The Chicago Syndicate: Colombos
Showing posts with label Colombos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colombos. Show all posts

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires By Selwyn Raab

As the Mafia grew into a malignantly powerful force during the middle of the last century, it owed much of its success to its low-priority ranking as a law enforcement target. During most of his reign as FBI director from 1924 to 1972, J. Edgar Hoover denied that the Mafia even existed. In the late 1950s, Hoover was ''still publicly in denial" that there was such a thing as the Mafia, writes Selwyn Raab in ''Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires," his engaging history of the New York mob.

Even Hoover, who hesitated to tackle mob cases because they were difficult to win and might corrupt his agents, grudgingly came around. ''Five Families," a gritty cops-and-robbers narrative and a meticulous case history of an extraordinary law enforcement mobilization, shows how the federal government finally brought the Mafia down.

Raab, a former reporter for The New York Times whose beat was organized crime, exudes the authority of a writer who has lived and breathed his subject. Indeed, Raab seems too attached to every last nugget that he has unearthed. ''Five Families" bogs down in places under the groaning weight of excessive, repetitious detail.

Even as he tosses congratulatory bouquets to the cops for having reduced the mob to a ''fading anachronism," as one of them puts it, Raab inserts a cautionary note. The redeployment since 9/11 of US law enforcement personnel from an anti-Mafia to an antiterrorism posture is providing Cosa Nostra -- as the Italian-American organized-crime syndicates refer to themselves, meaning ''Our Thing" -- a ''renewed hope for survival," Raab says.

If they are to prosper again, all five of New York's mob families (the Gambinos, Luccheses, Colombos, Genoveses, and Bonannos) must first rebuild their leadership. The top bosses of the five families, along with many underlings, have been convicted in racketeering prosecutions and sentenced to long terms in federal prison. Those prosecutions constitute ''arguably the most successful anticrime expedition in American history," according to Raab.

The decades-long jelling of the law enforcement response to the Mafia threat commands Raab's close attention. An impetus came from Democratic Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, whose subcommittee investigated labor racketeering in the late 1960s. One key behind-the-scenes figure -- an American hero, in Raab's account -- was G. Robert Blakey, who helped craft the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations legislation as an aide to McClellan and, as a crusading law professor, tirelessly promoted the statute's use after Congress enacted it in 1970.

The law enabled prosecutors to throw the book at top mobsters, who otherwise would have been able to insulate themselves more easily from criminal accountability. Electronic surveillance, which a related law authorized, added another invaluable weapon to the federal prosecutors' arsenal.

Another of Raab's heroes, G. Bruce Mouw, supervised the FBI's Gambino Squad. Mouw's relentless, six-year investigation of John Gotti stands as a model of aggressive anti-Mafia pursuit. Gotti, whom the tabloids dubbed ''the Teflon Don," beat federal charges three times. Mouw produced ironclad evidence of Gotti's guilt by identifying an old lady's apartment as the Gambino godfather's clandestine inner sanctum and bugging it. Prosecutors nailed the Teflon Don in a fourth trial.

As for the villains portrayed by Raab, they and their operatic brutality seem endless. Raab's profiles of such ogres as Joseph ''Crazy Joe" Gallo or Salvatore ''Sammy the Bull" Gravano quickly dispel any Hollywood depiction of mobsters as lovable rogues or, as in the case of Tony Soprano of HBO's prize-winning series, as an angst-ridden man groping for life's meaning.

Mobsters typically start out as losers, dropouts from school at an early age. They are natural bullies who turn to crime out of desperation and indolence. As adults, to quote Raab's description of Gotti's wise guys, they join together as a ''hardened band of pea-brained hijackers, loan-shark collectors, gamblers, and robotic hit men."

No surprise, then, that such lowlifes would resort to violence as their modus operandi. But their cavalier acts of viciousness are nonetheless shocking. Thus, when Vito Genovese falls in love with a married cousin, he apparently has her husband strangled to death so he can marry her.

Or when Lucchese thugs believe that one of their own, Bruno Facciolo, is talking to authorities, they shoot and stab him to death. They then murder two of his mob buddies, Al Visconti and Larry Taylor, to prevent them from retaliating. Visconti is deliberately shot several times in the groin because the Luccheses believe he is a homosexual and has shamed the family.

Although ''Five Families" detours outside New York to chronicle aspects of the Cosa Nostra story, New England's Patriarcas, who deferred to New York's Gigante family, rate only passing mention. Summarizing how officials view Cosa Nostra's once-thriving 20-odd families around the country, Raab reports that those in New York and Chicago retain a ''semblance of [their] organizational frameworks," while the others, including Patriarca's, are ''in disarray or practically defunct."

Raab has much to say about what he regards as the possible involvement of a Florida mafioso, Santo Trafficante Jr., in President Kennedy's assassination. Raab theorizes that Trafficante -- who lost his organized-crime base in Havana when Fidel Castro took over and who loathed Kennedy for not unhorsing the Cuban revolutionary -- may have conspired to kill Kennedy.

Exhibit A is the confession of a gravely ill Trafficante, four days before his death in 1987, that he had had a hand in Kennedy's murder. Raab's source for the purported confession was Trafficante's longtime lawyer, Frank Ragano. Raab collaborated with Ragano on a book, ''Mob Lawyer."

Of course, any mob role in Kennedy's assassination remains a speculative matter, as Raab concedes. But in ''Five Families," he notes that ''Ragano's assertions are among the starkest signs implicating Mafia bosses in the death of President Kennedy." To buttress his theory, Raab might have mentioned that the Mafia was at or near the apex of its power in 1963, the year of Kennedy's murder.

Reviewed by Joseph Rosenbloom

Monday, October 12, 2015

2008 Survey Names the Top 10 Criminal Organizations in the World

THEY trade in everything from stolen art to nuclear technology and leave rivals riddled with bullets in the streets of Moscow.

Now the worst thugs in the Russian Mafia have blasted their way to the top of the global organised crime league.

Moscow's Solntsevskaya Bratva, known as the Brotherhood, have just been named the worst criminal gang in the world in a major survey. And the planet's most famous mobsters, the "Five Families" of the New YorkMafia, barely scrape into the top 10.

The Brotherhood took over the underworld of south-west Moscow in the 1980s after godfather Sergei Mikhailov learned his criminal trade in the Siberian labour camps. Then, by linking up with other gangs, they built an empire worth tens of billions of pounds across Russia and beyond.

The survey says: "From its base in Moscow, this syndicate runs rackets in extortion, drug trafficking, car theft, stolen art, money laundering, contract killings, arms dealing, trading nuclear material, prostitution and oil deals."

Anyone who threatens the Brotherhood's business tends to end up dead.

They murdered a string of rival hoods in Moscow in the early 1990s and a bid to put Mikhailov on trial in Switzerland in 1996 had to be abandoned after several witnesses were shot or blown up.

Former FBI agent Bob Levinson says the Russian Mafia are "the most dangerous people on earth". But the survey, compiled by online men's mag AskMen, reveals that they have rivals in every corner of the world.

No 2 in the gangland top 10 are the Yamaguchi-gumi syndicate, the biggest of Japan's Yakuza crime clans.

Based in the city of Kobe and run by mastermind Shinobu Tsusaka, the 40,000- strong Yamaguchi-gumi run extortion, gambling, vice, drugs and loan-sharking scams. They also take kickbacks from building projects and peddle online porn.

Third place in the poll goes to an Italian Mafia gang - but not the Sicilian Cosa Nostra or the Camorra of Naples. The little-known "'Ndrangheta", based in the southern district of Calabria, have ties to Colombian drug barons. Some believe they are responsible for 80 per cent of Europe's cocaine trade. While other Mafia gangs have been crippled by informers, the 'Ndrangheta have kept their vows of silence because the mob is built on close family ties.

Most gangs only care about cash. But the fourth mob on the list, India's D Company, have sinister ties to Islamic terror. Boss of bosses Dawood Ibrahim masterminded a wave of bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993. Ibrahim has links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban and is widely believed to be hiding in Pakistan. He is rumoured to have had plastic surgery to alter his face.

Fifth on the list are the ruthless 14K triad from Hong Kong, who trade in human beings as well as drugs and assassinations.

The Sicilian Mafia only make sixth place in the poll after a string of high-profile arrests of their bosses.

Seventh are the Chinese Dai Huen Jai gang, many of whom are veterans of Chairman Mao's Red Guards.

One of the world's most violent mobs, theMexican Tijuana Cartel, take eighth place. Turf wars between the Cartel, led by Eduardo Arellano-Felix, and other gangs have killed hundreds in recent years.

Ninth spot goes to Taiwan's United Bamboo triad.

And despite their Hollywood reputation, the five New York Mafia families are left bringing up the rear.

The Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese clans have been relentlessly harried by the FBI. Many bosses are now behind bars, including Gambino godfather Nicholas Corozzo, who was held in March.

Top 10 criminal organizations

1 Solntsevskaya Bratva

2 Yamaguchi-gumi

3 'Ndrangheta

4 D Company

5 14K

6 Sicilian Mafia

7 Dai Huen Jai

8 Tijuana Cartel

9 United Bamboo

10 The US Mafia 'The Five Families'

Thanks to Ian Brandes

Monday, August 03, 2009

Is the Food at Mob Eateries Overrated?

SO, Fat Tony misses Ba monte's mussels, Rao's chicken, and "great pasta" at Parkside and Don Peppe! It just shows you how out to lunch the mob is these days.

A joke among Italian-Americans secure enough to laugh off stupid stereotypes is to ask not whether a good Italian restaurant is northern or southern, but rather: "Gambino or Genovese?" (Sorry, Bonannos, Colombos and Lucheses.)

The myth that eateries owned or frequented by the Mafia have great food goes back many generations. Maybe "the Luna Azure up in The Bronx" really did have "the finest" veal in town, as Mario Puzo wrote in "The Godfather." But the Corleones never existed. And today's made men are mostly too drugged or stunad to be able to taste the difference between veal and Velveeta.

If Fat Tony wants real Italian food, he doesn't have to go back to the old country. It's kicking butt all over town as never before.

If Marea's brawny fusili with baby octopus, bone marrow and tomatoes doesn't give Tony a new perspective, neither will a set of brass knuckles.

The cooking at supposedly mobbed-up, old-time red-sauce restaurants was always overrated. Il Mulino costs a bundle, but it whips the meatballs off Tony's faves. On a good night, chicken scarpariello at cheap, mass-market Carmine's on upper Broadway could give Rao's lemon chicken a run for its money in a blind tasting.

Tony doesn't strike me as the kind of guy to go for prissy pasta primavera -- which is to his credit. But he'd flip for awesomely rich dishes coming out of the kitchens of Marea, Babbo, Il Gattopardo, Esca, Del Posto, Convivio, San Pietro, A Voce, Locanda Verde, Mia Dona, Cellini -- even all-American Union Square Café, where chef Carmen Quagliata's pasta shames most of what they eat in Rome.

The probation poobahs aren't keeping Tony away from New York's exploding (bad word!) super-pizza scene, either -- from the killer (!) $5 slice, hand-made by owner Domenico DeMarco, at Di Fara on Avenue J in Midwood to the luxuriously crusted 12-inchers at Keste on Bleecker Street, where Neapolitan "artisans" preside over the dough.

Thanks to Steve Cuozzo

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Colombo Crime Family Illegal Gambing Den Building to Be Sold by the Feds as The Sons of Italy End Affiliation with Long Island Lodge

The Sons of Italy are getting the boot from their lodge on Long Island.

Prosecutors will seize the building that houses the Sons of Italy-William Paca Lodge on Sunrise Highway in Babylon, where the Colombo crime family was operating an illegal gambling den, according to a letter filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Because only half of the building was used for the high-stakes Texas Hold 'Em games supervised by reputed capo Michael Uvino, the group will get 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the property, said attorney Joseph Ryan, who represented the 15 members of the lodge.

The Sons of Italy state organization also cut its ties with the lodge.

"The lodge members are old and poor, but they love to play cards," Ryan said. "They have to find a new card room."

Uvino was caught on a wiretap boasting that the Sons of Italy was an effective cover for the illegal activity because of the group's respectable reputation.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The History of Organized Crime Control of Gay Bars

I had a reader send me a link to the the History of Gay Bars in New York City from 1900 to the present. In addition to the Big Apple, you can also read accounts regarding the history of gay bars in Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Mob buffs will be most interested in the New York articles which include several accounts of involvement by the Bonannos, Colombos, Gambinos, Genoveses, and Luccheses crime families.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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

Saturday, January 05, 2008

COLOMBO CRIME FAMILY BOSS ALPHONSE PERSICO & ADMINISTRATION MEMBER JOHN DEROSS CONVICTED OF MURDER IN AID OF RACKETEERING AND WITNESS TAMPERING

Following eight weeks of trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, returned a verdict convicting Colombo organized crime family acting boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico and administration member John "Jackie" DeRoss of murder in aid of racketeering and witness tampering. Specifically, Persico and DeRoss were found guilty of orchestrating the May 26, 1999, murder of Colombo family underboss William Cutolo, Sr.

The evidence at trial established that Persico and DeRoss murdered Cutolo because they believed he was about to take control of the Colombo family from Persico, and to serve as retribution for Cutolo's actions during the bloody Colombo family war in the early 1990s. During the war, Cutolo, on behalf of the faction loyal to Vic Orena, tried to wrest control of the Colombo family from Alphonse Persico and his father, the family's official boss, Carmine "The Snake" Persico. As part of the murder plot, Persico summoned Cutolo to a meeting on the afternoon of May 26, 1999. That afternoon, an auto mechanic dropped Cutolo off at a park near 92nd Street and Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the designated place for the meeting with Persico. Cutolo was never seen or heard from again, and the government's evidence indicated that Cutolo's body most likely was dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. That evening, DeRoss kept watch over Cutolo's crew at the Friendly Bocce Social Club in Brooklyn, where the crew was awaiting Cutolo's arrival for their traditional Wednesday evening dinner. When Cutolo failed to show up, DeRoss feigned surprise and directed Cutolo's son, William Cutolo, Jr., to telephone his father. Early the next morning, May 27, DeRoss, on Persico's orders, arrived at Cutolo's home and began questioning Cutolo's widow, Marguerite Cutolo, about the location The United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York

Persico and DeRoss were also found guilty of tampering with witnesses Marguerite Cutolo (Cutolo's widow), Barbara Jean Cutolo (one of Cutolo's daughters), and William Cutolo, Jr. The trial evidence included a recording William Cutolo, Jr., secretly made of DeRoss threatening the Cutolo family in March 2000, several months after it was publicly disclosed that Persico was a target of the FBI's investigation of the Cutolo murder. During the meeting, DeRoss ordered the Cutolo family to provide false, exculpatory information to a private investigator hired by Persico. DeRoss told the Cutolo family that, if they did not assist Persico, Marguerite Cutolo could be "hurt," as could the "little . . . kids," referring to Barbara Jean Cutolo's seven and five-year-old daughters. Marguerite and Barbara Jean Cutolo both testified at trial that, as a result of DeRoss's threats, the Cutolos withheld information about the murder from law enforcement authorities for years, including Cutolo, Sr.'s statement to Marguerite Cutolo on May 26, 1999, that he was going to a meeting with Persico.

Persico was the second acting boss of an LCN crime family convicted in 2007 of murder charges in the Eastern District of New York. On July 31st, Bonnano organized crime family acting boss Vincent Basciano was convicted of racketeering murder and is awaiting sentencing. "Law enforcement's campaign against organized crime will continue until our communities are free from its corrupting influence," stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. Mr. Campbell praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency that led the government's investigation.

When sentenced by United States District Judge Joanne Seybert, each defendant faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The government's case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Buretta, Deborah Mayer, and Jeffrey Goldberg.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Mafia Mistress' Tale Tales

Linda Schiro, the key prosecution witness in the startling murder trial of former FBI agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, took the stand Monday, and it was hard not to find her deadly story convincing.

In a soft voice and a strong South Brooklyn accent, Schiro, 62, nervously but soberly laid out how Lin DeVecchio had regularly visited the homes she shared in Bensonhurst with the love of her life, a swaggering Mafia soldier and secret government informant named Greg Scarpa Sr. On four of those visits, Schiro said, DeVecchio had provided Scarpa with the lethal information that her gangster lover then used to murder four people.

To hear Schiro tell it, there wasn’t much difference between the gangster and the FBI agent. “You know, you have to take care of this, she’s going to be a problem,” she quoted DeVecchio as saying prior to the 1984 murder of a beautiful girlfriend of a high-level member of Scarpa’s Colombo crime family who was allegedly talking to law enforcement.

She had the agent, a smirk on his face, talking the same way in 1987 about a drug-addled member of Scarpa’s crew. “You know,” Schiro said DeVecchio told Scarpa, “we gotta take care of this guy before he starts talking.” The crew member was soon dead as well.
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When Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach called the first break of the day, reporters polled one another as to whether this crucial witness was believable. “If I was him,” said one old hand, pointing at the defendant, “I’d be getting on the A train right now, headed for JFK and a plane someplace far away. He’s dead.” A veteran reporter sitting next to him nodded in agreement.

The first time I heard Linda Schiro, she also sounded convincing.

That was 10 years ago, when Schiro sat down to talk with me and Jerry Capeci, then and now the city’s most knowledgeable organized-crime reporter. But the story she told us then is dramatically different from the one she has now sworn to as the truth.

