Friday, February 29, 2008

AMW All Star Week One Winner

AMW All Star Week One Winner: A Christiansburg, Va. police officer who was one of the first to respond to the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University and is credited with saving the life of a gravely-injured student has become the first weekly finalist in the 2008 America's Most Wanted All-Star Contest, sponsored by Sprint.

Also on America's Most Wanted this week:AMW All Star Week One Winner

Brianna Denison Killer: Reno, Nev. cops announced that a pair of thong underwear found near Brianna Denison's body contains both the DNA of an unknown female and that of the serial rapist who kidnapped and raped -- and may have murdered -- the 19-year-old college student. Police do not believe that the black, "Pink Panther" thong belonged to Denison and are hoping that someone will come forward to claim the underwear.

Ahmet Gashi: Kemal Kolenovic was a New York welterweight champion who took one hit from which he'd never recover on New Years Eve 2006. Cops say a vicious foe, Ahmet Gashi, came at Kemal with some heavy armor, and he's been on the run ever since.

Unknown New Mexico “Boots” Jane Doe Killer: It was one of New Mexico 's most mysterious unsolved Jane Doe cases: a pair of hikers found a murder victim, buried in a shallow grave in the unforgiving desert. But when AMW brought you the story two weeks ago, a tipster called our hotline and helped cops crack the case. The "Boots" Jane Doe now has a name: Sandra Jean Brady.

Thomas Gleason: BMX Racing and teenage boys are not a good combination for Tom Gleason: after years of coaching kids in the extreme sport, police say he went too far and victimized several members of his team. Now, he's racing to stay away from the cops and families aching for justice who want him caught.

Pamela Biggers: Police have very few clues in the search for 52-year-old Pamela Biggers who went missing while on a business trip in Panama City , Fla. on January 28, 2008. The Bay County Sheriff's Office says Pam was last seen at 7 p.m. the night before at the La Quinta Inn, but the next morning, she was gone.

Nai Yin Xue: It's been more than five months since the international manhunt for self-proclaimed martial arts master Nai Yin Xue began. Now, police say the search is over after Xue was captured in Chamblee , Ga. after Chinese-American locals recognized him and hogtied him until authorities arrived. Authorities say Xue killed his wife and abandoned his young daughter in a train station.

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US Links Being Restablished by Sicilian Mafia

Sicily's Mafia is rebuilding its networks in the US, according to an Italian parliamentary report.

The report says Cosa Nostra has been sending people to the US to form alliances with families with which it had lost contact in the 1980s.

It says that while the mob maintains a foothold in the lucrative drugs trade, it is now moving into new areas.

Although Cosa Nostra has its roots in Italian organised crime, it has long been a separate organisation in the US. But this month in an operation codenamed Old Bridge, a reference to these long-standing links between Sicily and New York, the FBI revealed details of the new relationships being formed across the Atlantic.

They rounded up more than 80 gangsters in New York including the acting bosses of the Gambino crime family - known to have direct links with Sicily.

The Italian anti-mafia commission says Old Bridge was a remarkable success but it shows the Sicilian Cosa Nostra is "re-establishing its links with the American cousins".

The commission says it has evidence Cosa Nostra is sending its top members to New York while allowing those expelled by the mob during the clan wars of the 1980s to return home to Sicily.

Their report says that many US food distribution and construction firms are now controlled by the US Cosa Nostra, whose bosses are of Sicilian origin and have direct links. And while Cosa Nostra still maintains its control over the lucrative drugs trade and its traditional activities of extortion and racketeering, it is now diversifying into new industries like online gambling.

Angela Napoli, a member of the anti-mafia commission, says the work to defeat Cosa Nostra falls on the Italian politicians - who must do more - and on the very brave witnesses who come forward to give evidence.

The commission says not enough is being done to help them.

Those under state protection say they feel abandoned. And consequently the number now prepared to come forward is falling.

Thanks to Christian Fraser

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Former Las Vegas Strip Club Owner Compared to Tony "The Ant" Spilotro

Federal prosecutors never got a chance to prove a criminal case tying former Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo to the mob.

Before that could happen, Rizzolo pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2006 and struck a deal to end a decadelong racketeering case against him. But that didn’t stop Stan Hunterton, a former prosecutor with the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force, from keeping allegations of Rizzolo’s underworld associations alive during a hearing in federal court Friday on the status of the government’s efforts to sell the topless club it had seized from the imprisoned Rizzolo.

“Not since the reign of Anthony Spilotro and his associates has there been a more infamous hoodlum than Rick Rizzolo,” Hunterton told U.S. District Judge Philip Pro as Rizzolo’s father, Bart Rizzolo, cringed in the first row of the courtroom gallery.

Spilotro, the basis for Joe Pesci’s character in the 1995 movie “Casino,” ran street rackets in Las Vegas for the Chicago mob from the early 1970s until his gangland slaying in a Chicago suburb in 1986. He was considered a coldblooded killer, and before his death he was the FBI’s most wanted man in Las Vegas.

Hunterton represents Amy Henry, the wife of Kirk Henry, a Kansas City-area man who suffered a broken neck and became paralyzed following a fight in 2001 at the Crazy Horse Too. As part of Rizzolo’s plea arrangement with the government, he agreed to pay the Henrys $10 million to settle a civil suit they had brought against the nightclub.

What Hunterton was doing in court was challenging an effort by Sierra Pacific Bank to foreclose on the land beneath the Crazy Horse Too. The bank wants the land as payment for a $5 million loan it extended to Rizzolo seven months before he struck his deal with the government. Hunterton wants to make sure the bank’s claim against the property won’t hurt the Henrys’ chances of getting paid once money comes in from the government’s sale of the Crazy Horse Too.

He raised the specter of mob connections while arguing that Sierra Pacific was negligent when it lent Rizzolo the $5 million when he was under the well-publicized racketeering investigation. Hunterton contends that bank officials either turned a blind eye to Rizzolo’s reputation or failed miserably in their due diligence obligations.

Hunterton told Pro he would drop his effort to push the bank’s claim aside if, as prosecutors reported in court, the government signs a contract this week to sell the Crazy Horse Too for $30 million to an undisclosed buyer. If that happens, there will be plenty of money for all of Rizzolo’s creditors.

After the hearing, however, Rizzolo’s lawyer, Mark Hafer, wasn’t very happy.

Hafer described Hunterton’s comments about his client as “somewhat slanderous” and “definitely a cheap shot.”

All Bart Rizzolo could do was shake his head in disgust.

Thanks to Jeff German

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5 Things You Could Do to Kill the Mafia

As a little kid growing up in Palermo (Sicily), I used to dream of chasing the Bad Guys who were terrorizing my beautiful city.

In my teens, I started to consider the idea of stopping the Mafia one of those naive dreams that could never become a reality.

But now, for the first time in the last 20 years, there is a concrete possibility to kill the Sicilian Mafia, ending its presence in Italy, in USA, and everywhere else it operates, thus improving the lives of thousands of people around the world. And your help is needed, so listen up

Sicily. Maybe the last place in the world where you can find yourself having lunch next to Armani or Madonna in an inexpensive restaurant overlooking a turquoise sea. Unfortunately, a land still plagued with organized crime, which protects tourists – they bring money to the local economy – but merciless target local business owners, demanding a large share of their revenue in exchange for "Protection."

Locals call the extortion racket “Pizzo”, and experts agree that this criminal activity is Mafia’s core business, bringing in a steady cash flow which finances its worldwide operations. But “Pizzo” offers much more than just a large financial gain: the protection racket is Mafia’s way to affirm its control over a city, sending the message "I own this place, so you must give me a share of anything you earn, and you must ask my approval for anything you do."

The extortion racket has flourished for decades with the Italian business organization Confindustria secretly telling his associate to comply with Mafia's financial requests: “If we all pay” they used to say “We will all pay less.”

Recently, things have started changing for the better:
- The association of Italian business owner is now expelling from its ranks anyone who pays the “Pizzo.”
- Police has been very successful in taking into custody Mafia bosses, whilst at the same time confiscating Mafia's financial assets.
- Business owner who have said no to Pizzo are increasingly joining an association called AddioPizzo (Goodbye Pizzo) which put them in contact with thousands of Sicilians who are tired of the Mafia and are willing to buy only mob-free products.

The association AddioPizzo is really hitting the Mafia where it hurts, and its leaders now lives in constant danger of a terrible retribution: their popularity is their only defense, since Mafia knows that if AddioPizzo leaders were killed today, thousands of people would take the street in protest, and new stronger leaders would inevitably emerge. So everything depends on national and international attention: the moment we forget about AddioPizzo, Mafia will destroy them without too much fuss, maybe killing a few and spreading negative rumors about the others.

Considering the goal it pursues, AddioPizzo has yet to receive a decent level of International media attention: only a bunch of articles from BBC, Telegraph, Herald Tribune and The Independent, and then nothing else.

