Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alleged New Jersey mafia ties for President Trump's advisor

Kellyanne Conway coined the term "alternative facts" after President Trump's inauguration.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, is so New Jersey that her Secret Service codename is “Blueberry,” but what many may not know, is her grandfather allegedly belonged to the mafia in the 80s.

Jimmy “The Brute” DiNatale, Conway’s late grandfather, allegedly had mob ties and was a “significant criminal associate" of Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo – the heir to the Bruno crime family based in Philadelphia, according to a memorial service page and law enforcement officials who told the Philly Voice.

The page lists Kellyanne Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Conway as his granddaughter and describes DiNatale as “a reputed Bruno-Scarfo crime family associate who police say ran a gambling operation in the Hammonton area."

DiNatale allegedly made his money as a bootlegger and found multiple bars in South Jersey, officials told the newspaper. He was also accused of providing false alibis for Scarfo, and his nephews, Philip “Crazy Phil” Leonetti and Lawrence “Yogi” Merlino.

DiNatale – who appeared not to have a criminal record – was born in Trenton and died at age 69 from cancer in May 1983. His tombstone at Hammonton’s Oak Grove Cemetery even says “THE BRUTE” in all caps, the memorial page states.

His death came during Conway’s teen years.

At 16, she was crowned Miss New Jersey’s Blueberry Princess in 1986 and was later named World Champion Blueberry Packer, according to her interview with New York Magazine.

Conway has played a pivotal role in the Trump administration and became the first woman to lead a winning presidential election. She’s received criticism in past months for coining the term “alternative fact” and her mention of the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre.


Feds pick up John Gotti's jailed grandson and Bonanno captain on arson charges

At left, John J. Gotti, grandson of the
Federal authorities in Brooklyn busted the ​jailed ​namesake grandson of the late Dapper Don John Gotti along with ​a reputed Bonnano ​wiseguy who was acquitted in 2015 over the infamous Lufthansa heist immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.”

Gotti and Vincent Asaro were taken into custody Wednesday along with other purported mobsters, and are expected to be arraigned on charges ​tied to a 2012 arson ​later in the da​​y, authorities said Wednesday.

The arson charges stem from a road rage incident in which Asaro, a Bonanno capo, got so enraged when another motorist cut him off at a traffic light that he chased the other vehicle.

Later, after obtaining the home address of the guy who cut him off, Asaro ordered an unnamed Bonanno associate to set fire to his car. That associate then recruited Gotti and another associate, Matthew “Fat Matt” Rullan, to help him carry out the arson, the feds allege.

In the pre-dawn hours of April 4, 2012, the three drove in Gotti’s Jaguar to a service station, where they filled a container with gasoline, went to the home of the guy who had cut off Asaro and doused his car with gasoline, the feds said, noting that Rullan set it ablaze.

The fire caught the attention of an NYPD officer in an unmarked car who chased the Jaguar from the scene. The high-speed chase tore through the streets of Queens until the cop gave up for safety reasons “due to Gotti’s reckless driving,” the feds said.

The next day, the unnamed goon told Asaro about the arson, and the mob boss drove to the auto body shop where the burned vehicle had been towed to confirm that his order had been carried out, authorities said.

Two weeks after the Asaro-ordered revenge arson, Gotti, Rullan and another associate, Michael Guidici, 22, robbed the Maspeth Federal Savings and Loan, according to the feds.

In the April 18, 2012, heist, Guidici allegedly entered the bank at 5:45 p.m. and handed a teller a note demanding money and stating, among other things, “I HAVE A BOMB[.]” The teller placed $5,491 on the counter, which Guidici took, the feds allege.

Guidici then joined Gotti and Rullan, who were waiting outside the bank in a car, and they fled the scene together, the feds say.

Bonanno associate Christopher “Bald Chris” Boothby and Matthew “Mack” Hattley are also accused of stealing $50,000 in cash and hundreds of thousands in jewelry during a March 2014 home invasion in Queens.

Hattley and associate Darren Elliot, 30, additionally are charged with robbing a Long Island jewelry store at gunpoint in 2011, making off with around $250,000 in gems.

Gotti, 23, currently is serving eight years behind bars after ​pleading guilty to ​state drug-​dealing ​charges in ​Queens last month.

In 2015, a Brooklyn jury found 82-year-old Asaro not guilty of charges he orchestrated the Lufthansa robbery with James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke. A turncoat mob associate testified that Asaro and Burke killed a suspected informant with a dog chain. The defense argued Asaro was framed.

Five other men were rounded up and with the pair charged with arson, bank robbery, robberies of goods across state lines and firearms offenses in connection with the Bonanno organized crime family, the feds said.

