The Chicago Syndicate: Mob Wives

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Showing posts with label Mob Wives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mob Wives. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mob Wives: Chicago to Scorch VH1 This Summer

"Mob Wives Chicago" follows the lives of five women allegedly connected to "The Outfit," Chicago's version of the Mob, as they bear the cross for the sins of their Mob-associated fathers. With lives that are right out of newspaper headlines, each woman has chosen her own way to live her life in the city that was once home to Al Capone, sometimes in spite of, and many times because of, who her father is. Along the way, these women battle their friends, families and each other as they try to do what's best for themselves and their children. But ultimately, it is the ghost of their fathers they battle, living and dead, as they try to overcome and persevere in the face of these men's notorious legacies.

Monday, April 16, 2012

“Mob Wives Chicago" Smears Italian Americans

 I’m a Chicagoan looking to join a public protest, and I’ve come up with a good one.

Not against NATO or bankers on La Salle Street, but against a TV show being filmed in Chicago. It’s called “Mob Wives Chicago,” another one of those insensitive, dumb things that pick on Italians -– stereotyping Italians as da Big Al Capone, or da “Big Tuna,” Tony Accardo. It’s wrong to make fun of ethnic minorities, to embarrass our neighbors or influence our children to think Italians are gangsters.

You want to stereotype Italians? Try Christopher Columbus and Galileo; Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo; Puccini and Verdi; Versace, Gucci and Armani; Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Rocky Marciano. How about Phil Cavaretta?  How about Ron Santo?

C’mon, you TV movie moguls. Get a life. Have some decency and respect. Before you finish filming “Mob Wives Chicago,” give it a wrap

 Perspective by Walter Jacobson.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mob Wives Slammed by Victoria Gotti

They may both be daughters of Mafia members, but Victoria Gotti doesn't think she has much in common with Karen Gravano.

At least that's what she implied in a radio interview with Frank Morano on AM 970 The Apple.

Morano asked Ms. Gotti for her thoughts on "Mob Wives" in general and Karen Gravano's attempts to make herself a celebrity. "God bless them, is what I say," Ms. Gotti said. "If you ask me, do I see any major talent there in each of them, or any of them? No."

Ms. Gotti's father was John Gotti, the Gambino crime boss who Ms. Gravano's father, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, testified against. Gotti died in federal prison.

Ms. Gotti has written several novels and is a former columnist. She was recently voted off Donald Trump's television show "Celebrity Apprentice."

"I'm working since I'm 15," Ms. Gotti told Moran. "What I've done, I would have done if I were Victoria Smith. No one would have stopped me." But long before Ms. Gravano cashed in on being a mob daughter on "Mob Wives," Ms. Gotti and her three sons starred in "Growing Up Gotti" on A&E.

She also wrote her own book about growing up in a Mafia family -- but only when she thought it would help her brother, John "Junior" Gotti, who was facing criminal charges. "I was offered to do a book, God, 10, 15 years ago, and God knows the dollar amounts thrown at me," she said. "I don't do that until it's to help save my brother's life. So we have different mindsets, you know, her and I."

Ms. Gotti called "Mob Wives" a "train wreck," and said it wasn't "real."

"I've never met this girl. I don't know her. I don't like what I see, per se, and hear, but at the same time, I think the whole 'Mob Wives' thing is a complete joke," she said.

Morano, the radio host and a Staten Islander, said on the air he is often asked why he attacks Ms. Gravano but praises Ms. Gotti. "I guess to me the major difference is Karen is herself a convicted criminal, and she really doesn't have any major talents," Morano said.

Ms. Gravano pleaded guilty to being part of her father's ecstasy ring when the family lived in Arizona, after Salvatore Gravano's relatively short stint in federal prison and abbreviated stay in the witness protection program. While her father wound up back in prison, Ms. Gravano was sentenced to probation.

A representative of Ms. Gravano's did not respond to a request for comment from the author and reality show star.

Thanks to Jillian Jorgenson

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mob Daughter: The Mafia, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, and Me!