Silence is Mafia's natural ally, so please talk about what's happening. Pick one or more activities from the following list and dedicate the next five minutes to it:
1- Write your name on AddioPizzo guestbook to publicly express your support for this brave organization.
2- Help AddioPizzo with a donation. It can be very safely done via PayPal and you get an email confirmation at the end of the process.
3- If you write on a Blog, a Newspaper on any other media, please talk about the possibility of killing the Mafia: nothing scares the Mob more than people not being afraid of it.
4- Alternatively, please Digg this article, review it on StumbleUpon or save it on Delicious. Let’s have as many people as possible knowing that together we can kill the Mafia.
5- If a friend of yours is planning an holiday in Sicily, make sure he’ll sleep only in a beautiful Pizzo-free hotel, such as Addaura Residence or Amarcord Hotel. If you want to try typical Sicilian wine or food, make sure you’ll buy it only from a pizzo free online portals such as Buona Sicilia, and let them know that you are purchasing from them because you’ve read that they are pizzo-free. In short, let’s make sure that Pizzo-free business increase their sales, so they can have an added incentive to stay clean. (The growing list of businesses who have publicly said no to the Mafia is here.) In fact, anyone who speak out against the Mob should be protected and rewarded. So long life to AddioPizzo, and long life to you.

Thanks to Even Happier

Prison Sentence for 87 Year Old Mafia Capo

Federal authorities announced that Ciro Perrone, 87, a “capo” or captain in the Genovese Organized Crime Family, has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Perrone was convicted by a jury in June 2007 following a two-week trial of all counts against him, including racketeering.

Perrone has been a member of the Genovese Family since at least the 1960s, the feds said.

He was convicted of four separate racketeering acts including operation of a gambling business, loan-sharking conspiracy, and loan-sharking against two victims; RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to make extortionate extensions of credit; and conspiracy to use extortionate means to collect extensions of credit.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last Photo of John Gotti Emerges

Last Photo of John Gotti in PrisonHere's the last photo ever taken of John Gotti, the murderous degenerate who once headed the Gambino crime family. Gotti, the so-called Dapper Don, posed for the below Bureau of Prisons photo on October 17, 2001, less than eight months before he died, at age 61, at the federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

The Gotti image was released this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Smoking Gun. According to a BoP letter, the color image was Gotti's "institution commissary photo." The once-robust Gotti appears frail in the prison photo, which was snapped more than two years after the convicted killer was operated on for head and neck cancer.

Compare the above photo with that of perhaps of John Gotti's "rookie card". Unearthed from the files of New York's Suffolk County Police Department, the photo captures a Brylcreem-laden Gotti, then 24, following his March 1965 arrest for a botched burglary.

Young John Gotti

Sunday, February 24, 2008

IRS Agents Used Muscle to Get Capone

Recently released memos written by the IRS investigators who brought down Al Capone are shedding new light on the way federal agents successfully ended the reign of the Chicago crime lord.

IRS investigators could prove Capone had money, but they couldn't prove where he was getting it from, said Jonathan Eig, a Chicago author who is writing a book about the investigation leading to Capone's arrest and conviction.

Agents found one bookkeeper who could testify to Capone's income source, and they "used a lot of muscle to get this guy to testify," Eig said.

The bookkeeper was sent to South America for a time to safeguard him from assassins, he said.

"The evidence shows the IRS agents really did get out of the office and track down this accountant and really put the screws to him to get him to testify," he said.

Eig sought the material through the Freedom of Information Act, something others had previously done without success. A new lawyer at the IRS reviewed Eig's request and released the documents to him.

Eig's book, whose working title is Get Capone, is being published by Simon & Schuster. It focuses on the last years of Capone's reign. Eig said he hopes to correct the myth that Eliot Ness brought down the man known as "Public Enemy No. 1."

"'The Untouchables' movie has made Eliot Ness the hero of the story," he said. "The IRS agents are."

Thanks to Kara Spak

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Sam Giancana Mini-Series Announces New Ownership

Zuma Beach Entertainment, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ZMBC) ("Zuma") announced today that "MOMO," The Sam Giancana Story, is the first project of a slate of film and television projects in which ownership interest has been acquired from Westlake Productions, LLC ("Westlake").

Mark Wolper, President of The Wolper Organization, prolific producers of television mini-series and movies, is developing and producing the six-hour mini-series for Warner Bros. Entertainment, a Time Warner Company (NYSE: TWX).

The high profile television mini-series details the life of infamous Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana whose rein spanned the 1950's and 1960's. Giancana was best known for his ties to John F. Kennedy and is reputed to have played a key role in helping Kennedy take the White House in 1960.

After Giancana's wife died as a result of a rheumatic heart, he was left to raise three daughters while carrying out his role as a mob leader. Giancana, a larger-than-life character whose flamboyant lifestyle included friendships with celebrities like Frank Sinatra of the "Rat Pack," paved the way for high profile mobsters until his assassination in 1975.

Wolper optioned rights to the life story of Giancana from Nicholas Celozzi who had acquired them from
Giancana's daughter Francine, who is Celozzi's cousin. Wolper is producing the project for Warner Bros. while Dimitri Logothetis and Nick Celozzi are co-writing and co-executive producing the television mini-series. Production of the project is scheduled for summer/fall 2008.

Said Wolper, in an earlier press release; "This is a fascinating chapter in American history with an incredibly compelling family story and real-life character in Sam Giancana as the patriarch. We envision the mini-series as a true-life "Sopranos" meets "The Gangster Chronicles," shedding light on never-before-exposed parts of the story."

Wolper is the recipient of multiple Emmy Award-nominations including those for the mini-series "The Mists of Avalon," the television movie "Murder in Mississippi," the CBS mini-series "Queen," and the Showtime series "Penn & Teller's Bullshit".

Logothetis has served as an executive producer and showrunner for two shows on Warner Bros. Television -- "Code Name Eternity" and "Dark Real".

Celozzi is a prominent Actor, Director, Producer and Writer. He was the Executive Producer and starred in "Dumb Luck in Vegas" (1997) and directed "Deep Cover, a.k.a. Checkmate" (1996) and "Dark and Deadly" (1995). Along with Freddy Braidy, he recently co-produced the film "Bottoms Up" starring Paris Hilton and released from Sony Pictures Entertainment, a U.S. business of Sony Corporation of America.

Is the Mafia a Farce?

A contrite former Bonanno crime associate trashed the Mafia as "a farce" at his sentencing for murder yesterday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Francesco (Frank) Fiordilino was then rewarded for his cooperation against Bonanno big shots with a sentence of time served plus 30 days.

"Cooperating witnesses are essential to achieving justice, and you have done your part," said Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

Fiordilino, 37, pleaded guilty to shooting drug dealer Thomas Sajn in the throat in 1993 in Ridgewood. Sajn wasn't immediately killed by the gunshot, so a second assailant cut his throat, nearly decapitating him.

At the time, Fiordilino was paying his dues, making espresso and cappuccino at coffee shops under the control of the crime family. His uncle, Frank (Cheech) Navarro, was a made member of the Bonanno family.

Fiordilino was after Sajn's drug money and also wanted to prove to gangsters that he was capable of committing a murder. But after the feds arrested him in 2002, Fiordilino decided to change sides.

"I'm totally at peace with my decision to defect," Fiordilino said yesterday. "I no longer have to lie, cheat or pretend anymore."

He acknowledged the taking of Sajn's life was "cowardly," and reflected on the hypocrisy of the Mafia.
"The mob was and still is a farce that's built on deceit, venom, greed and destruction," he said. "As for loyalty and respect, I never seen it. I could recall hundreds of conversations in which guys would sit around a table bad-mouthing each other. I'm so glad that's behind me."

Prosecutor Greg Andres said Fiordilino's testimony against former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino and soldier Baldassare (Baldo) Amato contributed to their convictions.

"I apologize as well, especially to anyone of Italian background, by conspiring and utilizing our culture in the same manner the entertainment industry does with its stereotypes. ... Hollywood intensified my love for that life, and in the process blindsided what being Italian meant," Fiordilino said.

Thanks to John Marzulli

American Gangster on DVD

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe butt heads in the excellent crime drama, American Gangster. The film, based on a true crime story has, in addition to superb acting, excellent cinematography, interesting sets, and the hard-hitting direction by Ridley Scott.

This is an adult crime thriller with powerful dialogue and shocking images you won’t soon forget. The special features on the bonus disk are very entertaining and extremely beneficial for their historical value. The added 18 minutes include longer scenes and an extended ending.

Frank Lucas (born 1930 in Washington, DC), was a heroin dealer and organized crime boss in Harlem during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was particularly known for cutting out middlemen in the drug trade and buying heroin directly from his source in Southeast Asia. He organized the smuggle of heroin from Vietnam to the US by using the coffins of dead American servicemen ("cadaver connection"). Excerpt from the New York Magazine, 14 August 2000.

But the story of Frank Lucas (Washington) is much more than just a gangster who takes over the New York mob trade with some devious methods. It’s also about a relentless, righteous cop, Ritchie Roberts (Crowe), who will stop at nothing to bring him down. When their worlds collide, the two find themselves in a confrontation with no chance of backing out.

Crowe as the persistent cop, and Washington as the relentless drug king pin, are excellent together. Crowe brings his tough, unforgiving persona to the role of Roberts. While other cops think he’s a sucker for not taking mob money, it’s this ethic that keeps him going on his quest to bring down the mob. Nothing stands in the way of Roberts, and Crowe makes him believable. Washington does what he does best—shows the burning side of his character. Much like his past performances in films such as Training Day, Man On Fire and Déjà Vu, his Lucas controls the screen with a hot temperament and a strong will.