“The defendants are charged with committing an assortment of violent crimes — arson to exact punishment for a perceived slight and robberies to unjustly enrich themselves,” said Acting US Attorney Bridget Rhode. The feds worked with the Queens DA’s office, the NYPD and Nassau County police in making the arrests, she said.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Judge hands Bonnano mobster eight year sentence for vicious assault

A reputed wiseguy from Tottenville's cooperation with authorities on other matters didn't help him one bit at his sentencing Thursday in an unrelated assault case.

First, Justice William E. Garnett shot down Peter Lovaglio's request to take back his plea stemming from a savage attack in a Richmond Valley sushi lounge 16 months ago, despite statements by Lovaglio's lawyer that he recently learned the defendant was being "handled" by an Organized Crime Bureau detective who advised Lovaglio, without the attorney's knowledge, to reject prosecutors' original plea offer.

Then, Garnett sentenced Lovaglio to eight years in prison, the maximum under a plea agreement the defendant subsequently accepted from prosecutors in January, for smashing the victim with a glass, blinding the man in one eye.

"This was a vicious physical attack," said Garnett. "No one has license under any circumstance to strike such a violent blow."

The assault occurred about 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 1, 2015, inside the upscale Takayama Sushi Lounge on Page Avenue.

Lovaglio, 55, who was garbed in a gray fleece pullover and blue jeans, apologized to the victim, Bonafede Forte, before sentence was imposed.

"It was a terrible assault," he said. "There's no excuse for that."

But, he added, he did not know Forte owned the restaurant, and believed someone had threatened him and his family at the time of the episode.

Lovaglio, an alleged Bonnano crime family member, has previously served time in federal prison for securities fraud, in which he was also on the hook for restitution of more than $700,000, and for collecting credit by extortion in another case.

Thursday's proceeding took a turn at the outset when defense lawyer Patrick V. Parrotta asked that Lovaglio be given back his plea.

Parrotta told the court he learned, just weeks ago, Lovaglio was cooperating with federal authorities and being "handled" by an NYPD Organized Crime Bureau detective, who arranged for the defendant to turn himself in about 10 days after the attack.

Parrotta said he was blind-sided by the development, and contended the detective had counseled Lovaglio to decline prosecutors' original plea offer in March of last year.

Parrotta said the offer was to plead guilty to attempted first-degree assault in exchange for a five-year prison sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Natalie Barros and Adam Silberlight confirmed the five-year offer, but said Lovaglio would have been required to plead guilty to the top charge of first-degree assault.

Lovaglio later pleaded guilty two months ago in state Supreme Court, St. George, to first-degree assault in exchange for a sentence of no less than five years and no more than eight years, to be decided by the judge.
Parrotta contended Lovaglio's constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel was violated by the detective's advice to the defendant.

Silberlight, however, told the court he spoke to the detective, who denied giving Lovaglio any legal advice or telling the defendant not to take the original plea.

With respect to the sentence itself, Parrotta recommended five years.

He said Lovaglio's cooperation with federal authorities in the past year has taken guns off the street and "made the community of Staten Island safer." He had no further details on the cooperation arrangement.
Prosecutors said they could not corroborate Parrotta's statement about the alleged gun busts with the Justice Department.

Barros sought an eight-year sentence, calling the attack "completely unprovoked (and) vicious."

She said Lovaglio's friend had gotten into a fight with another person in the lounge, but Forte, the owner, had broken it up. He even gave the defendant a drink on the house afterward.

The defendant later got a glass of water, called Forte over and "smashed him in the face" with the glass, she said.

Barros said prosecutors had extended the original plea offer last year not knowing the extent of Forte's injuries or if he'd be able to testify at trial.

Forte, 53, told the court he lost sight in his left eye and has no feeling on the left side of his face.

He said his injuries have forced him to sell the business, one he built from the ground up and relished running.

"Before this injury, I was an individual who was healthy and enjoyed life," he told Garnett. "This has been difficult not only for myself, but for my family."

"Please," he implored Garnett, "do not allow this man to walk the street to have the opportunity to do this to anyone else."

In imposing sentence, Garnett said Lovaglio's plea agreement was "eminently fair" and a five-year sentence "is not justified" given the facts of the case.

The judge noted Lovaglio potentially faced a sentence of up to 25 years had he been convicted of first-degree assault at trial.

Besides prison time, Lovaglio is subject to five years' post-release supervision.