From Karen Gravano, a star of the hit VH1 reality show Mob Wives, comes a revealing memoir of a mafia childhood, where love and family come hand-in-hand with murder and betrayal.

Karen Gravano is the daughter of Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, once one of the mafia's most feared hit men. With nineteen confessed murders, the former Gambino Crime Family underboss—and John Gotti’s right-hand man—is the highest ranking gangster ever to turn State’s evidence and testify against members of his high-profile crime family.

But to Karen, Sammy Gravano was a sometimes elusive but always loving father figure. He was ever-present at the head of the dinner table. He made a living running a construction firm and several nightclubs. He stayed out late, and sometimes he didn’t come home at all. He hosted “secret” meetings at their house, and had countless whispered conversations with “business associates.” By the age of twelve, Karen knew he was a gangster. And as she grew up, while her peers worried about clothes and schoolwork, she was coming face-to-face with crime and murder. Gravano was nineteen years old when her father turned his back on the mob and cooperated with the Feds. The fabric of her family was ripped apart, and they were instantly rejected by the communities they grew up in.

This is the story of a daughter’s struggle to reconcile the image of her loving father with that of a murdering Mafioso, and how, in healing the rift between the two, she was able to forge a new life.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Is Angela “Big Ang” Raiola America's Newest Sweetheart?

America’s newest sweetheart is a chain-smoking Staten Island diva with a passion for plastic surgery.

She’s Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, Angela 'Big Ang' Raiolathe latest cast member on the VH1 reality show “Mob Wives.”

Raiola debuted on the Jan. 1 second-season premiere when she tried — unsuccessfully — to get feuding “Mob Wives” co-stars Karen Gravano and Drita D’Avanzo to settle their differences. The result may have been a massive, punch-throwing fight that disrupted a lavish party for cast mate Renee Graziano, but it also put Raiola on the fast track to fame.

One fan even got a tattoo of Raiola’s face — with her trademark collagen-enhanced lips — and the image went viral.

“I’m very overwhelmed at how big I became,” Raiola told the Herald. “It’s been crazy, out of control. Everywhere I am, people are stopping me. Or they’re sending fan mail to my bar.”

That’s the Drunken Monkey, for those un-familiar with Staten Island hot spots. “I never thought this would happen,” added Raiola, 52, niece of late mob captain Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi. “But it’s fun. It’s very ex-citing.”

“Big Ang is like the godmother of all of us. She has all the wisdom,” D’Avanzo said in a recent episode.

Raiola explained that the nickname, “Big Ang,” came from growing up in Brooklyn as one of two girls named Ang in the neighborhood.

“My girlfriend, she was very tiny and I was tall, so I became ‘Big Ang’ and she’s ‘Little Ang,’ ” she said.

Raiola said she’s friends with all the cast members, but feels closest to Graziano, saying: “I like every-thing about Renee. I’ve known her since she was a teenager. She’s a good person and has a big heart. She’s very sensitive. I real-ly like her.”

Raspy-voiced Raiola admits to a tummy tuck, liposuction, three breast implant surgeries and wanting a face-lift — and confesses an affinity for dating “wiseguys,” who she says have bought her million-dollar homes and Jaguars in the past.

“Big Ang” is still taking in her newfound fame and has not accepted commercial endorsements — yet — even as VH1 announces a spinoff, “Mob Wives: Chicago,” to debut with a different cast by the end of the year.

“I’m going to take it day to day,” said Raiola. “I’ll see what comes and go with it.”

Thanks to Dan O'Brien

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Mob Wives Connected to Bonanno Crime Family Bust

Federal agents busted several high-ranking Bonanno crime family members last week and charged them with racketeering and extortion, authorities said.

Among those arrested in the joint FBI-Drug Enforcement Administration probe were two senior members of the Bonanno ruling administration, Anthony "TG" Graziano and Vinny Badalamenti, law enforcement sources said.

Bonanno captain Nicky Santoro was also charged in the sweep as were soldiers Vito Balsamo and Anthony Calabrese, sources said.