Keeping the action going, with not a stretch or a yawn in the lengthy film, director Ridley Scott is back in true form from his early days of Blade Runner, Thelma And Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. I like this side of Scott. I believe he makes better films when the subject matter is powerful and the pace is intense.

DVD Features:

Topping the special features are the Case Files. In them you will find three bonuses, “Setting up the take down", “Testing for heroin", and “Script meeting". Of the three I enjoyed the take down where they bust Lucas’s heroin den. It was interesting to see how it was filmed and Crowe kidding around on the set.

Of the other features, "Tru Blu" was outstanding. In it you will get to meet the still-living Richie Roberts and Frank Lucas, and hear what they have to say about the film’s authenticity and their role in collaboration.

There are two ways you can watch American Gangster, the R rated film version and the extended, Unrated film. Either way, the film plays well, but why not see it with the 18 additional minutes?Charles Tyrwhitt Coupons and Discount Codes

American Gangster is a very good, all-encompassing crime film containing a lot of action, an interesting plot and awesome acting. The special features are definitely worth the watch.

Reviewed by John Delia

Organized Crime Connection in the Drew Peterson Case?

A convicted cop killer reputed to have organized crime connections was subpoenaed to testify at the grand jury investigating the fate of Drew Peterson's last two wives.Brigade Quartermasters, Ltd.

State police served Anthony "Bindy" Rock, 68, with his papers Friday (the 15th), a source said. Contacted Friday night, Rock declined to comment.

Rock was a central figure in an unsanctioned undercover investigation Peterson undertook while he was on loan from the Bolingbrook Police Department to the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad in 1985. That investigation led to Peterson's indictment on charges of official misconduct and failure to report a bribe.

Peterson was fired following his indictment when the Bolingbrook Police and Fire Commission found him guilty of those charges, as well as disobedience and conducting a self-assigned investigation.

On different occasions, two appellate court judges ruled Peterson's firing was excessive. The criminal charges against him were dropped and he got his job back.

Peterson's trouble from two decades ago started when he revealed to his supervisors that he'd embarked on a solo narcotics investigation of Rock. A state police undercover officer was already working on Rock, according to court documents, but Peterson went ahead with his probe and failed to tell his superiors until it hit a dead end.

"You had better take your guns off. I have something to say that's real bad," Peterson allegedly told his supervisors at the time.

And Peterson's former supervisor with the narcotics squad, retired state police Lt. Col. Ronald Janota accused Peterson of leaking the state agent's identity to Rock.

Before he was investigated by Peterson, Rock was convicted of the April 1970 murder of Joliet police Det. William Loscheider. But it was actually a fellow officer who gunned down Loscheider during a burglary investigation at a North Broadway liquor warehouse, but courts blamed Rock because the death occurred while Rock was committing a crime. Rock, a reputed loan shark, was allegedly fleeing the scene with two accomplices when Loscheider was killed by friendly fire.

The spokesman for the state's attorney's office, Charles B. Pelkie, said he could not comment on why or even if Rock was subpoenaed. Peterson himself could not understand what prosecutors wanted with Rock, who he had arrested once before the unauthorized investigation in 1985.

"All he knows is, I tried to buy dope from him a couple times. I put him away for 20 years," Peterson said. "He got out on appeal."

Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has been missing since Oct. 28.

Thanks to Joe Hosey

Are the Clintons the New Corleones?

Interesting call from a woman to the Rush Limbaugh radio show in which Hillary Clinton is compared to mafia wives and Bill Clinton is portrayed as The Godfather.

RUSH: Peggy in Fort Pierce, Florida, great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Rush --

RUSH: Yes.

Are the Clintons the New Corleones?CALLER: -- just what you said before, it's a theory I've had for a long time. I think Hillary is a Mafia wife. If you saw the Married to the Mob movie, it was those gals that pretended they didn't know how their husbands gave them the money, or got the money for their perks. Now, I feel Hillary is the same thing. I think Tim Russert is way off saying, you know, she wasn't aware, everybody feels so badly for her --

RUSH: Wait, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa -- Russert said she wasn't aware of what?

CALLER: That she was not aware that he was that much of a cheese or that he was cheating on her, or as she said, he's never going to do it again. This gal doesn't care. This gal has a nuptial agreement, never mind a prenup. She is going to go for the perks just like, God forgive me, the Kennedy women did. It's you just turn a blind eye, you turn your head, your husband's cheating, but you're getting power, money, notoriety. It's like selling your soul.

RUSH: You know, I can't argue with that. That is a pretty good analogy.


RUSH: I'll tell you why I like it, too. I like it because it's coming from you, a woman.


RUSH: See, if I had said that, a lot of women who might be predisposed to agree with me would still have gotten angry because I was sounding like I was speaking disrespectfully, but you can say that, and it has power because it connects. I'm glad that you called. I had never consciously looked at it that way. Because you're absolutely right, there's no way she doesn't know what he's been doing --

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: -- for all of these years.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: She's exacted a price for it.

CALLER: Yes, she has, and she's going to exact a bigger price if she gets in any position to. She's going to buy his silence. Omerta.

RUSH: Well, all right, now, let me ask you this. Continuing here with the Mafia analogy.


RUSH: Don Clintonleone.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: It is now his wife who seeks to run the mob.

RUSH: What if she loses? What if she loses? Don Clintonleone is of no more value to her.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: He is only a liability. And, of course, Don Clintonleone will see her as a liability, because you can't get back where he wants, the White House, without her getting there. What, then, happens to this famous mob couple?

CALLER: I wonder if they would have the guts to shed themselves of each other, because I think they're just hanging on to each other for what they can get out of it.

RUSH: Well, this is --

CALLER: There's no love there. I don't know if there ever was. But even if there was, as I said, she sold out a long time. She sold out on women. That's why I can't understand why more women don't see that. Women are smart.

RUSH: A lot do. A lot do.

Thanks to Rush Limbaugh

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Mobster Turns Lemons into Lemonade

It's too bad for Joey Vallaro that so many people want him killed. Otherwise he could make a killing himself on the speakers' circuit with his story of how even in adversity there is opportunity.

In Vallaro's case it would be about how he turned a jail stretch for extortion into a career as a Staten Island trucking magnate.

Always a step ahead, so far at least, Vallaro is the Mafia "rat" at the centre of a 170-page indictment against 62 mobsters and crooks, including the bosses of New York's Gambino family, which resulted in 57 arrests last week. It was a crippling blow to one of the city's notorious Five Families.

Twelve years and a lifetime ago, Vallaro became pals with the Gambino captain Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo while they were in the can. Not long before he was jailed Vallaro and a partner had started a trucking company.

Court documents, referring to Vallaro as "John Doe #4", show that on the outside another Gambino captain, Thomas "Tommy Sneakers" Cacciopoli, recovered a debt owed to Vallaro's company "and, in return, demanded monthly extortion payments from that point forward". After his release from prison in 1999 Vallaro made the payments directly to Cacciopoli, 58, and to stay in business he has since handed over more than $US160,000.

In return, the Gambinos sponsored his business: ushering him into exclusive rights at development sites and granting him permission to start a cement company. When Vallaro wanted to sell after a buyer approached him, he first had to obtain permission from the family.

"In keeping with instructions from Gambino family captains Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria to consult them before making any decisions concerning his business, John Doe #4 informed DiMaria of the [buyer's] offer. DiMaria later informed John Doe #4 that the family had agreed to allow him to make the sale, provided he pay $100,000 to the Gambino family," court documents show.

Vallaro's partner did not fare so well: "In early January 2008, Gambino family soldier Joseph Scopo approached John Doe #4 on behalf of Gambino family captain Thomas Cacciopoli and instructed him that when the sale of his cement company took place, John Doe #4 should not provide his partner with the more than $300,000 in sale proceeds due to him, and that Cacciopoli would collect the money himself when he was released from prison."

Long before he OKed selling Vallaro's business, Lenny "Fatso" DiMaria, a family member since the 1970s, had unwittingly given investigators an insight into corporate techniques Gambino-style when he was captured on a surveillance audio tape.

"You have to go bother these people for your money," he was heard telling a subordinate. "Rough them up a little. Tell them 'You're a f---ing stiff' … Crack a face. F--- them up. Don't you do it, send a f---ing kid to rough them up, a f---ing joke."

The most senior of those charged is John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico, who rose from the rank of soldier to acting boss of the Gambinos. Seventy-three years old and facing racketeering and extortion charges, he may well die in prison like an earlier Gambino boss, John Gotti.

Also indicted are D'Amico's underboss, Dominic "the Greaseball" Cefalu, 61, and Joseph "Miserable" Corozzo, 66, the family's counsellor or consigliere. This trio was the Gambino "administration".

"The Gambino family operated through groups of individuals headed by captains, who were also referred to as skippers, caporegimes and capodecinas. These groups, which were referred to as crews, regimes and decinas, consisted of 'made' members of the Gambino family, also referred to as 'soldiers', 'friends of ours', 'good fellows' and 'buttons' as well as associates of the Gambino family," the indictment reads.

"With the assistance of the underboss and consigliere, the boss was responsible for setting policy, resolving disputes between members and associates of the Gambino family and members and associates of other criminal organisations."

Corozzo's brother, Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo, is charged with the 1996 murder of the Lucchese crime family associate Robert Arena who refused to return marijuana he stole from a drug dealer. Arena was already suspected of killing one of Corozzo's crew - Anthony "Tough Tony" Placido - when Corozzo ordered his killing. A friend of Arena's who happened to be with him when he was shot was also murdered. Of the shooter, Little Nicky is alleged to have said he "did good work".

