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Jimmy Cast

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About The Author

 

First and foremost, Jimmy Cast is an expert on the Mafia and organized crime. A Liberty City based award-winning reporter, columnist and author, who has written or co-authored several books about the Mob. In his much storied career in journalism alone, he has covered the beat for both the Liberty City Post and The Morning Horn, in an unrivaled run of more than 20 years.

 

The man’s been writing history for many years now, shining his light on a landscape of gangsters and crooks and catching the attention of agents, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, fellow journalists and buffs, and no doubt a few scholars. 

 

As others burn out, Jimmy's light shines on and he and his column are still open for business, on and offline, decades after the doors opened, while many of the undesirables he’s told us about are history. The names and the stories change, but Jimmy endures. With an uncanny ability to dig out information from an army of confidential sources. 

 

With that being said, it's about time he collected his anecdotes and posted them here for your viewing pleasure. Below is a short piece from the man himself detailing how he first got propelled to stardom.

 

Origins of an Expert

 

In October 1986, I was a reporter for the Liberty City Post working the six to one shift in Broker when I got an assignment that transformed me into a so-called “mob expert'' — a seemingly insignificant funeral of a local wiseguy which turned out to be the biggest opportunity of my life.

 

When I got to the Roman Catholic Church in Algonquin — wearing the only dark suit I owned — I saw guys with big necks stopping reporters from entering the church. So with my notebook inside my jacket pocket, I circled around and entered through the rear door, walked behind the altar, took my notebook out and told the priest who was preparing for the services that I was a reporter and wanted to get the correct spelling of his name. I wrote it down, thanked him, put my notebook in my pocket and after he accompanied me out from behind the altar, I walked down a side aisle and sat down in the first row of open seats that I came to as other mourners were entering the pew from the center aisle. I gave a respectful nod to the fella sitting beside me — he reciprocated — and we turned our attention to the altar, just like everyone else in the church.

 

Fifty minutes later, I filed out with the other mourners. When I hit the top step, I took out my notebook and began feverishly writing down everything I could recall from the service, including many names and faces, when I heard a television reporter call out to me.

 

“You got inside,” she said. “I want to interview you for the six o’clock news.”

 

I stood there and just regurgitated what I had overheard by eavesdropping. “I actually didn’t know the guy,” I said. “But, judging by the turn out, I suspect he was someone important.” Her face lit up.

 

“From what I hear, it was death by misadventure in Vice City… but no doubt he screwed a few people over along the way.”

 

Right there and then, by taking this gentleman’s character, I was transformed from a veteran police reporter to a Mafia expert. Not because I knew anything about the mob, but because I had used the back door.

 

In getting much of my information over the years, I have tried to employ the same principle. Among other things, I have used official and unofficial court records, FIB documents, and police reports. I have spoken to a variety of sources of information, including cops, agents, prosecutors, defense lawyers, wiseguys, their relatives, and their victims, to name but a few.

 

Above all else, I have tried to paint as accurate a picture as I could for my readers, using common sense and the special insights about the landscape that I picked up along the way to put the activities of the gangsters and their pursuers into proper perspective. 

 

My work may not have always been right on target, but when it wasn't, it didn’t miss by much. In any event, it has always been based on what I have seen, or heard, from as many sources that I could muster. As I learned a long time ago — and as you will see in these columns — you really can’t make this stuff up!

 

 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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  • 2 weeks later...

The Case of the Stiff with The Stiffy

Four years ago, in October 2018, when police found aging Lupisella loanshark Vito Piccolo lying face down in the master bedroom of his Goatherd Bay home, they immediately decided it was suicide. The LCPD had put a temporary block on investigator’s overtime and they’d have much rathered not fill out the paperwork. 

 

But when a plucky young Medical Examiner strode into the bedroom through the open door claiming it was a hit, they were compelled to investigate. The papers would have surely questioned it, given Piccolo’s affiliations, but perhaps the day shift could have handled it. 

 

Even to the feckless detectives, there was no doubt it was murder, but who was the perpetrator? Well, the police were about to set aside a small number of growing cases to find out.

 

The examiner in question was Lucy Manicotti and in her short and storied career she had gained quite the reputation for getting people’s backs up. There was no question she was good at her job, but she was one of those people who liked others to know about it. 

 

And, as coincidence would have it, as I’m relaying this story, Manicotti is slated to testify at yet another pre-trial hearing related to the case in a Broker Federal Court after a long delay due to legal wrangling. 

 

She's likely to describe how Piccolo was clutching a bottle of erectile dysfunction meds with his left hand when he was killed with a single shot to the same side of his cranium. And she'll hopefully elaborate on the fact that, during a post mortem, she also found a volume of alcohol in his tox report and a half digested Mollis pill in his stomach — an unusual last meal for someone who had planned just to end it all. 

 

Even more confusingly, according to reports, when she turned Piccolo's body over to look for wounds in addition to the bullet in his head, she found his penis to be still fully erect. 

 

Looking at the bottle, she was able to ascertain an approximate time of death as three to five hours before discovery. But when asked during interview if it were possible that due to his age he could have perhaps previously taken another pill or a newfangled Chew’N’Screw™ “chewable,” Manicotti did admit it was possible, but reasoned that it was unlikely that a 77-year-old man would listen to any of the podcasts on which the latter were frequently advertised.

 

Although I’m no Medical Examiner, I am a mob expert, and as I’ve stated before, mobsters are incredibly vain. It’s not at all unlikely that Piccolo would have on at least one occasion listened in to these podcasts, although I am unwilling to specify which, since most of their hosts have been incredibly rude to me and I don’t feel like giving them free advertisement.

 

Another “bone” of contention in the case also relates to the time of death of the victim. Prosecutors maintain that Piccolo was shot between the hours of eight and ten, yet the main suspect – a Gambetti associate by the name of Francesco “Frankie Stools” Panchetti, so named because he is a degenerate alcoholic, is known to never rise before eleven. 

 

They also allege that his fingerprints were found on the murder weapon, but defense attorneys claim that Mr. Panchetti – who weighs in excess of 400 pounds, possesses fingers which are simply too fat to fire. 

 

When asked how exactly their client’s prints got on the fatal instrument, they stated that he “might have maybe picked it up or something, I guess.” Like Panchetti’s pants, it was a massive stretch, yet was undeniably plausible. 

 

“Touché” said the prosecutor, before being asked by the judge to refrain from speaking in French in an American court. Then, with a bang of his gavel, he sustained a bewildering objection from the defense table, who then tabled a motion of $10 million bail, despite their client’s insolvency and the fact that it wasn’t even a bail hearing.

 

In fact, their client’s insolvency was yet another matter before the court, as the prosecution had alleged that Mr. Panchetti had been motivated to murder Mr. Piccolo, mainly due to an insurmountable gambling debt. 

 

Defense attorneys countered that Mr. Panchetti had not been indebted to the deceased as suggested and that the two had in fact been in partnership, which is why their client had taken over Mr. Piccolo’s loansharking business upon his death. 

 

This was a fact not previously known to the court, and, at the risk of being found in contempt, actually prompted a junior prosecutor with sizable breasts to jump up and down and shout “Yes!” At which point, Mr. Panchetti, who also has sizable breasts, began to visibly perspire.

 

By the time prosecutors began to delve into his affiliations with the Gambetti crime family, he was well and truly saturated.

 

Whilst Mafia "hits" are certainly not uncommon, even today, the case was particularly notable, not only for its somewhat bizarre nature, but because it occurred only one day after Gambetti Family boss Baldo Bronte went outside his house to grab his Morning Horn and got a life ending smack of a runaway postal van. 

 

And for this reason, when I heard of Panchetti being named as a person of interest, I immediately suspected revenge. You see, not only has Frankie Stools for years been a professional booze hound, but he was, for a time at least, also employed as a postal worker. 

 

This of course doesn't explain why he would murder a Lupisella loanshark, but it could've been a frame job. I mean it turned out it wasn't… just some sort of freak accident, but the mind does wander. Especially when you've been a tabloid journalist as long as I.

 

As for the Piccolo case, the truth of the matter appears to be more cut and dry, as overwhelming evidence points to Panchetti being the shooter and the main motivation being good old fashioned greed. We won't know for sure until the jury goes out, but I'm going out on a limb to say guilty.

 

More on this story as it transpires, unless of course I find something better to write about.

 

If you have any ideas, please don't hesitate to send them to me directly at [email protected] and be sure to support me on Subsidize. Under World is and always has been a paid subscription service. If you like what you see, then you can donate to my MoneyMate. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated.



 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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The Noblest of Men (Amongst Thieves)

 

It was on this day some forty years ago when "Marvelous" Melvin Noble, a convicted drug boss, testified that a heroin cartel, led by him, had ordered the murders of four suspected turncoats after verifying through a policeman their status as informants. 

 

At age 51, Noble had been sentenced to life in prison without parole because of his heroin dealing and was known before his conviction as "Mr. Marvelous" because of his success in eluding investigators, despite multiple drug trafficking and murder charges.

 

But Noble said the murders in question were not completely his own doing and had been approved by votes of "The Co-Op," a group of major narcotics dealers who had banded together to cut out competition and buy heroin at a discount. 

 

Before each of the murders, he said, the cooperative had asked Policeman Elmont "Elmo" Norris, to find out whether the proposed murder targets were actually informing on them. 

 

Norris, at the time no longer a policeman, was among eight defendants on trial in the U.S. District Court in Algonquin, where Noble's testimony was interrupted frequently by his co-conspirators, who claimed he didn't know what he was talking about.

 

Judge Joseph Turner told jurors to ignore the outbursts, but from what they were about to hear, convictions were almost a certainty.

 

On the first day of his testimony, Noble was on the verge of tears while describing the cooperative's "oath of brotherhood." And, as the jury was shown an album of photographs taken during his heyday as boss of the North Holland narcotics underworld, Noble paused to wipe his eyes and take deep breaths before identifying his ex-wife and friends in photos of a lavish formal birthday party, attended by himself and the others on trial. 

 

The following day, testimony continued, wherein Noble ticked off a list of murders, starting with a hustler known as "Oceans City Pete" and former rival Osgood Lewis, suspected informants, whom, by his own admission, he had ordered to be killed in the office of a social club in September 1975, after the latter had been freed on a $1 million bail allegedly paid by the former.

 

Later the same month, Noble said, Jaxon Cooper, another suspected informant, was shot in the face, on Noble's orders, by his former protegee. 

 

Noble said Cooper, a former drug dealing partner of his, was slain by defendant Reuben Strickland after the cooperative noticed he had lapsed into excessive cocaine use. 

 

"We had a meeting about Jax." Noble testified under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pablo Garcia. "The fact that he was getting high on his own supply was an issue of really deep concern, an indication that he had gotten weak. So we decided that he had to be terminated." 

 

Noble then admitted that The Co-Op had voted the following year to murder Lenny Puleo, a former heroin supplier who wanted to end their connection, having denied it was because he had been advised to do so by police. 

 

Without being prompted in this instance, Noble further elaborated that the victim was so close to Noble's hitman when he fired on him "that his pants caught fire." And that this was subtle proof, Noble said, that he was indeed, as suspected, a liar.

 

After the hit, Noble said the cooperative also approved the murder of the shooter, Otis Miller, over a petty argument concerning payment. Miller survived his bullet wounds and, in an ironic twist, the cooperative paid him more than $10,000 not to testify. 

 

When asked if there was any sum that could have been paid by his former associates to prevent his own testimony, Noble shook his head. All that he had wanted was respect. His continued freedom however, was surely a satisfactory consolation prize. 

 

That was, until a decade ago, when he cashed in his chips, completely alone, in a rat hole in Robada, while part of the witness protection program.

 

It was in fact a subtle irony, as Noble in some way, had always been protected. Protected from the powder, protected from prosecution, and thanks to his underlings, protected from the streets.

 

In his native North Holland, he was treated like a don. He had all of the profits flow up, and all the risks flow down, using a number of lieutenants to pick up the money, make the drops and do much of the dealing. 

 

He kept at least three levels between himself and the product and each level acted as a further layer of protection. In his own words "you might have as many as fifty people working under you, so that's why you gotta be organized."

 

What he organized however, according to the feds, was a "continuing criminal enterprise" and, before he flipped, that's what they managed to nail him for. 

 

In total, he eventually served less than 20 years, as opposed to life without parole. A fate instead designated to those he had betrayed.


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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  • 2 weeks later...

The Black Spot on Black History

As we come to the end of Black History Month, I feel almost compelled to write some sort of piece addressing the issue in some way. The problem is, where do you start when the struggle for civil-rights is as old as slavery? 

 

As much as history repeats and time moves on however, there’s always one inevitability — that the criminal minded will find a way to warp things to their advantage no matter what. 

 

In the struggle between black and white, there will always be blurred lines between the malignant and the militaristic, and the militaristic branches of the “black power” movement, as far as many are concerned, have their origins stretching back over half a century. 

 

Ask any budding buff and they’ll tell you that it began in San Andreas, and within two years, it had branched out across the country. And even now, all these decades later, images from their heyday still flicker in our national memory. With their leather jackets, black berets and lock step formations, these youthful revolutionaries were ready-made for media coverage — and for posterity.

 

But with the heroic era of the civil rights movement grinding to a close in the mid to late 1960s, these covert clusters showed that a more radical struggle for justice could at least be photogenic. And even if it was less palatable to the mainstream, journalists were in equal parts fascinated and frightened by them. This one was no exception. And many have suggested that this is in part what propelled them to fame.

 

You see, even if the newspapers were a little bit weary and a little bit skeptical, they also gave them a tremendous amount of coverage. The media, like most of white America, was deeply frightened by their aggressive and assertive style of protest, but realized that the first goal of which was to confront what they saw as an epidemic of police brutality. This was a problem also faced by some of their own sons and daughters — the so-called hippy movement. The problem was that they counteracted this by taking to the streets with rifles, standing guard over policemen on patrol and keeping the fear factor at an all time high.

 

The movement proper is believed to have first begun bubbling under in the aftermath of the 1965 Rancho Riots in Los Santos, but as it moved north, the San Fierro city legislature set an example and responded quickly, proposing a 1967 law to ban the open carrying of firearms. So, fully armed, they marched into City Hall and the news media was there every step of the way.

 

They shouted loud, were black and were shrouded and believed that political power could only come through the barrel of a gun. But to write them off as a fringe group of little influence was missing the point. They after all had their roots in the desperation and anger that no civil-right legislation or poverty program had really touched in the ghetto at all. 

 

As tensions with law enforcement escalated into increasingly heated clashes however, the press instead focused with increasing intensity on the rising violence between black nationalists and the police. 

 

For all intents and purposes, the glimmer of admiration was gone. And for some within the most prolific organizations, the attention soon became too much.

 

This was never more apparent than in 1969, when a national campaign to undermine them reached its peak and nineteen nationalists in Liberty City were charged with plotting to set off a number of bombs. And when twelve of those arrested were acquitted on all counts two years later, the media scrutiny still did not subside. 

 

Mafuta Lusamba, the alleged ringleader of the plot, was the first to be acquitted. And the Assistant District Attorney sat and bowed his head as the jury continued to return not guilty verdicts for the rest of the twelve defendants, including Raymond Mattews who had skipped out on $100,000 bail and fled to Africa with his brother, and co-defendant, Thaddeus, in the midst of the trial. 

 

The case itself had begun less than two years after the infamous Alderney City Uprisings, at a time when tensions between police and the black community had never been so high. 

 

The uprisings on the East Coast throughout the sixties, including in AC and a few years prior to that in Holland and Schottler, prompted many black community activists to band together and form the Radical Action Group — which carried out a series of sit-ins, marches and protests mirroring preeminent civil rights activist Harlan Duke.

 

But when news of the activities of those on the West Coast began to hit the papers, some within the group began to take notice and assumed a comparatively more hostile view towards law enforcement more in line with recently assassinated militaristic Muslim leader Leonard O, and when Duke was also taken out of the picture in '68, these viewpoints intensified.

 

They also soon began to take notice however of the fact that, due to their prominence, the west coast contingent had become a massive target for Federal Counter-activity Programmes (colloquially known as COACTPRO) which, amongst other things, had served to split them into opposing factions and dissolve them from within.

 

Not wanting to raise the alarm immediately by adopting their name directly from their counterparts, the group assumed the name Obsidian Oncas, partly in tribute to their origins in the south and west, but also as a representation of their strength, intelligence, balance and higher wisdom and perhaps their hopes to move silently at great pace across the city from their base on Onondaga Avenue.

 

Much of the group's membership was in their late teens or early twenties, but one of its older members — Lincoln "Nutty" Andrews was born in 1931. As a member of the Oncas, he worked to raise the political consciousness of black people and teach them "self-defense." When government sponsored Counter Activity Programmes also created a split in that group and forced many of its members underground, he joined up with their paramilitary wing — the Revolutionary Abolitionist Cadre — and these forms of self-defense became more active to say the least. 

 

But unlike their predecessors, the cadre wasn't a centralized, organized group with a common leadership and chain of command. Instead, they were formed out of various organizations and collectives working both together and independently, such as the Oncas, the Lions of Liberty and the Joliet Jaguars.

 

While defending the Black community in San Fierro by murdering several police officers, Andrews was shot and captured along with fellow Cadre member Thapelo Dewani. They had previously fled to Liberty City after co-ordinating a series of bank robberies, bombings, and attempted assassinations of police officers all across Northern San Andreas in 1970 and early 1971, even detonating a bomb at a church during a police officer's funeral. Whilst in Liberty City, they had been charged with killing two more local cops and had apparently returned to San Fierro in order to make a last stand. 

 

Andrews died in prison at the turn of the millennium whilst under 24-hour lock down for teaching clandestine “political education” classes in the prison library. A place where Dewani was also known to spend considerable time studying the Qur'an. The resident librarian was former postal worker Emmanuel Igbo, another former Oncas member turned RAC affiliated enemy of the state, charged with the murder of a Liberty City transit police officer in the early '70s.

 

Another member charged in that slaying was Reuben Samuels, who, while awaiting trial in Liberty City, overpowered a corrections officer at Reaver's Island, stole his keys and escaped. For several years after that he remained at large, suspectedly being harbored by younger members of the RAC, at the time an organization much stronger than it was in the days of the San Andreas Six. 

 

Gone were the days of leather clothing and black berets, and the Cadre had become a lot more astute at integrating into everyday black society. High ranking members, such as reputed house mother Aliyah Adibisi, even had a documented history of leading campaigns designed to trick the FIB into thinking that the movement was fading. She was a known section leader of the Lions' defunct Holland chapter and acted as a mentor to newer members, including Joseph Edwards and Raymond Mattews aka Yoruba Al-Tibr. 

 

Furthermore, Adibisi gained her maternal reputation in more ways than one, by being the former girlfriend of Liberty Lions leader Mafuta Lusamba — whom she shared with his wife Angela before he was killed in a shootout. She then began a relationship with sporadic squeeze Jamal Nzinga who left for the West Coast after returning from Vietnam to study for an aromatherapy degree. While he was away she fell pregnant and the recently discharged Nzinga worked tirelessly to provide for Adibisi, her bump, and two kids from her previous relationship. 

 

Nzinga was just one of several Cadre members with previous military experience, garnered mostly from the Vietnam War. Several of its more notable recruits have served under, and were subsequently radicalized by, former Marine sergeant "Apache" Adideji — who served almost thirty years in prison for a cold blooded murder before having his conviction reversed. Other notable semper felidae included Lincoln “Little Nut” Andrews III (who ironically stood over 6 foot) and “The Reverend” Reginald Jeffreys, also a former Lion, who once hijacked an airliner dressed as a priest. 

 

In contrast, the group also contained others who never made it past boot camp. One of which was Johnathan Walters who went on to lead a notorious street gang known as the Black Cobras in the years following his acquittal and ended up picking up a string of convictions for various other crimes both directly and indirectly connected to “the movement.” Others, like suspected police informant Samuel Cleever, never even made it out of custody.

 

In September 1968, Cleever had been one of three young black activists arrested in Broker on charges stemming from a raucous street demonstration where uncollected garbage was set alight. The three youngsters were then apparently savagely beaten whilst in custody. He had since then harbored a less than favorable view of police and some believe they orchestrated his jailhouse execution part way through the trial over claims he had made about an ultra-right special LCPD squad (eventually dismantled due to findings from the Kipp Commission), which he stated in an article featured in a widely circulated black nationalist newspaper had transformed itself into a “white supremacist street gang.”

 

In fact, "Little Nut," Lincoln Snr's son, was one of the only Cadre members to actually escape justice. In 1989, an Alderney State Policeman had stopped his 1979 Vapid Coupe for an expired inspection sticker. Andrews III, who was a passenger in the vehicle, got out of the car and walked away. The officer ordered him to stop but Andrews ignored his commands. As the officer began to give chase, Andrews allegedly pulled out a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun from his jacket and began to fire. The officer returned fire, but as he paused to reload, Andrews escaped on foot and was never seen again.

