You'd have thought getting a mobster's wife pregnant would carry the ultimate price. But it turns out even a cuckolded Mafioso can sometimes forgive and forget - for the right fee.
Salvatore Volpe, a low-level Bonanno family associate, told a court in New York he accepted $50,000 from a restaurateur who impregnated his wife, in exchange for not killing him.
The 48-year-old took the stand yesterday as a government witness in the trial of Bonanno boss Vincent 'Vinny Gorgeous' Basciano, who is accused of ordering the 2004 murder of Randy Pizzolo.
Volpe, who works as a plumber, revealed his wife had an affair with the owner of Trattoria Romana, Staten Island, in 2003.
Volpe didn't discover her infidelity until she fell pregnant - although she initially tried to pretend it was his baby, he told Brooklyn Federal Court. He claimed that when he found out the truth, he broke up with his wife then went straight to his crew boss, John Palazzolo, who sent three Bonanno gangsters to confront the owner, known only as 'Anthony'.
According to Volpe, the restaurateur had his own Mafia connections, and sought protection from the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family. Except his plan backfired, and the family were allegedly keen to take the chance to appease the Bonnanos by killing him in his own trattoria basement.
The dispute led to two tense meetings at nearby Alfredo's restaurant as the rival gangs thrashed out a deal, Volpe told the court, although he was too junior to be privy to the talks. He said the Bonnanos sought to avoid killing the man, and instead proposed a $50,000 'tax', $10,000 of which would go to the DeCavalcantes as commission for brokering the deal.
According to the New York Daily News, Volpe told the court: 'Instead of [the restaurant owner] getting killed, he'd have to pay a tax. It was basically a penalty.' He gave the usual cut to his Bonanno bosses, he said, and took the rest for himself. He told the court it was a welcome sum, as the family rarely sent any work to his plumbing business.
Volpe's revelations about the inner-workings of the mob were part of his first day of testimony against Basciano, who faces the death penalty if convicted of ordering Mr Pizzolo's killing.
Yesterday Volpe said Mr Pizzolo sealed his death warrant by boasting he was going to 'level the Bronx' in revenge for not being indicted into the crime family. That was a reference to Basciano, who was then based in the Bronx as the acting Bonanno boss.
He also said the gang discussed killing defence lawyer Gerard Marrone after he put himself forward for membership - but Mr Marrone said he never asked to join.
Volpe is the second 'mob rat' to testify at the trial. Last week the court heard from former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, the New York mafia's highest-ever ranking informer. He agreed to wear a wire in jail to record a conversation with Basciano about the 2004 killing. Prosecutors played the recordings to the court last week, and the jury heard Basciano apparently tell his predecessor: 'I gave the order. Randy was a f***ing jerkoff.'
Bonanno soldier Anthony Aiello has already pleaded guilty to killing Pizzolo, but now his boss is on trial accused of ordering the murder.
Best of the Month!
- Chicago Mob Infamous Locations Map
- The Chicago Syndicate AKA "The Outfit"
- One Family's Rise, A Century of Power
- Mafia Links of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
- THE OUTFIT'S GREATEST HITS
- Top Ten Signs a Mafia Boss is Nuts
- Profile: Harry Aleman
- Firm with reputed mob ties flourishes
- Top Ten Ways The Mafia Can Improve Its Image
- Chicago Alderman Ed Burke Charged with Extortion by Federal Prosecutors #Corruption