Outside court, Parrotta said Lovaglio would appeal.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ponies belonging to reputed mobster make a run for it during snowstorm

There goes the neighhhhborhood!
A pair of miniature ponies belonging to a reputed mobster made a run for it in snowy Staten Island Tuesday morning before they were safely wrangled by passersby and cops.
The runaways, named Blondie and Jewels, bolted from their home on Wakefield Road in the Eltingville section around 10:30 a.m. after their barn door was blown open by whipping winds.
The tiny trotters wandered less than a mile away – and just outside Robert Stasio’s home on Retford Avenue.
“I just looked out the window to see how bad it was coming down still and I see two ponies. I thought I was imagining things!” Stasio said.
Dad Blondie, 9, and his daughter Jewels, 4, belong to film producer Julius Nasso, who was convicted in 2003 of a Mafia-linked shakedown of action movie actor Steven Seagal.
Stasio, 50, jumped in his truck and trailed the ponies to make sure they didn’t become roadkill.
“I wanted to save them,” he said.
Stasio, who owns a painting business, caught up with them at Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Avenue, where he and uniformed NYPD cops managed to grab the ponies by their flowing manes.
“One of the ponies got loose from the cops so I grabbed that one and then it was dragging me a little bit in the snow,” Stasio said, adding that the horses were shaking from the cold.
Off-duty NYPD cop Anthony Parante, also pitched in, using yellow tow straps to secure the horses to a lamp post.
“They were very well behaved. I managed to put it on them like you would a dog leash,” said Parente, an 11-year veteran who was on his way to work. “Never would’ve thought I’d see two ponies in the middle of a blizzard on Staten Island.”
Parente’s good deed got him a special shoutout from Mayor de Blasio Tuesday at an unrelated press conference.
“I want to thank our cowboy officer for having quickly addressed the situation,” the mayor said.
Police safely returned Blondie and Jewels to Nasso, who said the galloping twosome are from Florida and trained to be around children.
“My major concern was that they wouldn’t hurt anyone or cause an accident but thank god they’re back,” said Nasso. “The police were nice, they understood. You can’t blame mother nature.”
Nasso served a year and a day in prison for teaming up with the Gambino crime family to extort Seagal, his former business partner.
The self-proclaimed pet lover denied he’s a reputed Gambino associate.
“If any of that stuff was true, I wouldn’t be here right now and I wouldn’t be making movies. I never stopped making movies, one more successful than the other. If you want to write that crap, my attorney’s on standby,” Nasso told The Post. “I’ll come after you. You can write that. It’s libel. I’ll come after you with everything I’ve got.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Turncoat Philly mob boss memoir lands him in hot water with former mistress

Former Philadelphia mob boss Ralph Natale – believed to be the first sitting La Cosa Nostra boss to testify against his own crime family – is finally releasing his tell-all memoir this month.
Last Don Standing: The Secret Life of Mob Boss Ralph Natale is full of anecdotes about Natale’s violent tendencies “sprinkled throughout the book like locatelli cheese atop a plate of spaghetti,” according to a Philly Mag review by our colleague David Gambacorta.
While that sounds delicious to Clout, Natale’s ex-mistress Ruthann Seccio is none too happy that the married mobster, whom newspapers once dubbed “King Rat,” has kissed off their entire affair in a couple of sentences.
As in, we’re concerned that Seccio, 48, might actually be plotting to kill Natale, 81. He described her in the book as “the only regret I have.” Not so smart, Ralph!
Seccio, who still lives in South Philly, says she has been looking over her shoulder for hit men since 1999, when Natale flipped and “left me holding the bag.”
“For 17 years, I’ve been staying in my lane. If they would have done the book correctly, I would have stayed in my lane,” Seccio warned. “Now that you don’t think my life is worth it, I have to come back out. I’m coming at you, Ralph, with an 8-pack of TNT. If I got to, I will flip a car on I-95 just to be heard. My [expletive] life matters.”
Anyone get the sense that this might end badly?
Seccio said she carries a gun legally for her own protection and practices shooting at the range.
“I’m a great shot, believe me,” she said. “I just got another [gun]. I put a laser on it.”
Natale met Seccio – his “future goomah,” as he describes her in the book – in 1994, when she was sunbathing by the pool with his youngest daughter.
“I didn’t go looking for a bald man, my friend’s father, 34 years older than me,” Seccio said. “He came for me.”
Now, she said, she’s looking to “take down his book.”
Clout has a good idea where Natale is living these days – it’s within driving distance, we’re told – but our policy since Natale’s release from prison in 2011 has been not to disclose his whereabouts, for obvious reasons.
Last Don Standing is due out March 21. Seccio says, don’t bother buying it. “Why spend your money on bull-?” she asked.
But, coincidentally, Seccio says she has a helluva life story of her own if any writers are interested in collaborating.
Highlights include: getting “blown up by a stove when I was in kindergarten,” sitting in on “made” mob meetings, and hiding under her mattress with guns until being rescued by the Junior Black Mafia.
What else do you need?

Yo, that’s not John Lewis

 It happened again.
During President Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night, Rich Negrin, the former city manager running for district attorney, tweeted a photo of U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans standing beside “one of my heroes,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader.
Except that wasn’t Lewis. It was U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. Negrin promptly deleted the tweet.
But we can’t bust Negrin’s cojones on this one. Everybody makes this mistake – including Nelson Diaz’s campaign during the 2015 mayoral race.
Lewis and Cummings are practically twins. Even the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lewis’ hometown paper, wrote a quick blog post Wednesday with the headline, “That Wasn’t John Lewis — He Skipped Donald Trump’s Speech.”
"For what it's worth, Rich also thought that Joe Biden looked different sitting behind the president during the speech. We're thinking we need to get him some glasses. Or a better TV,” said Negrin flack Mark Nevins.
He’s kidding, people.
“Seriously though,” Nevins added, “that's not the first time someone has made that mistake, and when Rich looked more closely, he fixed it right away.”