 

In the weeks following Apache Adedeji's release from prison in the late 1990s, I had the chance to catch up with the then elderly “Nutty” Andrews after agreeing to a ludicrous list of demands. He had dictated exactly what was to be discussed, and unsurprisingly, none of the above would he speak about. Even when I repeatedly pressed him on it.

 

More recently however, others within the struggle, having been released, have been a little more open about it. While Yoruba Al-Tibr, as he likes to be known, said he was framed by police, his sometimes accomplice, former Jaguars leader Mandingo Siguiri, owned up to his deeds having served almost a third of his life for them.

 

Despite pleading not guilty at trial, the seventy-eight year old activist has been free now for almost a decade and has been typically living out his glory years appearing on every hip-hop blog and lefty live streaming podcast known to Marx.

 

Don’t get me wrong — I’m all about bringing the ongoing issues in race relations in our fine country to light. But perhaps there’s a way to do it without inciting the younger generation of blacks into creating even more violence.

 

Disagree? Don’t care? Want me to talk about something else? Let me know, and I’ll be sure to think about it.

 

This is Jimmy C. signing off. Don’t make yourselves sick with that candy 🎃


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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The Judge and The (not so) Jolly Goodfella

Previously I spoke about the violent history of the Black Power movement, which, somewhat predictably, got a few people’s backs up. I would clearly be remiss to say that all black people who desire radical change do it violently. And I also meant in no way to discredit those within the African American community who have acted valiantly in achieving their goals. 

 

In addition, it was a big mistake for me not to mention the recent passing of a black judge whom I had genuine admiration for. So this is for Bernard Russell — not only a great man, but a hell of a prosecutor.

 

For those who don’t know, Mr. Russell was a senior judge for the Southeastern District of Liberty. Before his appointment to the bench, he was an attorney for 25 years, specializing in drug enforcement and the prosecution of narcotics cases. In this role and others he supervised assistant district attorneys and investigators responsible for the preparation and prosecution of thousands of cases as well as being a guest lecturer at many universities and law schools.

 

Perhaps my fondest personal and professional memory of Bernie dates back to 2009. The feds had just taken out an aging Broker-based capo — the last (barely) still-standing wiseguy with ties to soon-to-be jailed-for-life crime boss Vincent Lupisella, and had dismantled his crew by hitting the capo, his nephew, the nephew’s brother-in-law and five others with racketeering charges.

 

The capo in question was Riccardo (Deadwood Dick) Caloia, who along with his nephew Silvio, and his brother-in-law Jacob Bianchi (both family soldiers) — was charged with a gamut of racketeering crimes including drug dealing, loansharking, bank fraud, gambling and extortion schemes that began in the 1980s.

 

Knowledgeable sources said the elder Caloia — who was detained only two weeks prior — was a disciple of turncoat acting boss “Nino” Abruzzo, who at one time headed the family's depleted Broker faction in an ongoing power struggle with the Bohan-based bloc led by Vincent’s son Mark and his alleged underboss Georgie (The Genius) Carbo.

 

In his younger years, Caloia had worked as a loan shark and as a chauffeur for capo Philip Vaccaro, whilst also controlling some illegal gambling operations, and later, the carpenters union local in Broker, before eventually taking over as capo of Vaccaro's crew and moving its operations to Deadwood Street, hence the moniker.

 

Like Caloia, Bernie Russell was born in Broker in 1934. But unlike Deadwood Dick, he had received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Vespucci University in 1967 and served in the United States Marine Corps from 1953 to 1956. In between his law degree and the military, he had been a police officer and eventually served as a special narcotics prosecutor from 1975 to 1991.

 

In the mid '90s, in contrast, Caloia was indicted for extortion, loan sharking, and racketeering, pled guilty to extortionate extensions of credit and was sentenced to 30 months in the can. Then, in 2002, he was indicted on loan sharking charges and was sentenced to two more years in prison and three years of supervised release. 

 

Upon his release in 2005, his parole terms banned him from communicating with family members until August 2008. However, in January of that year it was reported that he was the primary liaison between Mark Lupisella and other capos within the family, due to Lupisella’s perceived incompetence. 

 

This was a marked reversal of the Broker-Bohan tensions of just a few years before. Unconfirmed reports at the time suggested that he may have curried favor by organizing the jailhouse assassination of Abruzzo for approaching the warden about a proffer (as the two were locked up together at the time of his death).

 

He certainly seemed like a decent candidate because, according to a law enforcement source close to this journalist, Dickie, who never married, was a low profile, under the radar kind of guy, with his fingers in a lot of things, including many younger women. 

 

Others suggest however that Caloia had remained a key player "simply by surviving" the family bloodletting of the late 1980s and early 1990s following the elder Lupisella’s incarceration and had avoided the murder and racketeering indictments that were a direct result of those violent years.

 

In addition to Caloia's crime family relatives, his reputed right-hand-man, Angelo (Angie Balls) Balsamo — who Bianchi allegedly served as acting capo during two short stays Deadwood Dickie had behind bars in the proceeding years — was also charged in the 19 count indictment.

 

In 1995, Balsamo, who famously made the newspapers for bribing a prison guard to smuggle his sperm out of the facility to impregnate his girlfriend, was indicted on federal charges linking him to four killings and conspiracies to kill other members of the Lupisella family in a broad murder and racketeering indictment which saw him being sentenced to a somewhat laughable 12 years behind bars. 

 

But despite his violent past, two other federal judges in Broker rejected efforts by prosecutors to detain either him or Bianchi, who once served notorious Ancelotti hitman Frankie Garone, as dangers to the community. Leaving only the septuagenarian wheelchair bound Caloia in jail awaiting trial.

 

During his time in prison, Balsamo had also bribed correctional officers to receive special food, wine, and visitors along with information from prison computers, so perhaps he had gotten to the judiciary too. 

 

In either case, the bust was a kick in the well cut teeth for him and his buddy Bianchi, who had switched sides from the Ancelottis when he fell in love with Silvio Caloia's sister, after allegedly being rebuffed by the much younger Dani Lupisella, at the time engaging in a tryst with a bouncer at Maisonette 9. 

 

To add insult to injury, the following week, Bianchi was also set to begin an 87 month sentence in an unrelated racketeering case in which he and his uncle, Carlo, 63, an Ancelotti capo, both pleaded guilty in 2007.

 

And uncle Carlo wasn't much luckier. Just as he was due for release after doing a 26-month bit in 2009, he was hit with an additional 16 months and was released in 2011. Balsamo was nailed to the wall as a federal second offender and didn’t see daylight until 2015.

 

Meanwhile, as Silvio Caloia awaited trial free on a $1.5 million bond, his aging uncle was at a federal lockup due to his transgressions nine years before. In 1999, Silvio had leveled tape-recorded threats at a loan shark customer who had fallen behind in his $500 a week payments on a $25,000 debt to Deadwood Dick and had fled to North Yankton.

 

Silvio, who was at the time still on paper, allegedly told the victim something to the effect of "My uncle's coming home next week and we gotta straighten this out,” before threatening to "get on a f*cking plane and fly up to Yankton" and "go oobatz."

 

The feds however flipped the script by stressing in a detention motion that the elder Caloia was responsible for the nephew's actions because his name had been used in the threat.

 

Russell stated that "in making those threats, he acted not only as a family member doing his uncle's bidding, but also as a lower-ranking member of a crime family doing the bidding of a higher-ranking member,” and the detention stuck.

 

This particular case was also very reminiscent of another in which an Algonquin federal prosecutor had also asked Russell for eight years in a gambling case against fellow Lupisella wiseguy Dante Perrino. Perrino, who had already served 8 months and had hoped to get nine more off for routine good behavior, was told by the court that he wouldn't be eligible to be placed in a halfway house until he had turned 90, in March of 2011, a measly 6 months before his scheduled release date.

 

But Perrino, whose last stretch behind bars ended in 1945, had already surpassed the two years he had given himself to live when he first learned that the feds were gunning for him in 2004.

 

"What the f*ck can I live? Another year? Two years?" Caloia had similarly told his associates over dinner at his favored table at Don Vito's restaurant before his arrest in 2008, noting that he'd rather die in jail than become "another Abruzzo."

 

At sentencing in October 2009, Russell noted that Caloia was a "pretty hardened criminal," but acknowledged that he was looking at a man who was seriously ill and clinically depressed. Nevertheless he decided to show no mercy, reasoning "what kind of message are we sending if we allow someone to commit crimes for 40 years, and when they get caught, they say they’re too old and in poor health to go to jail." 

 

He believed Caloia should not be able to use health and age as a defense, further stating that "He may be old, but he's also tough. And his previous history calls for an equally tough sentence.” He was after all a man around the same age as himself, but had decided to make drastically different decisions in his life.

 

Caloia’s attorney was understandably concerned upon hearing this, having strenuously argued that he had a good chance of dying in prison. Even figuring in reductions for time served and good behavior, the expected five year prison term would not have boded well for the ailing 73-year-old wiseguy who had hobbled into court with the aid of a walker. She had previously asked the court for home confinement, saying that Caloia suffered from depression and advanced multiple sclerosis, but the request was denied.

 

After returning noticeably more jovial from a private meeting in his chambers with said attorney however, Russell seemed more empathetic. Ultimately deciding that Deadwood Dick wouldn't be tough enough to live out the maximum applicable and generously sentenced him to just 39 months in federal prison on a single count — bank fraud, almost two years less than what had been expected.

 

Low and behold, before that sentence had expired, he was given another three years for loan sharking. But on the bright side, he had lived for three times the two years maximum he had predicted when he was eventually released from prison in 2013. 

 

Caloia was dead less than three years later, just missing out on his 80th birthday. And Bernie Russell was 88 when he passed.


 

In the market for a good read?

To add to your own collection or for a friend?

There’s still plenty of time to add one of my books to your Christmas list.


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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The Tale of The Nut and The Nincompoop

 

Last week I relayed a story to you all about (Deadwood) Dickie Caloia and his string of bad luck with the law in the lead up to his demise. 

But what I failed to mention in that article — something which many of you already know — is that the Lupisella family as a whole after that didn't fare too well either. 

For a start, it’s a widely known fact that the boss was a little bit loony, and the acting boss couldn’t even pass an IQ test.

Back in 2002, while Dickie Caloia was being indicted for loan sharking and Vincent Lupisella was supposedly watching old gangster movies at the former home of his long deceased mother, his nephew (and acting boss) Mark (Loopy) Lupisella was taking — and failing — a state administered intelligence test with a score below 70.

Loopy, at the time still battling a year old racketeering indictment, took the test in an effort to convince a federal judge that he had nothing to do with attacking an executive producer working for the CNT network, by whom he had attempted to get a reality TV show commissioned about his life, and was therefore by nature not a violent man. 

It was a head scratcher to say the least and no doubt a scheme devised by his supposedly senile uncle, who was believed to have had his accountant Moe Schwartz spend most of that year communicating entirely through spreadsheets.

Loopy denied even knowing the producer, let alone attacking him, despite the whole thing being captured on camera. And interestingly, his main thrust for bail had relied on his IQ test results, even when his lawyer also cited pressing family problems at home and his inability to help solve them while in jail as being factors which should have mandated his release.

After much debate, he and the judge eventually reached an agreement which included house arrest, but when I originally ran the story I was also threatened by Lupisella, who was very upset about the picture of him which accompanied the article. 

Along with 200 pages of legal briefs and exhibits that addressed his bail request, he complained about the "unauthorized release" of the FIB photo to The Morning Horn, which appeared in the column. 

In between a series of profanities, he stated that the photo — which looked like a mugshot taken after an arrest and made him look like a bad guy — was in fact taken by the FIB after a grand jury subpoena involving a civil matter and should not have been leaked to The Horn, which had printed it many times.

Normally I would never disclose how I got such a photo, but, out of absolute and unashamed fear, I confessed that I got it from a document filed in a civil suit. 

I did of course have the last laugh when, one month later, a party of agents, bearing a court order, dropped in on Loopy for a nice warm chat in federal prison Upstate while he awaited trial for various racketeering charges. And, during the brief visit, which wasn't particularly social, they presented the reputed acting boss of the Lupisella crime family with a coloring book, got him to color in various pictures and then helped themselves to some choice pieces before selling them on the internet. 

Later that week a sample of the artwork was displayed in court where Loopy appeared hopeful that he would go home with his wife and children and dozens of other relatives and friends who showed up for moral support. It was not to be, however, even after he offered to color in another picture for the judge and sign it for him personally.

The very same judge was a little bit more lenient on his aging uncle, because, despite being a multiple murderer, who headed one of the most powerful organized crime families in the country, deep down he was a mama's boy. 

 

The previous Friday, the reputed boss had petitioned for permission to move from his mother's Lower Algonquin apartment to the Alderney home where she had moved before she died. 

 

Until a few years prior, she had been caring for the 71-year-old Don at the flat and tended to the needs of her son, who, she told The Liberty City Post, was "very sick" and anything but a crime boss.

 

"Boss? No boss," she once said. "He's the boss of il bagno. My son is sick. Boss of sh*t. Six years he’s lived here with me. Every day I care for him. I feed him, I wash him, I wipe his ass..."

 

Unable to return the favor in her hour of need, due to being in prison, old Vinny had instead delegated the care of his dying mother to his wife. 

 

The judge however eventually ruled four years later that the "Boss of Il Bagno" had feigned incapacity for 30 years with the help of his family and indicted him for Obstruction of Justice at a time when prosecutors had already successfully petitioned to have the elderly Lupisella banned from visiting the Lower Easton townhouse of his longtime comare. 

 

What's interesting about this, in some kind of Greco-Mythological way, is that Vinny's comare, Olivia, had actually shared a first name with his own cara madre. She had for years also straddled the line between being his comare and his common-law, after his relationship with his wife had become strained in the early '70s, while Vinny (The Bib) was serving out his first significant stretch in the joint.

 

Anyway, I digress. If nothing else, then at the risk of cutting into the subject of an upcoming book about the Lupisella family soap opera. Keep your direct messages coming and I'll try my best to either address or get back to them. 

 

In the meantime keep your eyes open for more info on my upcoming book.


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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The Bib and The Bellicose Prosecutor

 

Recently a man who shall not be named accused me of being pro-wiseguy and anti-attorney. 

 

Well Mister, if my fond words about Bernie Russell and my annual "lawyer of the year" awards weren't evidence enough to the contrary, then my answer is this - the only thing worse than a sore loser, is a sore winner. And for example, case and point on this, you can take Assistant U.S. Attorney Shon Altman. 

 

Back in 2003, still savoring the two-year-old racketeering indictment of Lupisella crime family boss Vincent Lupisella, Altman tried to prevent The Bib's 40-year-old son Frank, a reputed soldier in the syndicate, whose half-sister is a lesbian, from visiting his jailed pops. 

 

That was until a Federal Judge made short shrift of that request, based on Altman's daring assertion — without evidence to back it up — that in the absence of Vinnie’s nephew Mark, Frank would help him to run the family from a prison psychiatric ward.

 

Fresh from a promotion to Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's office, Altman then put his penchant for overkill on display again with a 25-page request that the judge throw out the sentencing guidelines. Stating that the maximum sentence was simply not enough for the 74-year-old Don.

 

In the letter, Altman took dead aim at Bib's well-documented ploy to avoid jail by feigning mental infirmity and the well-orchestrated scheme ended in the summer of 2005, when, seated in a wheelchair, with little dignity left, the frail looking Lupisella was put on trial for obstruction of justice.

 

"His obstructive conduct has set a new outer limit for those to come," reasoned Altman. "Both to deter such conduct in the future so it does not become a lodestar for gangsters (and others) seeking to avoid imprisonment, and to punish Lupisella for his obstructive conduct, an upward departure on this ground is compelled."

 

Whatever that means.

 

In his letter, Altman again threw out a couple of bold assertions to buttress his argument that Vinnie The Bib deserved an unspecified number of years above the guideline range. He claimed that Lupisella was well-aware of what was happening in the courtroom despite feigning forgetfulness and even discussed how women related to victims of top hitman Sonny Honorato were purposely brought to the front row when he testified.

 

The Bib is no longer with us, so just for the record, like the jury, and most of the world, I too believed that he was not only faking his Alzheimer’s, but was the boss of the Lupisella crime family, and the driving force behind the many murders committed by Honorato, who had survived a massive heart attack only to be back on the job twelve days later — whacking a cardiologist with gambling debts.

 

In any case, a hearing over Lupisella's competency was set with a dozen doctors hired by the prosecution ready to testify about his psychiatric and physical ailments, when his lawyers went and blocked any State sponsored tests to verify them.

 

Interestingly, when the famed Honorato was still in the hospital, Bib had actually switched up his team of lawyers when, allegedly under threats, defense lawyer Andrew La Vecchia said he was stepping aside in favor of the firm of Goldberg, Ligner & Shyster, a politically connected Algonquin law outfit with ties to the sitting Mayor.

 

The change in attorneys — Lupisella's fifth in five months — was shrouded in mystery and La Vecchia ducked reporter’s questions about the switch, saying it was "not appropriate" for him to explain.

 

In court, law partners, Patrick Ligner and Dick Shyster, said the legal musical chairs would not delay the trial. Lupisella was previously represented by Benjamin Slutsky from 1989, shortly after the first time the bird brained boss was arrested for racketeering, until 2001, shortly before he was indicted for racketeering a second time.

 

Ligner and Shyster, who also represented Honorato in his own 2001 racketeering trial, had told the jury in an apparent pity plea that their client — a certified serial murderer — suffered complications from his heart attack, including low blood pressure, anemia and infection, but was still able to maintain a healthy relationship with his live-in girlfriend, whom I later revealed to be an exotic dancer from Bohan’s Triangle Club, whom he had paid for to have nursing training so she could look after him in the hospital. Ironically on the same day that The Bib's nephew/acting boss had won a small victory in yet another landmark racketeering case. 

 

But none of those above were involved two years ago, when a separate case dismantled Mark Lupisella’s whole acting administration, placing members of the beloved Broker Faction once again at the top. And this week also marks nine years since the inciting action which led Loopy's previous hand-picked committee to fall. 

 

Truth be told, the writing on the wall actually began to appear back in 2009. Mark Lupisella had just been imprisoned and his uncle had been completely incapacitated by a stroke. Through his cousin Frank, Loopy put in place a ruling panel consisting of George (The Genius) Carbo, Tommy (Triangle) Cabrini and Giordano (Giordi) Generali. 

 

Cabrini had just been released from six years inside after copping a plea to racketeering and he and Generali were indicted again along with a score of other family members for another racketeering scheme which made hundreds of millions of dollars from gambling, loansharking, gun trafficking and extortion. 

 

Two years prior, Generali had also been indicted along with other members and associates of the family’s Alderney crew for a $2.2 billion illegal gambling and money laundering ring stretching all the way to Costa Rica. However, Generali was released on bail pending trial allowing him to continue on in his awarded position of acting boss, with Carbo acting as Underboss. Cabrini had again been awarded the position of Consiglieri upon his release, but was forced to all but abdicate that position due to his incarceration pending trial to Jackie (The Lackey) D’Amelio. 

 

In 2015, Generali agreed to plead guilty to the 2007 racketeering indictment, and was sentenced to five years in prison for his crimes. Before his release date however, Generali and a number of others (including Carbo) were charged with a wide range of racketeering activities, including ordering the November 17, 2013 murder of former East Holland Bird Gang leader Matty Scalish.

 

As soon as the charges were leveled, Loopy sent a message to Frank Lupisella — which was effectively a kill list putting all members of the administration in the firing line, in a move reminiscent of his uncle and his eyebrow plucking favored gun Honorato. 

 

After crisis talks with Carbo, he agreed to step down in favor of Peter (Petey) DeLutro and allow Broker-based Vinnie Lupisella favorite Jackie D’Amelio to take over as acting boss, replacing the Bohan-based Generali. D’Amelio then picked a long-time loyalist named Alex Dellamonica as his consigliere and the new administration seized power in a bloodless coup, based on fear alone — proving that The Bib’s ghost was still looming large, over a decade since his passing.


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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The Matty Scalish Murder

 

On November 17, 2013 former gang leader and Lupisella associate Matty Scalish was found with a single shot to the head in his rusty Albany in Little Bay, Bohan in an event which an LCPD veteran called "Poetic Justice" for Scalish being suspected of involvement in a number of hits. And while the state murder case remained in a state of virtual suspended animation after charges were leveled in 2015, authorities were long aware of the identity of the alleged killers, whom law enforcement sources say the LCPD quickly tabbed as suspects in the slaying.