A Gambino crime family associate, James LaForte, was also arrested in the early morning raids, sources said.

The suspects were scheduled to be arraigned in Brooklyn federal court.

Graziano was already facing previous extortion charges in a separate case.

The massive sweep against the Bonanno leadership stems in part from the assistance of former mob associate Hector Pagan, who is the ex-husband of "Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano. Pagan is now a DEA informant.

Renee Graziano is the daughter of Anthony Graziano.

Anthony Graziano, 71, was released recently from prison, but then quickly ensnared in an earlier Drug Enforcement Administration probe that pre-dated today's developments.

In that previous case, Pagan -- a Bonanno associate-turned DEA informant -- reportedly wore a wire and secretly recorded conversations for the feds with his ex-father-in-law while discussing the collection of a loanshark debt.

Anthony Graziano was indicted by Brooklyn federal prosecutors on those earlier charges just last week.

Thanks to Mitchel Maddux

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chicago Mob Wives Rejected by Gene and Georghetti's

The owner of Gene and Georgetti's steakhouse apparently has a big beef with a new show.

The producers of VH1's "Mob Wives" recently approached restaurant owner Tony Durpetti to ask if they could film in his restaurant for a Chicago spin-off, reported the Sun-Times.

He gave them a big fat no.

Louis H. Rago, president of the Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago, praised the decision, saying he is tired of negative stereotypes about Italians on television.

Other Chicago restaurant owners also have said they would not participate with the show.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Mob Wives" Season Two Starts January 1st, 2012, "Mob Wives: Chicago" Coming This Spring

There’s no better way to start off the New Year than with ‘the family.’ “Mob Wives” is back and the drama has gone to a whole new level. The highly-anticipated second season premiere of VH1′s hit reality television series premieres on Sunday, January 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Viewers will also be introduced to a new group of ‘Syndicate Sisters’ with the debut of the franchise’s first spin-off “Mob Wives: Chicago” this Spring, where the legendary home of Al Capone will serve as the backdrop. Both shows are produced by TWC, Electus, Left/Right and JustJenn Productions.

The second season of “Mob Wives” picks up where the first left off – with each cast member dealing with major personal life issues. The rift between Karen and Drita is far from over – will they ever be able to ‘bury the hatchet’? Renee goes under the knife for major plastic surgery that may have some unexpected consequences, while also contemplating her future with her ex-husband Junior. Drita is considering her options when it comes to leaving her husband Lee – while Carla’s relationship with her estranged husband Joe may take an unexpected twist. And, of course, everyone wants to know what’s in Karen’s soon-to-be-released book – the one she moved back to New York to write!

Last season,”Mob Wives” gave viewers an unfiltered look into the closed-door society of Renee, Karen, Carla and Drita, four struggling “allegedly” associated women who have to pick up the pieces and carry on while their husbands or fathers do time for Mob-related activities. United by a bond which few understand, the women are all struggling with their identities and their futures as they raise their kids as single parents in the New York City area.

The franchise expands as VH1 announced the pickup of “Mob Wives: Chicago.” A spin-off from the original east coast-based series,”Mob Wives: Chicago” will introduce a new cast of women suffering the stronzi and agita of their Mafiosi connections. The series will air in Spring 2012.

“Our viewers connected so strongly with our New York cast that we were skeptical about trying to repeat that success, said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President, Original Programming & Production. “But once we met these ladies from Chicago and heard their truly unbelievable stories, we knew that viewers would become just as captivated as we did. These women’s life experiences may be far different from our own, but their current struggles to stand on their own two feet are relatable to everyone.”

“After a terrific first season, Electus is incredibly proud to partner once again with The Weinstein Company, JustJenn Productions and VH1 to bring the second season of Mob Wives to air so that audiences can see how the ladies’ compelling stories progress,”said Jimmy Fox, Executive Producer and Head of Creative Development for Electus.”We are equally thrilled that Mob Wives will be coming to Chicago, a town that was once home to some of the mob’s most notorious gangsters. Audiences will be blown away by the larger-than-life characters with their own unique stories to tell.”