Seth booted from Union League?

The story had the feel of what late-night comedian Stephen Colbert would call “truthiness.”
Ralph Cipriano, an ex-Inky reporter who now blogs at BigTrial.net, reported  Wednesday that District Attorney Seth Williams had been barred from his favorite haunt, the prestigious Union League on South Broad Street, where he has long been known to hold court with a cocktail in one hand and a cigar in the other.
Cipriano wrote that Williams was turned away at the door for not paying his club dues and later in the evening was still not admitted when he returned with a check from his political action committee.
Williams, in City Hall on Thursday morning for Mayor Kenney’s annual budget address, denied the report.
 "Not at all," Williams said with a shrug when asked if the BigTrial story was accurate. "It is what it is."
We hear Williams resigned from the Union League last year but could rejoin at any time if he starts paying dues again. And it is difficult to believe the august institution would turn away a former member, check in hand, at the door.
Nonetheless, Cipriano stood by his reporting Thursday, saying, “To quote the DA, ‘It is what it is.’ An accurate story.”
It has been public since August 2015 that Williams, who recently dropped his bid for a second term, was the subject of a FBI-IRS-federal grand jury investigation into his political and personal finances. He also took serious heat for the late reporting of more than $175,000 in gifts from 2010 to 2015.
Williams spent more than $28,000 in 2014 and nearly $19,000 in 2015 from his PAC funds at the Union League on dues, meals, and other expenses, according to campaign finance reports.
He apparently quit that practice last year, spending almost nothing from his PAC at the club, according to a 2016 campaign finance report filed Jan. 31. That report listed a $47.50 refund the PAC paid Williams for a “Union League expense.”


NJ mob soldier sent back to jail after road rage incident is caught on video

Jerry Balzano was captured on dashcam footage cursing and threatening the other driver as the victim's terrified wife called 911A convicted mobster’s road-rage fit has now got him parked in jail.

Jerry Balzano — out on supervised release for racketeering conspiracy — was driving upstate when another motorist apparently did something he didn’t like, according to a new bombshell video obtained by the Daily News.

Video from the other driver’s dashcam shows the alleged soldier of New Jersey’s notorious DeCavalcante crime family in front of a driver traveling in the left lane.

Balzano slows down, then gets out.

“You want to play f------ games, you little c---------,” Balzano says.

“You want to cut me off like a tough guy?” he adds.

The profanity-laced assault can be heard — along with the driver’s wife frantically calling 911.

“Someone is hitting my husband!” she says, before a thud can be heard. “Oh my gosh!”

Another driver stops and tells Balzano to go back to his car.

Balzano, 54, is seen getting back into his vehicle and driving off — even though he didn’t even possess a valid license to drive a car.

The identity of the other motorist has not been made public.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn did not provide a date or location for where the alleged road rage took place.

New York State Police declined comment when asked about the incident.

As a result, Balzano’s on the hot seat with the feds for the incident, while also facing a state harassment case.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors played the video for Judge Kiyo Matsumoto — and Balzano was ordered detained on March 8, authorities told the Daily News Monday.

Balzano is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

He now faces a violation of supervised release hearing next month, court papers show.

This is the second time prosecutors said Balzano violated his supervised release after serving an almost two-year sentence.

The first time, he ended up getting another four months in the slammer.

During Balzano’s first violation of supervised release, he admitted to having a firearm and ammunition.

Balzano lied to his probation officer at the time, saying the weapon wasn’t his, prosecutors said.

Balzano was one of more than 100 mobsters and associates charged by the feds in a sweeping set of indictments in 2011.

Balzano’s original 2011 conviction involved a plan to distribute 1,400 packs of contraband cigarettes and the theft of a $15,000 tax refund check.

He ended with an almost two-year sentence following his conviction.

His lawyer, Gary Schoer, declined comment Monday afternoon.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Major mob case in jeopardy of falling apart

They could soon be breaking out the Chianti on Arthur Avenue.

A group of reputed mobsters may be spared a trip up the river because the criminal case against them has run into big trouble — thanks to some bungling by the feds, The Post has learned.

Reputed Genovese capo Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello — who owns the Bronx sauce joint Pasquale’s Rigoletto Ristorante on Arthur Avenue — and notorious Philly mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey’’ Merlino are among 46 Mafiosi now hoping the charges may be dropped against them in their racketeering case.

The group, which includes members of four of the five major Mafia crime families, was rounded up in a massive bust in August.