 

But why did it happen? Who ordered the hit? Who carried it out? And perhaps most importantly, who was Matty Scalish?

 

At the time of his murder, Matteo (Matty) Scalish was a sexagenarian hood whom had a long history with the mob. He had been an associate and eventual leader of a Mob linked drug gang based out of Upper Algonquin — the so called "East Holland Bird Gang" — which had originated as a youth gang and morphed into a semi-independent organization which dominated the drug trade in East Holland and Bohan from the 1970s to the 80s and contained about 100 members and associates at its height.

 

Not only that, but it had also committed scores of murders, mostly at the behest of the Five Families and maintained ties to African American crime groups, which they supplied with heroin.

 

The Bird Gang would eventually fall apart in the 1980s with its associates being split between the Pavano, Messina and Lupisella crime families, with Scalish and one of his suspected murderers becoming Lupisella crime family associates, particularly of the Georgie Carbo Jr. crew based in Bohan, and Scalish and the alleged triggerman in his death were also supposedly involved in a series of armed robberies and drug sales as well.

 

But despite their knowledge of these facts, it took more than a year and a half for the District Attorney's Office to obtain a murder indictment of the two suspects in the rubout of the longtime mob associate, having already identified the accused killers — Lupisella soldier Curtis Longoni and mob associate Bobby Clifton — within days of the classic gangland-style slaying.

 

Longoni was fingered first by a couple of mob busting detectives with the Organized Crime Division (OCD) who were asked for their expertise by the homicide squad. On a surveillance videotape, they spotted a gray car that looked like the Bollokan that Longoni, a long-time Scalish crony, was known to use and was trailing Scalish's own auto just moments before he was shot to death. 

 

Days later, investigators found traces of Clifton's DNA in the murder vehicle and connected the alleged triggerman and Longoni to the murder by cell phone calls between the two men on that night. Police sources said Clifton was in the car when he fired the fatal shot, and that Longoni was the getaway driver in the alleged execution-murder plot.

 

Law enforcement sources say the videotape that ties Longoni to the murder also shows the same gray car driving back and forth on Alcatraz Avenue before it began following the dark blue Albany Washington that Scalish was driving when his car appeared on the surveillance video a few minutes before the victim was found dead in his car.

 

Scalish was bleeding from both his ears and his body was still warm when police officers got to the murder scene at about 10:20 PM, following a 911 call from a neighbor. The caller's first thoughts were that Scalish might be drunk since the driver's side door was open and his left foot was hanging out of the car.

 

Assistant district attorney Kimberley Sciascia agreed to charge both men after Clifton unwittingly implicated himself and Longoni in the shooting when detectives questioned him extensively. Until then, the homicide detectives and the veteran prosecutor did not believe they had the "probable cause" to seek an indictment. Mainly because they had suspected the shooting to have been carried out by a couple of black guys, rather than one.

 

Sources say that, before the slip up, the interview, conducted by Northern Gardens detectives, had lasted several hours. Something which contradicts the assertion that Clifton's court-appointed attorney Larry Shea made the following June that his client made no statements, incriminating or otherwise, to authorities about the case.

 

Shea did not respond to numerous telephone requests for comment about the lengthy discussion his client had about the case with detectives, which sources say took place on May 5th of 2015.

 

A month later, ADA Sciascia, who convicted Scalish's brother Julius of murder in 2011, obtained an indictment charging both men with murder, manslaughter and weapons charges. But the process then dragged out for months as she failed to turn over so-called "discovery material" about the charges to the defense for more than a year because she had agreed to defer the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office, who were investigating the mob rub-out along with the Feds.

 

Back then, they had hoped to include Lupisella family "street boss" Giordano Generali as a defendant in a federal racketeering and murder indictment. Those plans were based on information obtained by agents that Scalish had run afoul of Generali who then ordered the hit. Sources say Scalish, a suspect in many murders in the 1970s and '80s, had later worked as a loan collector and enforcer for the acting Lupisella boss.

 

Information gathered by the FIB also convinced prosecutors to hit Longoni with federal weapons charges in a 2014 state gun case when cops nabbed him sitting in a car with two cohorts, including a Messina soldier, and two loaded handguns.

 

The thinking was that the feds could use stricter bail restrictions for federal weapons charges and detain him without bail. But the federal murder probe ultimately went nowhere fast. 

 

Law enforcement sources and Longoni's attorney both said there was little chance of a federal murder case, and the DA's office said it was finally going to give the defense lawyers the "discovery material" they needed to prepare for trial. But it never materialized and Longoni stayed sitting in a fed lockup on a weapons indictment while state and federal prosecutors in two boroughs were debating how to handle the prosecution of the murder itself.

 

Longoni eventually copped a plea to the gun charges and was hit with the murder charges before his release. Longoni had already had a history of violent domestic disputes with his wife which prosecutors argued made it necessary to punish him for possessing dangerous weapons and for ignoring a court order of separation that was designed specifically to ensure that he did not pose a threat to others, including his wife. And it had also been a female who allegedly kick started the events which had led to Scalish’s downfall.  

 

Around 2012, Matty's status began to decline for his arrogant actions and poor decision making. One of the poor decisions he made was engaging in an affair with the girlfriend of Messina boss Tommy Mancini, for which he was the target of a vicious beating by Messina soldier Francesco (Frankie Florentine) Albizzi outside of an Algonquin restaurant as a warning to stay away.

 

As retaliation, he then decided to do an unsanctioned shooting of a Messina family soldier with Bobby Clifton. But when it came time to do the deed, Scalish bailed on Clifton, apparently having gotten craven in his old age.

 

Around this time he had also taken a hundred grand loan from Giordi Generali and began refusing to pay it back. When pressured by Generali, he then told him go f*ck himself, which inevitably set in motion the hit.

 

The order supposedly came down from Generali to Georgie Carbo and then to his son, who in turn fingered Scalish to Longoni, who approached Clifton, having been aware of their beef. This then led to Clifton shooting the aging associate in his car in front of his house with Longoni acting as the getaway driver.

 

Despite being a well known associate of the victim however, Longoni used his own car in leaving the scene which was caught on CCTV and had also called Scalish to verify his whereabouts before the hit.

 

When brought up for questioning, Clifton gave contradictory statements to the police as to where he was that day and why his DNA was found in the car. What’s more, a legally retarded Lupisella associate named Ritchie Sammartino had also begun wearing a wire in 2012 after being arrested for drugs and began recording soldier Patricio Donatelli, unsuccessfully trying to get him involved in a drug operation, before succeeding in getting him to attempt to murder an informant living in Northumberland.

 

In the recordings, the ensnared Donatelli (known in the streets as "Patty The Plasterer") confessed that he had also owed money to Generali and was rushing to pay it back to avoid a fate similar to the then-recently-slain Scalish, whom he said Generali had warned him to stay away from in the lead up to the hit.

 

In the end of course, Giordi Generali, Bobby Clifton, Curtis Longoni and Georgie Carbo were sentenced to die in prison for the murder, with Carbo Jr. taking a plea deal for 15 years for an unrelated attempted murder in 2011 and avoiding life. The attempted murder in question however is a whole other can of worms. Perhaps for another week?

 

Either way you’ll need to wait until December 2nd for an update, as I’m posting this week’s column a day early so that I can take time out for the holidays and be with my famiglia. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, no matter where you are, or end up!


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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Violation Snow Joke for Schnozz

 

As we were all at home enjoying Thanksgiving with our families, Messina crime family boss Tommy (Schnozz) Mancini was mulling over the prospect of spending yet another Christmas in the can.

 

Back in 2013, having been devastated by turncoats and federal prosecutions, the beleaguered syndicate were down but not out. With imprisoned-for-life boss Harvey Noto's blessing, they quietly began rebuilding their ranks and anointed Mancini the official new boss. The only problem was, Mancini still had several more years left to serve on a murder conviction dating back to before federal indictments had obliterated Noto's previous administration. 

 

But unlike Harvey from Harrison Street — he actually had a release date. So in order to keep things chugging along smoothly, they also appointed a new official underboss in Charlie D'Amato of Dukes in order to run things effectively on the streets whilst Tommy Schnozz was a guest of the government. 

 

D'Amato had previously been Noto's right hand in an acting capacity during the incarceration of Michael (Mikey Mush) Ventura, who in 2007 was slapped with a racketeering indictment for spearheading a massive loan sharking and illegal gambling operation in Broker and Dukes between 2003 and 2004 which put him away until 2009. 

 

Sources stated that it was infamous informant Fredo Volpe who implicated him in the case in order to protect his brother, but that he was not required to testify because the evidence was so overwhelming.

 

Volpe's devastating testimony, which helped to bury Noto, is not thought to have made the new leaders any more cautious however, because along with the new leadership moves, there was also said to have been at least 10 mobsters given their button to become made men in the family within 18 months of Noto's exasperated exit from power, as the family desperately tried to replenish its ranks and regain its base.

 

As I'm sure my regular readers remember, it was also Fredo's testimony which in May 2010 implicated Mancini in the 1999 murder of Arnie Adamo before The Schnozz allegedly ordered the fox-turned-fink Volpe's murder. An order passed down to his cousin (Pretty) Ricky Mancini who was caught on tape giving fellow informant Salvatore (Sammy Slickback) Casarano detailed instructions of Volpe's movements from the FIB building to the federal courthouse between trial hearings. 

 

In fact, before he was arrested in Las Venturas for the Adamo murder, Mancini had foolishly placed his cousin in charge of the family on Noto's say-so, but many believe that he was merely a figurehead until Schnozz was able to get back on the streets — hoping to ultimately beat the murder rap which largely rested on hearsay.

 

Upon Pretty Ricky's arrest, Tommy placed his Broker based brother-in-law Bobby (Bagels) Bisacquino in charge of the borgata, perhaps in an effort to appease his Eastern Borough based compatriots, even though it was clear to the keener observer that the power base of the family still squarely lay in Bohan with Tommy Schnozz and his underlings. 

 

But Bobby Bisaquino too was also indicted in January 2012, along with underboss Mikey Ventura, consigliere Angelo Barbella and soldier Jimmy Capra — with Bagels personally being charged with extorting restaurants and bars in Broker and Algonquin and extending a $50,000 loan shark loan — primarily based on information from Volpe (who also happens to be Barbella's ex son-in-law).

 

This was bad timing not only for Ventura, but for Barbella too, as he had just been released from prison in 2011. In 2002, he'd been indicted on separate racketeering charges in three different states, for which he had been sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2003. At the sentencing, his lawyer had asked for leniency, saying that Barbella had diabetes and had survived two episodes of bladder cancer, from which he died agonizingly in prison in 2019 — only a couple of months after Mancini's release.

 

The Messina's efforts to bounce back also came at a bad time for the feds however, as they had just recently reduced the number of agents used to investigate the five families.

 

At the time I quoted one law enforcement source who succinctly said that if they took the foot off the necks of the Mafia, they’d come back. And, like many others, he was disgusted by the changes, surmising that mobsters on the streets were fully aware that surveillance efforts had been reduced. But the FIB's official statement was that the reductions were “primarily administrative” and were not a significant cut back in the volume of agents assigned to investigating the Mafia families. 

 

This was a position with which many of its own agents still don’t agree. But they nevertheless figured out a way of making effective use of their reduction in manpower against the mob. 

 

Gone were the convoluted tapestries of RICO charges that take months, if not years, to weave together, and in was the humble and oft overlooked parole violation — the recently restored secret weapon in their arsenal against an organization almost entirely based on face-to-face contact, having previously been blasted into submission by wiretaps.

 

In 2015, Ernie (Expressway) Palladino, a reputed leader of the Bohan based crew in the family was arrested by the feds for meeting with fellow mobsters in a direct violation of his parole and was sentenced to a year and a day.

 

Months later family capo Bruno Moretti also allegedly violated his parole by attending a Christmas party thrown by wiseguys and was tossed back in prison for two more years, despite two other cons, busted at the same event, having been sentenced to only half that.

 

But the feds insist that they were not simply grabbing at low hanging fruit and say that those named above were actually re-imprisoned due to fears of a Mob War.

 

According to the feds, Palladino was conspiring with others to attempt to take over Messina family operations in Dukes and possibly the entire family. This type of move could have unleashed a wave of violence between factions within the Messina family and possibly led to a mafia war according to sources.

 

Palladino finished up a 10 year prison sentence on charges of attempted murder and was released back in 2012. And before he was thrown back in prison, he was caught by surveillance having extended meetings in the parking lot of a Dukes diner with mob members with ties to Tommy Schnozz, including Dominic (Fat Dom) Ribisi — the then Messina family consigliere. 

 

A couple of months before Palladino's release, effective acting head Charlie D'Amato had been hit with wide-ranging racketeering charges and two members loyal to the Dukes and Broker faction were eventually promoted in his stead. With Mikey (Muffin Top) Cimino being promoted to street boss and Joseph (Corky) Capocchio being promoted to underboss — a move which was further exacerbated by both men having familial ties to former Noto confidants. 

 

A source familiar with the situation claims that Moretti and others — including influential capos Robert DeSantis and Giacomo (Jackie Dee) DeLorenzo, who were also violated — had been at the Christmas party paying tribute to the Cimino regime, in which Palladino had subsequently lost influence and upon whom he had planned seeking revenge. 

 

Law enforcement sources claimed once they became aware of his plans, they had no choice but to take him off the streets and ordered him to be held in prison pending a hearing citing allegations of the conspiracy. But it seems as if there may have been more afoot. 

 

Mancini from prison had allegedly been dispatching messages through Palladino, who was hand picked to run things on the streets until his release. 

 

Feds say it was in an attempt to thwart the potential uprising. Others say it was simply in an attempt to thwart a move by a rival faction led by Cimino and Capocchio to take complete control of the family. With the ultimate goal of the other faction being to promote Palladino to acting boss, have fellow Algonquin based Mancini loyalist Jimmy (The Mooch) Scaramucci act as his underboss and have Ribisi pledge allegiance in order to remain as the consigliere. 

 

Thanks to the federal government however, these efforts ultimately failed. A somewhat ironic twist, given that Palladino had gained his nickname from his influence over unions involved in the multi-million dollar reconstruction of the Cross Bohan Expressway in the early 1970s, which also eventually collapsed.

 

Ironies aside, it's also a parole violation which has ultimately left Mancini facing the very likely prospect of being re-incarcerated. The exact details of which I'll not go into for now, because I couldn’t possibly fit the whole story into a single article. So stay tuned for more of this scintillating saga next week.

 

In the meantime, why not check out some of my previous articles in the Under World Archive section at the top.


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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Five Weddings and Two Funerals

 

Last Week I spoke about the internal tensions as of late within the Messina crime family following Tommy (Schnozz) Mancini's ascent to the throne. 

 

And those of you at all familiar with the family's history will know this is reminiscent of the many inter-factional struggles which have plagued the family in the past — not least, and most notably, the long and bloody power struggle in the 1970s and early '80s which had placed Harvey Noto on top.

 

But unlike Mancini, during the following years and all throughout the 1990s, Harvey Noto had effectively revived the Messina family after the FIB had wrongly decided that it was on its last leg, and reinvigorated it for the new millennium and beyond.

 

They remained small but unified and were solidified under his leadership, becoming a close-knit crime family that (for a time at least) was bereft of any cooperating witnesses.

 

They were of course in no small part helped along by a boost from Jon Gravelli, Noto’s old mob pal from Meadow Hills — who had pushed the Commission to restore the Messinas to full status with the mob's ruling board. 

 

And Noto in turn showed his gratitude by shutting down the social clubs and taking the Messinas underground. He set hard and fast rules against making guys who were not longtime cohorts or blood relatives of family members. 

 

As his family's rackets grew, so did his stature among the Five Families and in 2006 he hosted several Commission meetings as the only official boss who hadn't been subject to an indictment by the law. 

 

Although his family was still one of the smaller ones, his influence among his peers was enormous. He didn't know it then, but his reign was coming to an end, as thanks to Fredo Volpe, the FIB was already on his case. 

 

When word got out in late 2008, due to inside contacts, several important Messina mobsters flipped, and on Noto's 67th birthday, in January 2009, he was gifted by the government with racketeering and murder charges. 

 

In July of the following year, he was convicted of a string of mob murders and sentenced to life without parole. But, hoping to reinvigorate the family’s ties to their powerful Sicilian faction, from behind bars, Noto promoted Mario (The Metalworker) Battaglia to acting boss. Battaglia was born in Canada and raised in Sicily but eventually emigrated to the United States and settled in Bohan where he became a member of a crew led by Benedetto (Benny from Bohan) DeLorenzo, a powerful capo within the family since the 1980s.

 

In April of 2009, Battaglia was deported to Canada and was murdered in 2011. But ten years before his deportation, he and Tommy Mancini, another member of DeLorenzo’s crew, were ordered by Noto to carry out the murder of another powerful capo Arnie Adamo, who, like Battaglia, had also been born in Sicily. And he and his two killers had both attended the wedding of Vincenzo Ragusi of the Messina's Canadian faction, along with a couple of the mobsters who would later flip.

 

The Adamo hit was a contract which Fredo Volpe quickly learned the details of through his older brother Mark, who had also been a member of DeLorenzo’s crew and had operated several illegal poker machines for him throughout the '90s leading up to an arrest in 1998 — the same year that Fredo agreed to become an informant.

 

At the time of the murder however, the younger Volpe did not have enough details to bring about any arrests, and in 2000, the LCPD instead opted to arrest several members of the DeLorenzo crew — including Mark Volpe — on numerous state gambling charges, including the legally blind 83-year-old mother of crew member Paulie (Pidgeonhead) Falzone, who was charged with a misdemeanor for helping the crew collect gambling profits.

 

But fifteen years before Mancini had left Adamo’s body in the street, he had also done the same to his first wife, after she died by misadventure from a heroin overdose. 

 

Mancini of course was no stranger to the nefarious substance, having been a member of the notorious Bird Gang in the 1970s and '80s. But to have his wife pass away from it in his presence would’ve not only raised questions about how it got there, but also about his wife’s drug abuse in an environment where junkies, despite being the mob’s biggest customers, were seen as the lowest of the low. 

 

So when he dumped his young wife outside the Bohan medical center (which was walking distance from the Northern Gardens Police Station), he was less concerned about her welfare and more about his reputation in the eyes of his criminal cohorts. 

 

Although drug dealing in the mob was largely tolerated, but frowned upon, the same could not be said for having a spouse who was an active abuser. And this was a position astonishingly agreed upon by her notorious kin, the powerful Bisaquino family, a Sicilian mafia dynasty whose members had overseen the legendary Pasta Connection scheme, which came to light only a few short months after the death of Mrs. Mancini and resulted in Tommy Schnozz spending ten years in the can.

 

When Schnozz was released in the mid '90s, he subsequently remarried and The Horn claims his best man on this occasion was none other than Matty Scalish — providing a noticeably rough around the edges photograph to back it up.

 

Since myself and the paper parted amicably, I have no reason to doubt and it also seems rather fitting for an equally rough around the edges boss. If it were not for Mancini's Sicilian connections, one has to wonder why Noto would put him in charge. And rumors were abound that the bosses of the other Liberty City crime families didn't recognize him as boss.

 

Whatever the case, the Lupisellas had apparently seen potential weakness in the Messinas after Noto's arrest and sent a couple of their associates to shake down the new owner of Pillows, a gentleman's club in Dukes formerly owned by Messina capo Bruno Moretti prior to his incarceration. 

 

The associates in question smashed the place up, but ultimately didn't get any satisfaction and vowed to return, only to be warded off by Lupisella underboss Georgie Carbo who informed them that Pillows was by then a Pavano joint, having been given to one of their capos Teddy Giudice by Moretti as part payment for cutting him in on a lucrative gambling operation he had been running in the borough for years. 

 

The Loops left the situation alone, but the Messinas sought retribution and boss-in-waiting Tommy Mancini sent a gang of armed men led by heavy-set associate Jim-Bob Spinelli Jr. to the Triangle Club in Bohan in order to confront the Lupisellas. 

 

The Messinas then forced their way into the club and there was a heated exchange in which aging Lupisella soldier Mikey (Mutton Chops) Perrino was pushed to the floor and another old timer named Emilio (Milo) Fiore was cracked in the face.

 

This understandably enraged the Lupisella administration, who handed down an order to have the ring leader Spinelli killed. Georgie Carbo Jr. then allegedly assigned associates Petey (Ham) Cammarata and a nicknameless Vito Bono to carry out the hit.

 

Bono and Cammarata went to Spinelli's home with a gun but couldn't find him and Spinelli was hastily inducted into the Messina family before the murder was carried out, ultimately leading to the dispute being resolved. 

