Image by roberthuffstutter via FlickrBarney Frank, originally from Bayonne, NJ, was profiled last year in a piece by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, and according to the Congressman "his father was involved with the Mafia":
"Because Bayonne was such a sleazy place, nobody knew whether Barney was going to wind up in Congress or in jail" [said lawyer Alan Dershowitz]. According to Frank, his father was involved with the Mafia. "[Alfonse Frank] Funzi Tieri, a big-time gangster with the Genovese family, came to my brother David's bar mitzvah, when I was twenty-three," he said. Sam Frank died at the age of fifty-three, while Barney was an undergraduate at Harvard, and Barney took a year off to help resolve the family's tangled financial affairs. "The Mafia guys were very helpful to me at the time," he said.
Sam Frank "operated Tooley's Truck Terminal, near the mouth of the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City":
"My father ran a truck stop," Frank told me. "He sort of lived on the fringes. We're talking about Hudson County—Frank Hague was the boss—a totally corrupt place. In 1946, my father's brother Harry got the contract to sell cars to the city, and of course he had to give a kickback to the guys who ran the city. My father was a middleman or something." Sam was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about the matter. He refused and was found in criminal contempt. "For a while, he was hiding out from the cops in New York," Frank recalled. "I was six years old, and once I went to see him in the city, and we saw 'Robin Hood,' with Errol Flynn. The next day, the cops came to my first-grade class to interview me, to see if I had been with my dad. My father's sister, Aunt Minnie, taught at the school. She heard about the cops coming and went straight to my classroom to break it up, so I didn't have to talk." Eventually, Sam returned to New Jersey, and was jailed for refusing to testify. "They treated him nice," Frank said. "They let my mother bring him food. He served for about a year."
Given Frank's sexual orientation it's ironic that Tieri had an apparent relationship with his family. After all, according to former Daily News reporter and editor Thomas Collins Jr. in his 2002 memoir NewsWalker, Matthew Ianniello -- convicted in 1985 for a skimming operation involving several of his establishments -- allegedly "was sponsored into the Genovese crime family by Frank 'Funzi' Tieri." As this blog previously has reported:
Ianniello perhaps is best known for the dozens of gay bars and discos in New York City with which he allegedly was involved during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s including the hustler bar Haymarket, the tranny bar Gilded Grape, and the circus-like disco GG Barnum's Room. Indeed, no man had more of an instrumental role in gay nightlife in New York City than Ianniello, and although straight he probably should receive an honorary plaque recognizing his achievements from the city's Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.