“The first season of “Mob Wives” pulled back the curtain on a much-discussed yet mysterious world inhabited by four fascinating and strong-willed women,”stated Meryl Poster, TWC’s President of Television.”The viewer response to the genuine and gripping storylines that unfolded on the show was immediate and passionate, and we are grateful to these extraordinary ladies for inviting the cameras back into their lives for season two. We know that the viewing audience will feel a similar connection to the cast of “Mob Wives Chicago” and look forward to bringing their remarkable stories to the small screen this spring.”

“The furs, the money, the parties, the respect – it’s all part of the intrigue of the world I grew up in,” said series Creator and Executive Producer Jennifer Graziano of JustJenn Productions. “But at any time, the other shoe can drop and these women find themselves going on prison visits. I have long thought that this was a story that needed to be told, and am so thankful that we can continue this journey with the original “Mob Wives” – as well as expanding the franchise to Chicago. I have always heard the legends about Al Capone and Chicago, but it wasn’t until I actually went to the city that I became enamored with the rich mob history there. These women’s lives are right off the pages of a storybook!”

Chicago Version of VH1's "Mob Wives" in the Works?

This one should set tongues to wagging from Bridgeport to Chicago Heights and along Grand Avenue to Elmwood Park.

The folks behind “Mob Wives,” VH1’s hit reality television show following the lives of four tough-talking, loud-living Staten Island women with personal ties to New York mob figures, plan to start filming a new Chicago spinoff within the next month.

Talk about your Operation Family Secrets.

The biggest secret is which Chicago women have been signed up by the network to participate.

Jennifer Graziano, the show’s producer, is keeping that information within the family, so to speak, despite numerous scouting trips here over the last several months to lay the groundwork for a series that is expected to air in the spring.

I’ve heard a couple of names, including one you can bet wouldn’t be doing this if her father were still alive, but both women angrily hung up on me.

Television gossip isn’t my normal turf, but it’s been too hard to resist this story since Graziano’s co-producer called this summer looking for Chicago mob insights.

Apparently, big city daily newspaper columnists are supposed to have lots of sources inside the mob, and I hate to break it to my readers, but unfortunately I’m fresh out.

Still, I know a spit storm brewing when I see one. I can’t tell you about New York, but in Chicago, mob wives — and daughters and girlfriends — are still supposed to stay out of the public eye.

Chicago lawyers who have represented mob clients were beyond skeptical when asked if they were aware of the project. “It’s inconceivable,” one said. “I just don’t think it would meet with approval here.”

I tried to make the same point to Graziano when she stopped by the office around Labor Day between meetings with prospects. But Graziano, whose father is Anthony “The Little Guy” Graziano, reputed consigliere to the Bonnano crime family, just gave me a knowing look as if to indicate she had her bases covered.

“I’ve got some family contacts here, people that have known my family and friends of mine,” said Graziano, whose sister Renee is one of the stars of the show along with Karen Gravano, daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, the mob hit man who became a government witness and took down John Gotti and the Gambino crime family. “One of the selling points is we don’t write about anything that hasn’t been in the news,” Graziano said. “We don’t divulge any secrets.”

While hoping to land a recognizable mob family name or two for the Chicago cast, Graziano said it was more important that the characters “pop” on television.

I suggested they pay a visit to former Cicero Mayor Betty Loren-Maltese. That was the weekend Betty happened to be having a garage sale, so it seemed pretty obvious she could use the money. I also assured them Betty “pops” on television. But they weren’t certain Betty fit the demographic they were seeking, in other words, too old. Sorry, Betty. I tried.

I’ve never watched “Mob Wives” myself. “Wives” shows give me the heebie-jeebies. But my wife assured me “Mob Wives” was the best show on television during its first season, and I can attest she is a connoisseur of a certain kind of TV — the trashy kind.