One longtime soldier who was spared the indignity of a physically demeaning nickname - and possibly with good reason - was Charles "Charlie Canig" Carneglia.

Grey-bearded and with an improbable grey ponytail, Carneglia has allegedly been killing for the Gambinos since the 1970s, and not necessarily always while under instruction.

In 1975 Albert Gelb, 25, intervened when he saw a young woman being harassed in a diner by a man who produced a gun before Gelb disarmed him. The man was Carneglia. Gelb was shot dead seated at the wheel of his car shortly before Carneglia's trial.

Carneglia, 61, has been charged with five murders in all and also is suspected of a notorious hit on one John Favara, who disappeared in July 1980. Favara was the unfortunate motorist who struck and killed Gotti's 12-year-old son. The boy rode his bike into the path of Favara's car. Carneglia is suspected of shooting Favara and of disposing of his body in a cement-filled barrel. Favara's body has not been found.

The FBI this week was making a body count of another sort. In the Gambino takedown they counted three family captains, three acting captains and 16 soldiers. "Once ruled by the powerful Carlo Gambino and 'Dapper Don' John Gotti, the Gambino family has been reduced to a shadow of its former criminal self over the years … but it is far from dead, continuing its efforts to infiltrate such industries as trucking and construction," the FBI said. "Still, the investigations and ensuing indictment represent another crippling blow. A total of 25 alleged Gambino mobsters - including each active leader of the family not already in jail - were indicted."

Among those charged are members and associates of the Bonnano and Genovese crime families and figures from the construction industry and unions. The charges span three decades and involve murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and various scams.

The Labour Department inspector-general, Gordon Heddell, said the scams involved some of New York's biggest building companies. "Many of these construction companies allegedly paid a 'mob tax' in return for 'protection' and permission to operate," he said. "The Gambino organised crime family caused the theft of Teamsters union dues, and of health and pension funds, directly impacting the welfare and future of many workers."

In addition, Carneglia ran marijuana. Other family members dealt cocaine. Corozzo and DiMaria oversaw illegal bookmakers, and acting captain Frank Cali ran illegal poker machines "including approximately four or five machines in Caf Italia in Brooklyn. Cali split a percentage of the gambling profits with the owner of the restaurant, with 10 per cent off the top going to the administration of the Gambino family," court documents reveal.

"In the 1990s, Cali was involved in overseeing the Gambino family interest in the annual Italian Feast on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn. The Gambino family received a percentage of the fees charged for the booths and rides, which generated tens of thousands of dollars each year. Cali split the money with other Gambino family associates, with 10 per cent off the top going to the administration of the Gambino family."

Joey Vallaro was a good earner for the Gambinos. In January 2006 they allowed him to start a new operation, an excavation business. That alone brought in $30,000 in extortion payments.

The New York Post said the crunch came when he was busted with two kilograms of cocaine in 2004. He turned informant rather than face a possible life sentence.

Contrary to expectations, Vallaro apparently did not enter the witness protection program after authorities swooped on the family: some reports claim that Joey stayed around to make a brazen appearance at a sushi bar last Saturday. It was just two days after the arrests, and two doors from the restaurant run by his now-abandoned wife, Trisha.

He is not expected to reappear until his time comes to testify in the looming Gambino trials. That is especially so since Little Nicky Corozzo, the man who ushered him into the fold, was not home when the police came calling. And he is still out there, somewhere.

Thanks to Ian Munro

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Operation 123 Clean Sweep in Cleveland Targets Organized Crime

Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Police Chief Michael McGrath, Special Agent in Charge Christopher P. Sadowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason today announced that a joint Cleveland Police and ATF investigation into criminal gang activity on the city's southeast side has resulted in 150 criminal charges being levied against thirty-one defendants. The year-long investigation, conducted with technical assistance from County Prosecutor Bill Mason's office, focused on the area surrounding E.123 St. and Lenacrave Ave. in the Fourth Police District and was dubbed "Operation 123 Clean Sweep."

Eight simultaneous pre-dawn raids this morning, carried out by arrest teams comprised of officers and agents of Cleveland Police, ATF, FBI, DEA, US Marshals Service and RTA, resulted in the arrest of twenty-four of the defendants named in indictments unveiled today. Arrest warrants were issued for thirty-one individuals including six juveniles. One of those being sought was arrested yesterday and four others named in the indictments were previously incarcerated for other crimes. The arrest teams, assisted by SWAT Units from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office and Cleveland Police, were led by ATF and CPD supervisors. Locations on Cleveland's east and west sides as well as addresses in East Cleveland, Shaker Hts. and Warrensville Hts. were targeted in searching for members associated with the LA Gunnaz gang. The moniker "LA" is short for "Lenacrave-Angelus," signifying the area of the city in which the gang operated.

"Organized crime sucks the equity out of neighborhoods and diminishes the capacity for residents to have the quality of life which they are entitled to experience," said Mayor Jackson. "As I said earlier this year, whether you live in Cleveland or are coming into Cleveland to break our laws, law enforcement will deal with you."

"This latest round of indictments," said Chief McGrath, "is yet another example of the successful partnerships we have established with those in our law enforcement community. We will continue to work to stamp out the gang violence that has become so pervasive in the City of Cleveland."

"ATF is committed to relentlessly pursuing violent criminals that victimize our communities. Today we have taken the first steps towards justice for the persons victimized by these criminals," said Christopher P. Sadowski, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division.

"We support the Mayor's efforts to take the fight to the drug dealers and gang members," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, "I'm confident that the residents of this neighborhood will feel safer with the arrests of these thugs who have been terrorizing them. These indictments are part of a large scale operation by law enforcement to take back our streets--block by block, gang by gang."

Those charged in the indictment are:


1. ROBBIE CAYSON HUTCHINS DOB: 06/17/68 AGE: 39 (Mother)
2. RONNEL ACY DOB: 09/15/89 AGE: 18
3. KENNETH POTTS DOB: 01/24/88 AGE: 20 (Son of Hutchins)
4. LAMAR SEARS DOB: 10/11/89 AGE: 18
5. TERRANCE BROWN DOB: 02/16/88 AGE: 19
7. SHUNDER HOWARD DOB: 05/18/1989 AGE: 18
9. LARRY CRAWFORD DOB: 02/19/49 AGE: 58
10. STEVEN OLIVER DOB: 10/21/1989 AGE: 18
11. BRYANT CAYSON DOB: 08/10/84 AGE: 23 (Son of Hutchins)
12. MARK FULLEN DOB: 10/04/88 AGE: 19
13. ROBBIE CAYSON DOB: 08/02/88 AGE: 19
14. LYNDON DAVIS DOB: 12/07/87 AGE: 20
15. ERIK HEARD DOB: 08/04/88 AGE: 19
16. JOSHUA COLBERT DOB: 02/12/89 AGE: 19
17. CHRISTIAN CRAIG DOB: 12/15/88 AGE: 19
18. JEFFREY HOOD DOB: 05/11/1986 AGE: 21
19. DARNELL WILLIAMS DOB: 10/19/86 AGE: 21
20. TYRONE BALLOU DOB: 08/04/87 AGE: 20


1. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 07/20/91 AGE: 16
2. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 07/07/90 AGE: 17
3. Joshua Colbert DOB: 02/12/89 AGE: 19 (now an adult w/ adult charges
as well)
4. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 03/13/90 AGE: 17 (Son of Hutchins)
5. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 11/28/89 AGE: 18
6. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 05/12/89 AGE: 18
7. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 01/17/1990 AGE: 18
8. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 06/06/89 AGE: 18
9. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 08/20/92 AGE: 15 (Son of Hutchins)
10. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 12/26/92 AGE: 15 (Son of Hutchins)
11. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 04/30/91 AGE: 16
12. Unnamed Juvenile DOB: 06/24/89 AGE: 18

Six of the juveniles charged have turned eighteen since their crimes were committed. However, because their alleged crimes were committed while they were under the age of eighteen they will be charged in Juvenile Court.

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The Mob Ties That Bind in Ozone Park

Standing in front of the old site of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens, you can see a few immediate differences between its appearance now and its appearance when it was home base for the John J. Gotti and his associates in the Gambino crime family.

First, the space, at 98-04 101st Avenue, has been divided into two businesses, a medical supply store and a pet groomer, and it looks a lot more welcoming now than it used to. Second, there was some faded graffiti on the front of the building. That is the kind of thing, people in the neighborhood said this week, that would not have flown when Mr. Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, was still around.

I was in Ozone Park to visit a couple of Mafia landmarks for the Dispatches feature in this week’s City section, and to see what people thought about the arrests last week of dozens of people accused of involvement with organized crime. One thing that’s clear is that Mr. Gotti and his compatriots really did, and do, have a following in the neighborhood. They put on fireworks shows and held barbecues at the club, and anyone was welcome. And, people said, they kept the streets clean and safe, and scared away street criminals.

That last point is one you hear a lot regarding the civic benefits of organized crime, but I couldn’t find any substantiation for it in the city’s crime statistics. There are two police precincts covering Ozone Park, the 102nd and the 106th, and in both, every category of crime that the police track is down substantially since 1990, which was two years before Mr. Gotti went to prison.