Which puts us in no small bind.

The ground rules when we spoke to Schiro in 1997 were that the information she provided would only be used in a book—not in news articles. She also exacted a pledge that we would not attribute information directly to her. And in a cautious but not unreasonable demand for a woman who spent her life married to the mob, she required a promise—however difficult to enforce—that we not cooperate in any law-enforcement inquiries stemming from said book’s publication.

Sadly, no book ever emerged. The law-enforcement inquiries, however, did. They have taken on a life of their own, and it is Schiro, having shed her former concerns about confidentiality, who has now become the cooperator.

In the eight days of testimony before Schiro took the stand, a parade of mob cooperators and investigators testified about their suspicions concerning DeVecchio’s and Scarpa’s relationship. A trio of FBI agents said they believed that their colleague had steadily tilted in Scarpa’s favor, possibly passing crucial information to him. But suspicion is all anyone offered. Not a single witness, prior to Schiro, was able to put the former agent in any of the four murders for which he was indicted more than a year ago. That’s Schiro’s task. The D.A.’s case appears to rest on her.

If convicted, DeVecchio, 67, faces life in prison.

Those are the kind of high stakes that take precedence over contracts and vows of confidence, no matter how important they may be to the business of reporting, and regardless of how distasteful it may be to violate them. The threat of a life sentence trumps a promise.

Lin DeVecchio may be guilty, or he may be innocent. But one thing is clear: What Linda Schiro is saying on the witness stand now is not how she told the story 10 years ago concerning three of the four murder counts now at issue.

Schiro told us then, as she did the court this week, that Scarpa hid nothing from her, letting her share in both his Mafia secrets and his precarious position as an FBI informant. In the 1984 murder of Mary Bari, the glamorous young woman who was dating a Colombo crime family figure, Schiro told how Scarpa and his gang had lured her to a mob social club and then shot her in the face. She told the ghoulish story—one she later learned was apocryphal—about how a pet boxer had sniffed out an ear from the victim that, unbeknownst to her killers, had been shot away during the grisly murder. But Schiro said she knew little as to the why of the slaying.

“All I know is they had word she was turning; she was gonna let information out,” Schiro told us then. Back then, she made no mention of DeVecchio at all in connection with the slaying. But in court this week, she said the one who claimed that Mary Bari was an informant was DeVecchio, describing her as “a problem” to be “taken care of.” After the murder, she testified, DeVecchio had returned to the home she then shared with Scarpa on Avenue J and joked about the way Bari’s body had been dumped just a couple of blocks away.

“Why didn’t you just bring the body right in front of the house?” she said DeVecchio laughed to Scarpa.

Schiro said in our interviews that, as far as she knew, DeVecchio had nothing to do with the 1987 murder of a longtime Scarpa pal, a Colombo soldier named Joe DeDomenico, who went by the nickname of “Joe Brewster.”

Scarpa, she said, was so close to DeDomenico that he had been the best man at DeDomenico’s wedding and had stood as godfather to his friend’s son. But by 1987, Schiro told us, “Joe Brewster had started getting a little stupid.” She recalled a visit by DeDomenico to the couple’s home. “He was kind of drooling,” she said. “He was starting to use coke.” Schiro told us that Scarpa was also disturbed because he had asked his friend to “do something”—an unspecified crime—and been refused by DeDomenico, who said he was becoming a born-again Christian, an awkward creed for a mobster.

“Yeah, Greg had him killed,” Schiro said, naming Scarpa’s son Gregory Jr. and two of Scarpa’s crew members as the assassins. “They told him he had to go someplace, and they got all dressed up and they killed him.”

That interview took place on March 1, 1997, the day after agent DeVecchio had himself been forced to take the witness stand in Brooklyn federal court, where he was grilled by attorneys for a pair of Colombo crime family members seeking to have their convictions overturned. Their claim was that they were the victims of the FBI’s misbehavior with Scarpa, its prized informant.
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Brewster’s name had been raised by one of the defense attorneys, who asked DeVecchio if he’d ever given Scarpa information about him. DeVecchio angrily denied it.

Having heard that exchange, we asked Schiro whether Lin DeVecchio had had anything to do with the death of Joe Brewster. She seemed briefly confused by the question. “No,” she said. “He never met Joe Brewster.”

Schiro said then that she had been puzzled, along with members of Scarpa’s crew, at Scarpa’s insistence that his old friend had to go. “I liked Joe Brewster too. I couldn’t understand. Bobby and Carmine couldn’t understand,” she said, referring to a pair of Scarpa’s cronies, one of whom, Carmine Sessa, testified last week in DeVecchio’s trial.

Most of our conversations with Schiro were tape-recorded. Some tapes have long since gone missing. Audibility is a problem in others. But the conversation about the murder of Joe Brewster has survived. So has Schiro’s story about another killing, that of Lorenzo Lampasi, a Colombo soldier gunned down by Scarpa and his gang during the crime family’s bloody civil war in the early 1990s.

Lampasi was murdered at 4 a.m. on May 22, 1992, just as he was leaving his Brooklyn home to go to work at the school bus company he operated with another Colombo wiseguy. The D.A. has charged DeVecchio with tipping Scarpa to Lampasi’s schedule and whereabouts.

On the witness stand Monday, Schiro said that was exactly what had happened. She said that Scarpa had been furious about a note Lampasi had sent him, one that said “there was talk on the street” that Scarpa was an informant. “This fucking Larry Lampasi,” she quoted Scarpa as telling DeVecchio, “he started rumors I am an informer, that I’m a rat.”

She said Scarpa asked DeVecchio to find out “exactly where Lampasi lives and what time he leaves in the morning.” A few days later, she testified, the agent returned with the information. “I was in the kitchen, and Lin gave him the address and told him he leaves the house at 4 a.m.” The agent had also filled in the gangster, she testified, about a balky gate that Lampasi had to open and close.

After Lampasi’s murder, she testified, DeVecchio had returned to the house, that same smirk on his face. “That was good information,” she said Scarpa told his FBI handler.

In 1997, however, Schiro repeatedly insisted to us that DeVecchio had nothing at all to do with the Lampasi homicide. Schiro raised the subject herself back then. “There’s another thing too, with Larry Lampasi,” she told us. “See, when Lin is right, I give him right. He didn’t tell Greg about Larry Lampasi.”

What had happened, she explained, was that she and Scarpa had been at a family dinner in New Jersey in late 1991. “I think it was around Thanksgiving,” she said. Whenever the date, the dinner was hosted by Scarpa’s sister. At the table, Scarpa’s niece Rosemarie, a school bus driver, had complained to her powerful uncle that Lampasi was treating her badly.

“And I remember we were there, and she was crying to Greg they are giving her these crazy routes in bad neighborhoods,” Schiro told us. Lampasi wouldn’t let the niece, who lived on Staten Island, take her bus home with her, she said. “And she told Greg the times he gets in, the times he leaves. And Greg said, ‘I’ll take care of it for you.’ ”

As Schiro put it, Scarpa later “did what he did.” With Lampasi out of the picture, the new manager of the bus company gave the mobster’s niece what she wanted, Schiro said. “She does the best neighborhood in Staten Island. And she takes the bus home. So that Lin didn’t do,” Schiro told us. She added: “I know that for a fact.”

So this man died because of a fight over a job assignment? Schiro said that was beside the point. At the time, Scarpa was suffering from AIDS, which he contracted after receiving tainted blood in a transfusion. “Greg’s attitude at this time,” she told us, “was he was going to fuck everybody. He don’t give a fuck who he kills.”

But DeVecchio had nothing to do with it, she insisted. “We were sitting there when she told Greg all about Larry Lampasi,” she said. “Lin did not tell.”

A week later, we raised the Lampasi murder again after his name came up in a court hearing. Had she ever heard anything about a note that Lampasi had supposedly sent Scarpa, one that accused Scarpa of being a rat? “No,” she said. “I told you about Greg’s niece.”

It’s possible, as prosecutors have suggested, that Linda Schiro previously hid her knowledge of DeVecchio’s role in these murders simply because she was frightened of him. The agent is a big man who served 33 years with the bureau, where he made powerful friends. Moreover, DeVecchio had already escaped punishment after an internal Justice Department probe of his handling of Scarpa. But if she was scared of him—and she never said so on the stand Monday—Schiro showed no sign of it in 1997. When she talked with us about the FBI agent, she sounded unconcerned. “I was friendly with Lin,” she said at one point. She even put him in lesser crimes, claiming that Scarpa had sometimes passed cash to DeVecchio and, on one occasion, gave the agent a couple of baubles from a jewelry heist. And if fear made her hide the agent’s role in the murders of Bari, DeDomenico, and Lampasi, it seems strange that she didn’t hesitate at the time to put DeVecchio directly into another murder, that of Patrick Porco, the teenager who had been her son Joey’s best friend until Greg Scarpa decided he was a threat who needed to stop breathing.

