry."

Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, were jailed following their convictions. The pair was convicted of joining the payroll of Luchese family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso while still with the NYPD, collecting $4,000 a month in mob money along with their city paychecks.

The two men earned repeated honors during a combined 44 years on the force. But the federal jury heard testimony about how the pair committed or facilitated eight slayings between 1986-90.

The two detectives relocated to the same street in Las Vegas after their retirement. Their new lawyers charged that Cutler and Hayes failed to attack a possible flaw in the government case: That the alleged racketeering enterprise did not continue once the defendants moved to Nevada. If that was true, the five-year statute of limitations was past and the convictions would be invalid.

The court filings also included complaints that Cutler and Hayes ignored their clients, that Eppolito was denied his right to testify, and that cross-examination of prosecution witnesses was improperly handled.

Neither Eppolito or Caracappa took the witness stand, although Cutler likely will at the June 23 hearing. He's looking forward to the opportunity.

"I don't want to hurt Lou, and I certainly don't want to hurt Steve," Cutler said. "But I will be heard."

Thanks to Larry McShane

Monday, June 12, 2006

Attorney Paints Calabrese as Good Fella

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr., Frank Calabrese Jr., Nick Calabrese, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello

Mob loan shark Frank Calabrese Sr., accused of 13 mob hits, is not a member of the mob, his lawyer said Friday.

When Calabrese Sr. was describing the induction ceremony to his son -- on secretly tape-recorded conversations -- he was merely describing a scene from the 1990 mobster movie "Goodfellas," his lawyer contends.

When Calabrese Sr. was caught talking about mob sitdowns, they were nothing more than "alternative dispute resolution meetings," according to the filing by Calabrese attorney, Joseph Lopez.

When Calabrese Sr. described how shotgun shells ripped apart a human body at a murder scene, it was no more than mere "puffing." And when Calabrese Sr. learned that his brother Nick could be cooperating with the feds, Calabrese Sr. did not "send his blessing" to have him killed.

Calabrese Sr. was sending his blessing to have him left alone, the motion claims.

The mobster, it appears, has found God. "I pray every night that he doesn't become a Judas," Calabrese Sr. is quoted in one transcript as saying about his brother.

In another part, Calabrese Sr. discusses his taste in books of the Bible. In the quote, he apparently is referring to the Old Testament, which he calls the "First Testament."

"I like, enjoy reading the First Testament of the Bible, 'cause God was a little stern. He was stern. And, I appreciate that, and I look at that, and I can relate to that," Calabrese Sr. says.

Calabrese Sr.'s son, Frank Calabrese Jr., secretly tape recorded his father while both men were in prison in 1999 on a separate case. Calabrese Jr. put his life on the line by wearing a disguised recording device while both men strolled in the prison yard. Calabrese Jr. got nothing of substance from recording his dad, other than the hope that his father remains in prison for the rest of his life, law enforcement sources said.

The court filing by Calabrese Sr.'s attorney, made late Friday, was in response to a prosecution filing earlier this week, which called Calabrese Sr., "a serial murderer for the Chicago Outfit."

Lopez wants to get the 69-year-old Calabrese bonded out of jail. The prosecution wants to keep him locked up. His trial with other mobsters, including Joey "The Clown" Lombardo and reputed Outfit boss James Marcello, is scheduled for next May. A judge may decide on the request Monday.

Lopez argues Calabrese Sr. represents no danger to society and is not a risk to flee. In the motion, Lopez attacks Calabrese Sr.'s son and brother, both of whom are cooperating against him with federal authorities.

Prosecutors contend that Calabrese Sr. is likely to flee, noting he kept $1.5 million in cash in safety deposit boxes at one time and had stashed fake identity documents under nine different names.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Overheard: Early and Often

Senate Democrats killed a bill on Thursday to repeal the inheritance tax. It smacks of ingratitude. You would think Democrats would support the repeal of estate taxes when you consider how many dead people vote for them in Chicago alone.

Wild Wild West Justice in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a juice town, some Las Vegas attorneys openly concede. Financial contributions "get you juice with a judge — an 'in,' " Ian Christopherson, a lawyer in Las Vegas for 18 years, said in an interview. "If you have juice, you get different treatment. This is not a quid pro quo town like, say, Chicago. This town is a juice town."

How did the Chicago Mob get involved in this Stacked Judicial Deck and How Do Some Nevada Judges Stay Under the Radar?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Badge Still Shines

Friends of ours: Al Capone
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Steven Caracappa


The shock and disappointment over the two New York detectives who sold their homicidal services to the Mafia is no more than a lot of hooey.

