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

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Former Colombo Captain talks succesful Business Tips

Michael Franzese, who in 1986 was ranked by Fortune Magazine number 18 on the list of the "Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses," along with the likes of former Gambino Boss John Gotti, has an upcoming book called "I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips From a Former Mob Boss."

Among some of the tips in the book are:

-Pick the right crew
-Enlist a consigliere
-Cut to the chase
-Master the "sit-down"
-Use your "street sense"
-Avoid Machiavelli's trap

Book excerpt: some high-stakes negotiation

Jerry Zimmerman was a business associate who had a habit of doing -- and saying -- the wrong thing in almost any situation. He was a smooth talker who ran his mouth faster than a mobster pulling a hijacking.

In 1977 I had the big guy manage an auto dealership I owned on Long Island. I was in the office one day when I heard an argument. Sure enough, there was Jerry railing away with another guy, who was unhappy with a car he was sold.

Then it was over. Jerry stormed into my office.

"I couldn't believe this guy," roared Jerry. "He demanded I give him a new car. Then he threatened me with some mob guy named Mario. I told him to get back in his car, pick up his spaghetti-bending goombah, and drive off the nearest cliff, because he wasn't getting squat."

A few days later I received a call from Tony, a soldier in my family, who said he needed to see me that evening in Bensonhurst. When I arrived he told me another capo with the Genovese family wanted to see me. We met the capo in a back room. Tony made the introduction. "Michael, amico nostro, Mario." We all sat down. Mario fired the first question.

"Do you know a Jew named Jerry Zimmerman?" It hit me like a ton of bricks. This was the car lot Mario.

"I know Jerry," I calmly responded. "He's with me."

Without blinking, Mario shot back. "He disrespected me to my brother-in-law, and I want him dead."

I knew the rules. There was no toleration for disrespecting a made man. Consequences were severe.

The situation was complicated. This guy was an old-time caporegime, and I was just a young soldier. If he demanded Jerry's head, I was supposed to serve it up. But this is where it gets tricky. I wasn't going to do it.

I told him Jerry had been around the family a long time. "No way would he ever be disrespectful to you or any other friend of ours," I lied. "He knows better." Mario argued that his brother-in-law would not lie, and because he was family, his word carried more weight.

It went on for almost an hour. Neither one of us gave an inch. These old-timers took the respect issue way too seriously. I had to end the matter before it went to the next level. A tactical retreat was the only way to break the standoff.

Sometimes it is better to accept less in a negotiation than to walk away a total loser, especially when a total loss could have a major impact on your business. In my negotiation with Mario, I quickly realized my goal was to keep the big guy breathing. I also realized I wasn't going to win unless I gave up something in return.

Mario wanted to come out a winner for his brother-in-law, so I offered a solution that would accomplish just that. I would give his brother-in-law a new car, and would sternly admonish Jerry for being disrespectful. He would be a hero to his guy, and Jerry would continue to breathe.

Mario sniffed the bait but said the big guy still needed some pain. Not acceptable, I said. After another 15 minutes of ego stroking, I set the hook. Mario accepted. Jerry would see the dawn. But I sure gave him an earful on the drive home.


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