 

Nevertheless, Cammarata and Bono pleaded guilty to attempted murder when put on trial with Carbo Jr. in 2018. And, truth be told, it wasn’t Jim-Bob's first indiscretion — one wiseguy source once described him as a "habitual f*ck up." But he had more often than not been pardoned for his actions due to his family ties.

 

Like Mancini's late wife, he comes from Messina mob royalty. Although his family ties are a little more complicated to say the least.

 

For starters, his aunt Justina has been married to former boss Harvey Noto since the pair were mere teenagers. With the blushing bride being only fifteen when they tied the knot — Harvey was eighteen, just for reference sake, and the age of consent was fourteen. 

 

This was way back in 1960 and Jim Bob Jr. hadn't even been born yet, but this was only the start of the Spinelli family's mechanisations in the mob. So, at the risk of derailing this article with exposition, here's some backstory:

 

The Spinelli's moved to Liberty from Italy in the mid 19th century and are said to have established the Inbread Bakery in Beechwood City back in 1869. 

 

Justina's father Valentino was a fourth generation baker and a skilled musician with a similarly skilled younger brother Antonio who was a maestro on the banjo strings in particular. 

 

Antonio had some kids, who are not particularly relevant, but Justina also had two brothers — Francesco (also known as Frankie Fat Puss), a self proclaimed mob historian like myself with a couple hits under his belt, and Justino, who was the father to Messina capo Stefano Spinelli (also known as Scumbag Steve). 

 

Scumbag Stevie was put on trial along with Noto and is now back on the streets, but his father Justino hit headlines during the trial when he hit the floor dead from a heart attack when the verdicts were read.

 

Another of Justino's sons, Jimmy-Bob Sr. — father to Jim-Bob Jr. — had also married his mother Sue Helen Spiegel — definitely not to be confused with the Vinewood starlet — at a fairly young age. And when not baking bread, Jim-Bob Sr. was an avid motorcycle aficionado who was — and still is — a longtime affiliate of a "non-violent" club.

 

For those of you still with us, here's where it gets interesting, because in the mid-2000s Jim-Bob Jr. married Frankie's daughter Sofia — his second cousin — after she had only just finalized a messy divorce. 

 

*Mob folklore states that she also had a fling with Mark Volpe but we try not to speak ill of the dead here.

 

Jim-Bob Jr. was also the man arrested with Curtis Longoni on weapons charges back in 2014, but we can only speculate as to why he would be there in that place at that time given the bad blood between the two borgatas. 

 

For as long as I can remember the two families have always had beef, but I suspect that they may have also shared a deep seated respect for one another. 

 

I mean, there is of course a subtle irony in the fact that Noto may have learned the fallacies of keeping hold of the reigns of his family while imprisoned indefinitely from fellow jailed-for-life boss Mark Lupisella and that Lupisella may have also looked toward the Messinas in anticipating a potential uprising within his crime family following the federal felling of his administration which led to the Broker based regime change.

 

And, after being released on those weapons charges, a much trimmer looking Jim-Bob Jr. was also on the scene in July of this year when another infamous indiscretion was perpetrated under the watchful eyes of the recently released Tommy Schnozz.

 

Just days before Mancini's release, his rivals Mikey Cimino and Corky Capocchio had been put on trial and ultimately acquitted on racketeering charges. And, due to their actions in the proceeding months, they were promptly shelved by The Schnozz. 

 

The reasons were many of course, but there was one act by the two that had particularly weighed on the camel-nosed capo and is said to have finally broken his back.

 

In October 2018, family consigliere Dominic Ribisi had been murdered in unusual circumstances outside of a Burger Shot. And after the ensuing media storm, the two men had dodged his well publicized funeral, which as the leaders of a supposedly secretive organization definitely wouldn't have been appropriate for them to attend. 

 

Mancini's twisted thinking however was that they actually had a hand in his offing, seeing as though Fat Dom had ultimately gone against them in their then ongoing Cold War for leadership which I spoke of before. Perhaps he was betting on their conviction, but ultimately decided to humiliate them instead by "breaking" them both.

 

Fast forward a few years to the funeral of Cimino's father-in-law, Willie Gravina, a former family powerhouse whom Mancini had also decided was no longer part of his crime family, but nevertheless told Cimino and Capocchio not to attend. 

 

When Mikey Muffintop predictably defied his orders, reasoning that they didn't apply to him, Mancini directed a similar intimidation tactic to the one used years ago in The Triangle Club and Cimino was cold clocked in the back of the head and knocked into Gravina's casket by Spinelli, closely backed up by Schnozz's schnauzer Frankie Albizzi, who in the ensuing commotion also apparently kicked Gravina's body which had been knocked onto the floor before getting his ass well and truly handed to him — and with good reason too.

 

When a massive brawl broke out, Spinelli's father then called in his biker buddies, who according to The Post, locked the funeral parlor doors and told Cimino's family "now youse can't leave." 

 

This was then echoed by the Police Department when they arrived on the scene and subsequently went for the low hanging fruit again by violating Spinelli and Mancini on their supervised release.

 

As it stands, we still do not know Mancini's fate and I could probably write another best selling book about Jim-Bob Spinelli. Perhaps the feds are just keeping Tommy on seasonal ice until this potential "mob war" blows over like the dreaded Nor'easter that we're now looking almost surely to get.

 

Even if I'm snowed in (and still have an Internet connection), I'll be back with another story next week.

 

And just for a bit of fun, why don't you all try coming up with a nickname for Vito Bono and I might even award a signed copy of one of my best selling page turners as a prize for the best one.

 

As my sometimes friend and sometimes rival always says — "until next time, thanks for tuning in for another story in the mob that you never knew about."


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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Is the "P" for Police or Predictability?

 

This time last year the announcement was made that Alton Edmont, wasting little time after being crowned as Mayor, would be demoting two year old Police Commissioner Delancy Sheeran. And back in 1997, in a shake-up driven more by personal differences than by policy, Commissioner Martin Schaffer made a similar move in transferring Chief of Detectives, Chuck Farber, and promoting Mitt Fitzsimmons.

 

At the time, sources said that the removal of Farber from one of the department's most prestigious positions had actually been in the works since late ‘96 because of his sour relationship with the Chief of Department, Lenny Armone. 

 

Senior department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two officials feuded openly and repeatedly at the department's weekly strategy meetings. But the move still came as a surprise to many, as Farber was popular among other detectives and had only just recently supervised several successful investigations, including the infamous shooting death of former Commissioner Leroy Fisk, who had been murdered in Middle Park while out for a jog. 

 

But according to Chief Armone, in spite of all his achievements, Farber was not in step with new strategies put in place in the proceeding years and therefore would be assigned instead to take over a newly formed bureau responsible for assisting the district attorney. 

 

As the highest-ranking officer in the department, that was his decision to make. But others had noted that, in his long-running, thinly concealed campaign to remove Farber, Chief Armone had also clipped his wings several months beforehand by removing the Cold Case Squad from the Detective Bureau and putting it directly under his control. 

 

Following the furor, Commissioner Schaffer had this decision quickly reversed — the most substantive personnel change since he had taken office. Yet nothing he did was comparable to the sweeping changes made by his predecessor Wally McBratney.

 

As we all know, McBratney resigned in 1996, while under investigation for the propriety of a book deal while in office and solicitation of corporate bribes. But these offenses were generally considered minor in comparison to his alleged personal conflicts with the Mayor due to his belief that McBratney was getting all the credit for the city’s overinflated “reductions” in crime.

 

Aside from this, Farber’s removal also appeared to signify the consolidation of Chief Armone's growing power in the department. And he was, for a time, actually being considered by department officials to be a strong contender to become the next Police Commissioner. In the next big shakeup in 2001 however, the Mayor instead elected to administer the oath of office to Ernie E. Kovak as Commissioner and to John P. Deegan as his Deputy. 

 

Joining Commissioner Kovak and Deputy Commissioner Deegan at the pompous City Hall ceremony were several Liberty City elected officials, including Borough Administrators, the District Attorney, and members of the City Council.

 

Also on hand were elected officials from Liberty State, Alderney and the federal government; representatives of the Governor's Office; members of the Liberty City Police Department; members of the Liberty Correctional Department; representatives from law enforcement agencies from around the country; and family and friends.

 

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Kovak actually worked for the Correctional Department and is credited with dramatically improving the safety of the city's jail system, reducing inmate-on-inmate violence and staff use of force. His tenure was also marked by greatly improved agency efficiency, including a reduction in overtime expenditures and sick leave for staff. He is said to have been critical to the Department’s great success in the waning ‘90s, and brought it to higher and higher levels of achievement with his talent and managerial skill. This was partly attributed to the fact that before joining the police, Commissioner Kovak had previously served as Warden of the Alderney State Correctional Facility.

 

In the Liberty City Police Department, he also served with distinction, earning a special assignment by the Drug Observation Agency, helping to direct narcotics investigations which resulted in the conviction of more than 60 members of the Colombian Cartel. He served with the Liberty Police Department from 1986 until 1994, in both uniformed and plain clothes duty and also spent three years in the U.S. Army as an MP during the Vietnam War, where he trained with the Special Forces.

 

In his inaugural speech, Commissioner Kovak made a series of empty promises before the Mayor also administered the oath of office of Deputy Police Commissioner to Johnny Deegan. In his own evaluation of Deegan, Kovak also didn’t have a bad word to say.

 

"John Deegan has enjoyed a superb career in the Liberty City Police Department, and the people of the City he serves are very fortunate to have him assume this vital role." 

 

"I've seen Deegan in action in many different circumstances, from supervising meetings at Police Headquarters, to restoring order and control in difficult situations in the field. Deegan is a superb police officer, and a superb man, whose talents and experience in the department will serve him, and all Libertonians well."

 

The newly crowned Deputy Police Commissioner then pledged to “work with the rank and file officers and the community” and “make the department all it can and should be."

 

Deegan was appointed to the Liberty City Police Department in the late 1960s and began his career patrolling the streets of Broker’s 69th. In the 1970s, he had allegedly led an attempt to apprehend the head of the Irish Mob at his son's baptism, where a shootout ensued resulting in the deaths of four people. Not only that, but in the 1980s, he was able to end a war between two rival Tongs in Chinatown.

 

At the time of his appointment, Deputy Commissioner Deegan and his wife Barbara lived in Dukes, had been married for twenty-six years and were the parents of four children: James, John Jr., Daniel and Joanne, who all followed their father into the legal system in some capacity or another.

 

And nepotism certainly wasn’t a stranger to the Deegan clan, who were spawned from former DPC Harold S. Deegan, who served during one of the most tumultuous periods in the department's history in which two Mafia dons were killed, the city's biggest-ever jewel heist took place, the Kipp Commission investigated police corruption and several police officers were assassinated by gunmen. 

 

Johnny Deegan Snr’s own rise through the ranks of the department accelerated greatly beginning in 1994, when he was promoted to Inspector and further promoted in each of the following two years — first to Deputy Chief in 1995, then to Assistant Chief in 1996 and was sworn in as Chief of Department in 1999.

 

Deputy Commissioner Deegan had previously served as a Detective in the Organized Crime and Internal Affairs Divisions, had been the Commanding Officer of two precincts, and also served as their Executive Officer. But one of his most successful accomplishments, according to the Mayor, had undoubtedly been the consolidation of several traditionally separate command centers into a single cohesive authoritarian structure.

 

As Chief of the Department, Deputy Commissioner Deegan was, like Armone, the highest-ranking member of the Liberty City Police Department, in command of the various Detective Divisions and the Transit and Housing Police.

 

Having been appointed as Deputy Police Commissioner, Deegan then also served as the chief executive assistant and advisor to the Police Commissioner and assumed his duties and responsibilities in his absence, administering the budgetary and personnel functions of the department, supervising the disciplinary system and representing the department in labor negotiations and advising all captains on existing labor contract administration.

 

This was back in the days when Commissioner was a post that was still mostly ceremonial. But many at the time still wondered why the Mayor would promote a prison official over a man with almost two decades longer on the force. 

 

In the end, as we know, Kovak spent only a year in office before being replaced by Fitzsimmons, who at one time had headed up Internal Affairs. 

 

This fell widely short of the promises of longevity and effectiveness made at the two's inauguration ceremony, even if Deegan did fare a little better, being replaced by Francis McReary in 2004. And even at that, this is somewhat of a subtle irony when you consider Deegan’s purported past of busting The Irish Mob.

 

There’s also a similar irony in the fact that Raymond Appleton, the man who was tipped to take the top spot back in January, instead opted to lead the boys in blue up in The Humboldts. And that his recommendation for the post, the woman who eventually got the job, Lakeisha Knowles, was born and raised in East Island City, far removed from the Island to the east of Liberty that it was named after, and had also served for years in the very department Appleton eventually took commission of.

 

Prior to her appointment, Knowles had also been involved with Internal affairs (long after Fitzsimmons tenure) and was promoted to be the LCPD's chief of detectives just over a year before being tipped for the top spot. Chief of Detectives was also the position that Delancy Sheeran had held before being replaced by Appleton, who in turn proceeded Knowles. If you take this into consideration, then the upward mobility of those involved — from Chief of Detectives to Chief of Department and then Police Commissioner — actually becomes a sort of cursus honorum; less about reward or prestige and more about right of passage. And it's easy to see how the repetitive cycling cogs constantly lose grip of the criminal chain.

 

It also seems that in this game of musical chairs, when they take a seat, successive Commissioners also reach into their desk for their predecessor's strategy book, instituting the same brand of reactionary policing that only displaces the issue rather than nipping the bud.

 

Other publications have been quick to point out that 2022 has had the fourth-lowest number of shootings in Liberty City since the early 1990s. But this has also been at the cost of increases in burglaries, car thefts, major felonies, grand larcenies and assaults. And in their efforts to focus almost exclusively on street gangs and drug crews, the department has actually allowed other criminal enterprises to flourish more.

 

On the one hand, this keeps me in a job, but surely there's an opportunity to also make a payday by giving our policing officials a well deserved pat on the back. In fact, I can already see the headline…

 

"LIBERTY CITY — BEST PLACE IN AMERICA?"

 

Ugh… maybe next year folks.


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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Revelers Grovel to Gravelli as Lupisella Laments

 

Christmas is a magical time of year and they say three is the magic number. So this week I thought I'd double up and go back thirty three years to share one of my Christmas memories. All the way back to 1989.

 

Even back then, the mob was changing, but in contrast to the Merry little Messina Christmas party in 2015 which landed several top members back in prison, some of the most gala parties of that year's holiday season went virtually unnoticed — except by law enforcement authorities of course. 

 

The biggest and best though, was the be-there-or-be-dead Christmas bash thrown by Jon Gravelli for hundreds of mobsters, associates, wives, children, and other guests.

 

Back then, as much as today, like most business organizations, the city's mafia families often celebrated the season of good feelings with such events. And just like the parties of legitimate concerns, mafia soirees have often reflected an organization's success — just like Gravelli's.

 

As bosses, both acting and official, spent the holidays in federal prisons, things couldn't have been better for the conceited capo-di-tutti-capi, who had taken over the country's largest crime family eleven years before and had been riding high ever since.

 

After nondescript affairs the previous two years at the refurbished, but cozy, Molise Falcon in Little Italy, Gravelli went in style this time. From about 7 P.M. to 2 A.M. on December 22nd and 23rd, his guests danced to continuous music from two bands and consumed an estimated $250,000 worth of food and drinks.

 

For the most part, wives, children, and other guests came in the early part of the evening and the wiseguys stayed on into the early morning.

 

Many of the merrymakers also gave gifts to the haughty host, who arrived with a flourish about halfway through the affair, driven in a white limo, tailed by three of his capos,  who escorted him in a second car.

 

Detectives from the Organized Crime Division, who videotaped the comings and goings, saw mobsters from the Ancelotti and Messina families, including Messina boss Harvey Noto, then 47, of Dukes. 

 

Neither Noto, nor imprisoned rival crime boss Vincent Lupisella, then 60, hosted Christmas parties, or instructed any to be hosted in their honor and it's also unlikely that soon-to-be-murdered Pavano boss Vittorio Valvona, whose rackets also closely rivalled Gravelli's, would’ve allowed such an ostentatious affair. Cops did find a smaller party thrown by the Ancelotti clan, although 59-year-old boss Giovanni Ancelotti was not spotted there.

 

Little did Gravelli know at the time however, that he would be sensationally indicted on racketeering and murder charges just a few short months later. 

 

On September 11, 1990, to be exact, when Federal agents and LCPD detectives raided the Falcon, arresting Gravelli, his lawyer, Bo Wheeler, claimed that his man was picked up by 100 cops and subjected to a full day and night in jail. In reality, it was about 5:35 P.M. and 23 detectives, investigators, and FIB agents entered the famed social club in Little Italy. Gravelli’s Dundreary was parked outside and he looked to be dressed to drive to a wake. 

 

Detectives with the district attorney's office were also dressed for success. But Wheeler said lawmen should have been nice and invited the polite Gambetti don to surrender, instead of parading him around in public like a common perp. 

 

That trial, of course, is a bad memory for most feds because they lost it, but they did after all get another crack at him two years later on obstruction charges. Which they also blew, even after suspending his long-time lawyer Bo Wheeler from the case simply for speaking out on his behalf.

 

Then four years later the outspoken and often outrageous mouthpiece for the Gambetti boss emeritus, was again suspended from practicing law for three months in a case which went from the legally ridiculous to the legally sublime. Lawyers are rarely suspended for contempt, never mind twice, like what happened to Wheeler.

 

That’s right — Bo Wheeler, the first lawyer in the U.S. prosecuted for criminal contempt for trying to defend a client, also became the first attorney to be suspended twice for the dastardly offense — after winning an acquittal for Gravelli in his 1990 racketeering and murder trial. 

 

Gravelli naturally complained vociferously — if not a little bit uncharacteristically — that he was being denied his constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer of his own choosing, but to no avail. 

 

In the end, Wheeler remained on the case just long enough to vilify Gravelli’s prosecutors as bums — violating a court order prohibiting him from doing so.

 

The remarks and outbursts, intended to curry favor with potential jurors, actually failed quite miserably, but Teflon Jon was still found not guilty at trial.

 

In fact, out of all of the vacuous party goers who came to superficially pay their respects at Gravelli’s 1989 Christmas party, Wheeler was perhaps his biggest sycophant. But, to his favor, he took it all the way to the bank, not least because he was also one of his biggest benefactors.

 

Two years after Gravelli was found not guilty by a federal jury, Wheeler was convicted by a federal judge and got 90 days' house arrest, was suspended from practicing law for six months, ordered to perform 200 hours of community service annually for the three years he was placed on probation and ordered to pay for the cost of his probation, which the feds estimated to be a shade over seven grand.

 

Perhaps it was a move to finally take out their frustrations at having lost not one, but two costly cases against the most high profile mob boss in the country, but Wheeler bore the brunt of it.

 

Meanwhile, The Bib was reportedly taking out his frustrations over having to hear about Gravelli’s lavish get-together from his fellow inmates while stewing in the can and allegedly began sending messages to his underlings to put together a hit team to murder the fortune favored don. 

 

But by the time the aging Lupisella secured his freedom, the grudge must've been like water that had passed under the Dukes Bay Bridge and was long forgotten, because the hit evidently never took place.

 

Like I always say — the wiseguys who survive the longest, are the ones who hold on to their grudges the shortest — and both men managed to live into their eighties before nature took its course. It's also no coincidence that, when compared to their underworld counterparts over the years, the Gambettis have fared better than most. 

 

After Gravelli passed away in 2008 in his hospital bed, the family was taken over for a time by his rather limply hung right hand Roy Zito — a man who one sagacious source once dismissed as a groveling grade schooler.

 

Luckily however, the family saw many important members released from prison while others were arrested in a widespread sweep on all five of the Liberty City Families. 

 

Shortly after becoming boss, the former Gravelli lap dog was arrested outside his club and charged with not only intimidating a witness during a 2006 racketeering trial, but ordering the assault of a union official.

 

The official in question was believed to have ordered an attack on the infamous Ali Mac's — a Gambetti associated restaurant whose owner had snubbed the union. 

 

To link Zito to the case, state prosecutors had a recording of him discussing the union official and announcing his intention to do him harm. He was released on bail, and was later acquitted at trial but it later emerged that FIB bugs had apparently caught him discussing plans to fix the jury as he had in his 2006 racketeering case. The feds chose not to reveal this information however, intending to indict him in a bigger case at a later date.

 

The following year they did just that, and along with LCPD detectives,  they raided Zito's Social Club, also arresting consigliere Salvatore Mangano and underboss Frankie Mileto — for violating his supervised release.

 

Federal prosecutors later charged Zito in a brand new racketeering case, with orchestrating several murders, loan sharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice by jury tampering, bribery, money laundering and tax evasion. And, based on tapes of Zito's own words played at pretrial hearings, the administration was denied bail without prejudice. 