Louis Eppolito and Steve Caracappa - the two convicted "mob cops" - do not represent the NYPD, they represent that special community of criminals who submit to greed and corruption.

I recently read about the gang wars of Chicago in the 1920s. I was surprised by what Al Capone said of a city prosecutor who had been accidentally killed by mob assassins as he was leaving a speakeasy. Why would he have had the man killed, Capone asked. He went on to say that he had paid the prosecutor a pile of money and had gotten his money's worth. The deceased prosecutor was highly regarded for having sent a number of gangland soldiers to the electric chair. The public of Chicago, tired of the mob wars, had great faith in him only to find out that their man had been another Capone employee tattooed by the greasy stains of graft.

Gangsters are always on the lookout for their own double agents. These have to be people ready to accept pay for revealing information about police investigations and, if full of enough ice and moxie, who also will kill.

Sometimes, the degree of corruption is extremely large and the willingness to abuse power seems unlimited. In fact, when I arrived in New York from the spiritual dust bowl of Los Angeles 30 years ago, it was easy to do or see many things. Some cops could be bribed out of giving a citation for a traffic offense. Or some cops were seen being too chummy on Bleecker St. during the holiday season when their rounds included picking up gifts from mob-owned joints. Oh, yeah.

But there is also the hard, irrefutable fact that crime has been reduced steadily over the past 11 years and the effect on communities such as Harlem has been remarkable. Harlem has now moved out of the slum category to become a full member of the real estate boom, which guarantees refurbishing. Neighborhoods which cab drivers used to avoid for fear of being robbed or wounded or killed are now traveled to with a feeling of veritable impunity. Compared with the reigns of terror that urban street gangs impose across the country, the thug variations of groups like the Crips remain largely low-key in our town.

Does that mean that New York is really heaven in disguise? Far from it. New York is still the capital of overwork that makes long distance sprinters of all of us. We all move far too fast for the lengths that we have to travel, but we travel those miles with a feeling of safety that makes New York the most comfortable and fulfilling version of soul and pressure in urban America. The people and their spirit are largely responsible for making this city feel that way.

But the underpaid army of professional urban soldiers and protectors we know as the New York Police Department cannot be accused of failing to hold up its end because two of them were mob hit men. The overwhelming bulk of the force sustains the fundamental identity of the job, which is this: Law enforcement is one of the three noblest of professions dedicated to community service, equal in importance to education and medicine.

We know that determined criminals can come from any class, ethnic group, religion, gender or profession.

Still, for all that it suffers, the New York Police Department is the sort of light always willing to fight the darkness.

Thanks to Stanley Crouch

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mob's Eto Dies Long After Surviving Hit

Friends of ours: Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto , Ernest Rocco Infelice, John Gattuso, Jasper Campise

A noted Chicago mob figure who ran gambling operations for the Outfit, survived a botched hit and turned government informant and witness has died after a long stint in the federal witness-protection program, a federal official confirmed.

Ken Eto turned on the mob after he survived being shot in the head in a Northwest Side parking lot in 1983 and went on to testify against mob boss Ernest Rocco Infelice in 1991. After a news report Wednesday on WLS-TV Ch. 7 that said Eto died in Atlanta in 2004 in his 80s, federal officials in Chicago said they had been aware of his death, which had not been reported by the media before Wednesday.

First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro, who for years headed the U.S. Justice Department's Chicago Organized Crime Strike Force, said Wednesday that he knew of Eto's death, but he did not know when he had died.

Eto, known as "Tokyo Joe," survived three gunshots in the head in February 1983 in an attempted assassination that came after he was convicted of a gambling charge and the mob feared he would become a turncoat.

Former FBI agent Jack O'Rourke said Wednesday that Eto was a gambling expert who for decades ran games and books for the mob's North Side crew. Eto learned gambling in the service while riding a troop train to Alaska during World War II. After returning to Chicago, he took up with the mob and handled not only their games and books, but also paid bribes to police, O'Rourke said.

In 1983, the mob turned on Eto and ordered him killed.

Inside a car parked along Harlem Avenue on the North Side, two men fired three shots into Eto's skull. The men, whom Eto later identified to federal agents as mob soldiers John Gattuso and Jasper Campise, then left him for dead, O'Rourke said. But Eto didn't die, and after awaking from unconsciousness, dragged himself to a nearby pharmacy, where he called 911, O'Rourke said.