But federal prosecutors last week alerted their defense lawyers that two FBI agents and a supervising agent in the case are being probed internally about their interactions with a key witness, sources told The Post.

The government is investigating a failure by the agents to memorialize debriefings with witness, John Rubio, a Genovese associate who wore a wire against his cronies, according to a sealed letter to the court last week.

Prosecutors also warned that the government may have failed to preserve certain communications with Rubio — raising questions about whether evidence collected by the government witness was suppressed, according to people with knowledge of the letter.
Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello
“Skinny Joey” Merlino

Agents may have also leaked confidential case information to Gangland News, a well-read blog about organized crime, one source said.

The FBI declined to comment, as did the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office.

Word of potential holes in the case — which alleges arson, assault, extortion and a litany of other offenses — had defendants plotting how to get the charges dropped, sources said.

“The problem is, if they cheated a little bit, they cheated a lot,” one source said. Another source said the letter comes amid concerns by the defense that certain wiretaps are missing.

The government’s case hinges heavily on wiretaps produced by Rubio, who worked for both Parrello and Merlino — two of the biggest names in the case, according to the feds.

Rubio initially worked for Parrello and then went to work for Merlino after Parrello gave the government stoolie permission to work for the accused boss of the Philadelphia Mafia, the feds said at the time of the arrests.

Evidence collected by Rubio contributed to allegations that Parrello ordered his men to beat a panhandler who was bothering female customers of Rigoletto, according to the feds.

Rubio also collected evidence showing that Parrello allegedly ordered his men to “threaten and intimidate” a guy who ran an illegal gambling establishment on Saw Mill River Road in Yonkers, the feds have said.

On one occasion, Parrello allegedly told his men to get a guy named Buddy to choke the victim. “I want Buddy to choke him, choke him, actually choke the mother—–r … and tell him, ‘Listen to me … next time I’m not gonna stop choking … I’m gonna kill you,’” according to the feds.


Taking down Vinny Gorgeous paid off for top NYPD cop

; to print;
When the feds crippled the Bonanno crime family in the late 2000s, there was a surprising winner — one of the NYPD’s highest ranking officers.

Assistant Chief Edward Delatorre, a major real estate investor in the Bronx, scooped up four properties owned by or connected to acting boss Vincent Basciano — aka “Vinny Gorgeous” — and a mob captain, Dominick Cicale, who pleaded guilty to murder and testified against his old boss.

Delatorre’s bounty includes a piece of mafia history — a lot on Robinson Ave. where the gang held their induction ceremonies in the mid-2000s.

It also includes a series of complicated transactions for an apartment building that actually resulted in the mob essentially owing the chief’s wife more than $650,000.

Delatorre was the subject of a WNYC story last year revealing that he owns a private security company, did business with local Bronx politicians, and bought the properties of a missing loan shark at a below market price from the man’s grieving daughter while the NYPD was still investigating the disappearance.

John Laffey, a retired deputy chief who now teaches criminal justice at Molloy College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said Delatorre is a good guy and a good commander, but it’s time for the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate.

“The number of instances that involve people who have been involved in organized crime would raise an alarm,” Laffey said. “The investigation is to protect the interests of Chief Delatorre, because these transactions might be absolutely innocent. And it also needs to protect the reputation of the New York City Police Department as well as the City of New York.”

City employees are barred from using their positions and insider knowledge for personal gain. And police officers are barred from associating with known criminals. It’s unclear if any of the chief’s deals violate these rules since the NYPD wouldn’t comment on his activities.

The department requires about 130 top officials each year to file financial disclosure forms with the city's Conflicts of Interest Board, which has five people to go through more than 9,000 such forms each year.

WNYC has reported that millions of dollars in outside income flowing through the upper ranks of the department with little oversight inside or out. Asked about the issue in November, Police Commissioner James O'Neill defended the current system.

“I’m not going to talk about any one case or any one person individually, but I will tell you that we have rules that we have to follow,” O’Neill said. "As long as ... there’s no issues there, we're not going to conduct any further investigation, but if something does appear out of the ordinary then we'll follow up on that.”

There have been some high profile examples over the years of NYPD officers getting too close to organized crime.

Among the more infamous was the case of a couple of detectives who killed for the mob in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Delatorre’s lawyer Hayes Young said the chief never interacted with or received money from mobsters, and characterized the purchases as arm’s length transactions between the chief’s wife and a small Bronx-based bank, Ponce De Leon Federal Bank.

Records show Ponce De Leon loaned money to a number of mob-connected properties and construction projects in the Bronx during the early 2000s.

"Vinny Gorgeous," in a 2011 photo.

Delatorre declined multiple interview requests, and while his attorney answered some questions over the phone, he canceled multiple interviews to explain the deals further.