On the witness stand Monday, Schiro said she has told the sad story of Porco’s murder—and DeVecchio’s role—to several writers. “It’s because I love Patrick,” she said. “He was like a son to me.”

Porco was just 18 when he was shot to death on May 27, 1990. His mistake had been to spend the previous Halloween cruising the Bensonhurst streets in a white stretch limo with Joey Schiro and two other pals. Along the way, they’d been pelted with eggs by a rival gang of kids. The teens decided to imitate their adult role models. They returned with a shotgun and blew away a 17-year-old standing on the steps of Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church.

Greg initially ordered Joey and his friend to get out of town, sending them to a New Jersey farm owned by relatives. Bored, the boys returned to Brooklyn. Police soon brought Porco in for questioning about the homicide.

Last week, at the DeVecchio trial, a prosecution witness named Rey Aviles, who was present at the Halloween shooting, testified that it was Porco himself who told Joey Schiro and his old man about his encounter with the cops. But Linda Schiro told us in 1997—and testified on the stand this week—that the information came from DeVecchio. “Lin called, he said the kid was going to tell the detectives what happened,” Schiro told us. She remembered that the agent was unusually secretive. Usually, she said, DeVecchio was willing to chat on the home phone with his informant. This time, Schiro said, he insisted that Scarpa call him back from an outside line. “I drove him to the pay phone,” Schiro said. They used what she said was a special, untraceable number to call DeVecchio. “Greg got back in the car and told me that this kid Patrick was going to rat on Joey,” said Schiro.

Scarpa initially wanted one of his crew members, a man named Joe “Fish” Marra, to do the job on his son’s friend. But Joe Fish’s car broke down, and Schiro said Scarpa didn’t want to waste any time. He ordered Joey, along with Schiro’s cousin, John Sinagra, to do it themselves.

Schiro said Joey pleaded with his father. “Joey was saying, ‘Dad, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Patrick wouldn’t do that.’ ”Schiro said Scarpa refused to listen. She said Scarpa slammed his hand on the table. “Joey, listen what I’m telling you,” she quoted Scarpa as saying.

When her son came back home after the murder, she said, he told his father that he’d pulled the trigger. “But I don’t know if Joey had it in him to do that,” she said. “They left his body by the Belt Parkway.”

After the slaying, Schiro said, her son stayed in his room, refusing to go to the wake. “Joey was sick about it,” said Schiro. “He loved the kid.” Scarpa, however, ordered Linda to go. “I says, ‘I have to go to the wake?’ Here I am, sitting in the funeral parlor, and the mother comes out—she knows how close [her son] was to Joey—and she’s hysterical, crying. I get the chills just thinking about it.”

On the witness stand, Schiro added a chilling coda to the story when she testified that DeVecchio had later brushed off Scarpa’s lament that his son was inconsolable over his friend’s murder. “Better he cries now than he goes to jail,” Schiro said the agent replied. Despite our questioning, she somehow never mentioned that memorable comment to us.

Greg Scarpa Sr. died in prison in 1994, jailed for his participation in multiple murders during the Colombo civil war. Ravaged by AIDS, the body that federal prison authorities sent home to Schiro weighed just 56 pounds.

Nine months later, her Joey was dead as well, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong.

According to the D.A.’s office, it was the cop who solved that case, Detective Tommy Dades, who eventually convinced Linda Schiro to finally tell about how the FBI agent who was supposed to be harvesting secrets from his top informant traded back murderous secrets of his own.

At the trial’s opening, DeVecchio’s defense attorneys, Doug Grover and Mark Bederow, offered their own explanation for Schiro’s decision to talk. They said she’s trying to sell a book.

Thanks to Tom Robbins

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mob Killer Crys on Witness Stand

A stone killer for the Mob, who testified casually about his homicidal jaunts through Brooklyn looking for people to shoot, started crying in court yesterday over his youthful wrong turn into a life of crime.

Tough guy Lawrence Mazza, 46, who was to testify about his gangster boss' ties to rogue FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio collapsed in tears in Brooklyn Supreme Court when he recounted that he spent a year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice studying police science.

"I was planning to follow my father" in civil service, Mazza said, choking up at the thought of his dad, a lieutenant in the Fire Department. "I'm sorry," Mazza told the judge, growing increasingly emotional.

A court officer handed him a tissue. The prosecutor got him a glass of water. But the handsome mobster continued to weep. Finally the judge called a break.

Seasoned court watchers said they'd never seen anything like it.

After recovering his composure, Mazza laid out his remarkable story: how he unwittingly romanced a Mafioso's girlfriend, was befriended by the gangster, shared the woman with him and gradually transformed into a feared killer.

Mazza called his mobster patron, Colombo capo Gregory (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa Sr., "vicious, violent" and a man who "told me he stopped counting at 50" when listing his murders. "He was unscrupulous and treacherous. He was a horrible human being," Mazza testified. "I was his right hand man, very, very close."

He described how, during the bloody Colombo family civil war of the early 1990s, they would cruise the streets of Brooklyn in a station wagon tricked out as a death car, loaded with shotguns, rifles and pistols, with special hidden compartments for the guns.

They wore bulletproof vests, carried rudimentary portable phones and looked for members of the rival Orena faction to blow away.

They rarely missed, he said. "Pretty much, we killed who we shot," Mazza testified.

Mazza, who pled guilty years ago to loansharking, racketeering, four murders and conspiracy to kill four other people, now lives in Florida after spending a decade in jail. He began cooperating soon after his 1993 arrest and has helped the feds with three trials so far.

Thanks to Scott Shifrel and Helen Kennedy

Saturday, October 20, 2007

FBI Boss Rooted for Mafia According to Fellow Agent Testimony

The anecdote is so ingrained in Mafia lore that it was mimicked in a scene from the television show "The Sopranos": A corrupt FBI agent slapping his desk and celebrating news of another killing in a bloody mob civil war.

A current FBI agent testified Wednesday that it happened in a real-life slip-up by ex-agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, now on trial for murder. "We're going to win this thing," DeVecchio blurted out at headquarters, according to the witness.

Prosecutors said the 1992 outburst was further proof that DeVecchio secretly aligned himself with an informant within one of the warring factions of the Colombo crime family.

The capo-turned-informant, the late Gregory Scarpa Sr., showered DeVecchio with cash, stolen jewelry, liquor -- and even prostitutes -- in exchange for confidential information, according to an indictment. The ruthless mobster used the inside tips about the identities and whereabouts of suspected rats and rivals to rub out at least four victims in the late 1980s and early 1990s, authorities said.

DeVecchio, 66, has pleaded not guilty in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn to four counts of murder in what prosecutors have billed as one of the worst law enforcement corruption cases in U.S. history. At his request, the trial is being heard by a judge and not a jury.

DeVecchio has denied forming an illicit alliance with Scarpa. His supporters include former agents who put up money to pay his legal bills. But agent Christopher M. Favo, whom DeVecchio once supervised on the FBI's Colombo squad, took the witness stand Wednesday to recount his mounting suspicions about his former boss.

Favo, who shared an office with DeVecchio, testified that he overheard DeVecchio use a special phone line to stay in constant touch with "34" -- Scarpa's informant code name. He also described his astonishment at the defendant's obvious joy over the 1992 slaying of a Colombo soldier from the faction opposing Scarpa, and recalled the pointed exchange that followed.

"We're the FBI," Favo snapped. "We're not on either side."

"That's what I meant," DeVecchio responded, according to Favo.

Favo said he eventually stopped sharing information with DeVecchio and alerted FBI higher-ups about possible leaks. But the Department of Justice declined to prosecute DeVecchio following an internal investigation; he retired to Florida in 1996, two years after Scarpa died in prison.

State prosecutors revived the case last year after they said they persuaded Scarpa's longtime girlfriend to come forward and reveal his secrets. The girlfriend, Linda Schiro, was expected to testify as early as next week. Also slated as a government witness is Scarpa's imprisoned son.

HomeVisions.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Accused of Helping the Mob, FBI Agent Gets His Day in Court

The rumor was explosive, hard to believe: Gregory Scarpa Sr., a ruthless Colombo crime family capo known as the Grim Reaper, was receiving tips from a mysterious source inside law enforcement, a man he called “the girlfriend.”

The confirmation was devastating: Prosecutors working to cripple the family in the mid-1990s said that the source was their own Roy Lindley DeVecchio, a Federal Bureau of Investigation supervisor, the man assigned to lead the Colombo investigation.

In May 1995, an assistant United States attorney, Ellen M. Corcella, was prosecuting a murder conspiracy case on the brutal war for control of the family. She practically begged jurors not to be distracted by the role prosecutors said Mr. DeVecchio played.