The numbers can’t tell the whole story, of course — the city in general was a more dangerous place all those years ago, and maybe things would have been even worse in the neighborhood if Mr. Gotti hadn’t been around keeping an eye on things. But empirically, it seems the most you can say is that some people in the area felt safer. Albert Gelb, the court security officer killed near his home in the neighborhood in 1976, certainly wasn’t safer, and neither was John Favara, Mr. Gotti’s neighbor in nearby Howard Beach, who accidentally ran over Mr. Gotti’s son and disappeared in 1980, maybe to wind up dead and buried in an Ozone Park lot.

Things are not what they used to be, anyway. The neighborhood is less Italian than it was, and its newer residents lack a connection to the Gambinos’ prime years and may not have even heard of Mr. Gotti. And a quick search for addresses of the people named in the 170-page indictment reveals locations all over the tristate region, often in tonier areas than Ozone Park, a modest neighborhood of small, shingled houses.
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Some people in the neighborhood who remember organized crime figures are not interested in discussing them. One business owner, who had stopped by the pet grooming store in the former Bergin social club storefront while I was there, maintained a stony silence on the topic of Mr. Gotti. But then, he had arrived while I was standing in Mr. Gotti’s old bathroom with a notepad, trying to find the words to describe his odd-looking toilet, so the man’s discretion did make some sense.

Others were almost as circumspect, but revealed a bit more. A waitress at the Esquire Diner, where Albert Gelb once clashed with Charles Carneglia, the man charged in his killing, said she was sad to see the era of Mr. Gotti and his former associates come to an end. The way they socialized, she said, was a lot like the mobsters’ nights out depicted in Martin Scorcese’s “Goodfellas” — being ushered to special tables in expensive nightclubs and spending large sums of money on food and drinks.

It’s tempting sometimes to conflate movie mobsters with their real-life counterparts, and generally that is a temptation worth avoiding. I couldn’t resist, though, taking a peek at the table-side jukebox mounted in my booth at the Esquire. Yes, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” is in there — No. 2602.

Thanks to Jake Mooney

Friday, February 22, 2008

Family Secrets Mob Prosecutor Succumbs to Cancer

It may seem an odd compliment, but there is perhaps no better praise for the work Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars did than how mobsters referred to him.

"That (expletive) Mitch Mars," is what crooked Chicago cop Anthony Doyle called him on tape recordings he didn't know were being made.

"That is a real testament to the guy," said Markus Funk, one of Mars' co-prosecutors in the Family Secrets trial, which put Doyle and other mobsters away in September.

Over and over, said Funk, on wiretaps and prison eavesdropping recordings, the bad guys had one concern: what did Mitch Mars know and how close was he getting?

More often than not, Mars knew a lot about the Chicago Outfit and was very close.

In September, he got closer than many mobsters ever dreamed he would: convicting mob leaders James Marcello, Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese and others on racketeering charges stemming from murders that were, in some cases, decades old.

It was a fitting exclamation point on the career of Mars, the chief of the organized crime section of the U.S. attorney's office.

Mars died of lung cancer Tuesday night. He was 55.

He had battled crime since 1978, when he joined the U.S. Justice Department. He arrived in Chicago in 1980 and joined the U.S. attorney's office in 1990 when it merged with the Justice Department's organized crime strike force.

Family Secrets was but the last hurrah in a long line of prosecutions. He also helped put away Cicero mayor Betty Loren-Maltese, Chicago Heights mob boss Albert Tocco and several others along the way.

"But we would do a disservice to remember Mitch only by what he accomplished as a prosecutor in the courtroom," said Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, in a prepared statement.

"He is a complete gentleman," said Susan Shatz, one of the lawyers who represented Lombardo in the trial. "I hold him in the highest regard.

While Mars was all business in the courtroom, those who knew him outside of it said he was easygoing and a prankster.

After months of trial and working late nights and weekends, Shatz and Mars were forever calling one another, Shatz said.

On the last day of trial, Shatz arranged with Mars' wife, Jennifer, to have Jennifer wait until Mars wound down that evening and then ask him if he had remembered to call Shatz.

Mars apparently enjoyed the joke enough to return the favor, calling Shatz that night on her office phone, demanding trial papers in a mock-annoyed voice.

"I have not taken his message off my voicemail since then," said Shatz, who said she kept it when she learned Mars was sick.

Mars discovered his cancer shortly after the trial and took a leave of absence to spend time with his family.

He is survived by his wife, his mother, Constance, his sister, Deborah Berkos, his brother, Jeffrey, an uncle Raymond Oster and several other aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Visitation is Friday from 3-9 p.m. at Damar Kaminski Funeral Home, 7861 S. 88th Avenue in Justice. A funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Cletus, 600 W. 55th St. in LaGrange.

Thanks to Rob Olmstead

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The "Other" Calabrese

He was just convicted in a string of armed robberies, but federal authorities now suspect him of committing several more serious crimes.

He's known as "The *Other* Calabrese."

This is the story of Anthony Calabrese, who carries the same last name as one of Chicago's most notorious mob families.

Anthony is not even related to the bloodthirsty Calabreses, who made news last summer during the operation Family Secrets mob murder trial. But Anthony Calabrese is in the same line of work as his infamous namesakes.

There have been 1,100 mob hits in Chicago since the Roaring Twenties. The last known gangland murder occurred in the entryway of a west suburban restaurant. Mobster Anthony "The Hatchet" Chiarmonti was chased and gunned down in 2001 by an assassin who escaped in a getaway minivan. Two months later, at Tony C's Auto Shop in Alsip, business owner Anthony "Tony C" Calabrese convened a meeting.

**Strip off your clothes," barked a twitchy Calabrese, concerned one of his underlings had turned on him and was wearing a hidden FBI tape recorder, which he was. But they never found it.

"You know to keep your mouth shut. I mean, you understand what'll happen?" asked Calabrese.

"Tony, do I look like I wanna be dead?" answered the associate.

Calabrese threatened to kill the associate if he went to the feds. Investigators believe Calabrese was paranoid that authorities would connect him to the parking lot murder of Chiaramonti two months earlier. At one point, Calabrese and one of his henchmen pounced on the suspected rat.

The tape was played last week by federal prosecutors, who had charged Calabrese in a series of suburban stick-ups. Calabrese's accomplice during the recorded attack, Robert Cooper, testified that it was a "stomping" with "steel-toe boots." Cooper helped convict Calabrese of armed robberies in Morton Grove, Maywood and Lockport. Judge Amy St. Eve allowed the violent tape to be played over Calabrese's objections.

Calabrese's lawyer admits the tape wasn't pretty and did-in the hoodlum in the eyes of the jury.

Cooper has also admitted to police that he was Calabrese's partner in the murder of Tony The Hatch. Cooper is now serving time for driving the getaway vehicle. Calabrese has never been charged with the Chiaramonti hit, although authorities are said to be building a murder case against him. At age 47, he faces a minimum 50 years behind bars just for the stick-ups.

Calabrese's lawyer says that amounts to a life sentence.

Federal agents hope such a bleak existence behind bars might entice Calabrese to cooperate and give up the names of top Chicago Outfit bosses who arranged Chiarmonti's murder.

Mob experts say Calabrese has reported to James "Jimmy I" Inendino. The I stands for ice-pick, which Mr. Inendino has been known to use for eye examinations. "Jimmy I" is considered a leader in the mob's 26th Street crew, a rigid organization where hoodlums like Calabrese are bred to go down with the ship.

Calabrese's lawyer says that Anthony believes he was brought into the world as a man and will go out as a man.

As meticulous as Anthony Calabrese was running his criminal ventures, and as paranoid as he was that someone might turn on him, Calabrese somehow missed the tape recorder that probably did him in. He even strip searched the guy, desperate to find a recorder. It was there somewhere, rolling and recording, even as Calabrese punched and stomped his way to mob infamy.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

On this frigid morning, in an unheated brick garage at 2122 N. Clark St., seven men were lined up against a whitewashed wall and pumped with 90 bullets from submachine guns, shotguns and a revolver. It was the most infamous of all gangland slayings in America, and it savagely achieved its purpose--the elimination of the last challenge to Al Capone for the mantle of crime boss in Chicago. By 1929, Capone's only real threat was George "Bugs" Moran, who headed his own gang and what was left of Dion O'Banion's band of bootleggers. Moran had long despised Capone, mockingly referring to him as "The Beast."

The St. Valentine's Day MassacreAt about 10:30 a.m., four men burst into the SMC Cartage Co. garage that Moran used for his illegal business. Two of the men were dressed as police officers. The quartet presumably announced a raid and ordered the seven men inside the garage to line up against a wall. Then they opened fire. Witnesses, alerted by the rat-a-tat staccato of submachine guns, watched as the gunmen sped off in a black Cadillac touring car that looked like the kind police used, complete with siren, gong and rifle rack. The victims, killed outright or left dying in the garage, included Frank "Hock" Gusenberg, Moran's enforcer, and his brother, Peter "Goosy" Gusenberg. Four of the other victims were Moran gangsters, but the seventh dead man was Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, an optician who cavorted with criminals for thrills. Missing that morning was Capone's prize, Moran, who slept in.