“Mob Wives,” as I understand it, is way more raw, more intense, more real, than any of those “Housewives” shows. When these women have a fight, as they often do, you fully expect somebody to get hurt.

My wife’s favorite character is Drita D’avanzo. She is particularly impressed with how effortlessly Drita slips off her high heels while charging headlong into battle. You’ve got to admire that in a woman.

This embrace of mob stereotypes has received its share of criticism in New York, and anticipating the same here, I called Dominic DiFrisco, president emeritus of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. “I wish them nothing but failure,” said DiFrisco, who hasn’t seen the show but knows the type. “I think it’s a very ugly continuation of the long-standing slandering and defaming of the Italian-American people.”

If the characters pop, I can’t imagine it will be a failure. But this being Chicago, you still have to wonder if somebody will get popped.

Thanks to Mark Brown

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Unfinished Business on Mob Wives

During a ladies' night out, "Party Renee" Graziano makes an overdue and completely wild appearance. Meanwhile, Drita D'avanzo comes face to face with the harsh realities of having a husband behind bars as her birthday approaches. Her boozy blowout pushes her to resolve one conflict, though she remains oblivious to another even bigger one that is brewing. Carla Facciolo's blissful relationship with a mystery man sows the seeds of dissent among the women, as Renee prepares herself for a fresh start, at any cost. While continuing to work on her book and dig into her past, Karen Gravano resolves to confront an explosive issue that's been eating at her for a long time. Sparks fly. Lines are crossed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ on Mob Wives

Renee Graziano tempts fate by hosting a Psychic Party, while Carla Facciolo loses control over her rambunctious twins and contemplates telling them the truth about their Dad's imprisonment. After Drita D'avanzo's moves to make amends are rebuffed by Renee, the domineering wise gals go head to head. Renee's inner Mafia Princess is unleashed when things take a disrespectful and dangerous turn during a night out with Karen Gravano.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mob Bust on VH1's Mob Wives

When the Feds conduct the biggest mob bust in the history of organized crime, the fall out rocks Staten Island to its core and Renee Graziano's world starts to unravel.

Mob Bust Hits VH1's Mob Wives

Karen Gravano is forced to revisit her mafia past as she reconnects with memories of growing up as an infamous gangster's daughter. Drita D'avanzo faces the harsh realities of her husband's prolonged jail sentence which forces her to question her future as a prisoner's wife. The divide between Renee and Drita deepens when Renee receives an unexpected blow and an unlikely ally shows support.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mob Wives "The Bitch is Back" Episoide

The showdown continues at Carla Facciolo's birthday party as Renee Graziano and Karen Gravano both refuse to back down. When Drita D'avanzo decides to take matters into her own hands, all hell breaks loose. Old friendships are tested and new alliances are formed. While Karen rebuilds her old relationships on Staten Island, Renee clashes with her ex-husband and Drita receives shocking news from prison.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mob Wives "Made in Staten Island" Epsiode

Welcome to Staten Island, the land of fierce women who never admit to being allegedly "connected" -- until now. Renee Graziano, Carla Facciolo and Drita D'avanzo are no strangers to the good life, but now, with their husbands and fathers behind bars, they realize there is a price to pay. Left alone to pick up the pieces, these women face the harsh realities of "life" after informants have turned their families' lives upside down.

To these ladies, "loyalty is everything" so, when Karen Gravano (the daughter of infamous mob informant Sammy the Bull) arrives back on the Staten Island scene after 10 years away in Arizona -- there is hell to pay. Karen's return becomes explosive when she shows up at a party on loyalist, Renee 's, home turf.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mob Wives Come to VH1

Mob Wives is a docu-soap series that follows the lives of four women at a crossroads, having to pick up the pieces and carry on while their husbands or fathers do time for Mob-related activities. They are struggling with their identities, their own families and their futures.

