The Chicago Syndicate: Lewis Kasman
Showing posts with label Lewis Kasman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lewis Kasman. Show all posts

Monday, February 02, 2009

Memo to Mobsters: Don't "Adopt" Anyone - He May Turn Out to be a Rat

Memo to mobsters: Don't "adopt" anyone - he may turn out to be a rat.

John A. (Junior) Gotti learned that the hard way with "adopted" son Lewis Kasman, who taped Gotti family meetings for the feds.

Reputed killer Charles Carneglia is about to get a taste of the same medicine with "adopted" kid brother Kevin McMahon.

Both mob turncoats are to testify in Carneglia's ongoing murder trial in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Kasman, a former Long Island garment exec who wormed his way into Gotti's inner circle and called himself the adopted son of the late Gambino crime boss, wasn't close to Carneglia.

McMahon was as close as you can get without being a relative. "When Kevin walks into that courtroom I would expect Charles will want to jump over the table and strangle him," a law enforcement official said.

McMahon was not only a member of Carneglia's crime crew, he was like a member of the Carneglia family.

In 1980, McMahon was a 12-year-old Irish kid from Howard Beach "at the beginning of his long and extraordinarily close relationship" with Charles Carneglia and his brother John, court papers show. McMahon is 20 years younger than Charles, 62, and John, 64.

On a fateful day in March, McMahon lent his minibike to mob scion Frank Gotti who was accidentally hit and killed by neighbor John Favara as he drove home from work. Favara was slain on Gotti's orders and, prosecutors say, Charles Carneglia dissolved his body in a barrel of acid.

Before the incident, McMahon had been "informally adopted" by John and Charles Carneglia. Charles Carneglia promised to protect the lad from retaliation for his role in Frankie's death.

McMahon was treated as a member of the Carneglia family, living with them for long stretches, attending family dinners and going on Carneglia family vacations, Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Burlingame said.

Former capo Michael DiLeonardo has testified that McMahon was a "goofy kid" who taunted FBI agents, running up to them and grabbing his crotch.

McMahon had jobs with Local 638 steamfitters union and Local 52 motion pictures mechanics union, but those paid only $40,000 a year, chump change for a wanna-be Gambino associate with an ailing wife and two kids.

Prosecutors say he and Carneglia took part in extortions, art fraud and robberies, including the stickup of an armored car at Kennedy Airport in 1990 in which guard Jose Rivera Delgado was shot to death. McMahon dropped a baseball cap at the scene. DNA tests linked him to a strand of hair in the hat.

Shortly after he was arrested in 2005 on an indictment charging him with racketeering for the Gambinos in Tampa, McMahon sent a "thank you" letter to Brooklyn Magistrate Robert Levy for releasing him on bail.

"As I was leaving the courtroom you said to me, 'Don't let me down.' I assure you I have not," he wrote. "As soon as I'm acquitted I'll write you again."

McMahon turned on his adoptive mob family after he was convicted and faced 20 years behind bars. He is cooperating in hopes of winning a lesser prison term.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reputed Mob Hit Man, Charles Carneglia, Given Extreme Makeover in Time for Trial

Fearsome reputed hit man Charles Carneglia has undergone a wiseguy makeover on the eve of his federal trial.

A prison barber did wonders for Carneglia, transforming him from a scary Charles Manson look-alike to a craggy Gorton's Fisherman. Carneglia's ponytail is gone. The stringy, white hair and flowing beard have been neatly trimmed.

The fearsome enforcer for the Gambino crime family, who is charged with five murders, wore a cardigan sweater for jury selection Monday and a powder-blue pullover Tuesday.

Despite the radical change, Carneglia's previous look was apparently burned indelibly in the mind of at least one prospective juror who got a glimpse of the old Charles last week in Brooklyn Federal Court on the first day of jury selection.

"His appearance gave me the impression he was guilty," the anonymous juror told Judge Jack Weinstein. "He looked a little bit on the shady side with the ponytail and the beard."

The juror was excused, and Carneglia glared at him as he left the room.

Defense lawyer Curtis Farber insisted there is no plan to make Carneglia look less sinister. "He looks the same to me," Farber said, adding that Carneglia had trouble getting in to see the barber and having his dentures fixed over the 11 months he has been in the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Federal prosecutors have lined up at least 10 cooperating witnesses to testify at the blockbuster Mafia trial beginning Thursday.