Capone missed the excitement too. Vacationing at his retreat at Palm Island, Fla., he had an alibi for his whereabouts and disclaimed knowledge of the coldblooded killings. Few believed him. No one ever went to jail for pulling a trigger in the Clark Street garage, which was demolished in 1967.

Although Moran survived the massacre, he was finished as a big criminal. For decades to come, only one mob, that of Capone and his successors, would run organized crime in Chicago. But the Valentine's Day Massacre shocked a city that had been numbed by "Roaring '20s" gang warfare over control of illegal beer and whiskey distribution.

"These murders went out of the comprehension of a civilized city," the Tribune editorialized. "The butchering of seven men by open daylight raises this question for Chicago: Is it helpless?"

In the following years, Capone and his henchmen were to become the targets of ambitious prosecutors.

Thanks to John O'Brien

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Supreme Court Justice Alito Finds "The Sopranos" Guilty

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. has convicted "The Sopranos" of spreading what he says are stereotypes about Italian-Americans.

During a visit to Rutgers University on Wednesday, Alito complained that the hit HBO television drama not only associated Italian-Americans with the Mafia, but New Jerseyans, as well.

"You have a trifecta — gangsters, Italian-Americans, New Jersey — wedded in the popular American imagination," Alito said at an event sponsored by the Italian studies program at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.

Alito, himself an Italian-American, lived for nearly two decades in a West Caldwell home in the same area of New Jersey where the fictional Tony Soprano lived.

Alito told the gathering of about 100 people that a friend in California once sent him a map of "Sopranos"-related locations. "He wanted me to put down where my house was on the map," Alito said to laughs.

Alito's comments about "The Sopranos," which went off the air last year, were part of a talk in which the New Jersey native lamented that there are too many stereotypes about Italians in the United States.

He said the real story of Italian people who came here, some succeeding and some failing and going back to Italy, needed to be preserved because it told something about the United States' "true nature as a nation of immigrants."

Alito, 57, was born in Trenton, grew up in Hamilton Township and attended Princeton University before going to law school at Yale. Last year, Alito and his wife moved from West Caldwell to northern Virginia to be closer to his new job.

Since taking his seat on the court in January 2006, Alito has generally sided with other conservative members of the court, including fellow Trenton native, Antonin Scalia.

New York's 5 Crime Families to Get Corporate Sponsors?

Maybe the Mafia needs a new business model. The old one hasn’t been working well of late. That seems a reasonable surmise after the mass arrests that had a huge chunk of the Gambino crime family — pardon us, a huge alleged chunk of the Gambino crime family — parading around in manacles the other day.

It is said that the mob prides itself on being a solid business, with diversified interests and assorted revenue streams. If so, organized crime is missing out on a scheme that has been an enormous cash cow for some other businesses.

There is a fortune to be made from selling naming rights to New York’s five Mafia families.

Why should sports teams be the only ones to turn a buck by putting their stadiums and arenas on the auction block? Citigroup, to cite one of many examples, is paying the Mets $20 million a year to have the ball club’s new stadium in Queens called Citi Field.

That’s small potatoes compared with revenue possibilities for the gilded Yankees, who say they have turned down offers of $50 million or more from an unnamed corporation wanting to slap its name on their new Bronx stadium.

In similar fashion, the mob could market itself to certain companies, most likely those in serious trouble themselves.

Imagine an outfit like Enron’s accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. It suffered a scandal-induced collapse. But while it struggled to stay alive, it might have done well to attach its name to a mob family. The way things were going, that kind of maneuver would have been a step up in class. And goodness knows the Mafia could use some new names. The existing ones are mustier than a “bada bing” tabloid headline.

Carlo Gambino has been dead for three decades, yet his name still graces (or disgraces) a crime group that has not lacked for famous latter-day leaders, men like Paul Castellano and John Gotti.

The same holds for the other families: Bonanno, Genovese, Luchese and Colombo, all named for men who died or faded away ages ago. The nomenclature dates to the early 1960s, with the exception of the gang once led by Joseph Colombo; his name supplanted that of Joseph Profaci in 1970. Still, that’s not exactly last week.

What gives with all this yesteryear? In any business, isn’t an occasional sprucing-up required?

In this regard, the mob is not much different from many corporations, said Thomas Reppetto, the author of “American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power” (Henry Holt & Company).

“Sears, Roebuck started out with two guys who were not running the company very long, but it’s still called Sears,” Mr. Reppetto said.

“I think, too, that it’s better to keep an established name,” he said. “It makes it appear more powerful when you say the family has been around a long time.”

A similar thought was offered by Mark Feldman, a director at BDO Consulting in Manhattan. He used to track organized crime for the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn. “I don’t know for sure,” Mr. Feldman said, “but it would seem to me that a brand name means something even in criminal circles.”

Selwyn Raab, who used to report on the mob for this newspaper, says the five families’ labels really began with law enforcement agents, who saw it as a convenient way to distinguish one group from another.

“A guy in the Genovese family didn’t know he was in the Genovese family till he saw it in the newspapers,” said Mr. Raab, the author of “Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires” (St. Martin’s Press). “All he knew was that he worked for Mike. He would say, ‘I’m with Mike,’ or ‘I’m with Al,’ or ‘I’m with Tony.’ ”

Even so, rebranding is not an entirely alien concept to the mob. Look at Joseph Massino, who was the Bonanno paterfamilias until he landed in prison a few years ago and started, as they say, singing to the feds. Mr. Massino appreciated what’s in a name.

“He wanted it to be known officially as the Massino family,” Mr. Raab said. “He had a little bit of, I guess, an ego. He’s gone now, too.”

Nobody said that selling naming rights to the mob would be easy. But opportunities abound, and are likely to continue regardless of last week’s “End of the Gambinos” headlines.

“The F.B.I. continues to use the same five names because it’s simple,” Mr. Raab said. “Also, for them it’s a good public relations ploy — that we wiped out the Gambino family. This is the third time in my lifetime that they’ve wiped out the Gambino family. They ought to call this Operation Lazarus.”

Thanks to Clyde Haberman

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Al Capone Inspired NASCAR?

New York prosecutors said Saturday that NASCAR's new racetrack on Staten Island was built by a construction company owned by Mafia members. They're big race fans. Al Capone always kept a body in the trunk to help him hold the road during hairpin turns. ;-)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV Trailer #3

The fourth installment of the popular Grand Theft Auto series by Rockstar features improved graphics, new features, and new gameplay. Players take on the role of Niko Bellic, a rough-around-the-edge chap from Eastern Europe. Niko has arrived in America, in Liberty City -- a land full of promise and opportunity. His cousin convinced him to emigrate, to join him in his mansion and life of luxury, but as soon as he steps off the boat, Niko discovers the truth about the American way. Still, the wealth, the comfort, the bliss of the good life, it all really is here ... And it's all for the taking.

GTA IV reinvents the series with a renewed version of Liberty City detailed to the last pothole and rooftop vent. There are now four boroughs to explore plus extra area outside of Liberty City proper. With the ability to climb obstacles, drive cars, steer boats and pilot helicopters, the world of GTA is more accessible than ever before.

Cheap Phone Calls to Russia!

Lefty Rosenthal is Enjoying South Beach

Game theorist Frank ''Lefty'' Rosenthal is the man Sports Illustrated crowned as the greatest living expert on sports handicapping.

But he's probably better known as the man actor Robert De Niro portrayed in the 1995 Martin Scorsese epic Casino, that also starred Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci.

Rosenthal ran four Las Vegas casinos owned by the Chicago mob back in the 1970s -- and is one of the few men ever to survive a car bombing.

Rosenthal, 78, now lives a quiet life of semi-retirement in South Beach, serving as a consultant for offshore online casinos. We asked him about Casino and the South Florida gambling scene.

Q: Actor Robert De Niro portrayed you in Casino as a character named Sam ''Ace'' Rothstein. Was there anything De Niro got wrong?

Bob De Niro studied the script and his character quite well. On execution, he was flawless. His director, imperfect.

Q: In one scene, there's a scene where your character orders security to crush the hand of a guy cheating at blackjack. How realistic is that?

A: Pretty much on target. The two bandits, using electronic signals, were not your ordinary thieves. They belonged to a rough and organized band of highly trained and professional pickpockets. They had raped the strip casinos over a period of time. . . . Hence, we played hardball, sending their entire crew a message.

Q: You've spent time at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood, which will debut baccarat and blackjack this summer. If you ran the casino, what would you do?

A: That's simple. Loose as a goose slots, returning at least 95 percent on every buck. They could go a shade higher, which would guarantee them a terrific handle.

Q: What are your favorite things to do as a South Beach resident?

A: Study and admire the Latina lovelies, with curves galore.

Thanks to Roberto Santiago

The Sicilian Connection to the Gambino Crime Family

Nearly a century ago, NYPD Lt. Joseph Petrosino was shot dead in Sicily, spilling his blood near a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi in Palermo, where he was on assignment investigating the backgrounds of New York City gangsters.

There is a small park named for Petrosino in lower Manhattan. The park is a few hundred yards north of FBI headquarters, where last week agents coordinated a series of raids with help from authorities in Sicily.

The arrests of dozens of mobsters - on charges that include murder, gambling, drug dealing and credit card fraud - produced one of the largest mob crackdowns in recent memory.

Among the 62 suspects arrested in the New York area was reputed Gambino capo Frank Cali, who was trying to help members of the Inzerillo crime family of Sicily return to Palermo. The Sicilian mobsters had been living in exile in Brooklyn for two decades.