“He’ll get his day in court,” Ms. Corcella told the jury.

Though Ms. Corcella lost that case, her prediction eventually came true. More than a decade later, Mr. DeVecchio arrived in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn yesterday for a trial on murder charges. By the account of state prosecutors, he traded information with Mr. Scarpa from 1980 through 1993, directly causing four Mafia killings and failing to stop several others.

Mr. DeVecchio tried several legal maneuvers — including claiming immunity from prosecution as a federal agent — but each failed, and he appeared in court yesterday in a drab gray suit, ragged crew cut and crinkled features, watched from the gallery by rows of agents dressed nearly identically.

Prosecutors say Mr. DeVecchio accepted cash, wine, the services of a prostitute and jewelry stolen from bank safe deposit boxes. They say he billed the federal government for more than $66,000 in payments to Mr. Scarpa, then kept the money himself. But his greatest rewards were the least tangible, prosecutors say: Through years of handling his prized mole, Mr. DeVecchio grew his legend in the annals of law enforcement.

After helping supervise the famed Commission Case in the 1980s, when top leaders of the city’s five crime families were jailed, Mr. DeVecchio was honored by the Police Department and called to lecture at training academies.

So to Mr. DeVecchio’s lawyers and supporters, among them five agents who signed for his $1 million bail, the charges unfairly smear an exemplary career. Motivated by political gain, they say, state prosecutors have built a flawed case on the word of Mr. Scarpa’s common-law wife, Linda Schiro, a woman intent on selling her story to publishers.

Yesterday, there was a lot of history in the room, all the way up. The judge overseeing the case, Gustin L. Reichbach, was investigated by the F.B.I. in the 1960s when he was a student at Columbia University.

Despite a warning and a reminder that he could have a jury hear the case, Mr. DeVecchio waived his right to a jury trial and left his fate to a man that his F.B.I. colleagues had once described as a dangerous student protest organizer.

Absent an audience of jurors, an assistant district attorney, Joseph P. Alexis, opened his case with a stark, unemotional recounting of the charges. In a trial expected to last more than a month, he said Ms. Schiro would testify that Mr. DeVecchio had visited her home, taken cash payments and told Mr. Scarpa whom to kill.

The witness list includes several Mafia associates, including Mr. Scarpa’s namesake son, who is in prison for racketeering.

By the prosecutor’s account, Mr. DeVecchio identified informers. “Scarpa used this information,” Mr. Alexis said, “to devastating effect.”

Mr. Scarpa shot Mary Bari, the girlfriend of a Mafia figure who was suspected of crossing Mr. Scarpa, while his son held her down, Mr. Alexis said. Mr. DeVecchio eventually investigated possible informers on request.

“Shockingly, DeVecchio used his F.B.I. resources, looked into the matter and faithfully reported back,” he said.

A lawyer for Mr. DeVecchio, Douglas Grover, said Ms. Schiro’s testimony had been concocted to sell books. Several of the victims, he said, were killed before they ever had a chance to cooperate with the F.B.I.

Mr. Grover said Mr. DeVecchio’s relationship with Mr. Scarpa was proper, required to make big cases against secretive Mafia families. “Gregory Scarpa, as ugly and miserable a human being as he was, a made member of the Colombo crime family, was a top echelon F.B.I. source,” Mr. Grover said.

For Mr. DeVecchio, 67 and retired, the trial will render final judgment on a career marked as maverick from the start.

After joining the F.B.I. in 1965, Mr. DeVecchio worked in New York, a city traditionally unpopular among agents for its weather, cost of living, field office bureaucracy and large, ambitious Police Department. His Italian family background led to assignments investigating the Mafia, supporters say.

Mr. DeVecchio first came to prominence in the early 1980s. Posing undercover as a hit man, he helped convict a former intelligence agent of plotting to kill prosecutors and witnesses.

By then, in the parlance of the F.B.I., he had opened Mr. Scarpa, contracting him as a confidential informer to gather insight on Mafia doings and hierarchy.

Mr. Scarpa was something of a legend himself, a compact, muscular man of 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds. In the 1960s, the F.B.I. engaged him to travel south, meet Ku Klux Klan members and use his powers of persuasion to find the bodies of slain civil rights workers. Back home in Brooklyn he reputedly oversaw Colombo loan-sharking operations, hijackings, weapons sales and killings.

Much of Mr. Scarpa’s reputation derived from an uncanny ability to avoid prison through a series of indictments. In 1993, he finally pleaded guilty to murder and racketeering charges. The next year, at age 66, he died in a prison hospital of complications from AIDS, which he had contracted in a blood transfusion from a member of his crew.

The relationship between Mr. DeVecchio and Mr. Scarpa first drew scrutiny in 1994, when F.B.I. agents voiced their suspicions to supervisors, but an inquiry failed to find enough evidence. Taking the witness stand at a hearing in 1997, he strongly denied giving Mr. Scarpa investigative information.

Still, the accusations persisted, taking the form of defense motions, rumors, Mafia lore and, not least, book proposals. In 2005, state prosecutors got their break from Ms. Schiro, who had lived with Mr. Scarpa for years, bearing sons who followed their father into the Mafia.

By Ms. Schiro’s account, Mr. DeVecchio warned Mr. Scarpa of surveillance, impending arrests and other government informers. Prosecutors accused him of helping Mr. Scarpa kill a teenage murder witness, rivals for power and suspected informers, including a woman who had dated a family consigliere.

In his opening, Mr. Grover said the new charges reprised accusations long laid to rest, tacitly acknowledging the long, strange arc of Mr. DeVecchio’s career at the F.B.I. “Watch this one play out,” Mr. Grover told the judge. “It’s going to be quite interesting.”

Thanks to Michael Brick

Stinky Cheeses

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Restaurant Impresario Fails to Disclose Connection to Mobster

High-flying restaurant impresario Giuseppe Cipriani repeatedly omitted in his state liquor-license applications the involvement of a convicted Colombo crime-family associate in his hotspots, documents obtained by The Post show.

He also failed to list his father, Arrigo Cipriani, on numerous license applications, omissions that could lead to new criminal charges against the son.

The State Liquor Authority is examining Cipriani's failure to put down ex-con Dennis Pappas as a top executive on applications for any of the family's five famed New York restaurants, as it determines whether to yank Cipriani's licenses to sell booze. Not disclosing a senior manager, particularly one with a criminal past, "would be a very serious violation," said SLA spokesman Bill Crowley.

On the applications, reviewed by The Post, Giuseppe Cipriani, 42, president of Cipriani USA, claims to be the only owner and executive at the firm's opulent eateries and banquet halls.

In papers submitted to the SLA in 2004 for the restaurant at 200 Fifth Ave., for example, Cipriani says he has 100 percent ownership and adds, "Giuseppe Cipriani is the sole officer, director and shareholder."

But the application doesn't square with an April 2003 lease agreement Pappas signed with the restaurant in which Pappas describes himself as "CEO."

Nor does it match testimony Pappas gave in May, when at his sentencing for insurance fraud, he told a judge he had managerial control over the Ciprianis' New York operations between 2000 and 2006, reported only to Giuseppe Cipriani, hired workers, oversaw construction projects and got paid $900,000.

A reputed mob moneyman now doing time for duping insurance companies out of $1.5 million in fake disability claims, Pappas was convicted by the feds of RICO charges in 1998 for his legal work for the Colombos. He was also charged in 2006 with falsifying an application for a cabaret license for the Ciprianis' Rainbow Room by not disclosing his criminal past to the city's Department of Consumer Affairs.

The SLA is already looking to pull the Cipriani licenses after the felony conviction of patriarch Arrigo Cipriani, 75, who admitted in July he and Cipriani USA dodged $10 million in taxes.

Convicted felons are barred from holding liquor licenses unless they get a rare special permission from the court or Probation Department.

On the license applications, Giuseppe Cipriani also fails to mention the involvement of Arrigo, who heads a parent company that controls the family's New York operation.

The new documents could mean further legal trouble for Giuseppe, who also copped to helping the firm evade the taxes.

Thanks to Brad Hamilton and Susan Edelman

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mob Scion Admits No-Show Job Scam

Mob scion Anthony Colombo copped a plea to defrauding a Manhattan construction company, cutting his losses to avoid a retrial four months after a federal jury deadlocked on the charge.

The son of murdered mob boss Joseph Colombo, who ran an off-shoot crew with his brother, Chris Colombo, likely faces 18 months behind bars after he 'fessed up to landing a pal a no-show job at EDP Construction from 1999 to 2000. "I assisted Philip Dioguardi in obtaining a job with EDP entities knowing that he did not actually perform at all times the work he was paid for," Colombo said as he pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court yesterday.