FBI agents and then-Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeremy Margolis rushed to the hospital where Eto was taken, O'Rourke said. During his recovery, Eto agreed to "flip" for the feds, O'Rourke said. "He really had nowhere else to go," O'Rourke said

Eto not only fingered Gattuso, a Cook County sheriff's officer, and Campise, as the gunmen, but he also provided intelligence about mob activity to the FBI. O'Rourke said he learned that soon after the shooting, the mob planned to murder Gattuso and Campise. O'Rourke said he and then-U.S. Atty. Dan Webb tried to persuade the men to cooperate with the government, but they refused.

On July 14, 1983, their bodies were found in the trunk of car in Naperville. Eto, meanwhile, was placed in the witness-protection program, O'Rourke said.

In 1989, Eto testified against a state legislator implicated in the Operation Greylord investigation. Eto was 72 when he testified in 1991, telling the court he had spent 40 years in the Chicago Outfit.

"I've never seen a witness like him," Shapiro said. "Completely unflappable."

Thanks to Jeff Coen, Rudolph Bush and Matt O'Connor

Mobster "Tokyo Joe" is dead

Friends of ours: Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto, Jasper Campise, John Gattuso

One of Chicago's most well known mobsters has died. He lived a much longer life than the mob intended. Ken Eto survived a mob hit back in 1983 when the bullets that were meant to kill him bounced off his head.

The failed assassination convinced Eto to cooperate with prosecutors. But now, more than 20 years after the botched hit, there is still a mystery surrounding the death of Ken Eto. ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie takes a look at the mob mystery in this Intelligence Report.

When Ken Eto lived through the gangland hit, everybody knew about it. Bullets rebounding from someone's head makes for lead story news. When Eto died more than two years ago of natural causes, almost nobody knew about it and it wasn't on the news until the I-Team reported it Wednesday afternoon. His was a life cloaked in mobdom, even ending in mystery.

"Toyko Joe," as he was known, was one of the most colorful, well-known characters of Chicago mob lore, a gambling boss who ran a $200,000 a week bolita empire.

"He was a trusted moneymaker, he'd been around for a long time and actually had kind of a reputation as a violent sort of person," said Elaine smith, former FBI agent.

Elaine Smith worked Ken Eto cases for the FBI in Chicago for more than 20 years. We interviewed her a few years ago before she retired and Eto died. In a business not known for longevity, the fact that Tokyo Joe lived to age 84 was remarkable. He was supposed to have died in an alleyway on February 10th, 1983, a few weeks before sentencing on gambling-related charges.

Outfit bosses, fearing Eto might spill mob secrets to avoid prison, ordered him killed. Hitman Jasper Campise and Cook County Deputy Sheriff John Gattuso were deployed to carry out the murder. But somehow, three .22 caliber bullets ricocheted off Eto's skull and he survived. A few months later, the bungling assassins were themselves killed.

Eto opted to become a government informant and special agent Smith interrogated him for months, then helped prepare him for federal prosecutions that put away police officials and mob bosses.

During his cooperation, Smith says Eto admitted to a role in four murders. "He didn't participate in these murders, he set the people up," Smith said.

Eto lived out his days in the federal witness security program under the assumed name Joe Tanaka from Iowa. But on January 23, 2004, he died, a mobster at heart.

"Imagine what it would be like on a day-to-day basis and always show respect and always do what they said to do, unquestioning, with people that are dumb, immoral, selfish, corrupt individuals," Smith said.

Elaine Smith attended a memorial service for Eto after he passed at his Georgia home in 2004. Even at that service, the dearly departed was known as Joe Tanaka, restaurateur. But by whatever name, Tokyo Joe left behind six children, most of them still carrying the Eto name, a name that their father couldn't live with for the last portion of his life.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

"On the Couch" with "The Sopranos" Psychiatrist

Friends of ours: Soprano Crime Family

In her memoir, Lorraine Bracco opens up about her career, her marriages and her victory over depression.

You may know psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on HBO's hit series, "The Sopranos," but there's a lot you may not know about the actress who plays her, Lorraine Bracco. In her revealing and sometimes shocking memoir, it's Lorraine herself who's "On the Couch."

Here's an excerpt:

One
Doctor, Heal Thyself

Hope comes in many forms.
— Dr. Jennifer Melfi

The postman tried not to look at me as he handed me a large stack of envelopes. The letters were official-looking, and many were stamped with alarms that betrayed their contents: "Extremely urgent" ... "Second notice" ... "Last chance."