 

In 2011, after four years as a fugitive, former underboss Sammy Bottino was also arrested in Paleto Bay. He took a plea bargain and eventually agreed to become a government informant, testifying against many of his former associates including Roy Zito and Salvatore Mangano. 

 

In 2012, after hours of deliberation, the jury found Roy Zito guilty on all charges of the indictment and Mangano was found guilty on all but one. 

 

Making reference to Zito's chain of dry cleaners — which allegedly specialized in removing forensic evidence — the director of the FIB in Liberty City famously announced at a press conference (that): 

 

"The stain on our society is now gone. The dirt has been scrubbed from our city and the Bureau's conviction record remains gleaming."

 

Following the trial, the judge sentenced both defendants to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. But like a phoenix from the flames of the prosecutions, the family emerged anew.

 

Come back next time for my run down and analysis of The Gambettis and the other crime families as we go into 2023. In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all. Have a good one 🎅 🎄 


 

© 2022, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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  • 3 weeks later...
slimeball supreme

Mister Cast. I've had it up to here. Pretend that I am holding my hand above my head as to demonstrate that is the level I've had it up to, as I cannot do this action in person.

 

I sent you an email more than a month ago, to your address at jimmycjourno, and have received no reply. Not even an acknowledgement. I do not like to air dirty laundry, and maintained it would be best for my complaint to be private, but you have left me no choice. Verbatim:

 

Quote

 

Hello Mr. Cast,
 
As a somewhat avid peruser of your column I was dismayed to have read your, in my opinion, somewhat callous portrayal of Vittorio Piccolo's death. I must maintain I have no sympathies toward the man nor his alleged profession as an organized crime affiliate - I detest their trade - but I would not make light of a 78 year old's man all the same. It was said in the Post, an outlet you yourself have written for, that Piccolo's body was found by his eleven year old grandson. Would this not be a traumatizing event for the poor boy? I see no reason to manufacture jabs at the expense of a mourning family over this person's erectile dysfunction, no matter how unsavoury he may have been.
 
This doesn't necessarily detract from your recent pieces, but I find your coverage of this case particularly crass all the same.
 
Thank you,
SS

 

 
I believe I was much more cordial than might have been justified. Especially given you ducking this message, and now your latest column, which throws a considerable heaping of dirt upon the good name of Roy Zito - a humble dry cleaning entrepreneur and collector of Native American memorabilia - who is appealing his unjust conviction to this day. Are you ashamed of your heritage? Is this why you take out your rage on the good Italian people on behalf of the WitSec mafia? We all know you changed your last name.
 
I expect a full apology, in print, before your next column.
Edited by slimeball supreme

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On 1/11/2023 at 12:31 AM, slimeball supreme said:

Mister Cast. I've had it up to here. Pretend that I am holding my hand above my head as to demonstrate that is the level I've had it up to, as I cannot do this action in person.

 

I sent you an email more than a month ago, to your address at jimmycjourno, and have received no reply. Not even an acknowledgement. I do not like to air dirty laundry, and maintained it would be best for my complaint to be private, but you have left me no choice. Verbatim:

 

 
I believe I was much more cordial than might have been justified. Especially given you ducking this message, and now your latest column, which throws a considerable heaping of dirt upon the good name of Roy Zito - a humble dry cleaning entrepreneur and collector of Native American memorabilia - who is appealing his unjust conviction to this day. Are you ashamed of your heritage? Is this why you take out your rage on the good Italian people on behalf of the WitSec mafia? We all know you changed your last name.
 
I expect a full apology, in print, before your next column.

Dear Mister Yimmy, thank you for your (very public) response.

 

Having checked with one of my staffers, I was informed that your email wasn't forwarded, as you were not a paid subscriber. This has now been rectified. And, needless to say, the person responsible has been fired for employing such unscrupulous practices.

 

Although I have been schooled in the ways of the e-mail and the world wide web, I am still somewhat of a technophobe who bashes away at Facade word docs on an outdated Belleno laptop because I haven't trusted a Fruit since my clubbing days back in '84.

 

Had I seen the email in question I would have surely responded, especially given the similarity of our first and surnames. Of course, if you want to be technical, my forename is in fact James. One which my parents - The Castelluccis - gave me at birth. But through my literary career, it has been further shortened to a pen name - a common practice amongst authors and journalists - in case you were unaware.

 

I am, despite what you may think, a proud Italian-American and my only true affiliation is to the justice and integrity of the law.

 

Journalistic integrity is of course a close second, but in the age of the cancel culture, I will not for one minute claim to have never made any mistakes.

 

Whilst I do have the utmost respect for The Post as a news source, I no longer work for them.. partly due to certain ideological imbalances between myself and their editorial team. In line with this, the (somewhat dubious) details masqueraded as facts which I chose to omit were in my view more so in the interest of taste, than (as some have suggested) at the risk of further triggering certain members of our society who like to tuck their genitalia, proclaim their pronouns and accuse me of being callous and crass.

 

In either case, would it have been any more 'appropriate' for me to have included details surrounding an innocent minor in an article about his certifiably not-so-innocent 77-year-old grandfather?

 

I mean, my portrayals of the underworld have always been known to be unflinching, but even I kind of flinch at that.

 

The official press release states that his body was first discovered by a family member. Anything else, as far as I'm concerned, is just idle street chatter.

 

Mr. Piccolo's erect state and use of aids to achieve this are a matter of public record. But had you actually read the court transcripts, rather than the newspaper reports at the time, I'm sure you would already be aware of this.

 

If you perceived it as a jab, I can only assume that you and he share matching prescriptions and I feel that I was just as hard on the morbidly obese triggerman who has subsequently been convicted of his murder for it to be balanced enough that any legal action can and will not be sustained.

 

As for Roy Zito, yes, it was an oversight not to mention his pending appeal. But to suggest that a man effectively convicted on his own testimony was unjustly convicted are the actions of a person who either has their head firmly buried in the aforementioned man's posterior, or a mountain of sand.

 

Let's just say that my many years of reporting about these kinds of people have afforded me a certain level of clairvoyance. And, unless hell were to suddenly freeze over amidst this cold snap, my crystal ball is telling me that Mr. Zito will not have the luxury of throwing back a Mollis and a finger of Mount before passing away in the comfort of his own home.

 

Rest assured however, if yourself or anyone else would like to contact me in future - whether to air your grievances or otherwise - then you can do so via the same email address that you so kindly plugged for me - which is now firmly back under my control.

 

I will try my best to get the next article out to you all post haste (on Friday), but hopefully I've eased a few insecurities with this characteristically candid response.

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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No Corpus Delicti, No Retribution - Part I

 

First of all, since it seems I now owe you all something, my sincerest apologies for the long delay in the article I promised relating to the current state of the five Liberty City Mafia families just before Christmas. 

 

Initially I made a decision to delay it by a week while awaiting the outcome of the VOSR case involving Tommy (Schnozz) Mancini so that I could more accurately predict either who would replace him – or if he would indeed need to be replaced.

 

I then began debating on how best to present the information and if I should just do a done-to-death run down of each family’s administrative structure — Boss, Street Boss, Underboss and Consigliere.

 

Then I stumbled upon a more novel idea — what if there were a story which could act as a set up for such an exposition. A single series of events which tied together all five of the families. Then it hit me... the perfect parable for the purpose at hand. One so long, that I’ve decided to split it into two parts. Of which, this is the first.

 

 —  —  —  — 

 

It all begins twenty five years ago with a then recently inducted member of the Ancelotti crime family named Frankie Garone – now not-so-recently deceased.

 

In January of 1998, he had just spent his first season of good will in prison and had been informed on new years eve that he may be facing a court ordered death rather than the unfortunate “motorcycle accident” which took him out ten years later.

 

In September 1997, he had been arrested and charged with the second of two slayings in as many years — the first one being the October 1994 offing of an Ancelotti family associate, Evan Falco. A case he eventually beat despite being nabbed by a swat team of cops and F.I.B. agents at the nuptials of the victim’s brother after being chased by officers around the pews as shocked members of the wedding party screamed from the altar.

 

The motive for Falco’s murder had been the fact that he had allegedly been nominated as Frankie’s getaway driver but left Garone high and dry in the rub-out of Billy (Beachgate) Benevento — a rebellious capo who had allegedly been plotting to take over the family from reclusive boss Giovanni Ancelotti, thus instigating the so-called “War of ’94.”

 

The problem was that Falco’s body had never been found and Garone had told others in the neighborhood that he wasn’t the shooter — it was long-time associate Kevin Hagler — who had been arrested for armed robbery the night Falco had last been seen.

 

The 1997 murder had allegedly been of Hagler because Garone was so angry that he had already shot Falco that he gutted and mutilated his body before setting it on fire in a stolen car and then dumped it in the river where police failed to find it despite searching for days. 

 

And, for this reason, they were again only able to charge him with manslaughter, despite also believing him to be the triggerman in the June 1994 killing of another associate, Orlando Ramírez — also a ghost.

 

Prosecutors estimated that the baby-faced hood had been involved in as many as six murders in the early 1990s, including the thrill-killing of a stranger on a dare as part of a very violent crew operating in Broker.

 

Garone, who had been an Ancelotti associate since his early teens, allegedly committed both murders for which he had been charged in an effort to enhance his reputation and position within the family and faced life without parole if convicted as a result.

 

At previous proceedings he had been animated and sometimes seemed to curse under his breath, but was this time unusually subdued. 

 

Perhaps it was the prospect of the death penalty, or perhaps he was thinking about the fact that Falco’s wake had been attended by many mob heavies, including Ancelotti capo Alberto Rizzo Jr. and was a nephew of fellow mobster Aldo Mangiapane.

 

Garone of course was no stranger to thumbing his nose at his older cohorts and getting his fellow crime family member’s backs up. Top of that list of course being cuckold capo Ralph Serpico, whose wife allegedly enticed the young wannabe into an ongoing sexual relationship while he was still below drinking age.

 

There are many of course who suggest that Serpico encouraged this, to distract from his own promiscuity. And he was, after all, a man with a long list of enemies too, on account of him being a notorious rat. It's debatable whether his status as a stool pigeon was known and ignored or even simply suspected, but he not only served the family well during the war, but even after his death in 1994.

 

As Frankie Gavone was stewing in solitary confinement for example, Oreste B. Clanton, a Federal judge in the district court in Broker threw out the murder convictions of three other men involved in the infamous war due to his status. Thus granting new trials to Evan Falco's uncle Aldo Mangiapane, Alberto (Baby Al) Rizzo, and his cousin Jimmy (Junior) Rizzo, stating that the Government had failed to disclose evidence that called into question the credibility of Ralph Serpico, who despite claims he had only flipped after his fatal diagnosis, had actually been a Federal Investigations Bureau informant for more than 30 years. 

 

Serpico had told the F.I.B. that the defendants had killed Justin Molinaro and Mitchell Invernizzi in 1992, but the prosecutors failed to disclose that Serpico often blamed others for murders he himself had committed. Or that the Feds had funneled information to Serpico about his enemies' possible hideouts in a feeble attempt to bring the war to a speedy close but had instead actually only intensified it. 

 

Using that argument, defense lawyers had asked the judge to overturn the convictions — and he duly complied, despite prosecutors protesting that the murders would have occurred whether the F.I.B. had told him anything or not. 

 

Two other Rizzo family members who allegedly ordered the murder of Benevento weren't so lucky however. Then 57-year-old Lorenzo (Larry Boy) Rizzo was arrested days after the hit at his mother’s funeral outside the Columbus Cathedral in Algonquin and was eventually convicted for racketeering and murder conspiracy. He was released back in 2014 but passed away three years later, having spent the last six years of his sentence in a prison hospital due to undisclosed ailments before being released and spending time in a halfway house, taking him out of the running to assume control of the crime family.

 

What the feds didn’t know at the time however, was that he had passed the order to his underlings through his son, who had been released on a prison furlough to attend the proceeding wake. When these details came to light, the younger Rizzo was nabbed by the feds and took a plea deal in exchange for twelve years in the can.

 

As for Frankie and Ralph — their relationship is thought to have been so unaffected by the affair, that Serpico even went to young Frankie's aid during a shootout with members of the Lupisella crime family, including current underboss Petey DeLutro resulting from a drug beef which ended with one Garone associate being shot to death and one of Serpico's nuts being blown out by one of DeLutro's crew members named Dillon (Dill Pickles) Mahoney.

 

Serpico was thought to have died before he could seek retribution and simply put the loss of his testicle down to cancer, despite dying from AIDs. 

 

The Rizzos, on the other hand, were sentenced to varying prison terms, and some, since their releases and the subsequent death of Giovanni Ancelotti, have become major leading figures within the crime family. And one in particular — the now 58-year-old Lawrence (Little Larry) Rizzo — has long been thought to be the heir apparent to the family since his release from his 12-year sentence two years early in the summer of 2020.

 

Many agree that Little Larry has the lineage and street experience to take the reins. When he was arrested and jailed in 2010, he was already underboss. And despite, quite helpfully for the Feds, identifying the crime family's then current acting hierarchy on a wiretap, he has also spent decades, or most of his life, in prison, Showing that he also has the chops to lead from the inside. Fortunately for him, he was inside during the 1990s family war - yet still managed to use a prison furlough to issue a key, war-ending hit order.

 

The aspiring Ancelotti don’s ascension was recently put on hold however, when he was again re-imprisoned on a slew of racketeering charges this past September. And, using tape recorded talks amassed during a two-year long investigation, federal prosecutors also snared a number of other Ancelottis, including other members of the family's administration such as Larry’s uncle Alberto (Bertie Boy) Rizzo, the family’s then "official boss" (who died in April) and underboss Bernardo (Bernie Muzzles) Moscatelli, ordering them to be held without bail at the fairly recently constructed Liberty City Detention Center in Broker. 

 

Of particular note — Lupisella soldier Vito Bono — who readers have suggested I call “Bonehead” or “Bozo” due to him posting pictures of himself on Snapmatic on his grandmother's death bed, surrounded by bags of weed — was also listed in the 19-count indictment and ordered detained as a danger to the community charged with loansharking, fraud and drug trafficking.

 

Also housed at the LCDC awaiting trial on racketeering charges carrying up to 20 years in prison are Ancelotti capo Oliviero (Ollie Onions) Cipolla, soldier Manfredo Urso, and longtime associates Donny Cipolla and Terence Conci, who was expected to be inducted into the crime family right before the sweep. 

 

In fact, Ollie Onions — who survived a 1992 rub-out attempt and served more than three years in prison for labor racketeering — is the centerpiece of the main charge in the case — that the crime family extorted an official of a Dukes-based construction workers union.

 

He is also one of the central figures in the case of Tommy Mancini’s violation of supervised release, having met with the freshly released boss back in 2019. Although their topic of conversation is, as-of-yet, unknown. As is the outcome of the hearing which has once again been pushed back for at least another week. If he is to receive any sort of sentence I’d estimate it to be short and I can see people like Ernie Palladino and Bobby Bisacquino occupying the underboss and consigliere positions for him and helping him run the family either from the inside or out.

 

One Ancelotti big — consigliere Ritchie DiMaggio — however made a lucky escape from the feds' dragnet when he left his home for a scheduled trip to Tequesta, a day before teams of agents and LCPD detectives were dispatched to arrest a total of 14 defendants in the case and remained a fugitive for several days before surrendering. Perhaps it was to cede his position to former acting consigliere Philly (The Fixer) Marchese who was busted a couple of years ago for health care fraud but is free on bail pending trial. 

 

Either way, this is a common tactic. One also employed by Dillon Mahoney back in ‘94, when he went on the lam, fearing police and mob retribution, until Lupisella capo Carlo (The Ironworker) Ianniello — his boss in the drug game — was able to organize a sitdown between he and Serpico and Pickles got a pass that enabled him to operate a fairly profitable drug ring on behalf of The Ironworker for the next couple of years after that, albeit indirectly.

 

Although, Ianniello reaped many of the benefits of his underlings wheeling and dealings, he had savvily insulated himself by placing Mahoney and several of his cohorts under destined-to-be-made Lupisella soldier in waiting Salvatore (Toddo) Aiuppa aka "Sally the Toad."

 

For more about Sally and others and how their street level skirmishes link them to the city’s most powerful crime families, be sure to check back next week for Part II.


 

© 2023, Under World News 

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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On 1/11/2023 at 1:42 PM, Jimmy Cast said:

Dear Mister Yimmy, thank you for your (very public) response.

 

Having checked with one of my staffers, I was informed that your email wasn't forwarded, as you were not a paid subscriber. This has now been rectified. And, needless to say, the person responsible has been fired for employing such unscrupulous practices.

 

Although I have been schooled in the ways of the e-mail and the world wide web, I am still somewhat of a technophobe who bashes away at Facade word docs on an outdated Belleno laptop because I haven't trusted a Fruit since my clubbing days back in '84.

 

Had I seen the email in question I would have surely responded, especially given the similarity of our first and surnames. Of course, if you want to be technical, my forename is in fact James. One which my parents - The Castelluccis - gave me at birth. But through my literary career, it has been further shortened to a pen name - a common practice amongst authors and journalists - in case you were unaware.

 

I am, despite what you may think, a proud Italian-American and my only true affiliation is to the justice and integrity of the law.

 

Journalistic integrity is of course a close second, but in the age of the cancel culture, I will not for one minute claim to have never made any mistakes.

 

Whilst I do have the utmost respect for The Post as a news source, I no longer work for them.. partly due to certain ideological imbalances between myself and their editorial team. In line with this, the (somewhat dubious) details masqueraded as facts which I chose to omit were in my view more so in the interest of taste, than (as some have suggested) at the risk of further triggering certain members of our society who like to tuck their genitalia, proclaim their pronouns and accuse me of being callous and crass.

 

In either case, would it have been any more 'appropriate' for me to have included details surrounding an innocent minor in an article about his certifiably not-so-innocent 77-year-old grandfather?

 

I mean, my portrayals of the underworld have always been known to be unflinching, but even I kind of flinch at that.

 

The official press release states that his body was first discovered by a family member. Anything else, as far as I'm concerned, is just idle street chatter.

 

Mr. Piccolo's erect state and use of aids to achieve this are a matter of public record. But had you actually read the court transcripts, rather than the newspaper reports at the time, I'm sure you would already be aware of this.

 

If you perceived it as a jab, I can only assume that you and he share matching prescriptions and I feel that I was just as hard on the morbidly obese triggerman who has subsequently been convicted of his murder for it to be balanced enough that any legal action can and will not be sustained.

 

As for Roy Zito, yes, it was an oversight not to mention his pending appeal. But to suggest that a man effectively convicted on his own testimony was unjustly convicted are the actions of a person who either has their head firmly buried in the aforementioned man's posterior, or a mountain of sand.

 

Let's just say that my many years of reporting about these kinds of people have afforded me a certain level of clairvoyance. And, unless hell were to suddenly freeze over amidst this cold snap, my crystal ball is telling me that Mr. Zito will not have the luxury of throwing back a Mollis and a finger of Mount before passing away in the comfort of his own home.

 

Rest assured however, if yourself or anyone else would like to contact me in future - whether to air your grievances or otherwise - then you can do so via the same email address that you so kindly plugged for me - which is now firmly back under my control.

 

I will try my best to get the next article out to you all post haste (on Friday), but hopefully I've eased a few insecurities with this characteristically candid response.

I’m confused. Is this real? You guys have staffers for writing fiction? Do you get paid for this?

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On 1/18/2023 at 3:50 AM, LucidLocomotive said:

I’m confused. Is this real? You guys have staffers for writing fiction? Do you get paid for this?

In addition to posting on here, I also run a paid subscription service. Along with donations, this pays the staff, and I earn my living mostly from being a frequently consulted crime expert. Although I have written many books, none of them can be strictly classed as fiction. But it is something I may look towards in the future.

 

As I've been reporting for years, the death of The Mob is greatly exaggerated and interest in their deeds is everlasting. With that being said, please stay tuned, because the next edition of my column is imminent.

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No Corpus Delicti, No Retribution — Part II

 

Last week I ended off the first part of this tale by name dropping Sally (The Toad) Aiuppa, who, as the more avid readers were quick to point out, is perhaps best known in mob folklore for kidnapping Junior Gravelli, in addition to being involved in many drug scuffles and street scrapes.

 

The two men, aged in their twenties, were thought at one time to have actually been close. But, having by then developed an insatiable drug habit, Junior had become indebted to Aiuppa for around fifty large, which, contrary to popular belief, wasn't for drugs, but for gambling. 

 

As the story goes, being fully aware of his extremely powerful kin, Aiuppa not only extended him more and more lines of credit, but offered Junior to pay the money back before a generous deadline.