Mark Feldman, former chief of the organized crime section for the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office, said the Gambinos were not embarking on a humanitarian effort of repatriation. Their actions were rooted in money and family.

"There is an element of family connections, common business interests and mutual respect," said Feldman, now a consultant for BDO Consulting.

Cali not only shares an allegiance to the same outlaw code as the Inzerillos, he's related through marriage to Gambino associate Frank Inzerillo. He's also the brother-in-law of Gambino soldier and restaurateur Pietro (Tall Pete) Inzerillo.

A brief history lesson is in order.

Back in the 1980s, a brutal mob war raged in Sicily between crime families in Palermo and Corleone.

In the chilling words of Corleone chieftain Salvatore (Toto) Riina, who came to be known as "The Beast," the Inzerillos were to be wiped out. "Not even a seed of theirs must remain on the face of the Earth," he said.

At the end of the bloody war, the Inzerillos were granted a reprieve - they could save themselves if they fled Sicily.

"Because of the family link between Cali and the Inzerillos of Palermo, Sicily, the Inzerillos sought refuge in New York and the Gambino family," said Raffaele Grassi, chief of the organized crime section of the Italian National Police, who attended last week's press conference in Brooklyn announcing the massive roundup.

The Inzerillos have been angling to return to Sicily to fill a power vacuum created there by the capture of Corleone crime boss Bernardo Provenzano.

Provenzano, the boss of all bosses of the Sicilian Mafia, was arrested in 2006, ending his 43-year run as a fugitive.

Authorities in Italy said the Inzerillos believe they can return to Sicily despite their banishment two decades ago, in part because of connections they forged with the Gambinos in New York.

According to the Italian newspaper la Repubblica, some Inzerillos already have returned to the Passo di Rigano district of Palerrmo.

Usually, American and Sicilian mobsters cannot be made members of both crime families because they don't share all the same rules.

The differences date back more than century and are evidenced by the killing of Petrosino in 1909. It is not uncommon for ruthless Sicilian gangsters to attack cops and judges, but it's rare in New York.

Despite the differences between the families, an exception appears to have been made for Cali. The wealthy owner of food import-export businesses, he is alleged to be a member of the Sicilian Mafia as well.

"The bosses in Palermo speak of him [Cali] obsessively," la Repubblica reported.

Cali runs a lucrative import-export business in keeping with the American Mafia's evolution into sophisticated rackets like securities fraud, Internet gambling and porn and labor racketeering, authorities said. His Sicilian brothers still behave more like bandits and benefited from the Gambinos' business acumen.

"The American Mafia and the Sicilian Mafia are not the same, but there has always been a relationship built around drug trafficking," said Thomas Reppetto, author of "Bringing Down the Mob."

"The Sicilians have supplied the recruits and the drugs."

Their mutual interests explain why the FBI and Italian police are carefully monitoring the budding alliance between the Gambinos and Inzerillos.

Following the path forged by the brave Petrosino, there is a deputy superintendent from the Italian National Police embedded in the organized crime branch of the FBI's New York office and an FBI agent who splits his assignment between Rome and Palermo.

"We want to ascertain whether there are current connections between the Sicilian Mafia and the New York-based La Cosa Nostra and to thwart the establishment of ties that don't yet exist," said FBI spokesman James Margolin.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gambino Mobster Nicknames

According to mob expert John Carillo, most gangsters don't know one another's last name. "It's a group of people that know each other basically by nicknames or first names." Among the funniest are:

Thomas Cacciopoli: "Tommy Sneakers." He "likes sneakers," Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo testified at the trial of Gambino boss Peter Gotti.

Joseph Corozzo: "Jo-Jo," "Miserable." It's about that attitude, Jo-Jo.

Robert Epifania: "Bobby the Jew." He's not Jewish. But he "looks like a Jew," his cohorts told investigators.

Domenico Cefalu: "Italian Dom," "Dom from 18th Avenue," "The Greaseball." "Greaseball" is the pejorative the elder John Gotti used for Sicilians; 18th Avenue is in his neck of the woods, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Nicholas Corozzo: "The Doctor," "The Little Guy," "Seymour," "Grandpa," "Grandfather," "Little Nick." This 5-foot-6 mobster goes by "Grandpa" when with close friends.

Vincent Decongilio: "Vinny Hot." His father was "Freddy Hot" - plus he's into gambling.

Leonard DiMaria: "Uncle," "Lenny," "L," "Fatso," "The Conductor." Self-named, he once signed a get-well note to a Newsday reporter "Uncle Lenny." He's short, squat, with a broad nose.

Anthony Licata: "Anthony Firehawk," "Anthony Nighthawk," "Cheeks." Firehawk and Nighthawk are names of trucking companies. Personal Creations

John D'Amico: "Jackie Nose." "He had his nose fixed. He had a big, distorted nose at one time," DiLeonardo said at the Gotti trial. D'Amico was said to have been upset with prosecutors for using the nickname.

Thanks to the NYPost

After Husband is Arrested, Did Mobster's Wife Reach Out and Touch a Warning to Her Reputed Gambino Capo Father

Save 90% on International Calls from your Mobile Phone!
Reputed Gambino capo Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo was able to elude the feds' rubout of more than 100 of his associates Thursday - allegedly thanks to a timely, heads-up phone call from his daughter, who had just watched her mobster husband hauled away in cuffs, sources told The Post yesterday.

Vincent "Skinny" Dragonetti was busted as he walked out of his Bellmore, LI, home a few minutes ahead of the early-morning synchronized sweep. That gave his wife, Bernadette, enough time to warn her dad, who lives a few blocks down the same street.

Corozzo was so quick in fleeing that he left behind his wallet, sources said.

Bernadette refused to answer a Post reporter's questions yesterday, slamming the door in his face.

Corozzo remained on the lam as new details emerged about the historic mass arrest - which involved charges of murder, corruption, extortion, drug dealing and loan-sharking from the city to Sicily.

Its central figure, Staten Island truck-company owner Joseph Vollaro, wore a wire for more than two years.

The ex-con provided intricate details of the Gambino crime family's inner workings at meetings and meals with top bosses, sources said.

Vollaro, who had been staring at a life sentence after he was pinched with two kilos of cocaine in 2004, made the deal in exchange for his freedom and entry into the witness-protection program.

His wife has decided not to join him in the program, which he entered last week as the feds were putting the finishing details on Thursday's massive bust, sources said. The couple has no kids.

As valuable as Vollaro was in bringing down one of the city's biggest crime syndicates, the feds apparently didn't know what to expect when he first agreed to help with their large-scale investigation.

Vollaro, who shared a federal prison cell with Corozzo and began doing business with the Gambinos when he got out in 1999, was initially expected to help with a multifaceted national drug investigation. But he cozied up to the "family" so well over the next few years that he was even on the verge of becoming a made man when the hammer fell on the organization, the sources said.

Vollaro's sweetheart deal sickened the rogues gallery of thugs he ratted out.

"Everybody thought he was a nice guy," said Joel Winograd, the lawyer for Leonard "The Conductor" DiMaria, who, among other things, is charged with money laundering, stealing union benefits and gambling. "He's probably in Hawaii on the beach spending his illegally obtained drug-dealing money right now."

The evidence obtained by Vollaro was a key building block for many of the extortion and racketeering cases.

The multiple murder charges - for crimes that date back as far as 30 years - were brought with extensive wiretap evidence gathered by longtime Gambino associate Peter Zuccaro, 52.

Zuccaro was a key member of one of Corozzo's biggest crews run by Ronnie "One Arm" Trucchio. He and several other associates cut a deal with the feds after his conviction in Tampa, Fla., in 2005 on extortion and other charges.

Zuccaro, a trusted member of the late John Gotti's inner circle, provided a treasure trove of damning evidence - including information on the murder of court officer Albert Gelb, which was allegedly committed by hit man Charles Carneglia.

Thanks to Murray Weiss, Stephanie Cohen, Eric Lenkowitz

Do the Gambinos Have a Boss?

One of the biggest mob busts in Mafia history has rocked the Gambino crime family to the core, leaving no clear successor to run street operations.

Law-enforcement officials are watching closely to see how the Gambinos will cope after a new federal indictment stripped the crime family of alleged acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, consigliere Joseph "Jo Jo" Corozzo and his brother, Nicholas Corozzo.

The Mafia family's remaining members are expected to go underground in the coming tumultuous weeks - making no official changes in the leadership - as bail hearings unfold in Brooklyn federal court.

Peter Gotti continues to be the official boss of the family as he serves the equivalent of a life sentence behind bars, but he will likely seek an older, loyal capo to temporarily steer the organization on the street, according to knowledgeable sources.

"They've got a problem," said one source, noting that Gotti's got slim pickings since the majority of the crime family's leaders are facing charges contained in the new indictment.

Thanks to Kati Cornell and Murray Weiss

Friday, February 08, 2008

List of 62 Defendants Indicted in New York's Major Mobster Case

Defendants Associated with the Gambino, Genovese, and Bonanno Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra, the Construction Industry, or Its Supporting Unions Indicted in New York.