The NYPD declined an interview request and instead provided a statement: “The New York City Conflict-of-Interest Board (COIB) oversees the requirements for disclosure of personal financial interests by certain executive-level members of city agencies, including the NYPD. Any allegations of potential impropriety by members of the NYPD are referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau for review and investigation as deemed appropriate.”

The NYPD said outside employment is not unique to police and the department follows the citywide rules.


By March 2011, Ponce De Leon had been trying for years to unwind $650,000 in loans it made in 2003 and 2004 to ADL Construction LLC, which was building an eight-unit apartment building at 869 E. 217th Street.

The “D” in ADL is Dominick Cicale, a Bonanno captain who pleaded guilty to murder and testified against acting boss Vincent Basciano. The "A" in ADL was Basciano's wife, and the “L” was Cicale's girlfriend.

The loans went bad after Basciano and Cicale were arrested in late 2004 and early 2005, and the property was tied up in lawsuits for years. Cicale was alleging from behind bars that the bank tried to fraudulently help take his property after he was arrested.

Caught in this legal tangle, the bank decided to get rid of the defaulted loan. In March 2011, Ponce De Leon sold the ADL Construction debt to an entity incorporated that same month: Chen Wang Realty Corp.

The documents are signed by Delatorre’s wife, a licensed real-estate broker and former Nassau County prosecutor. That means the mob owed more than $650,000 to the wife of one of the highest ranking police officers in the city.

Six months later, in September 2011, Chen Wang took ownership of the property at a foreclosure auction. A little over two years later, she transferred the property to a company she owned with her husband the chief.

Attorney Hayes Young said Delatorre's wife was the sole owner of Chen Wang.

It could matter, because the NYPD prohibits officers from associating with known criminals, although, it's unclear if taking over the loan of a convicted murderer would count. The department declined to say if it would violate the patrol guide.

Young said the chief's wife is a sophisticated investor and was behind the deals. But records show the chief is intimately involved in the couple's real estate investments.

In 2015, the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development filed a complaint in Bronx Housing Court over living conditions at 4173 Third Ave., which Delatorre and his wife bought from a missing loan shark's daughter a couple years before.

In a court filing, the original law firm representing her asked to be removed from the case. The reason: an attorney said they were having trouble speaking directly with Delatorre's wife — whose name was on the official documents — and were instead referred to her husband, the chief, to talk about the case.

In addition to the apartment building, Delatorre and his wife own a piece of mob history: 239 Robinson Ave., the property where the mob held induction ceremonies to fill its depleted ranks in the mid-2000s. At those ceremonies, would-be mobsters sit around a table with a gun, knife and candles, and take an oath of allegiance to become made men. Cicale testified in a federal murder trial that the mob used the home, owned by his mother, as the site of such ceremonies.

Records show that before he was arrested, Cicale planned to develop the 239 Robinson Ave. home along with a neighboring parcel. A business associate, Alan Bolton, took ownership of both. But then Cicale was arrested. Bolton defaulted on a $990,000 loan from Ponce De Leon Federal Bank.

The bank took ownership of the properties through foreclosure in 2009. It was also a messy affair. Cicale and Bolton had a falling out and lawsuits were filed. Delatorre's attorney, Hayes Young, represented Bolton in those lawsuits.

A few months later, the bank sold the properties to MEDCM Realty Corp., where Delatorre's wife is the president, for $375,000. She later sold ownership to a limited liability company controlled by her husband. The original home where the ceremonies took place was torn down by late 2009. In its place is a brick, two-family home.

Young said the chief and his wife had no interactions with Cicale or Basciano. The properties were simply an investment opportunity, Young said. Young says he also never met Cicale. He canceled several meetings to answer further questions.


Borough commander Assistant Chief Edward Delatorre.

Multiple experts interviewed for this story said mob connections in certain industries are not necessarily a sign of wrongdoing.

“Legitimate businesses are the way to go if you are a successful mobster making a lot of money,” said Jerry Capeci, a veteran journalist who runs Gangland News website and is a top expert on the mob.

“You don't want to have the cash under the bed someplace. You want to have that invested somewhere where you can get legitimate income, pay taxes and be a quote ‘upstanding citizen’ if you can.”

Capeci said the mob still has deep ties to the construction industry even today. That means, dig deep enough into real estate records in certain parts of the city and there are likely to be traces of the mob.

Delatorre’s outside financial interests seem to have mob connections under every rock.

His attorney represented mobster Cicale's business associate in the foreclosure case involving the Robinson Avenue properties.

Delatorre's old business partner, John Collazzi, who bought some properties with the chief a few years ago, operated a local newspaper out of a building at 1111 Calhoun Ave., which was owned by one of Basciano's partners in the construction industry.

That owner, Mario Marciano, was once sued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in an asset forfeiture case during the early 1990s, an offshoot of a massive heroin case dubbed "Blue Thunder."

Marciano is out of the country and was unavailable for comment.