 

Around this time of course, Junior had been arrested for possession of cocaine and had missed the deadline for return of the money, which eventually led to the kidnapping and Junior being held for ransom.

 

At this point, Roy Zito, a good friend of Junior's at the time, was personally tasked by Teflon Jon with bringing him back. He arranged a meeting with Aiuppa and brought along two of his associates. There was an altercation and one of the guys ended up shooting Sally dead, but Zito managed to rescue Junior and bring him back to his father unharmed. 

 

Zito of course was later identified by eyewitnesses and arrested for the killing. He was ultimately able to strike a plea bargain and only received a four-year sentence for manslaughter for his part in the hit, being released back onto the street after serving only two and he was subsequently inducted into the Gambetti crime family.

 

According to sources, prior to his murder, The Toad was set to be the main defendant in two racketeering indictments. One charging him with murder and several lesser mob related crimes, and another for heading up a crack cocaine distribution network that sold hundreds of pounds of crack throughout the 1990s.

 

Unlike other families, who have at least tried to hide the fact, the Lupisellas have been heavily and brazenly involved in the drug trade for decades, having actually bumped Giordano Generali up to acting boss, not only in spite of the fact, but actually because, he had been one of Vinnie Lupisella's biggest earners since the 1970s and one of the biggest heroin dealers of his time.

 

Not only that, but their current acting boss, Jackie D'Amelio, was also a major cocaine trafficker. That was of course, until he was indicted for attempted murder and left the trade to people like his capo Carlo Ianniello and upstart wannabes including Toddo Aiuppa and company.

 

During this period of course, the Gambettis, to varying degrees, were also heavily involved in the drug trade, despite the best wishes of their boss. 

 

Similarly, their current street boss Enzo Meucci, their boss Francesco (Frankie the Zip) Capaci and their consigliere (Nasty) Nick Cielo, all have prior convictions for drug peddling.

 

In addition to this — as per my sources — their underboss, Barney Bruzzo, is also said to be the family's link to Italian drug trafficking organizations since the unfortunate death of their former street boss Baldo Bronte.

 

Of course, as the old saying goes, beggars can't be choosers and nowadays becoming boss of the Gambetti Crime Family — or of any family, in fact — is a mixed blessing. 

 

If, like Sonny Cangelosi, you last long enough, there are untold riches to be had. On the other hand, there is an excellent chance you will end up dead or in jail. With the fates of Gravelli, Zito, and Bronte so fresh in the minds of Gambetti family mobsters, it will not be surprising if less and less of them push for the leadership of the family in the future. 

 

In contrast to people like Gravelli however, those in power over there currently also all have very violent pasts. Cielo was once caught on wiretap boasting of a long list of murder victims and Meucci was convicted and jailed for grievous bodily harm back in 1994, having ironically beaten a loan shark customer half to death with a telephone.

 

This is also in notable contrast to those currently awaiting trial in the latest Ancelotti case — who like to make threats to their debtors but are not quite as capable.

 

Whereas old school mobsters were happy to send a message by leaving the bodies of their victims in the streets, the gangsters of today are all too aware of the costs of murdering in aid of prolonging their rackets.

 

Prior to the 2013 Matty Scalish hit and the infamous bloodbaths of 2008, the modus operandi of the Mafia seemed to more so be pulling off disappearing acts. In fact, the last notable instance of scores of bodies being found in the streets was during the Ancelotti War, which ended the same year that Meucci was pleading out to 15 years for heinous beatings and heroin trafficking. And before people started to flip, the Ancelottis who came out victorious were only being convicted of conspiracy. 

 

One of the first ones to turn was former consigliere Teddy Sciandra, who, after a slew of performances in court against his own crime family members, also made an appearance at the 1997 racketeering and murder trial of his Pavano family counterpart, Leo (The Lunk) Lombardi.

 

However, Sciandra, who testified that he had met Lombardi but a handful of times — mostly when he was trying to negotiate a truce during the bloody family war — was only the first of three former top gangsters who took the stand against The Lunk. The most devastating of which was former Lupisella acting boss, Salvatore (Little Pussy) DeMarco. 

 

Lombardi may have been a peacemaker in the mob war, but DeMarco, who had known him for decades would go on to implicate him in at least two murders that he had committed whilst working as an underling of Capo Johnny (Skiff) Cifarelli.

 

In 1988, after Cifarelli was convicted on federal racketeering charges, Lombardi took over the crew and a year later, when consigliere Larry LaMotta was also convicted, Leo took his place too.

 

Finally, when Vittorio Valvona was allegedly poisoned by his wife, he handled the day-to-day functions of the syndicate with acting boss Augustus (Augie) Pancamo and also oversaw rackets involving the Mason Tenders Union and the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy.

 

In the lead up to his arrest, Lombardi was also involved in the extortion of money from singer-turned-actress Faith W. (a former member of The Watsons), whose husband Geraldo was paying the Pavano family a hefty sum for the use of some of their soldiers as bodyguards whenever the singer visited Liberty. 

 

One of these soldiers, who was especially close to Lombardi and also connected to the likes of Sally Aiuppa and Frankie Garone, was eventual family capo Joseph (Joe C) Corolla — not only a pal of the brother of one of Garone’s alleged murder victims, but also he and Aiuppa’s sometimes rival in the businesses of chop shops and peddling drugs.

 

Like Garone, Corolla is also alleged to have had a relationship with a much older woman (Mary Valvona) and, somewhat ironically, both had their father’s fall victim to the same modus operandi of “no body, no case.”

 

Of course in 2006, in the Corrola hit there was a case — almost a whole decade after the actual murder — but the lack of corpus delicti allowed those responsible to beat it, in much the same way as Frankie Garone.

 

The younger Corolla had just dodged a bullet in a tax evasion case when his one time mentor, Pavano crime family boss Augie Pancamo was charged with capital murder, accused of ordering the mob killing of his father Danny Corolla — with help from his lawyer — while he was locked away in prison, having been indicted on federal charges in 1996 — including labor racketeering, extortion and two other murders while he was still on the streets. 

 

He agreed to plead guilty to the former charges in exchange for prosecutors throwing out the murder charges and was just nearing the end of a ten-year sentence when the charge of the Corolla murder dropped.

 

It was alleged that Pancamo had authorized the 1998 murder of the 48-year old Corrola, in his capacity as the acting boss of the Pavano crew and then subsequently allowed for his son Joey’s rise within the crime family, aided by his relationship with the family’s ostensible matriarch. 

 

While the motive for the killing is not actually known, early speculators alleged that it was in order to ensure Joey’s silence following an arrest for racketeering alongside Mary Valvona that very year.

 

Prosecutors said that Patrick Pennisi, a lawyer who frequently represented Pavano family members, communicated Pancamo's order to execute Corrola from the prison to Pavano henchmen after meeting with him in prison under the guise of discussing his plea agreement. 

 

Mr. Pennisi pleaded guilty in 2005 to serving as a messenger in the murder plot and also admitted taking part in racketeering, extortion and obstruction of justice. But even then Pancamo’s conviction was not set in stone.

 

The indictment, which named over 30 people as members of the Pavano family, including Pancamo, was a result of a three-year racketeering investigation of the family's operations in the City of Liberty, with Pennisi’s information appearing to have been crucial for the broad racketeering charges which led to the arrests.

 

If convicted of the Corrola murder, Pancamo, like Garone, was eligible for the death penalty, but the Justice Department had not yet decided whether to seek it, because, since Corrola had disappeared in September 1998, weeks before he was scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges, his body has never been found. 

 

Convicted mobsters however had long reported that he was executed on the orders of Pancamo, who had been kept in federal prison by a related indictment on money laundering charges pertaining to his family's involvement in waterfront rackets and control of the Humboldt River Dock Workers Union which was eventually handed over to Joe C.

 

The younger Corolla then not only allegedly began to use these connections to bring heroin into Liberty City, but also took over the mantle of hiding money stolen from the Dock Workers Union members pension fund.

 

Interestingly enough, one of the other people arrested was Ruperto (Rupie Ballet) Ballerini, a Pavano soldier whose day job was running a dance studio in the 1980s where the crime family was said to have held many meetings. 

 

According to the charges, he also ran a major cocaine distribution network in Algonquin and Bohan and one of his top managers was a man named Michelangelo Longoni, who was killed at the age of 29 in a shootout with two state troopers at his home in Little Bay, while his little brother Curtis (of Matty Scalish murder fame) looked on from his bedroom.

 

The elder Longoni allegedly opened fire from the living room as the troopers burst in to arrest him. One trooper was wounded in the leg and the other trooper escaped serious injury after bullets bounced off his bulletproof vest and helmet and struck Longoni’s doberman dog.

 

Authorities said he had earned about $1 million from drug sales in the five months before his death. A fertilizer bomb and other arms were found in his house, and 16 people were arrested that day on arms and narcotics trafficking charges stemming from the raid.

 

Ballerini and other defendants were also accused of assaulting an unnamed witness to stop him from testifying in court. During the heinous beating, part of the witness's nose was also bitten off in an event that eerily echoed a 1995 Joey Corrola perpetrated assault.

 

Needless to say, Corolla was well positioned to take over the Pavanos’ drug business in the wake of the sweep of his older cohorts. Just as the likes of Pancamo and Ballerini were positioned to take control of their family’s administration after an equally devastating sweep on their predecessors in 2009. 

 

Corolla perhaps would have also been a likely candidate to lead the family outright, had he not been killed the previous year, allegedly to prevent him from doing so. Or perhaps, like some have suggested, Pancamo ordered his murder like he had his father’s — fearful that he may seek retribution on his boss upon his release from prison later that year when it emerged that he had essentially killed his father during the devastating testimony of former associate Vito Menotti, whose slain nephew had carried out the work.

 

The assistant director in charge of the F.I.B.'s Liberty City office at the time of the sweep said that the arrests had dealt "an absolute body blow" to the family, yet they remain the most prolific and the most powerful of the big five in the city, despite these wide ranging indictments — still maintaining power and influence in Liberty City, Alderney and elsewhere. 

 

Since Vittorio Valvona's reign, the family — colloquially known as “Westminster” — has remained so strong and successful because of its continued devotion to secrecy. According to the F.I.B., the family had for the longest time not had an official boss since Valvona's death. Although law enforcement now considers Pancamo to be the boss, close pal Nicky (Risotto) Rispoli to be his underboss, and old timer Andimo (Andy) Nascarella to be his advisor or consigliere, taking over from former capo and restaurant owner Teddy (Trattoria) Giudice, who died tragically late last year.

 

They have allegedly remained so strong across the river, in fact, that they are said to have now eclipsed the resident Pegorino crime family. 

 

Although accounts of their takeover range from obliteration to assimilation, there's no doubt that the Pegs, even at the middling heights of their power, are not what they once were.

 

For a decent run-down of the history of the Alderney crew, be sure to check out "Eden State Errand Boys - The Mediocre Rise and Devastating Fall of The Pegorino Crime Family" by my good friend (and fellow journalist) Tony Smith. He still insists on misspelling Lupisella, but he sure can write a good book.


 

© 2023, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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On 1/20/2023 at 8:12 AM, Jimmy Cast said:

In addition to posting on here, I also run a paid subscription service. Along with donations, this pays the staff, and I earn my living mostly from being a frequently consulted crime expert. Although I have written many books, none of them can be strictly classed as fiction. But it is something I may look towards in the future.

 

As I've been reporting for years, the death of The Mob is greatly exaggerated and interest in their deeds is everlasting. With that being said, please stay tuned, because the next edition of my column is imminent.

Wow. That is deeply incredible! 

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Black Sheep Gravelli's Battles with The Law

 

Award season is upon us, so I thought I'd get in the spirit and hand the Lifetime Achievement Award in the category of Dumb Wannabe Wiseguy to Jon Gravelli Jr. of Meadow Hills, Dukes.

 

Although his blunders are many, without a doubt, special consideration needs to be given to an episode I touched on last week when, donkey deep in debt to the leader of one of Broker's most violent drug crews, he decided to borrow the money from his mob boss father to the tune of fifty g's and go joy riding around the Carraways with a pocket full of powder, a trunk full of weapons and a bowling bag full of freshly laundered bills.

 

Then when nabbed for drug possession during a routine traffic stop, Gravelli, aged 27, asked the cops “Don’t you know who my father is?” before stating that he was the son of Gambetti crime family boss Jon Gravelli, as if that information would somehow work in his favor — whereas all it did was get him some unwanted publicity, in addition to being relieved of his cash.

 

The state police, fully aware that a routine drug arrest would never get much attention from the media, referenced Gambetti's purported relationship in a press release, as if it were a closely guarded secret — reporting that he had tried to impress the troopers who busted him, but in reality he was merely a "lightweight crime figure." Their words, not mine. Though I do agree.

 

A red-faced Junior, in an attempt to turn the tables, then protested that the cops also seized the cash from him — allegedly as part of a probe into possible tax violations — but it was never mentioned in their report, or seen again.

 

This is really no surprise, since we all know the police department is, and was, rife with corruption, but let’s face it, the last place in the whole wide world that Junior should have stored the fifty grand was in the back of a car whilst riding dirty.

 

In a pre-prepared statement (probably written by his attorney) however, he insisted that the piles of cash were merely residues of wedding gifts he and his wife had received back in 1994 at a lavish reception his dad had thrown for him at the Majestic Hotel, and that the source of any monies recovered had already been explained to the authorities.

 

Junior's attorney Piers Roebuck called the indictment weak, accusing authorities of grandstanding and also predicted that the charges wouldn't stand up when the case went to trial. "They got what they wanted," he said. "They got their headlines." And he was right.

 

A hearing was postponed to allow Roebuck time to refute assertions by prosecutors that Gravelli was an as-of-yet convicted, yet notorious thief, who was prone to violence and had threatened several of his robbery victims. 

 

During the stop, the police had seized a two-shot derringer, a silencer-equipped .38 caliber pistol, and an assault rifle, bringing them all to court to hammer home their point that he was dangerous.

 

Roebuck successfully argued that only one of the guns — the derringer — was Gravelli's and it was an antique that had belonged to his grandfather. 

 

He strategically failed to mention the missing cash, and promptly hushed Junior when he began to shout about it.

 

The latest of his most notable courtroom performances however was only one of a series of embarrassments he caused his prestigious pops. And, as time moved on, Junior just kept on proving to be less and less of a chip off the old block.

 

Despite being the son of the longtime boss of the Gambetti crime family, his involvement in (organized) crime had been minimal. And, up until then, he hadn’t been to prison, although the feds were probably doing their damnedest to put him there.

 

The shame he caused his dad however didn’t seem to dissuade him from allowing Junior to virtually take over the run of his Meadow Hills mansion whilst he spent much of his time in The Carraways. 

 

But even then, he wasn’t quite satisfied with the multi-bedroom colonial that his father had bought from the descendants of a Civil War general and began looking to add another story.  

 

Even today, stuffy places like Meadow Hills have laws about building up. And Junior, who claimed he needed the extra space for his wife and kid, was required to file a petition for a variance and give neighborhood residents who didn't like the idea a chance to object.

 

Fuhgeddaboudit. There were no takers. There wasn't so much as a peep. But despite the lack of community unrest, the zoning board voted to reserve decision on Junior's petition. Probably because the august body needed time to figure out how to get the media to stop covering the story.

 

The 1995 arrest however only served to add fuel to the already roaring fire and reporters were quick to question Roebuck about the fact that he had silenced Gravelli when he again mentioned the cash.

 

"The mention of the money wasn’t strictly pertinent” stated Roebuck, before ushering Junior into a waiting car with a suit jacket over his face and refusing to elaborate further.

 

Shortly thereafter however, I managed to get some further clarification from Roebuck, after a mandatory contextual line of rhetorical questioning.

 

“"If you remember,” he said “my client had a wedding a few months back…”

 

Of course I did, I had covered it extensively. And I noted that it had been attended by lots of wiseguys.

 

“Friends and family.” he corrected. 

 

“Who brought lots of money.” 

 

We agreed.

 

“There was in excess of $480,000 given to him as gifts in cash. And many of the more prominent rats in this city contributed very healthy sums. Law enforcement knows this and decided to get rid of the evidence."

 

"Not only that, but they have stolen this money in an effort to deprive him of the ability to sustain himself," said Roebuck. "And we are seriously considering filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the attorney general of the state."

 

Aside from the speculative assertions, this all checked out with the information I had gotten from my sources. You see, amongst the esteemed guests, there had also been a number of informants who all reportedly gave $10,000 gifts to the bride and groom. And, lucky for the law, Junior had also kept a written account of it.

 

But Roebuck’s threat of legal action only served to anger federal agents, who staged a follow-up search of Gravelli’s newly gifted Meadow Hills mansion.

 

During the raid they seized watches and rings that belonged to Junior's father, in addition to court records and legal notes that had been essential for his avoidance of his 1990 racketeering and murder conviction.

 

Funnily enough, while his father Jon Sr. was on trial in that case, Junior was not only a daily spectator, but an up front and vocal supporter. 

 

While he was being arrested a second time in late January of 1992 however, Junior was in sunny San Andreas watching the Capital City Silverbacks upset the Montresor Meese in three degree temperatures.

 

"What is this Nazi Germany?" he memorably screamed on the first day of jury selection back in '90, when the trial judge ordered the spectators out of the courtroom. 

 

"Don't they let the family in? This is my father. What do they think we're going to do, shoot up the court?"

 

"Injustice!" he screamed at the top of his lungs as he was led away, before giving several interviews — which nowadays would have quickly become viral memes — outside the courtroom.

 

It was obvious from these interviews that he wouldn’t hurt a fly, yet five years later, when he was arrested for possession, prosecutors argued that he was a danger to the community and should be held without bail until his trial. 

 

The charges against him, however, did not include any violence and were simply a fairly standard drug case. 

 

Aside from this, the threats of legal action against the state were also thought to have gotten many Goodfellas backs up. But since the state attorney general wasn’t a made guy, a lawsuit wouldn't violate an unspoken Mafia protocol, so eloquently stated by Ancelotti family capo Silvio Pelosi about a year after Gravelli's lavish wedding reception at the Majestic.

 

"Wiseguys don't sue wiseguys," Pelosi said. "Wiseguys kill wiseguys."

 

But it’s only common sense, when one considers that since Alphonso Ancelotti, who went public and picketed the FIB, was gunned down at an Algonquin rally in pursuit of his civil rights, wouldn't filing a lawsuit — and playing by the rules — be a little unusual, let alone dangerous?

 

Not according to Roebuck, who said:

 

"Quite frankly, that's probably part of the thing that backs up our statement that he isn't as involved in his father’s business as everybody in the media says he is.”

 

Under World at the time, could not reach Silvio Pelosi for his learned assessment of the situation. But while Junior, via his lawyer, was threatening to file a lawsuit, his mother, Valentina, was publicly expressing her grief over the historical death of her first born Felice, who was tragically killed in a motorboating accident sixty years ago.

 

Tina Gravelli, as she had done each year on the anniversary of his death, placed memorial notices in the daily newspapers to her son, who was only twelve when he died back in '63, five years before the birth of Junior. 

 

It's hard to know if an adult Felice would have gotten into similar legal troubles, but Junior certainly didn't lick it off the stones. 

 

It's a widely disseminated tale that his grandfather was a violent drunk and degenerate gambler, who had gotten deeply into debt to mafia affiliated loan sharks all over the city, even before his father had gotten involved in any sort of criminality.

 

This came much later, taking into account that Jon Senior's first notable arrest was at the tender age of seventeen, for possession of gambling records.

 

Junior had also begun getting involved in crime within a similar age range, but the early to mid 1990s was undoubtedly the period that he was most active in illegality and also when he began sinking into addiction.

 

He quickly moved from alcohol, to cocaine to smoking crack. And, by the middle 2000s, he was performing armed robberies primarily just to get high and was a self described junkie.

 

By that time, Junior had been arrested for robbery, released on bail and wanted a way out of his life of crime, when he was reportedly approached by the FIB with a proposition that he become an informant.

 

In 2004, he allegedly wore a recording device around his father, but was itching so bad from withdrawals that he knocked the wire loose and rendered the tapes unusable. 

 

Had the stunt been successful, he would've been the first son of a Liberty City mobster to put his own father in prison for life — or what was left of it.

 

He remained in prison for the next four years and after going on the run while on furlough for his father's funeral, he eventually turned up on Mission Row sleeping under an overpass.

 

He stated to The Post that he had originally gone out west to seek help from notorious stoolie Sammy Bottino, who, at the time, was also a fugitive.

 

When both men were subsequently brought into custody, they gave varying levels of information multiple times against Roy Zito, Junior's father's replacement, but neither of them chose to live under witness protection. 