"My fan mail," I joked, but he didn't laugh. He looked embarrassed.

Well, who wasn’t?

"Some fans," I mumbled to myself as I added the letters to the growing mountain on my desk. I hadn’t opened a single one. Even then, I knew it was nuts. Look at me, the famous actress in her gorgeous riverfront home, living her fabulous life. Was this someone’s idea of a joke?

In their increasingly frequent correspondence, my current group of "fans" expressed hurt, disbelief, sadness, and regret. But it was still early in our relationship. They had yet to progress to anger, hostility, and retribution.

Dear Lorraine,
I'm sure it has slipped your attention that your account balance of $36,590 is six months past due. I know how busy you are, but ...

Lorraine,
I hate to bring this up, but the law firm is after me about when they can expect another payment on your past due account, which now totals $1,422,872.23 ...

Lorraine,
Your check for $940 for the hearing transcript bounced. Please send another check so I can process your request.

Lorraine,
Republic Bank will immediately commence foreclosure unless they receive a payment of $41,065 ...

Lorraine,
I hate to be a pest, but ...

The phone rang. I considered letting the machine pick up, but on the fourth ring, I grabbed the receiver.

"Lorraine?" It was my manager, Heather. Her voice sounded strained. "Have you read the script?"

"Huh? Umm, it's around here somewhere," I said vaguely.

"It's been two months," she pleaded. "They're waiting to hear."

"I know, I know." I looked around the room. Where had I put the damned script? "Heather, I don't think I can handle another script about the mob. I mean, how many Mafia roles can a girl play? If that’s all they think I'm capable of, then shoot me now."

Heather was getting tired of me. "Lorraine, will you do me a fucking favor? Will you read the script? The guy’s coming in Tuesday. He wants to meet you."

"Fine, I'll read it," I shouted back at her. "You're a pain in my ass, Heather."

"That's why they pay me the big bucks," she said, and hung up.

"Mafia television garbage," I muttered. Was my career in the toilet or what? I needed to make some real money here, and they were sending me television pilots about mobsters. Jeez. No wonder I was depressed.

I always figured there were two kinds of people in the world — the cheerleaders and the grumps. I was a cheerleader. The pep talker. Always ready with the pom-poms, always up for anything. I'm your girl. You need someone to take a carload of kids to a horse show? Call me. My energy knew no limits. I could sew a hundred sparkly beads on a costume for my daughter Margaux's school play, cohost a benefit with Bobby Kennedy for Riverkeeper, and still be on a set the next day, raring to go. But as 1996 drew to a close, my razzledazzle had definitely fizzled. The cheerleader had left the building, replaced by a listless, middle-aged woman who couldn't get out of her freaking pajamas until midafternoon.

I felt stagnant. Not calm and still like the Hudson River on a mild day, but stale, like a swamp, a place lacking a fresh infusion of life. When I first started feeling down, I'd told myself that I was worn out, and who could blame me? I'd just come through a six-year custody battle for my daughter Stella that was so horrible and so bruising I felt like I'd been beaten up. I'd won my daughter, which was a huge blessing, but lost everything else: my friends, my dignity, my reputation. Despite my work in movies like Goodfellas, I was a good two million bucks in debt, and on the verge of losing my house. I had my two beautiful daughters and a husband, yet I was as alone as I'd ever been in my life. My marriage to Eddie Olmos — only a couple of years old — was shaky at best, and it looked like I was going to be losing that, too. On my worst days, I imagined being penniless, having to pack up my daughters and move back in with my parents.

What the hell? I was an Academy Award–nominated actress. Famous, glamorous, living in the big house overlooking the Hudson River. I was the envy of the ladies in the local PTA. People stopped me in the produce aisle of the supermarket to ask for my autograph. If they could see me now. If only they knew.

When the court awarded me custody in September 1996, I didn't even have a chance to be elated. It should have been over, but of course it wasn't; there would be appeals and endless wrangling over child support, and the steady flow of bills, bills, bills. I just couldn't take it anymore. Eddie was working in Los Angeles, and our long distance marriage wasn't working at all. I needed a shoulder to lean on, and it wasn't there. In the past, I might have felt sorry for myself and had a good cry. But at this point, I was too numb to cry. At first I thought I just needed a few days to get my act together, a little time to recuperate. But a few days turned into a few weeks, then a few months. And I wasn't feeling better. I was feeling worse.