Mob Wives Mob Wives, Karen Gravano, Drita D'avanzo, Carla Facciolo, and Renee Grazianois a docu-soap that follows the lives of four struggling, "allegedly" associated women who have to pick up the pieces and carry on after their husbands or fathers do time for Mob-related activities. The women are long time friends who live in New York City's "forgotten borough", Staten Island. Along the way they battle their friends, families and each other as they try to do what's best for themselves and their children. It's not easy to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to when the family's primary bread winner is in lock up.

From The Godfather to The Sopranos to My Cousin Vinny, these women are sick and tired of the lies and stereotypes that exist about their lives. They're determined to finally set the record straight and show the world once and for all that while their lives may seem crazy at first glance, they love, laugh and get their hearts broken just like everyone else. The cast:
DRITA: Drita is a hot-tempered Albanian who married into the mob much to the chagrin of her straight-laced immigrant family. Her husband Lee is part of the New Springville Boys gang and is currently in prison for robbing a Staten Island bank. While she's been married to Lee for 12 years, she's only been able to spend 2 years with him due to his crime sprees and jail time.

KAREN: Karen is returning to Staten Island after a 10 year absence. She's thrilled to finally be able to return home to the city she loves and reunite with the girls. Karen's father is legendary Mafia informant Sammy "the Bull" Gravano. While he confessed to 19 murders in his book, he is currently serving a 19-year sentence in an undisclosed location. Karen once dated Drita's husband and as a result, there is still some underlying tension between them.

RENEE: Renee is the drama queen of the group. Even though she stirs up the most trouble, she'll give you the shirt off her back. Renee grew up in the glory days of the mob- fur, diamonds, limos, all by the age of 7 and she still carries that Mafia attitude. Renee's father is Anthony Graziano the former consigliore of the Bonanno crime family who is currently serving an 11-year sentence for tax evasion, racketeering, and conspiracy to murder. Renee is a mob loyalist and despises what Karen's father did.

CARLA: Carla fancies herself a Manhattan girl. She is used to the finer things in life and has no desire to give them up. Carla's husband Joseph is currently serving an 88-month sentence for fraud after stealing 17 million dollars from unsuspecting senior citizens in a boiler room scandal. The couple have twin 8-year olds, Joseph and Carmen, but that doesn't curb Carla's desire to party like there's no tomorrow.

Carla Facciolo of VH1's Mob Wives

Carla Facciolo grew up in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, where she had a similar upbringing to Renee Graziano. While her father went to prison when she was young, it didn't stop her from living the lifestyle she grew to love.

Carla Facciolo of VH1's Mob Wives

When Carla was 17 she started dating street guys and really got a taste of the life. She hung out with girls like Renee, and others -- whose parents were either in the life or extremely wealthy. Carla likes the finer things in life and thought she'd met her match when she married Joey Ferragamo, a stock broker.

Although Carla thought she had finally gotten away from the lifestyle she lived growing up, her husband eventually got indicted and convicted for a boiler room scandal and Carla once again found herself dealing with the ins and outs of prison. Carla tells her twins, who she feels are too young to know where their dad is, that he is away at work. She is a stay at home mom and sales rep for a juice company. She takes good care of herself and prides herself on her hair and great body.

Karen Gravano of VH1's Mob Wives

Karen Gravano is the daughter of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, the infamous mobster who cooperated with the government to help take down John Gotti and the Gambino crime family. Karen was just 19 years old when her father turned on the mafia, a move that left Karen devastated.

Karen Gravano of VH1's Mob Wives

While her family relocated to Arizona to start over, at first Karen stayed behind in New York--her way of showing that she had trouble with her father's cooperation. After a couple years, she joined her family in Arizona where she became a licensed aesthetician, opened up a lucrative day spa, and had her first and only child, Karina.

After 12 years of coming to terms with who she is and understanding her father's choices, Karen is ready to close up shop in Arizona and return to Staten Island. Beyond reconnecting with old friends, Karen hopes that coming back will help her stand on her own, out of shadows of her father's infamous past.

Strong, driven and business minded, she has already inked a deal to write a book about her life and is ready to revisit her old stomping grounds and reconnect with her old friends.

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