 

Although the information Junior gave amounted to little more than a proffer agreement, it undoubtedly helped to sink his boyhood pal Zito when he was ultimately charged in 2011, partly for running a loanshark operation and extorting a pizzeria and strip club. 

 

This led to him being frequently hollered at in the streets by many of Zito's shills and, following an accompanying torrent of online abuse, he began to go around the city incognito. In 2017 however, he was recognized by someone attending a recovery meeting and was exposed via a post on LifeInvader.

 

The following year, his own drug addicted son Jon Gravelli III, was sentenced to five years in prison for arson to go along with a previous eight for running a million dollar opioid drug ring as his father Jon Junior just stood there and watched.

 

It's like I always say folks — while the rotten apple may sometimes skip a generation, it never falls far from the tree.


 

© 2023, Under World News

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For those of you who were looking forward to it, there will be no column this week, as I am on a much needed vacation. I could probably think of some other excuses, but since I'm the boss of this outfit, I won't. Why not check out one of my previous columns from last year. And I hope to see you all back here when regularly scheduled programming resumes Next Week.

 

 

 

© 2023, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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Gambettis, Garments and Grisly Revelations 

 

Since today marks the beginning of the annual Liberty City Fashion week, I found myself reminiscing about the simpler, less cutthroat times of the bustling midtown Algonquin garment district.

 

One memorable moment in particular was in 1983, when Gambetti boss Jon Gravelli was holding court with capos Calogero (Cal) Cangelosi and Leonard (The Lank) Mileto in the not-too-far-away Molise Falcon social club in Little Italy.

 

He often discussed family business there with his blood brothers in crime and had an unusually close relationship with Calogero Cangelosi in particular, who was the son of his former boss and mentor, Sonny Cangelosi and also Gravelli's cousin-in-law. 

 

Ironically, Mileto was there to talk about a $50 raise he wanted for his brother Frankie for a no-show job at the Big Girl’s Blouse, Skirt and Undergarment Association — a group of contractors who negotiated contracts with union workers.

 

During the discussion Cangelosi, who owned several Garment Center trucking companies, explained for his good pal Jon — and the feds who happened to be listening — that the Gambetti, Pavano and Lupisella crime families jointly controlled the association.

 

"There are three partners there. You got a third, Westminster has a third and Neil has the other third" said Cangelosi. 

 

"Westminster" referred to the Pavanos and "Neil" was more formally known as Aniello Carbo, who, back then, was acting boss of the Lupisella family.

 

Shortly after those bygone times however, Cangelosi and Mileto were convicted of racketeering and spent time in federal prison, and Carbo was also sentenced to 100 years in a major racketeering case.

 

But the three-family partnership lived on, at least according to an extortion indictment handed down in the mid 1990s against Joseph (Joe Jello) Ianniello, the Lupisella family's reputed representative on the Big Girl’s Blouse payroll. 

 

He was charged with shaking down the group for over $350,000 in the guise of salaries from 1989 to 1994, and $45,000 more the following year, when he "retired" from his position as assistant to the executive director and was arrested at his home, only to be released on a $100,000 bail package worked out by federal prosecutors and Gambetti’s ex defense lawyer Bo Wheeler.

 

By then of course, the feds and Wheeler already had a little history between them, having tangled briefly in Gravelli’s murder and racketeering prosecution back in 1990. With several prosecutors on the case having been part of the prosecution team who also tried Dapper Jon two years later.

 

It was sort of ironic that while they never used those conversations against Jon, Lenny Lank, or Cal Cang, they were then using them against Joe Jello. But back in 1983, the feds' all-out assault on the mob was just beginning.

 

The assault on the Gambetti family only fully kicked into gear, in fact, three years later — when Mileto was indicted on federal racketeering charges along with family powers Frankie (Four Eyes) Falcaro, Giuseppe (Pino) Barone, Richard LoBianco, and Carlo Jacobini, soldiers Terence Nigro, Angie (Adonis) Gulino, Anthony Vailati, and several key associates. And, out of fear that Vailati would talk, Gravelli allegedly ordered his murder. 

 

According to a number of cooperating witnesses, Vailati was murdered in the Tutelo Tail and Tackle club by Messina family associate Jimmy (Batts) Battaglia, who shot him five times in the head — being furious with Vailati for spreading a rumor that his godson Fredo Volpe had come off light on a 1982 accessory to murder conviction by being an informer. 

 

In 1987, Mileto was acquitted and remained a close ally of Gravelli, until the early 1990s when the diabetic capo accepted a plea deal against the rule of his boss, who then demoted Lenny the Lank and promoted his brother Frank to be the crew's acting capo. After being released from prison in 1998, Lenny Mileto, by then a sick man, did not have much of a role in the family and eventually passed away from kidney failure in 2007. 

 

It was perhaps for this reason, that when Gravelli took ill in 2006, Roy Zito also seemed to think he was suffering from a similar ailment. At least that’s according to family turncoat Sammy Bottino, who didn’t have many kind words about the former family boss in his 2016 book entitled “Bottino: The Man Who Ran the East Coast for the Gambetti Crime Family.”

 

He speculates that Zito — who was close to Frankie Mileto — somehow got mixed up when informed of Frankie’s brother’s diagnosis and promptly made his way to the Schottler Medical Centre in Dukes and presented his own self removed kidney to the cancerous Don in an ice bucket.

 

Misdirected self mutilations aside however, after Gravelli was put on trial, the Gambettis weren't really known for being a particularly violent crime family. But if one revelation from Bottino's book is to be believed, then that all changed a year after Teflon Jon was admitted to the hospital.

 

He states in a chapter titled Massacre, Messina Style that in October of 2006, an all out war was almost declared within the Gambetti crime family. 

 

Jon Gravelli was still the Boss and did not plan on stepping down, but Mario Milano, a long time Gambetti caporegime, felt that Jon needed to place the family, at least temporarily, under the control of a ruling panel, consisting of himself, Big Bobby Bellucci, Frankie Mileto, Jimmy Embarrato and Lino Trentini from Alderney.

 

When Gravelli got wind of this, says Bottino, he was understandably furious and ordered Sammy to begin tracking their movements and assembling some soldiers to sit on them — actions which were obvious precursors for a massacre.

 

Apparently the plan was to first hit Mileto in front of his home in Dukes as he was exiting his driveway. 

 

Bottino proposed bringing in a couple of zips whom Frankie wouldn’t recognize and have one of them approach his car window posing as a tourist looking for directions to the Broker Public Library and keep the conversation going long enough for the other one to creep up on the car. Then as Frankie looked at the map and tried to guide them, the second Zip would walk up to Mileto's window side and shoot him twice in the head through the glass, killing him.

 

Jimmy (Avocados) Embarrato, another caporegime, who ran a small crew in Algonquin at the time, was attempting to sell his car, having just bought a brand new Silver colored Albany Cavalcade. The plan for his demise was to have two family associates pose as a father and son, with a cover story that the car was a graduation present. The younger guy would ask for a test drive, with the “father” seated in the back. The driver was then to pull into a secluded spot somewhere and Embarrato would be strangled to death from behind.

 

Before any further planning however, the hits were apparently called off and cooler heads eventually prevailed, with Lino Trentini, completely unaware that he was also in the firing line, calling a sit-down at the basement of a Pizza This in Leftwood. Neutral ground.

 

Milano attended the meeting with two of his supporting caporegimes — Angie Gulino and Carlo Jacobini — both of the family’s Broker Faction. Along with Trentini, were young caporegime Roy Zito and Sammy Bottino — at the time, the family’s Underboss.

 

Demonstrating his sick sense of humor, Sammy apparently even suggested to Zito that if the meeting didn’t go their way, that they should pull out their guns and proceed to shoot and kill all three capos all at once — Messina style

 

Zito, he claims, turned white as a sheet, and the would-be five capos massacre never took place. But that didn’t stop those involved from seeking a little vengeance after Bottino copped a plea back in 2011 and agreed to give evidence against his former cohorts.

 

It was a series of events which eventually led to the conviction of three capos, a deputy clerk in the federal courthouse and a friend who worked for a San Andreas based phone company.

 

In 2014, Millicent Grasso, a 66 year old grandmother of five, was charged with obstructing justice alongside her friend Henrietta (Hetty) Waldrup.

 

Also charged were Grasso’s son-in-law, Anthony Scalisi, and none other than Gambetti family captains Mario (The Millipede) Milano, (Big Bobby) Bellucci and Jimmy (Avocados) Embarrato. 

 

The case against them alleged that the 89-year-old Bellucci had enlisted the help of former girlfriend Ms. Grasso, who was at the time working in the intake and docket section of the courthouse, in gaining information about Bottino’s family’s whereabouts and a former business front — The Paleto Construction Company — which had been operated by Mr. Bottino whilst he was a fugitive, having lived relatively anonymously for years, as a legitimate businessman who worked 12 hour days and lived in a modest house with a "life-size dummy used for a punching bag" and a little dog that "growled and sniffed at strangers."

 

The three capos were then able to ascertain through a wiretap placed on the phone in an apartment rented by his wife and daughter that they had begun running his construction company after his surrender to the Paleto Bay Sheriffs in 2011. And were also able to use this information to organize a kidnapping of Sammy’s daughter Antonia by some local rednecks and have her almost buried in the nearby desert before she was rescued by an unknown assailant.

 

Bottino spoke about the incident in an interview following his release in 2014, just days before the highly publicized case involving those named above, stating that "For a guy with the threat of a bullet in the head, life is tolerable, but a little boring. Running a legitimate business. Being monitored by the government... I don’t think it’s very interesting."

 

In fact, he also stated that he was more concerned about the media than the mob, worrying that the article could trigger an outpouring of reporters from Liberty City. 

 

He further downplayed the danger, noting that the Mafia probably knew where he was anyway. And said that, despite his decision not to join the Witness Protection Program, he had lots of FIB buddies now, and a sort of sixth sense about people, estimating that “just about everyone” in the neighborhood knows his identity.

 

"In the mob," said Bottino, "anytime anybody flips, there's an open contract on him." before quipping that the only contract he’s concerned about is “the next big construction project.”

 

The interview itself perhaps also came as a shock to some, including myself, having been denied several previously.

 

This was because he was not quite as open to his own daughter being front and center of the spotlight. As some of you may remember back in 2011, shortly after he had surrendered to authorities he sent down an edict against Antonia appearing as a cast member on the hit CNT series Wise Bitches.

 

He closed out the interview by saying: "I'm extremely happy right now. I'm a boss. Of my family. Of my friends. And my life."

 

One person who wasn’t happy however, was Roy Zito.

 

And perhaps the final kick in the teeth for the actual one time boss in their long running rivalry, was the fact that Bottino's book was released on the same day that his younger adversary was bringing about what many believed to be his final appeal.

 

Recently however, he proved us all wrong, and has decided to have one more stab at it. More on this as it develops folks.

 

See you next time.


 

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The Loved-Up Lieutenant, His Lawyer and Her Lover

 

It may not have been a movie for the whole family, but back in 1999, Ancelotti bigwig Alberto (Bertie Boy) Rizzo thought a federal prosecution against him was a Bippy Dog case. When in fact, the jury tampering and obstruction of justice case was very much an R-rated melodrama, with a steamy plot line, which had the aging Ancelotti loyalist's ex-lover putting the screws to him and making off with a younger gangster, who had contracted AIDS.

 

It was the postscript to a soap opera mob drama that included a color-coordinated jury, secretive sex in jail, screaming matches between wives and girlfriends, Vinewood actors, drunken dance lessons, a hysterical juror and other cartoon-like inanities too numerous to name or explain.

 

But the drama really began when Daisy Clemenza, a willowy raven-haired lawyer claimed that she and Rizzo became lovers after they met at a 1994 Christmas party and he had sent her a message that she was “the best thing since baked ziti."

 

A beauty school graduate before law school, Clemenza, then 32, testified at length about her relationships with various gangsters, their wives and their mistresses.

 

She had worked at a Dukes barbershop frequented by gangsters and said she was unhappily married at a time when Rizzo, who had been back on the streets for five months after an eight year federal prison stretch, became her lover.

 

They dined at fancy restaurants in Algonquin, frequented celebrity watering holes in Middle Park East and attended Burlesque theater shows during a whirlwind affair that ended in 1995.

 

Rizzo, 33 years her senior, referred to them as "the babe and the button man,” and in videotapes played for the jury, they danced the fandango and Rizzo shot pool as a then-blonde-haired Clemenza looked on lovingly and a well known Vinewood actor played the piano — quite badly at that.

 

The revelations came as Rizzo was charged with trying to tamper with an alternate juror who sat on the trial of his nephew, Jimmy (Junior) Rizzo. And, along with co-defendant Douglas Hayden, he was then also charged with obstructing another jury tampering investigation by getting his son's girlfriend, Moira Villanuova, to dodge a federal grand jury subpoena for over a year.

 

The feds began looking for Villanuova after a juror told the trial judge that she recognized her as a schoolmate from her high school days, and as a daily spectator in the Junior Rizzo case, and reported that a private investigator had tried to contact her about the case after the verdict.

 

Clemenza testified that Rizzo and Hayden subsequently hid Villanuova at Hayden's farm Upstate where she and Rizzo had often spent the weekend. And that she had also carried messages between him and his nephew, who at the time was confined to a prison cell.

 

She also stated that she took the younger Rizzo love letters from Villanuova and witnessed a screaming match between her and Rizzo's wife when she found out.

 

Gradually, her relationship with Bertie Boy soured and she fell in love with Bart (The Fart) Clemenza  — no relation — who had been a co-defendant of Jimmy Rizzo's whom she met at Aaronsville, whilst he was serving time for racketeering and murder. 

 

With the help of a friendly prison guard they had sex at the jail and were married there. But a year later, claiming she was afraid of Rizzo after her marriage to his underling, she and her new husband, a former drug abuser and alcoholic who suffered from AIDS and cirrhosis of the liver, began cooperating with federal prosecutors.

 

"Her convoluted story is nothing but a last ditch effort to get her husband out of prison,'' said Rizzo's lawyer, Greg Santora, who along with Hayden's lawyer, Justin LaRocca, stated that their clients had violated no laws and argued that Villanuova had ducked the FIB because she believed that they had framed little Jimmy Rizzo.

 

Then to top it off, the prosecution tried to stretch it into the twilight zone by arguing that Rizzo's jury tampering essentially made him an accomplice to his nephew, at the time an Ancelotti capo, who was found guilty of racketeering and murder charges. 

 

Finally, just when the media thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, the anonymous jury took over center stage when they showed up three consecutive days in color coordinated attire: On Tuesday, they all wore green; Wednesday, they wore blue; for closing arguments on Thursday, those on the left side of the jury box wore red, those in the center wore white, and those on the right side wore blue.

 

On the Friday however, several jurors broke ranks and dressed as individuals for the most important phase of the trial — deliberations — and things got ugly.

 

An hour after the jury got the case, a juror, dressed in all yellow, wrote the judge saying she was nervous because while examining evidence in the jury room she noticed addresses in Rizzo's phone book that were close to her home and job and she wanted off the case.

 

During questioning however, the foreman and a courtroom clerk who had brought lunch to the jurors said other jurors didn't believe she was afraid, thought she simply wanted to go home, and weren't tainted by her stated fears.

 

But noting that the woman was "shaking and clearly terrified" while she was in court, and that her fears had to have prejudiced the entire panel, Rizzo's lawyer and lawyers for codefendant Douglas Hayden asked for a mistrial.

 

Over objections by prosecutor Egbert Chomsky, the judge said that he would grant the defendants a mistrial, if they really wanted one. But after a closed door session with their attorneys, Rizzo and Hayden withdrew their mistrial motion and the 11 remaining jurors started all over again and deliberated until the end of the day without incident. 

 

Rizzo ultimately got a rude awakening about the jury system which had him wishing he had taken the mistrial when he was found guilty on all counts — including helping his son's girlfriend evade a grand jury in 1995 that was investigating the jury tampering and other racketeering charges for an alleged illegal carting scheme — and exploded in anger and frustration when he was sentenced to 57 months. 

 

Rizzo apparently put great stock in criticisms of the prosecution's case by the judge during the trial and walked into the courtroom with a confident smile before the jury's guilty verdict. But his smile quickly disappeared and the conviction knocked the fight out of him. 

 

After waging a fierce battle, Rizzo pleaded guilty in a deal that cost him five years in prison. Hayden, the millionaire owner of several private carting companies, also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in the garbage case. But his deal was more costly in money and time.

 

He received six and a half years in prison, forfeited $7.5 million and was forced to sell his companies to buyers approved by the federal government, because the labor racketeering schemes had netted the defendants some $20 million in illegal earnings, according to the feds.

 

As part of the deal, Hayden's wife, Georgina, their son, Darnell, and three other employees also pleaded guilty to lesser charges and were sentenced to five years probation.

 

"Hayden did what any loving father would do for his wife and child," said defense attorney Abraham Feinstein when Hayden agreed to the plea bargain. "He did what he had to do to protect them."

 

Hayden began his term that October, but his plea bargain deal spared prison sentences for his wife Georgina, son Darnell, and others who pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a 30-count mail fraud and racketeering indictment.

 

During an appeal, prosecutors turned over 400 hours of tape recorded conversations between the prosecution's key witness Daisy Clemenza, that defense lawyers hoped would put the lie to her trial testimony that after she and Rizzo became lovers she learned of his efforts to reach an anonymous juror in his nephew's case and helped both Rizzo and Hayden in thwarting an FIB probe of the tampering. 

 

But Clemenza nevertheless won her gamble when the Ancelotti associate she married while he was serving life for racketeering and murder joined her in the federal Witness Protection Program after a Broker judge reduced his sentence to time served plus 30 days because of the substantial assistance he gave prosecutors in the Bertie Rizzo case.

 

Yet the judge still confined him to his home for four years and tacked on five years of supervised release, despite a doctor's claims that he had a maximum life expectancy of 10 years, but was likely to live less than five.

 

The defense found little in the tapes, but Rizzo’s appeal — which he later won — was further aided by the fact that he had been identified by the feds as both a boss and a capo in two different cases for jury tampering and labor racketeering, and in each case, there was conflicting testimony about whether and when Rizzo was elevated from capo to boss, succeeding the official boss, Giovanni Ancelotti.

 

Essentially, the Court of Appeals ruled that Rizzo, who had received 19 months for a parole violation because the FIB said he was a boss, should have been classified as a capo and gotten eight months.

 

"I gotta give you credit” he had said to the assistant U.S. attorney at his original sentencing, “you ended up getting me a life sentence with this case. Why don't you put me in the electric chair right here in the courtroom and get it over with now. I may look fit and healthy, but I'll be 78, if I live that long."

 

At a pre-sentencing session, Rizzo also ripped into the inventive prosecutor as a "wimp and a coward" because he had added a novel twist when he asked the judge to sentence Rizzo to 20 years on the grounds that Rizzo, by trying to tamper with a murder conviction, was, in effect, an accomplice after-the-fact to murder.

 

The judge ultimately rejected the motion, and agreed to cut Rizzo's 57 month prison sentence by the 11 months extra he'd received for violating parole by associating with known criminals,  stemming from a seven-minute meeting with reputed underboss Frankie (Beverly) Vernace.

 

But still not satisfied, Rizzo, whom prosecutors claimed was a millionaire, also won another minor point at the very end by pleading poverty and convincing them to rescind a $20,000 fine.

 

"I don't even own a suit," said Rizzo, who appeared for sentencing in federal prison blues and wore a sweater during his trial. 

 

He took it on the chin however as he was sentenced to his five years for racketeering activity in the private carting industry. Biting his tongue as they meted out the agreed upon prison term.

 

According to the authorities, after Rizzo's conviction, his nephew Jimmy took over the day-to-day running of the crime family, but he was soon forced to abdicate due to his own legal troubles and the family was ostensibly taken over briefly by Charlie Matteo and then by Frankie Beverly — who has also had his own share of female trouble. But that’s perhaps a tale for another day.


 

© 2023, Under World News

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A Fat Tuesday to Forget for the Scion of Slim Jimmy (and his Dynasty)

 

Earlier this week of course was the much celebrated Mardi Gras festival. But for some over the years it has been a hangover that they’d much rather forget. Like Jimmy (Junior) Rizzo of the Ancelotti crime family for example, who in 1999 was arrested on gun possession charges.

 

Unlike some mafiosi, young Jimmy was a promising student who graduated from high school and was accepted into Fortside University, despite abandoning his education after his sophomore year to work for his father. 

 

Like many others, he relished in the power and excitement of the mob life. But he frequently broke the rules, like back in 1983, when he was arrested for heroin possession, only to have the case dismissed by a sympathetic judge who urged him to renounce his life of crime.