My days took on a blankness, one after the other, one day the same as the next. Thank God I wasn't a drinker, and I didn't do drugs; otherwise, I'd have been a goner for sure. Thinking back on how vulnerable I was, I really feel for people with substance-abuse problems. But my days were devoid of such drama. After Margaux and Stella left for school in the morning, I'd sit with my coffee, aimlessly paging through magazines or staring out at the river.

Sometimes I'd get a surge of energy and put a load of laundry in, then forget it until Margaux discovered her favorite shirt mildewing in the machine and screamed, "Motherrrr!" I'd call my parents: "How ya doing? Good. Fine. Fine. Okay. Fine. Love ya." I was a bad actor. I plodded along, forcing myself to go through the motions, trying to be the same old me everyone knew. But I was counting the hours until I could get back into bed and pull the covers up over my head. Sleep was my only relief.

It wasn't until later that I'd be able to put a name on what I was experiencing: depression. It's a clinical condition that afflicts thirty four million Americans at some time in their lives, which means that there were — and are — a hell of a lot of others out there feeling painfully empty and lifeless, just like me. But it took me more than a year to reach that realization. In the meantime, I didn't know what was wrong with me, and I definitely didn't know what to do about it.

Many people think depression is a big, dramatic black hole that swallows you up. But it doesn't have to be. It's not necessarily finding yourself thinking about suicide, which I never did, even on my worst days. It's something much worse, if you ask me. I'm an actress, so drama I can do. But this was the antithesis of drama. It was as though I were floating in a great thick bog of stillness, and it was that dullness I couldn't stand. The damping down of all my feelings. The absolute, complete joylessness.

Joyless or not, I knew it was extremely important to keep up appearances, so I wasted a lot of energy that I didn't really have pretending to have a sunny disposition, pasting a big, fat fake smile on my face. I had to show the world that I was okay and could be trusted. I had to prove that I could work, raise my kids, run my household, appear at charity benefits — do all the things I'd always done. At the time, I thought the worst thing in the world would be if anyone discovered how I was feeling. I mean anyone. No one could know — not my mother, not my sister, Lizzie, not my friends, or the people I worked with. So I hid in my house. I avoided talking to my friends. If anyone mentioned that I looked beat, I'd say, "Yeah, I'm tired. It's been a rough year." Everyone pretty much took me at face value and let me off the hook. People don't want to know, they really don't. Not because they don't care, but because they don't know what to do. Basically, they're afraid.

Hiding my feelings was really just a symptom of my disease. The shame you feel when you're depressed is phenomenal. You think you're weak, and nobody wants to seem weak. Nobody wants to look mental, especially in show business. As it is, if you're a forty-two-year-old woman, you're hanging on by a thread most of the time anyway. If there's a difficulty, a problem, you can just forget it. God forbid a rumor should start. A few juicy tabloid mentions and you're toast. It's no wonder it takes so long for people to get help.

My daughter Stella was ten then, full of energy and spirit. She'd come bouncing in the door from school, calling to me, "Mommy, Mommy," talking a mile a minute about her day, sharing every exciting and mundane thing that had happened since that morning. I'd put a smile on my face while listening with only half an ear and thinking about sleep. That definitely wasn't me. I adored this little girl, and normally I hung on every word out of her mouth. It was all part of a vicious cycle. The worse I felt, the less I cared, and the less I cared, the worse I felt.

Stella mostly bought my act, but my sixteen-year-old daughter Margaux wasn't so easily fooled. She saw right through me, with that terrifying teenage acuity of hers. "What's the deal with you?" she'd ask, staring at me hard. I didn't know, so I just said, "Nothing. Everything's fine." Margaux would roll her eyes, letting me know she didn't believe it for a minute. "Okay. Everything's fine," she'd say, parroting me sarcastically.

Even the animals had my number. The dogs would watch me morosely, their eyes seemingly reflecting my depression, their normally high spirits dampened by my mood. My plump, normally affectionate cat would push himself up and lumber out of the room when he saw me coming. "No way am I dealing with her crap," his disappearing tail seemed to signal.

My deepest fear was that I had permanently messed up my life. You see, although I can say I didn't exactly know what was wrong with me, I suspected plenty. Depression didn't just arrive out of the blue. It followed several years of a downhill slide, most of which was self-imposed.