His son, Marco Marciano, said his father won the case and kept his properties. Marco said the partnership with Basciano was short-lived and his father has no involvement with the mob. He said his father got out of the partnership with Basciano — called MSV Development Corp. — after learning of the mob ties.

Basciano spent 11 years in solitary confinement before he was transferred to a Kentucky penitentiary in 2016.

Collazzi, a Democratic district leader, declined comment.

Even the local bank, Ponce De Leon, had mob connections in the Bronx during the early 2000s.

Using public records and data provided by real estate data firm PropertyShark, WNYC reviewed all 400-plus loans the bank made in the Bronx from 2000 through 2005. At least 40 went to projects or properties at least loosely connected to the mob or mob associates. Half of those were actually signed for by people the government at some time prosecuted or sued for an alleged role in organized crime.

Interviewed by WNYC, former assistant bank controller Rene Gonzalez said he never knew about such connections and it's unlikely anyone at the bank knew about them.

Bank president Steven Tsavaris declined to comment. He said the bank is in the midst of a public offering and can't talk because of a blackout period.

Marco Marciano said Throggs Neck is a small community.

“You can make anything seem dirty,” he said.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Turnocat Bonanno crime family mobsters resurface out of witness protection in new reality show

Going from a life of crime to life in the suburbs proves to be the ultimate challenge in Oxygen Media’s quirky new half-hour docu-comedy series “Unprotected, premiering Tuesday, April 11 at 9pm ET/PT. The series follows the Cantarellas, a boisterous, old-school family that participated in the Federal Witness Protection Program after their testimony led to the conviction of one of the most powerful crime families in the country. Now out of the program and raising two teenagers in Scottsdale, Arizona, viewers will get an up-close and amusing glimpse into the lives of this New York family as they adapt to their unfamiliar suburban surroundings, try to shred old habits and stay true to themselves.
“‘Unprotected’ is a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy series that reminds us that at the core of it all, it’s all about family,” said Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President, Original Programming & Development, Oxygen Media. “The Cantarella way may not always be the norm, but they’re a delightful blend of clashing generations and over-the-top personalities. The pursuit of second chances will resonate with our audience, making everyone feel as if they're a part of the family.”
In the series premiere, after being offended by a not-so-great Yelp review of the family car wash, Richard and Lauretta track down the culprit in an effort to get the review removed. Meanwhile, Toni and Richie Jr. make a commercial in hopes of turning the wash’s reputation around. From running a legit family business to making new friends, the Cantarellas are putting their wayward past behind them and learning how to live life in the ‘burbs.
Meet the Family:
Richard Cantarella - Richard, the 73-year-old patriarch, is a former mob captain who turned on his associates in order to protect his family and remove them from the dangers associated with life within the mafia. Richard grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and knew everyone there was to know in town. At 18 years old, Richard met the love of his life, Lauretta, right down the block from where he grew up, and the two have been married for 52 years.

Lauretta Cantarella - Lauretta, the 70-year-old matriarch, is loyal to the core. For Lauretta, family always comes first: she lives and breathes for her husband, children, and grandchildren, who all live in the same gated community. Lauretta grew up in a fifth-floor walkup tenement building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and prides herself on being an old-school girl’s girl.

Tracey Accardo - Tracey is the daughter of Richard and Lauretta, sister to Paul, and runs one of the Cantarellas' car washes. Tracey enjoyed growing up on Staten Island and has been married to her husband, Eddie, for 25 years, having met him when she was 17. Tracey has a big personality and an even bigger heart filled with love for her family, including her two children, a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter.

Paul Cantarella - Paul is the son of Richard and Lauretta, brother to Tracey, and has helped run the family car wash business since the very beginning. Born on Staten Island, he met his wife, Kim, through a mutual friend and knew right away that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Paul is extremely family oriented and loves to spend time with his two children, Richie and Toni Ann. His favorite activity is to go to the gym with his kids.

Kim Cantarella - Kim was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Staten Island. Unlike her immediate family, who are primarily involved in the family car wash business, Kim is a stay-at-home mother to her two children, Richie and Toni Ann. Kim met her husband, Paul, through a mutual friend at the age of 20, and they were married three years later. She is particularly sensitive and blunt, and she worries about everyone and everything.

Toni Ann Cantarell - Toni Ann is the daughter of Paul and Kim, sister to Richie, and is the youngest member the Cantarella family. Although she was born on Staten Island, she grew up in Scottsdale after a brief time in Pennsylvania and Tennessee when her family was in the Federal Witness Protection Program. She plans to attend Arizona State University in the fall and study business, but she will still live at home with her parents.

Richie Cantarella - Richie is the son of Paul and Kimberly Cantarella and brother to Toni Ann. He was born on Staten Island, but at a young age he lived in Pennsylvania and Tennessee while his family was in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Richie recently graduated from high school in Arizona (where he currently resides), and although his parents want him to go to college, he would rather go into the family business.