 

Despite that judge's best efforts, he ignored his words, became a mafia soldier and was convicted with his father, (Slim) Jimmy Rizzo, of racketeering charges and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1986. 

 

Perhaps it was the law’s way of telling him “I told you so,” because just as he was about to be released in 1994, he was charged — and eventually acquitted — for allegedly conspiring with other mobsters to kill rival gangsters in a bloody war.

 

No doubt the swiftly promoted capo, who had taken some pre-law classes in his two and a half years at Fortside, had played a large role in the acquittal, after which he was now a free man. 

 

And to the amazement of many, the savvy gangster appeared to have learned his lesson by opting to spend much of the next few years at his family home in Tequesta, which he had bought in the early 1980s when he married the daughter of future family consigliere Philly (The Fixer) Marchese.

 

In spite of this, the stage had nonetheless been set for his ascension when, following the war, Giovanni Ancelotti had appointed his uncle Bertie as acting boss. When he went to prison, Jimmy Jr. reluctantly took his place on behalf of the aging Ancelotti, but he would last only a year in this position before he was again sent back inside. 

 

Accordingly, he had apparently also been spending time at his family home on that fateful fat Tuesday in February 1999, but had intended to travel to Lemoyne for the world-renowned Mardi Gras festival when the U.S. Coast Guard stopped him in his speedboat as he was motoring around the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

The newly appointed acting boss probably thought he looked great tooling about in his 50-foot speed boat, but the Coast Guard apparently didn't like the look of his two passengers — a loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun.

 

Up until then, he had avoided any run-ins with the law since his acquittal in 1994 of federal racketeering charges. But after a few too many cocktails, the college-educated heir apparent to the Ancelotti family acting boss position had seemingly gotten more than a little complacent.

 

According to police, the Coast Guard cutter was on routine patrol early when it stopped the speed boat. A boarding party searched the boat and found the loaded weapons, but Rizzo got a big break because everything else about the boat was in order and a check with headquarters failed to turn up his prior conviction, which would have automatically barred him from possessing a gun. 

 

After unloading the weapon, the boarding party departed and the cutter resumed its normal routine. But at about 1am the following morning, the Coast Guard discovered Rizzo's 1986 federal racketeering conviction, and dispatched coasties to the marina where Rizzo’s boat was docked and searched it again.

 

You'd think that a bright, prison-hardened gangster like Rizzo would have breathed a sigh of relief, and as soon as the cutter was out of sight, dumped both guns overboard, but so engrossed in partying, he only tossed the .380, and the shotgun was found by the boarding party, loaded, in a small black bag with his wallet and credit cards. Rizzo said it came with the boat, but they seized it and arrested him.

 

Eventually, because federal penalties are more severe, police and county prosecutors deferred the case to the feds, and Rizzo, clad in designer jeans, an open neck shirt and blue suede loafers, surrendered and pleaded not guilty before being released on a million dollar personal surety bond.

 

In early 2000, he was arrested again in Liberty City on federal racketeering charges. The arresting agents searched his apartment and uncovered thousands in cash along with records of extensive loan sharking and credit card fraud activities. He was released on bail but was eventually convicted on the gun charges and sent to federal prison for 18 months. 

 

On what would have been the day of his release in 2001, prosecutors indicted him again on further loansharking charges and word began to circulate that the government also suspected him of murder and were starting to build a case against him. 

 

Due to the flight of his co-defendant, Charlie (Chubby) Matteo, Rizzo on this occasion was held without bail, and that December, pleaded guilty to the federal racketeering, loan sharking and money laundering charges from 1999 and 2001. 

 

As part of the plea, Rizzo was forced to publicly acknowledge his role as acting boss of the Ancelotti family and they accordingly sentenced him to 13 years in federal prison. Before allegedly reducing him to tears when they convicted him of more murders and extended it to life.

 

 —  —  —  —   

 

Fast forward almost 20 years and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the halfway house where another young Rizzo — Jimmy Junior’s cousin, Little Larry — and Frankie (Beverly) Vernace, both cooled their heels before being released back to the neighborhood within days of each other to begin vying for control of their beaten down crime family.

 

Granted they were born a couple of decades apart, but several members of the Ancelotti family were thought to have had much riding on whether the swashbuckling nephew of the family’s acting boss had matured since his days as a hot-headed street thug. Even prior to his 2021 arrest however, Little Larry still had three years of post-prison supervised release ahead of him, which wouldn’t really give him much of a chance to prove his mettle.

 

Because others believed he didn’t have the temperament and wasn't “boss material,” they perhaps swayed more so towards the elder statesman. But those who knew Little Larry well when he was younger also said he was lacking in tactfulness and simply learned what it was to have a good last name and used it to his advantage.

 

Good name or not, he’s had problems with the law for most of his life. Which is no surprise because when he was born, his mother was addicted to alcohol and his father was a lifelong gangster. His first brush with the law came in 1983, as his cousin was on trial, when he and his friend Ernest Galiazzo were involved in a negligence lawsuit surrounding an incident at a family farm in Upstate Liberty, where another teenager was seriously injured when an ATV collided with a tree. 

 

A jury verdict found his negligence to be a proximate cause of the accident and it wasn't long after that, in 1987, that Rizzo was indicted for being part of a cocaine trafficking organization in which he sold cocaine to an undercover officer on four separate occasions.

 

Rizzo and Galiazzo had been friends since they were 9 or 10 years old and, for approximately 13 years before Little Larry went to jail, they had spent every day together. 

 

So Galiazzo — by then an Ancelotti soldier — knew he had to do something to help Rizzo when he was eventually released from prison in 2004, following his conviction for narcotics trafficking which cost him 17 years in the can.

 

His first gifts to his lifelong friend were a brand new tracksuit, a Crowex watch, $1000 in cash and a pair of white sneakers, contained in a bag brought to the prison gates by a well known associate in a limo with an equally well known adult film star. 

 

Although on this occasion he reportedly couldn’t get it up, in jail, he apparently couldn’t stand still. He got up every morning, and they told him what to do. They told him when to eat dinner and go to sleep, and then they let him go. 

 

He had no idea what to do with himself. But the Feds nevertheless believe that he immediately returned to his position in the family and began engaging in criminal conduct. 

 

At least that was according to court-authorized wiretaps which captured Ernie Galiazzo and his wife, Ashley DiCesare — a former star of CNT’s hit reality romp Wise Bitches — discussing their relationship with Little Larry, whom Galiazzo has been friends with for almost 30 years, including the years Rizzo spent in prison for selling drugs.

 

In these conversations, Galiazzo suggested that Rizzo “go and buy a couple of trucks,” to give him an income and then form a corporation for the purpose of leasing the trucks to independent contractors because, despite his prison sentence, he had “perfect credit” and a “perfect driver’s license.” And sure enough, on Galiazzo's advice, approximately a month after Rizzo’s release, he incorporated a leasing company. 

 

Predictably, the feds tried in vain to wire up this leasing company, but instead solely relied on the evidence in question, which was gathered using a bugged mobile phone, delivered to Rizzo along with the other goodies upon his release, but later returned to Galiazzo.

 

However, all was not lost because, when Rizzo was arrested in 2005 on federal charges for muscling in on other trucking companies, he promptly called Galiazzo from jail. And shortly thereafter, Galiazzo obtained a copy of the indictment from Little Larry’s cousin Al Rizzo and became aware that Rizzo had pleaded guilty to extortion. 

 

After he went to prison, DiCesare and Galiazzo continued running Rizzo’s company – Galiazzo took care of the trucks and DiCesare handled the books. Ernie continued to speak to Rizzo after he was incarcerated and Rizzo called him from prison frequently to discuss things at home.

 

But even though Rizzo had been actively keeping abreast of family business right up to his sentencing in 2014 which netted him 12 years for murder, authorities knew that counting the aging Frankie Beverly out of the running would be a mistake. 

 

And despite the fact that Vernace, who had already held positions in the hierarchy, had initially been a leading member of the rebel faction in the ‘94 civil war, Rizzo knew it also.

 

Whilst locked up together, sources tell us that Rizzo and Vernace discussed the new regime and problems could’ve very well been on the cards, based on how those discussions went.

 

Maybe Frankie says to Larry “you're the boss, but you're not my boss." Or it could be that Beverly will move away and fool the feds just to disassociate.

 

As far as the ruling dynamic, I'm sure most would openly stand behind either one, just to keep the peace. But there will always be men who have lost someone, or something — status, business etc. — that if not given a serious position will have something on the back of their mind. 

 

Frankie Beverly for instance has proven his toughness, surviving multiple shootouts on the street and never hesitated to whack anyone, including police. In 2003, he was arrested for ordering four mob murders, including of a former prosecutor’s father and the arresting agents sought to get under his skin by calling him a cop killer, but Beverly supposedly told them he "(didn't) give a f*ck" as they walked him out in cuffs.

 

Vernace is without a doubt a stone cold gangster, yet some say he has an abiding ability to only not care when it suits him. Conversely, due to spending most of his life in prison, Little Larry is not only one of those who talks the way screenwriters think they do, but claims to have the bona fides to back it up. 

 

When informed of the incident above, Rizzo reportedly told his close associate:  

 

“Yeah he don’t give a f*ck, but he’s not like me. If it was me, I'd show 'em who's a cop killer. I’d go get a gun and shoot 'em, or stab 'em, or beat 'em,” he said. “I got nothing. They can’t f*ck with me because I got nothing to lose and they got everything. Everything to lose and nothing to gain by getting physical. I can get physical all day long. I can get crazy. I really don’t give a f*ck; what are they gonna do, put me in jail? What am I going to lose? My wife, my kids, my $2 million house, or my car? I don’t own nothing. I got no wife, I got no kids. I can act like a fool ‘cause I got nothing to lose.”

 

So there you have it folks. The reputed new head of the Ancelotti crime family. Until the results of his ongoing trial at least.

 

Let’s just say my money’s on Vernace 🙂

 

 

© 2023, Under World News

Edited by Jimmy Cast
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  • 2 weeks later...

Wineries, Witnesses and Women Caught in the Crossfire

 

As my darling wife of 38 years was quick to remind me this week, this coming Wednesday's International Women's Day. And although we sometimes argue about the everyday trivialities, I really would be lost without her. 

 

As I sit here alone and contemplating just how blessed I am, I'm reminded of the various women tangled up with the mob who one day left their house only to never return to their kin, some being denied the opportunity to even start a family.

 

Just a few months before my eldest daughter was born, one such female — Maria Barletta, 32 years old — left her apartment in upscale Lancaster, blissfully unaware of just what lay ahead of her.

 

And in 1989, as I was sat in a maternity ward counting my blessings, celebrating the birth of my youngest, Ancelotti crime family boss Giovanni Ancelotti must’ve been having an epiphany. 

 

Fellow commission member Vincent Lupisella had just been arrested on Federal Racketeering charges and, albeit unbeknownst to him, the feds had already begun looking for a way to nail another powerful cohort — Jon Gravelli.

 

Truth be told, he had been looking for a way out of the limelight he had once so desperately craved ever since his uncle had run afoul of agents and mobsters alike with his public displays against social injustice, before dying paralyzed and powerless several years later in his hospital bed. 

 

Giovanni, on the other hand, had already had his fair share of luck by avoiding a massive case in the middle part of the decade which sent many of his fellow crime bosses to prison for life.

 

And interestingly, the instigating evidence in that case had actually been from information given to the FIB by one of Ancelotti’s close associates — Ralph Serpico, but for whatever reason Serpico would not confirm that moneys he had received for being the president of the Cement and Concrete Laborers' Union of North America from 1977 to 1985 were being paid directly to Ancelotti — instead only stating that he kicked up to then family underboss Alberto Rizzo, which was technically correct.

 

When Tony (Black) Spoleto was indicted in 1985 for a gasoline tax scam, he also chose the fifth. But Ancelotti knew that, short of his lawyers one day cooking up a miracle, he would in all likelihood be spending the rest of his life in prison if he remained in charge, instead electing to designate day-to-day control to a proxy and live in his opulent mansion as a recluse.

 

This was a cunning move for a man who had taken the reins even before he turned 50, but as far as authorities were concerned, he was little more than a capo in the crime family as opposed to the boss. And it was a part he decided to play up to award winning levels by giving most of his orders through a trusted intermediary or “acting boss.”

 

His first choice for acting boss to supervise the family dating back to the late 1970s when he took power was Alberto Rizzo’s older brother, Girolamo, who had been promoted to underboss to replace Giovanni himself after his uncle's death and was more commonly known as Slim Jimmy even before his son Jimmy Jnr. was born. 

 

Both men were close in age and had been bound by blood when Ancelotti wed the favorite niece of former family patriarch Pasquale Pelosi in the early 1960s. Jimmy in turn was also related to Pelosi's wife and therefore by all accounts was a very suitable candidate. 

 

Much to Giovanni’s chagrin however, Slim Jimmy’s reign lasted only a few months before he lammed it to avoid a potentially long prison sentence for a conviction for extortion, having been convicted on May 1, 1980, of using force and its threat to collect $10,000, which he lent at a weekly interest of 2%.

 

He was facing 60 years for the loan sharking conviction and was on the run for seven years, but in essence the case had actually begun two years earlier. Giovanni had just been promoted and Ancelotti associated loan shark extraordinaire Boobie Stern had just been slain by the Irish Mob.

 

For months after Boobie’s body washed up, the family had tried in earnest to rebuild his black book and while 2% interest may seem like chump change to some, it was necessary to attract a customer base which would propel the likes of (Chubby) Charles Matteo and Jimmy’s son Junior to stardom in years to come.

 

After coming up smelling of roses at a bail hearing, Rizzo vanished into thin air, avoiding the pre-sentencing hearing and forfeited $250,000 in bail, having promised a similar sum to his long time paramour Maria Barletta for holding on to his black book and spending three years in jail when she was brought before a grand jury and refused to give evidence.

 

The “Too Long, Didn’t Read” account is that he was arrested in November 1987 while alone on a secluded vineyard drinking Chianti, after which point he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and died from cirrhosis of the liver at age 61 in September 1989. But the events which preceded his capture are a story unto themselves.

 

Rizzo reportedly had only $60,000 on him when he skipped out, but had largely spent the previous seven years living a life of luxury, despite his massive forfeitures and only having around $7,000 in cash when he was taken into custody. 

 

He stated that he simply lived on the charity of others and frequently moved from place to place using a variety of aliases. Either posing as a retired accountant, a rug dealer, or both. 

 

But insider testimony after his death alleges that he had found refuge via the Pegorino crime family's "underground network," which had supplied him with funds and phony identification papers through William (Billy Moonlight) Sasso, who, among his many other roles ran the Moonlight Express Car Service and provided a sanctuary for fugitive wiseguys and associates in the 1980s.

 

It was in Cottonmouth Correctional that Sasso met Rizzo, and both men were released in 1973, with Rizzo having served 17 years there on various beefs.

 

When Jimmy went on the lam, he lived for years under Sasso's protection as part of an operation that relied heavily on two Sasso associates, including one inside the state Department of Motor Vehicles who was able to make phony identifications and another named Silvester (Sil) Brandt — an aging restaurateur who, aside from his culinary endeavors, also arranged apartments from a principal in one of the state's largest real estate companies. At least, that was before he mysteriously disappeared.

 

For years Brandt had been a loyalist to Pavano capo Louie (Eyeballs) Spinelli. And before Sasso lured him away (as part of a takeover attempt) he had ensured an alliance by "buying" his debt to Spinelli, who controlled most of the gambling in Alderney for the Pavanos, who were arguably more powerful than the resident Pegorino mob.

 

Despite his ties to Rizzo, Billy Moonlight had gotten his "big break" when he shared a cell with Johnny Pegorino. And not long after his return to Alderney from Cottonmouth, he had embarked on a spree, seizing chunks of territory and pushing further west for his family which resulted in several wiseguys who posed rivalries to the Pegorinos quickly getting shot, blown up, or vanishing off the face of the earth. 

 

As part of this push, law enforcement described Sil Brandt as a lieutenant of Sasso who had helped him win control over a scattered network of largely independent bookmaking offices.

 

But the ties between Rizzo and Brandt didn't become apparent until federal law enforcement officials focused their search and combed Alderney's DMV databases, locating two of Rizzo's aliases. They also heard from tipsters that he was in western Alderney. Carrying photographs of Rizzo, deputy marshals canvassed the area and found several people who thought they recognized the fugitive wiseguy.

 

When arrested on promotion of gambling charges, Brandt was quickly linked to Rizzo through a whistleblower at the DMV. And when Slim Jimmy applied to Brandt for an apartment using an alias they knew from the same informant, the authorities were hot on his tail.

 

When questioned, Brandt quickly admitted he knew Rizzo while he was a fugitive and went under a different alias, but didn’t realize he was the same man that they sought. 

 

Released pending trial and sensing the heat was on, Brandt advised Rizzo to move to a property in Alderney's wine country owned by one of his debtors Marco (The Wine Gardener) Vignoli — a man who had first been introduced to Brandt as a supplier to many of his restaurants.

 

Surprisingly, Rizzo eventually also admitted that he knew Brandt but had never told him his real name, because he knew that Sasso and other men close to him already knew who he was anyway.

 

Further investigations into Brandt's supplier base threw up the name Pelosi Produce, a company owned and operated by Rizzo's in-laws, which also provided him with the necessary family ties needed to become close to the Ancelottis.

 

There was no doubt that the two men were more than just acquaintances and it turned out part of their participation in the agreement actually required Brandt to act as a sort of protector to Rizzo. 

 

In the summer of 1987 however, the agreement became strained over who was financially responsible for protecting him. He had no known source of income while he was in hiding and Brandt was paying for the majority, if not all of, Slim Jimmy’s expenses. 

 

According to a very cooperative Vignoli, Rizzo had consistently been asking Brandt for more money for several months before he was arrested in November 1987 by seven deputy United States marshals at Marco's Vineyard in rural Alderney. He states that Brandt was so upset about this that he complained about it to Sasso, but Sasso refused to help Brandt with the situation and that’s when he went missing (presumed dead). 

 

He was last seen by members of the public on May 18, 1987 at his business premises and had last been seen by his family on the Wednesday before. His wife reported him missing three days later on Saturday. Five months before authorities apprehended Rizzo, far away from the apartment he had been renting from her husband since February.

 

For several years Brandt had allegedly been wary of Rizzo and for good reason too. That's because four years previously, he had allegedly been behind the murder of a female. Which, even in the most hardened of mob circles, was a cardinal sin.

 

In 1983, Maria Barletta had just gotten out of prison, where she had served three years to protect him. As soon as news reached Rizzo, he arranged for her to come and meet with him, perhaps hoping to rekindle their relationship and take away the loneliness of being on the lam. 

 

Much to his frustration however, she apparently told him that the relationship was over and that all she wanted was the money he promised her for taking the rap for him. He refused to give it to her, saying that money was tight and she apparently threatened to go to the feds and reveal his location — at which point he allegedly ordered a hit on her.

 

A couple of weeks later, on March 5th, as she was heading home with some groceries, she was snatched outside her apartment building by Teddy Sciandra, a soldier in Ralph Serpico's crew, and brought to the Hardy Boys social club where she was shot to death by Serpico and disposed of by his son Ralphie, and four others, including Sciandra.

 

When Sciandra flipped, he told agents that when they arrived, Ralphie grabbed her, and forced her to the floor, where his father Ralph Sr. shot her three times in the head. 

 

She was then wrapped in canvas and put in the trunk of a car. With Sciandra and another guy following in a second car, Serpico Junior then drove Barletta about two miles away and dumped her body in the street, where she was found later that night wearing white high heels, designer jeans, a pearl-studded belt, a black halter top and identifiable only by an apple shaped inking on her backside.

 

Sciandra was arrested in 1994 alongside Jimmy's brother Larry Boy while attending a funeral for the latter's late mother at the Columbus Cathedral in Algonquin. By which point, like Slim Jimmy, he had already been a fugitive for several months.

 

Sciandra was initially indicted on racketeering and murder conspiracy charges. But because he had been deeply involved in the war, he was open to severe criminal charges up to and including a sentence of life. 

 

At the urging of his overbearing wife, he pleaded guilty to four murders and began cooperating. And a short time later he started testifying at several major mob trials and ended up serving only 4 years as a result.

 

In 2003, Sciandra signed himself out of the federal witness protection program and disappeared. That very same year, Giovanni Ancelotti was finally arrested on Racketeering charges.

 

Had Barletta lived that long, she would’ve been around the same age as myself, but Slim Jimmy and the Serpico crew put a stop to that. And although I’m not for one second suggesting that Ancelotti was in any way culpable, her sister Evelyn, who later identified the body, said that, although it would never bring her sister back, she was grateful that some of those involved had finally met justice.

 

 

© 2023, Under World News

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