The reputed wiseguy dodged conviction in February when a jury acquitted him of racketeering and extortion, and failed to reach a verdict on two additional extortion counts and conspiracy.

At the same trial, Chris, who gained notoriety in 2005 by filming the failed reality show "House Arrest" for HBO, was convicted on two counts of gambling. In his opening and closing statements, his defense attorney conceded Chris had committed those crimes, but the jury acquitted Chris of two extortion raps and deadlocked on racketeering and other charges. During trial testimony, EDP owner Dominick Fonti said he was also duped into putting Anthony Colombo on his payroll - knowing nothing about his mob ties - and then watched helplessly as his businesses were drained of cash.

Fonti said he doled out a weekly $600 salary to Colombo and more than $24,000 in bonuses, agreeing to make the checks out to gangster's wife, Carol.

The small-business owner claimed he eventually wised up to the fact he was dealing with a son of a murdered Mafia boss and thought to himself, "Boy, Dominick. You really got yourself in deep s- - - here."

Thanks to Kati Cornell

Thursday, May 10, 2007

90-Year-Old Sonny Franzese, Reputed Head of Colombo Crime Family, Jailed

Friends of ours: John "Sonny" Franzese, Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, Colombo Crime Family, Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello
Friends of mine: Frank Sinatra

A 90-year-old Colombo crime family leader who rubbed elbows with Frank Sinatra and other celebrities during his heyday was arrested for associating with known mobsters, his fifth parole violation in 25 years, the FBI said.

John "Sonny" Franzese was arrested Wednesday when he appeared for a regularly scheduled visit with a probation officer, said Jim Margolin, an FBI spokesman.

It was the fifth parole violation for Franzese. Among the others: He was jailed for three years after a November 2000 meeting at a coffee shop with three Colombo family associates. Another time, he spent two years behind bars after federal agents watched him enjoying a bowl of spinach soup with mob associates at a restaurant.

Margolin had no details this time on where Franzese had violated his parole or what he might have been eating or drinking at the time.

Franzese was being held in jail and was to appear in court next week. He didn't have a lawyer, Margolin said.

Despite his age, Franzese reportedly ascended to Colombo underboss two years ago after family boss "Big Joey" Massino was convicted of racketeering and became a federal witness. Massino, who spent 14 years running the family, became the first sitting boss of one of New York's five Mafia families to flip. But Franzese was involved in organized crime long before Massino's ascension. He was a fixture at the Copacabana nightclub, where he often spent time with Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., according to Jerry Capeci, author of several books on organized crime and operator of the Web site ganglandnews.com.

Franzese also had a financial stake in the legendary porn movie "Deep Throat."

Franzese's parole restrictions continue through 2020, when he would be older than 100. It was unclear how much prison time he might face on the parole violation.

Since going to jail in 1970 for a bank robbery, Franzese had spent more than two decades -- on and off -- behind bars. He was initially paroled on that charge in 1978, and the first of the parole violations was in 1982.

Franzese wasn't the only aging mobster in court Wednesday. Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, 86, was sentenced in New Haven, Connecticut, to two years in prison for racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion. The case was part of a federal probe of the trash hauling industry in Connecticut and New York.

Thanks to CNN

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ex-FBI Agent Getting Taxpayer Help with Defense Bills in Mob Case

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Gregory Scarpa

Taxpayers are footing part of the mounting legal bills for an ex-FBI agent accused of helping a Brooklyn Mafia boss commit four murders, the Daily News has learned.

The Justice Department is helping fund retired agent Lindley DeVecchio's defense, which has cost more than $450,000 since his indictment last year by the Brooklyn district attorney's office. "It's an expensive litigation," said DeVecchio's lawyer Douglas Grover, who declined to comment further.

A highly informed source confirmed the Justice Department contributions, saying, "It's on an hourly rate. Not a top New York City rate, more like a federal public defenders' rate."

It could not immediately be determined how much the department is paying.

"There is a process in place by which employees or former [FBI] employees who are the subject of civil litigation or criminal charges can apply for coverage of their legal costs. The recommendation is forwarded to the Department of Justice, where a final determination is made," FBI spokesman John Miller said.

In a case that rocked New York law enforcement, DeVecchio, 66, was indicted last year for providing information on informants and mob rivals to Colombo family boss Gregory Scarpa before the murders. DeVecchio, who spent 33 years as an agent, is also charged with receiving payoffs from Scarpa totaling more than $66,000.

Now dead, Scarpa was DeVecchio's top secret informant for more than a decade, beginning in 1982. The murders occurred during the brutal Colombo family wars of the late 1980s and early '90s.

Grover, DeVecchio and numerous agents who worked with him maintain he is innocent of the charges and that the Brooklyn DA's prosecution is baseless and misguided.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mafia Victim Not a Rat?

Friends of mine: Colombo Crime Family, Greg "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa

Accused FBI mob mole Lindley DeVecchio, charged with sealing the fate of a Brooklyn teen by tipping off a Colombo crime pal that the boy was about to squeal, had been completely wrong about the 17-year-old's intentions.

Filings in a related case make clear that murder victim Patrick Porco was no rat. "Porco flatly refused to answer the investigators' questions," the court papers reveal.

DeVecchio, a star FBI agent who helped make major cases against the mob in the '80s and early '90s, now stands accused of four counts of second-degree murder for an all-too-cozy relationship with Colombo killer Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa. Brooklyn prosecutors allege that he thanked Scarpa for the info he got by sending back tips that helped the mobster avoid arrest and whack rivals. DeVecchio has denied any wrongdoing.

In the Porco case, DeVecchio is accused of acting to safeguard Scarpa's son, Joey, from a murder rap.

In the spring of 1990, cops and prosecutors were eager to talk to Porco about a fatal drive-by shooting the previous Halloween. The victim was Dominick Masseria, 17, who was believed to have tossed eggs at the wrong bunch of kids. Porco and Joey Scarpa were in the white limo involved in the shooting.

Just after speaking on the phone with DeVecchio, Gregory Scarpa told his girlfriend that Joey was going to have to kill Porco, prosecutors say. But last week's filings make clear that prosecutors' efforts to find out what Porco knew were going nowhere.

On May 5, 1990, Porco and his sister met with prosecutors and Detective Alphonse Lombardo. "Neither one was willing to talk," the papers reveal. "Inspector Lombardo confronted Patrick Porco with the fact that he was likely to be killed because he was the only witness who could implicate Joey Scarpa.

"Porco started crying, but he steadfastly refused to cooperate."

But even the appearance of cooperation was enough. Porco was found shot dead - once in the mouth, signifying rat - on Memorial Day, 1990.

In 2005, the Brooklyn DA reopened the Masseria case, identifying the shooter as Craig Sobel, 39. The papers revealing Porco's noncooperation were filed in connection with the Sobel case.

Thanks to Alex Ginsberg

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gambler, Yes; Bookie, Yes; Boss of Mafia Crew, No?

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Joseph Colombo
Friends of mine: Soprano Crime Family, Chris Colombo, Anthony Colombo

Chris Colombo carries a famous gangster's name and "looks like he just walked off the set of 'The Sopranos' " - but he's really just a simple bookie and gambler, his lawyer said yesterday.

Defense lawyer Jeremy Schneider cut his losses as Colombo's racketeering trial got under way, conceding guilt on gambling charges, but denying that the son of murdered mob boss Joseph Colombo ran a renegade crew that used threats of violence to rake in cash.

"He looks like he just walked off the set of ' the Sopranos.' He's going to sound like he just auditioned for 'The Sopranos,' " Schneider said of Colombo, whose real-life try at stardom fell flat when HBO pulled the plug on his reality show, "House Arrest," in 2005. "He's a gambler. He's a bookie. He is not a boss of a crew," Schneider said as the barrel-chested Colombo, dressed in a flashy pinstriped suit and silver tie, listened from the defense table in Manhattan federal court.

The admission came after Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Baroni told jurors how Chris Colombo and his brother Anthony terrorized victims and lined their pockets as "bosses" of the "Colombo Brothers' Crew."

Prosecutors have conceded they invented the crew's name for the purposes of the indictment, but not the criminal organization itself. They claim the brothers were on the losing side of the Colombo crime family war in the 1990s and struck out on their own. Chris and his lower-key sibling Anthony, who leans on a cane and came to court in a plain gray suit, are on trial for a slew of racketeering charges, including gambling, loan-sharking, extortion and fraud.

The feds claim Anthony was double-trouble for DoubleClick - an Internet ad company that has serviced Microsoft, General Motors and Coca-Cola - after a cohort landed a job overseeing cleaning contracts during construction of the firm's new offices. Baroni said the insider ensured the contract went to a cleaning service under the crew's control and approved payment for "work that was done and work that wasn't done" to the tune of more than $100,000 in a "massive double-billing scheme."