In 1990, I'd been at the top of my game. I was nominated for an Academy Award for my performance in Goodfellas, and I felt as if nothing could touch me. In a business where your self-esteem is always on the line, it's impossible to describe the overwhelming relief of being successful, even if that success is fleeting. Being considered for an Academy Award is a powerful rush of affirmation in a very crazy, quixotic business.

But I had a secret that I kept well hidden behind my glittering smile. As my career became more satisfying, my personal life was failing. More than anything, I wanted a sense of loving calm at home, but this dream was shattered. It was such a wild juxtaposition: in the eyes of the world I was a movie star, and I'd have to stop a minute and think, Holy shit. They're paying me to do something that I love. But I'd get home and it was nothing but catastrophe. At this point, I'd been living with Harvey Keitel for eight years, and we were as good as married. We had the girls — my daughter Margaux, from my previous marriage, and our daughter Stella — and we'd just bought a beautiful house overlooking the Hudson River in Sneden's Landing, an exclusive enclave north of New York City. But it wasn't all tea and roses. I wondered if Harvey had the capacity for contentment. He seemed to be filled with rage — at the world, at his parents, at the industry, and at me. Some people would say it was this rage that made him such a compelling presence on the screen. Well, fine. He's a brilliant, riveting, intense actor. But we were living with it every single day. When Harvey was home, the girls and I just wanted to stay out of the way. We tiptoed around, walking on eggshells. But a lot of the time he wasn't home. And there were times, sometimes days on end, when I didn't know where the hell he was.

Thanks to MSNBC


Thursday, June 08, 2006

"Mafia Cops" to Face Life Term

Friends of ours: Luchesse Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Gambino Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa


The only thing that didn't happen at the sentencing of two former detectives convicted of moonlighting as mob hit men was the sentencing.

A packed Brooklyn courtroom heard emotional testimony Monday from five family members whose loved ones were killed by Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa while the two were on the payrolls of both the Police Department and a brutal mob underboss.

Eppolito stood up to proclaim his innocence, and another man who was wrongly jailed for 19 years in a case investigated by Eppolito was thrown out of court after launching into a rant against him.

After all that, U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein told the two defendants he would sentence them to life in prison, but delayed the formal sentencing until at least June 23, when the pair will argue that their high-priced defense attorneys did not adequately represent them.

The judge left little doubt about his opinion of the two, who were convicted April 6 of racketeering charges that included murder, kidnapping, drug dealing and obstruction of justice. "This is probably the most heinous series of crimes ever tried in this courthouse," the judge said.

The two former partners were convicted in April of participating in eight slayings between 1986 and 1990. Prosecutors said the detectives committed some of the murders themselves and delivered other victims to the Mafia to be killed.

Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, received $4,000 a month from Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, who also used them to get inside information on law enforcement investigations. Their pay went up for the murders: They earned $65,000 for one killing.

Federal prosecutor Daniel Wenner had described the case as "the bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has ever seen."

Five victims' family members took the witness stand to testify how the murders linked to the two detectives had destroyed their lives. "You did not kill one person," said Michal Greenwald Weinstein, whose father was the pair's first victim. "You killed a family."

Eppolito, speaking for the first time in court, said he was innocent and encouraged the family members to visit him in prison. "I can hold my head up high," said Eppolito, whose father was a member of the Gambino crime family. "I never did any of these things."

Bruce Cutler, who represented Eppolito, was out of his office and unavailable for comment Monday. Caracappa's attorney, Edward Hayes, was in Los Angeles and did not respond to a message left at his Manhattan office.

During Eppolito's remarks, Barry Gibbs, who was imprisoned for almost 20 years after a wrongful conviction in a case in which Eppolito was lead investigator, lashed out at the former detective before federal marshals led him out of the courtroom. "Remember what you did to me? To me? You framed me!" he screamed as the crowd burst into cheers.

Caracappa, who retired in 1992, helped establish the Police Department's unit for Mafia murder investigations. Eppolito was a much-praised street officer despite whispers that some of his arrests came via tips from mobsters.

Eppolito also played a bit part in the mob movie "Goodfellas." After retiring in 1990, he unsuccessfully tried his hand at Hollywood scriptwriting. In his autobiography, "Mafia Cop," he portrayed himself as an honest officer from a crooked family.

The pair, both highly decorated, spent a combined 44 years on the force and eventually retired to homes on the same block in Las Vegas.

The racketeering convictions could be overturned because of the statute of limitations. The defense argued that there was no ongoing criminal enterprise while the detectives were living in Las Vegas, making a racketeering charge legally untenable.

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