“Unprotected” is produced by Propagate with Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Kevin Healey, Eric Kutner, Haylee Vance and Meredith Prunkard serving as Executive Producers.


Living legend of the Colombo crime family turns 100 in prison

John “Sonny” Franzese turned 100 in federal prison on February 6, 2017. Franzese, from Leonard Street, is the oldest inmate in the Federal Prison system and was denied compassionate release last year even though he is blind, deaf and in a wheel chair. Today the aged Franzese seems harmless, but that was not always so. In his day he became one of the most feared Mafiosi in New York Franzese is reputed to have killed sixty men. A ruthless man, franzese, Federal Prosecutors allege, once recommended that the best way to dispose of body parts was to dry them out with a microwave and grind them up in a garbage disposal. Franzese was also recorded on a federal wiretap saying, “Today, you can’t have a body no more…It’s better to take that half-an-hour, an hour, to get rid of the body than it is to leave the body on the street.”
He was born to Carmine “The Lion” Franzese and Maria Corvola in Naples Italy, although his birth year is a source of confusion. Federal prison records say that he was born February 6, 1917. However, his son Michael Franzese says that his father was actually born in 1919. In the late 1930s Franzese joined the Profaci crime family (later named the Colombo crime family) under boss Joe Profaci. Franzese bore a close physical resemblance to boxer Rocky Marciano, one of his friends. His first arrest came in 1938, for assault. In 1942, in the midst of World War II, he was discharged from the United States Army because he displayed ”homicidal tendencies.” Although never being arrested for it, court papers accused him of committing rape in 1947. Franzese operated out of New York City and New Jersey and was involved in racketeering, fraud, and loansharking. He is believed to have been elevated to caporegime, or captain, in the Colombo crime family in the mid 1950s and by 1964 he had been promoted to underboss. Frank Sinatra is alleged to have once kissed Franzese’s ring in respect for his high position in the mafia. In 1966, it is also alleged Franzese was able to avoid a conviction for murdering a rival and dumping the body into a bay.
In March 1967, Franzese was convicted of masterminding several bank robberies. During the trial, the prosecution produced records claiming that Franzese had killed between 30 to 50 people. He was released during the trial to attend his mother’s funeral under heavy police escort. In 1970, Franzese was sentenced to 50 years in prison. In 1978, Franzese was released on parole but returned to prison in 1982 for a parole violation. In 1984, Franzese was released on parole again. Franzese was never charged with another crime—until 2008, when he was arrested in the racketeering case and later freed on $1 million bail—although he would frequently return to jail for parole violations.
One of the most famous mob signatures is also reputedly a Franseze invention: the Mafioso kiss. Some claim that the “mob kiss” started when Franseze and Joey Brancato, both big guys in the Colombo outfit, bumped into each other one day on the corner of Lorimer Street and Metropolitan Avenue, and they kissed on the cheeks. The moment the men kissed, it became a street rule. Soon mobsters all over town were planting the “Franzese Kiss.”


Friday, March 3, 2017

John Travolta transforms into the Dapper Don John Gotti

Someone clearly made John Travolta an offer he couldn’t refuse with this part.

The actor, 63, stepped out with grey hair and a sharp suit in Brooklyn, New York, to play mobster John Gotti.

The Gambino family chief, who died aged 61 in 2002, was known as The Dapper Don for his classy tailoring and love of the limelight.

The film, called The Life and Death of John Gotti, is due out later this year.

Travolta has reportedly been trying to make the movie for years.

Travolta looks dapper as he portrays the mob boss

The actor is the lead in The Life and Death of John Gotti

Travolta has been trying to make the movie for years

His wife of 26 years, Kelly Preston , will play Gotti's wife, Victoria, and his daughter will play Gotti's first daughter, Angel.

Kevin Connolly, who starred in Entourage, is directing the film.


John Gotti's grandson gets 8 years in prison for drug charges

Mob boss John Gotti’s namesake grandson received an eight-year prison sentence Thursday as part of his plea bargain on charges of running a $1.6 million-a-year oxycodone ring in his Queens neighborhood.

John Gotti, 23, also agreed to forfeit $259,996 in seized drug profits as part of the deal reached last month with Queens prosecutors.

He was busted twice last summer on drug charges, including once in the very home where his grandfather rose to notoriety as the “Dapper Don.”

“The sentence imposed today by the court sends a strong message to all drug dealers that illegal drug trafficking in Queens will not be tolerated,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

“Drug abuse and misuse can destroy the lives of young people and wreak havoc in our communities.”

Mob boss John Gotti.

Gotti becomes the third generation of his family to land behind bars, following in the fingerprints of his grandfather John, his uncle John "Junior" Gotti and at least three other relatives.

When cops raided his residence last August, they discovered 500 oxycodone tablets and $40,000 in cash. The probe of young Gotti was dubbed “Operation Beach Party.”