Chris Colombo is accused of overseeing the crew's gambling operations in East Harlem and The Bronx and receiving cash deliveries at his Orange County compound. Meanwhile, Anthony allegedly shook down the owner of a small construction company, forcing him to write paychecks to his wife in a no-show job scheme.

Thanks to Kati Cornell

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Golfing with the Mob

Brooklyn's Marine Park Golf Course was under investigation Friday for having possible ties to the Colombo crime family. What took them so long to figure it out? The local rules give you a free drop away from the body, no closer to the hole.

Mob Links

Friends of ours: Craig Marino, Colombo Crime Family

A gangster has been linked to the new operator of a city-owned golf course in Brooklyn - creating a hazard and trap that has nothing to do with water and sand.

Sources familiar with the matter say the city Department of Investigation is examining the contract held by East Coast Golf to run the 18-hole Marine Park Golf Course, one of 12 public courses in the city.

The company, based in the Brooklyn Terminal Market, won out over four other bidders in 2005.

City Controller William Thompson asked the Parks Department to reconsider the deal in a letter yesterday. "The information we have obtained gives rise to numerous integrity concerns," Thompson wrote.

The owner of East Coast Golf is listed as Domenick Logozzo, who is financially connected to Craig Marino, an ultraviolent Colombo crime family soldier, according to Brooklyn federal prosecutors. Marino, who has the phrase "F--- the Police" tattooed on his chest, has been accused by mob informants of stabbing two men and shooting another, prosecutors say. The two are linked through their joint investment in a company called Zone Chefs, which delivers food to dieters, according to court records.

Marino and several others - including Zone Chefs' president, Arthur Gunning - were indicted by Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf last March on racketeering charges that included stock fraud and extortion. Logozzo was not charged.

Although Marino's name does not appear as an owner or officer of Zone Chefs, prosecutors say he is invested in the company through a bank loan taken out by Logozzo. Prosecutors say Marino was caught on a wiretap boasting of his ownership interest in Zone Chefs. Marino's lawyers have said in court papers that the investment is his "sole source of income."

Three months before the indictment, East Coast Golf began running the Marine Park course on Jan. 1, 2006, after agreeing to pay the city $9.6 million over 20 years.

The Parks Department could not say how much East Coast netted in fees in its first year running the course, where greens fees run from $16 to $38. "We awarded the contract before the indictment was handed down," said Warner Johnston, spokesman for the Parks Department.

Calls to Logozzo were not returned.

Thanks to Greg B. Smith

Friday, November 17, 2006

Al Qaeda and The Mob

Friends of ours: "Big Paul" Castellano, Gambino Crime Family, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Colombo Crime Family, Greg Scarpa Jr., Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, Joseph LaForte

After whacking "Big Paul" Castellano and taking control of the Gambino Family in 1985 John Gotti set up headquarters at The Ravenite Social Club - located on the ground floor of a five story brick building at 227 Mulberry St. in Little Italy. Over the next seven years, the FBI's New York Office (NYO) conducted an around the clock surveillance of the site: taking pictures of The Dapper Don in the street outside the club from a plant or "perch" across the street, bugging his phones and planting dozens of surveillance devices in the building owned by Gambino wiseguy Joseph "Joe The Cat" LaForte.

By 1997 "getting Gotti" became the "top investigative priority" of the NYO and the personal obsession of Special Agent Bruce Mouw who called the Gambino boss as "a stone cold killer." The investigation cost the Feds millions, but during three separate prosecutions in Federal Court "The Teflon Don" eluded conviction. It wasn't until Mouw and the FBI's Special Operations Group (SOG) were able to install mikes in the apartment of Netti Cirelli, who lived upstairs from the club, that they caught Gotti in the incriminating conversations with Sammy "The Bull" Gravano that finally brought him down in 1992. It was a victory that cemented the reputation of the FBI as the law enforcement agency that "always gets its man."

This story is very well known. What's not known -- and will be revealed in detail with the publication next week of my new book Triple Cross -- is that the same New York Office of the FBI - also known as the bin Laden "office of origin," blew an opportunity in the summer of 2001 - to stop the 9/11 "planes as missiles" plot dead in its tracks. How? by merely applying the same dogged surveillance techniques across the Hudson in Jersey City to an al Qaeda hot spot that one former FBI informant had called "a nest of vipers."

The address was 2828 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City; the location of Sphinx Trading, a check cashing and mailbox store that does millions of dollars in wire transfers each year between New Jersey and the Middle East. Sphinx was incorporated on December 15th, 1987 by Waleed al Noor and Mohammed El-Attris, an Egyptian. The store was located only four doors down from the al-Salam mosque, presided over by blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (OAR). Rahman runs like a hot circuit cable through the epic story of FBI failures on the road to 9/11.

Convicted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 1995 along with 9 other members of a "jihad army" for seditious conspiracy, OAR was the leader of the hyper-violent al Gamma'a Islamyah (Islamic Group) responsible for the Luxor Massacre in 1997. He was also spiritual head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) the terror group headed by Osama bin Laden's number two: Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri. Not only was the Sheikh's cell responsible for the first attack on the WTC in 1993, but the 1998 African Embassy bombings and the October, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole were committed in his name. OAR was so important to the al Qaeda leadership that the infamous Crawford Texas, Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6th, 2001 referenced a 1998 intelligence report of a plot by bin Laden to hijack planes to free him. A similar report was contained in a PDB to Bill Clinton in 1998. So the NYO "office of origin" had good reason to focus on the dingy gray three-story building at 2824 Kennedy Boulevard that also housed what the Feds called "The Jersey Jihad Office."

Paul Fredrick MenStyleOne of the most astonishing revelations in my five year investigation into the FBI's handling of the war on terror was that Bureau agents knew as early as 1991 that Sphinx Trading was the location of a mailbox used by El Sayyid Nosair. A Prozac popping Egyptian-born janitor, it was Nosair who spilled the first al Qaeda blood on U.S. soil on the night of November 5th, 1990 when he gunned down Rabbi Meier Kahane, founder of The Jewish Defense League. Nosair had been trained by the principal subject of Triple Cross: Ali A. Mohamed, an ex Egyptian Army Major who had by then succeeded in penetrating the CIA in Hamburg Germany in 1984. Then after slipping past a Watch List and entering the U.S. a year later, Mohamed enlisted in the U.S. Army where he reached the rank of E-5 and got himself assigned to the highly secure JFK Special Warfare Center (SWC) at Fort Bragg, N.C. -- the advanced training school for officers of The Green Berets and Delta Force. It was members of Mohamed's radical Egyptian Army unit who had gunned down Anwar Sadat in 1981 and his C.O. at Bragg likened the chances of an ex-Egyptian Army officer with that kind of pedigree ending up at the JFK SWC with winning the Powerball Lottery.

On weekends Mohamed would travel up to New York and stay with Nosair -bringing along TOP SECRET memos he'd stolen from the SWC including the location of all Special Operations units worldwide - a treasure trove of intel that made its way to the al Qaeda leadership. On four successive weekends in July, 1989, during the tenure of Bush 41, Ali's trainees drove out from the al Farooq Mosque on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (another OAR venue) to a shooting range in Calverton township on Long Island. There they spent hours firing AK-47's, handguns and other semi-automatic weapons. How do we know this? Because every weekend these "M.E.'s" or "Middle Eastern" men as they were known in Bureau speak were photographed by the Special Operations Group, the same unit that "Got Gotti" at the Ravenite Social Club.

Of the Ali Mohamed trainees photographed by the FBI half an hour above the Hamptons that hot July of '89, three were later convicted in the WTC bombing, Nosair, was convicted in the Kahane assassination and a third U.S. Black Muslim was convicted with the Blind Sheikh and Nosair in the plot to blow up the bridges and tunnels into Manhattan in 1995. Billed as the Day of Terror case, it was presided over by U.S. Attorneys Andrew McCarthy and Patrick Fitzgerald. As proof of their awareness that OAR's "jihad army" was an effective al Qaeda cell, Fitzie, as he was known, named 173 unindicted co-conspirators including Osama bin Laden, his brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, and Ali Mohamed - who by now was operating a sleeper cell in Silicon Valley. Also named on that list was Waleed al-Noor the co-incorporator of Sphinx Trading - proof that the Feds still had the Jersey City mailbox store on its radar.

What isn't known and will be revealed for the first time in Triple Cross was that Ali Mohamed had been acting as an FBI informant on the West Coast since 1992 - a year before the WTC bombing carried out by the same cell members he'd trained. More amazing, the revelation that in 1993 Ali had confessed to his hapless West Coast "control" agent John Zent that he was working for bin Laden and had helped set up al Qaeda training camps for jihadis in Khartoum. He'd also admitted that he'd provided al Qaeda members with anti-hijacking and intelligence training in Afghanistan.