They include the late John Gotti's self-described "adopted son" Lewis Kasman and Gambino associate John Alite, who will be the star witness against John A. (Junior) Gotti at his trial late this year.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Monday, March 31, 2008

CW to Detail Mafia's Connection to the Fashion Industry

Just when it seemed Seventh Avenue had shed its cloak of organized crime, it could be pulled right back in.

Lewis Kasman, a former trim producer who once fashioned himself as John Gotti's "adopted son," is expected to turn state's evidence this week in the latest Mob crackdown. A federal court in Brooklyn unsealed an 80-count indictment last month charging 62 alleged mobsters with a list of crimes, from racketeering conspiracy and extortion to theft of union benefits and money laundering.

Although the indictment focuses on the connection between the Mafia, the construction industry and its unions, testimony by Kasman, who is alleged to have for years run a fashion industry front for the Gambino crime family, might also illuminate connections between organized crime and the New York fashion industry over the past three decades — although the ties go back longer than that.

Kasman is slated to appear in federal court Thursday and is expected to testify on his background as an associate of the Gambino crime family and his relationship with its leaders, including Joseph "JoJo" Corozzo. The government also has filed a motion to disqualify Corozzo's son, Joseph, an attorney on the case.

The indictment outlined crimes dating back to the Seventies and ensnared reputed associates of the Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families with movie-ready nicknames such as "Vinny Hot," "One Eye" and "Fat Richie."

The three-year investigation also included a cooperating witness who wore a wire, according to the indictment, although it could not be determined at press time whether that witness was Kasman.

"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," said a statement last month from the office of U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell, who oversees the Eastern District of New York.

Despite the breadth of the current wave of indictments, this won't be Kasman's first time in a courtroom. He was a principal with the now-defunct Albie Trimming Co., a family-owned trimmings manufacturer with a storefront operation and warehouse at 229 West 36th Street that supplied materials such as zippers, linings and buttons to garment industry companies, but was said to be a front for the Gambino family, then headed by John Gotti. At the time, the Gambino family had a stranglehold on Seventh Avenue's trucking activities.

Kasman, who often played up his relationship with Gotti by saying he was like an "adopted son" of the convicted murderer and racketeer, pleaded guilty in 1994 in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to lying to a grand jury in 1990 by saying he was not familiar with the terms "Gambino," "capo" or "consigliere." Kasman was sentenced to six months in prison, was given a $30,000 fine and was sentenced to three years of supervised release once he was out of prison, with the stipulation that he not associate with any members of organized crime.

When Gotti, also known as the "Dapper Don," died in prison in 2002, Kasman told newspapers, "He's a man amongst men, a champion."

During its investigation that led to Gotti's conviction, the government said Albie Trimming and an associated firm, Scorpio Marketing, existed "merely to provide the appearance that John Gotti and other Gambino family members have a legitimate income." Gotti was even said to have an Albie Trimming card that identified him as "salesman."

It was the same Gambino crime family that was prosecuted by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in 1992 for illegally controlling garment industry trucking. Then-assistant district attorney Eliot Spitzer, in his opening remarks in the trial of Thomas Gambino and Joseph Gambino, sons of crime family founder Carlo Gambino, said the Gambinos and their associates resorted to an occasional show of force "where the velvet glove comes off."

Spitzer won acclaim for his successful prosecution and used it as a stepping stone to his now-disgraced governorship of New York.

The level of the Mafia's involvement in Seventh Avenue today is a matter of debate, with some contending that the corporatization of the industry and the federal government's repeated crackdowns have stifled the Mob, but others saying it's still around. Whether Kasman's testimony will shed the kind of light on the garment industry and organized crime that past state's witnesses have remains to be seen. Sources told WWD after the Gambino trucking trial in state court in 1992 that one reason Thomas and Joseph Gambino pleaded guilty of restraint of trade was that prosecutors were prepared to call Mob-turncoat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano to testify how the family and its associates used strong-arm tactics and unscrupulous bookkeeping to form a garment industry cartel. In a separate federal trial that same year, Gravano was the star witness against Gambino crime family head Gotti and his damaging testimony led to Gotti's conviction and life sentence for racketeering and murder.

Thanks to Evan Clark and Arthur Friedman

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