TARA VEGA, Age: 35

62 Mobsters Part of 80 Count Indictment Against the Gambinso, Genoveses, Bonanno's and Others

Charges Include Racketeering Conspiracy, Extortion, Gambling, and Theft Following
Joint Investigation by Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement

An eighty-count indictment charging sixty-two defendants associated with the Gambino, Genovese, and Bonanno organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra, the construction industry, or its supporting unions – including each member of the Gambino family administration currently at liberty – was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn. The indictment charges racketeering conspiracy, extortion, theft of union benefits, mail fraud, false statements, loansharking, embezzlement of union funds, money laundering, and illegal gambling. The charged crimes span more than three decades and reflect the Gambino family’s corrosive influence on the construction industry in New York City and beyond, and its willingness to resort to violence, even murder, to resolve disputes in dozens of crimes of violence dating from the 1970s to the present, including eight acts of murder, murder conspiracy, and attempted murder.

Twenty-five defendants, all members and associates of the Gambino family, are charged with racketeering conspiracy, which includes predicate acts involving murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy, felony murder, robbery, extortion, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, securities fraud, mail fraud, loansharking, theft of union benefits, illegal gambling, and bribery. Notably, the evidence relating to many of the charged crimes consists of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations secured by a cooperating witness who penetrated the Gambino family over a three-year period.

The defendants arrested in New York today were arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto at the U.S. Courthouse, 271 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.

The charges were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Attorney General, Richard A. Brown, Queens County District Attorney, Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor, John S. Pistole, Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York, Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department, Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation, Michael Mansfield, Commissioner, New York City Business Integrity Commission, Patricia J. Haynes, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, New York Field Office, Daniel M. Donovan, Richmond County District Attorney, and Thomas De Maria, Executive Director, Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

As noted, the indictment charges each currently active member of the Gambino family “administration,” or executive leadership – acting boss John D’Amico, acting underboss Domenico Cefalu, and consigliere Joseph Corozzo – as well as three Gambino family captains, three acting captains, sixteen soldiers, and numerous associates. Each member of the administration is charged with racketeering conspiracy and multiple crimes of violence, namely extortions and extortion conspiracies relating to the construction industry, which carry sentences of up to twenty years’ imprisonment on each count.

According to the indictment and the detention memorandum filed, the Gambino family profited from extortion related rackets at construction sites in the New York City metropolitan area, including the NASCAR NASCAR Superstoreconstruction site located in Staten Island and the Liberty View Harbor construction site located in Jersey City, among others. The NASCAR extortion involved the construction of a racetrack in Staten Island that required large quantities of dirt fill, thus requiring trucking contracts which were controlled by the Gambino family. These crimes were part of a longstanding effort by the Gambino family to control and coordinate the extortion of dozens of private construction companies. The charged criminal activity resulted not only in the extortion of business owners, but also the theft of union benefits from, among others, Local 282 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The indictment also documents the Gambino family’s routine use of brazen violence. In particular, four members of the Gambino family are charged with eight crimes involving murder, murder conspiracy, and/or attempted murder. Each of these crimes – charged as racketeering acts – are detailed below:

The Murder of Albert Gelb. Gambino family soldier Charles Carneglia is charged with the 1976 murder of Albert Gelb as a racketeering act. On March 11, 1976, Gelb’s body was discovered in the front seat of a car in Queens, New York, with multiple gunshot wounds to his face and body. Gelb was a Brooklyn Criminal Court Officer who, several years earlier, had approached Carneglia in a Queens diner after Gelb determined that Carneglia was carrying a firearm. Carneglia resisted, and after a struggle with Gelb, he was arrested. Gelb was killed on March 11, 1976, four days before he was expected to testify at Carneglia’s trial.

The Murder of Michael Cotillo. Carneglia is charged with the murder of Gambino family associate Michael Cotillo as a racketeering act. Cotillo died from a stabbing inflicted by Carneglia on November 6, 1977, in Queens, New York, following a fight between the two men.

The Murder of Salvatore Puma. Carneglia is charged with the murder of Gambino family associate Salvatore Puma as a racketeering act. Puma died as a result of a stabbing allegedly inflicted by Carneglia on July 29, 1983. At the time of the stabbing, the two men were arguing over a money dispute.

The Murder of Louis DiBono. Carneglia is charged with the murder of Gambino family soldier Louis DiBono. Carneglia allegedly shot and killed DiBono on October 4, 1990, in the parking garage of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan, on the orders of then-Gambino family boss John J. Gotti. According to the indictment and the government’s detention memorandum, Gotti ordered DiBono’s execution because DiBono had repeatedly failed to meet with Gotti.

The Felony Murder of Jose Delgado Rivera. Carneglia is charged with the December 1990 armed robbery and felony murder of Jose Delgado Rivera as a racketeering act. Rivera, an armored truck guard, was shot and killed during a robbery while he and a co-worker were delivering money to the American Airlines building at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.

The Murders of Robert Arena and Thomas Maranga. Gambino family captain Nicholas Corozzo is charged with the January 1996 double murder of Luchese family associate Robert Arena and Arena’s friend, Thomas Maranga. Corozzo ordered the murder of Arena in retaliation for Arena’s failure to return marijuana he had robbed from a narcotics dealer and for Arena’s suspected participation in the murder of a Corozzo crew member. Maranga was not a target of the murder but was killed because he was with Arena at the time of the attack.

Attempted Murder of John Doe. Gambino family soldiers Vincent Gotti, Richard G. Gotti, and Angelo Ruggiero, Jr. are charged with the May 2003 conspiracy to murder, and attempted murder, of John Doe as a racketeering act. John Doe was shot several times as he was leaving for work on May 4, 2003.

These arrests are the latest is a series of prosecutions in this district targeting the highest echelons of each of the five New York-based families of the LCN.

“The charges announced today are the result of a coordinated law enforcement initiative by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “I want to thank our partners for their extraordinary efforts and commitment to this historic investigation and prosecution. Today, we serve notice that anyone who aspires to a position in organized crime will meet the same fate. We will not rest until we rid our communities and businesses of the scourge of organized crime.” Mr. Campbell thanked Michael J. Garcia, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Barry Kluger, Superintendent Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr. of the Port Authority Police Department, and U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent-in-Charge Ned Schwartz for their assistance in the case.

“This case is noteworthy not only because of its breadth but also because it includes charges against the entire administration of the Gambino family of La Cosa Nostra,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “These charges are the result of the extraordinary work of the law-enforcement agencies that partnered together to take down a legacy of crime and violence that spanned decades.”

Queens County District Attorney Brown said, “Today’s arrests were the result of a coordinated law enforcement effort involving a multitude of agencies at all levels of government. The cooperative efforts of the agencies represented here today were critical to ensuring the successful outcome of this major takedown of individuals associated with organized crime. I commend all those who participated in this endeavor.”

Inspector General Heddell, United States Department of Labor, stated, “Today’s RICO indictment represents a significant milestone toward eradicating a far-reaching and insidious conspiracy involving some of the largest construction companies in New York City that are owned, controlled, and/or influenced by the Gambino organized crime family. Many of these construction companies allegedly paid a ‘mob tax’ in return for ‘protection’ and permission to operate. Through their alleged control of these companies, the Gambino organized crime family caused the theft of Teamsters union dues, and of health and pension funds, directly impacting the welfare and future of many workers. My office stands firmly committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this type of labor racketeering and organized crime.”

“Today’s arrests will be a major setback for the Gambino crime family, but it is a fallacy to suggest that La Cosa Nostra is no longer a threat to public safety,” stated FBI Deputy Director Pistole. “Organized crime in New York is not dead. As a consequence of acts charged in the indictment, however, seven people are dead. It’s also a fallacy that mob murder victims are just other mobsters. Three of the murder victims had no affiliation with organized crime,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon.

“This investigation demonstrates the long-term commitment by NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and prosecutors in making sure the accused are brought to justice. The Gambino organization spilled a lot of blood in New York, and it is being held accountable – no matter how long it takes,” Police Commissioner Kelly said. “This history of violence has been abetted, often unwittingly, by people who see nothing wrong with placing a bet with a mobbed-up bookie,” Commissioner Kelly added. “I commend detectives from our Vice Enforcement Division, who in a related case with 26 arrests, today smashed one of the Gambino crime ring’s most profitable, illegal enterprises – namely, sports gambling.”
Cuban Crafters Cigars
DOI Commissioner Hearn said, “DOI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners and focus on this ongoing effort to drive out construction fraud in the City.”

New York City Business Integrity Commissioner Mansfield stated, “In addition to this indictment, and as a direct result of this long-term collaboration between the Commission and its law enforcement partners, effective immediately the Commission has terminated the authority of the carting companies controlled by these defendants to operate in New York City. The Commission remains committed to its mission of eliminating the influence of organized crime from the industries it regulates.”

Richmond County District Attorney Donovan stated, “This indictment is a prime example of the strong collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies in this region, today striking a major blow against organized crime in our community.”

Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor Executive Director De Maria stated, “For 55 years the Commission has spearheaded and actively participated with various state, federal, and local law enforcement authorities in a multitude of successful investigations which have led to countless criminal prosecutions and administrative action against waterfront- related figures. The Gambino crime family has been a predator of the longshore and construction industries and unions as well as many other industries and their related unions for decades in New York City.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mitra Hormozi, Joey Lipton, Roger Burlingame, Daniel Brownell, Evan Norris, and Kathleen Nandan, and Special Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Leff and Amy Cohn.

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