If anyone in the bin Laden "office of origin" had been inclined to connect the dots, that single statement to a Special Agent in the San Francisco office should have set off alarm bells at 26 Federal Plaza - home of the FBI's NYO. But it didn't. Worse, when Mohamed was captured by alert Royal Canadian Mounted Police operatives in 1993 while attempting to smuggle al Qaeda terrorist into the U.S. from Vancouver, it was Special Agent Zent who vouched for Ali - effectively springing him from the custody of the Mounties.

After that, on the orders of Mohamed Atef, al Qaeda's military commander, Ali went to Nairobi where he took the pictures of the U.S. Embassy that bin Laden personally used to locate the suicide truck bomb that exploded five years later in August 1998. Along with simultaneous truck bombing in Tanzania 224 people died and 4,000 more were injured.

Using evidence from the SDNY court cases, interviews with current and retired Special Agents and documents from the FBI's own files, I prove in Triple Cross that Patrick Fitzgerald and Squad I-49 in the NYO could have prevented those bombings - not just by getting the truth from FBI informant Ali Mohamed, but by connecting him to Wadih El-Hage, one of the Kenya cell leaders. How would the Feds have done that? Easily.

They'd had wiretaps on El-Hage's Kenyan home since 1996. In August 1997, a year before the bombings, Special Agent Dan Coleman (of I-49) had searched El-Hage's house where he'd found Ali Mohamed's U.S. address and phone number. In fact, Fitzgerald himself had a face to face meeting with Mohamed in Sacramento, California in October 1997.

At that meeting Mohamed boldly told Fitzie that he "loved" bin Laden and didn't need a fatwa to attack the U.S. This "stone-cold" killer who had moved bin Laden and his entire al Qaeda entourage from Afghanistan to Khartoum in 1991 and trained the Saudi Billionaire's personal bodyguards in 1994 - then told Fitzgerald and other I-49 FBI agents including Jack Cloonan that he had dozens of al Qaeda sleepers that he could make operational on a moment's notice and that he himself could disappear at any time.

Then, After Mohamed walked out on him, Fitzgerald turned to Cloonan and declared that Ali was "the most dangerous man" he'd ever met and insisted, "We cannot let this man out on the street." But he did and ten months later in August, 1998 the bombs went off in Africa - delivered by another cell that Ali had helped train. It took Fitzgerald another month before he arrested Mohamed on September 10th bringing his 14 year terror spree to an end.

The immediate threat to the American people from Ali may have ended, but not his threat to the FBI and the Justice Department. You see, Ali, aka "Amiriki" or "Ali the American," was a one-man 9/11 Commission capable of ratting out the Feds on how he had eaten their lunch for years - how the two bin Laden "offices of origin" in the NYO and the SDNY where Fitzgerald was head of Organized Crime and terrorism - had been outgunned by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri dating back to that Calverton, L.I. surveillance in 1989. Fearful of what he would say if put on the stand and subjected to cross examination by defense lawyers in the upcoming Embassy bombing, Fitzgerald made sure that Ali was hidden away under a John Doe warrant. Finally, by October, 2000 Fitzie had cut a deal allowing the master spy to cop a plea and escape the death penalty.

In the end, Fitzgerald made his bones as the Justice Department's top al Qaeda buster by convicting El Hage and several other relatively minor bomb cell members. in U.S. vs. bin Laden in 2001. But the real "mastermind" of the Embassy bombings skated. Mohamed was allowed to slip into the security of custodial witness protection where he remains today - the greatest enigma of the war on terror.

All of this brings us full circle back to the big question: why should we care. What does it matter if an al Qaeda spy turned CIA asset, U.S. citizen, active duty Army sergeant and FBI informant was able to operate with virtual impunity for years, right under the noses of the best and the brightest in the FBI and DOJ?

Because Ali Mohamed was a metaphor for the dozens and dozens of counterterrorism failures by the NYO and SDNY on the road to 9/11 - while agents in the New York office like Bruce Mouw remained so obsessed with bringing down "The Dapper Don." Worse, at some point - I fix the date in 1996 - the evidence in Triple Cross shows that officials like Fitzgerald began suppressing evidence that might have proven embarrassing to the Bureau.

Much of it was contained in dozens of FBI 302 memos that can be examined by going to my website, www.peterlance.com. This treasure trove of intelligence was passed to the FBI, ironically, by a wiseguy name Greg Scarpa Jr. locked up in the cell next to WTC bomber and 9/11 plot mastermind Ramzi Yousef in the MCC - federal jail in Lower Manhattan. It was Yousef's uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohamed (KSM) who merely executed his nephew's "planes as missiles" plot after Ramzi's capture in 1995.

Among those 302's, a warning in December, 1996 of a plot by bin Laden (aka Bojinga) to hijack planes to free the blind Sheikh - the identical threat warning that was to appear in PDB's to Clinton in '98 and Bush 43 '01. Also, evidence of an active al Qaeda cell operating in New York City in 1996. But all of that intel got flushed by Patrick Fitzgerald and other DOJ officials in order to suppress a scandal in the NYO involved former Supervisory Special Agent R. Lindley DeVecchio. Lin or "the girlfriend" as he was called by Scarpa's father - a notorious Colombo Family killer - had been the target of a 1994 FBI internal affairs (OPR) investigation that threatened to derail the 60 remaining Colombo War cases in the (EDNY) Brooklyn. So, as I reported first in my last book COVER UP, Fitzgerald and other DOJ officials -- including current FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni - entered into an ends/means decision to discredit the younger Scarpa, bury the Yousef intel (falsely calling it a "hoax" and a "scam') and allowing DeVecchio to retire with a full pension.

They did this after he'd taken "the Fifth" and answered "I don't recall" more than 40 times after a grand of immunity - something that would have landed any other U.s. citizen in jail for contempt.

I'd told that tangled story of "The G-Man and The Hit Man" for the first time in Cover Up published in 2004. A year later, the deputy head of the Rackets Bureau in the Brooklyn D.A's office met with me. Later, armed with evidence supplied by forensic investigator Angela Clemente they empanelled a grand jury. On March 30th 2006 DeVecchio was indicted on four counts of second degree homicide stemming from his alleged "unholy alliance" with Scarpa Sr. But it was the desire by Federal officials in 1996 to bury the DeVecchio scandal and preserve those Colombo War cases that led to their ends/means decision to ignore all of that evidence from Ramzi Yousef to Greg Scarpa Jr. The belief that somehow the Mafia was more of a threat to New York than al Qaeda -- that caused the FBI to let their guard down on the bin Laden threat.

That's the only explanation I've been able to come up with to understand their stunning inability to keep an eye on Sphinx Trading.

There is now little doubt that if the Feds had devoted as much energy to a surveillance of Sphinx as they had to the Ravenite Social Club, they would have been in the middle of the 9/11 plot months before Black Tuesday. Because in July of 2001, Khalid al-Midhar and Salem al-Hazmi got their fake I.D.'s delivered to them in a mailbox at the identical location the FBI had been onto in the decade since El Sayyid Nosair had killed Meier Kahane. The man who supplied those fake ID's that allowed al-Midhar and al-Hazmi to board A.A. Flight #77 that hit the Pentagon, was none other than Mohammed El-Attriss the co-incorporator of Sphinx with Waleed al-Noor - whom Patrick Fitzgerald had put on the unindicted co-conspirators list along with bin Laden and Ali Mohamed in 1995.

How was it that Fitzgerald, the man Vanity Fair described as the bin Laden "brain," possessing "scary smart" intelligence, had not connected the dots and ordered the same kind of "perch" or "plant" to watch Sphinx that the Bureau had used against Gotti? Which "stone cold" killer was more a threat to the security of New York City? The Teflon Don or bin Laden's master spy who cut his deal without giving up those "sleepers" he'd told Fitzgerald about in October of 1997.

Here's an irony in a story pregnant with them:

Patrick Fitzgerald made his bones as a terror fighter by prosecuting U.S. vs. bin Laden, the trial of the African Embassy bombers that he and squad I-49 failed to stop. As a reward he was appointed U.S. Attorney in Chicago and got tapped as Special Prosecutor in the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation. We now know that even after learning the identify of the Plame leak source -- Bush retainer Richard Armitage - in the early weeks of the investigation, Fitzgerald still subjected the New York Times and Time magazine to a barrage of subpoenas unseen since the McCarthy era - going so far as to force the jailing of ex-Times reporter Judith Miller for 85 days. Until now, Patrick Fitzgerald has been famous for two things: prosecuting al Qaeda members and chilling the press. With the publication of Triple Cross his failure to contain bin Laden's master spy will now be on the record. The book hits the stores on Tuesday, November 21st.

Thanks to Peter Lance

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