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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trial Update: Mixed Verdict In Anthony Antico Trial

A 74-year-old Genovese crime captain was convicted of racketeering Thursday, but beat the rap for ordering the fatal robbery of a Staten Island jeweler-to-the-mob.
Prosecutors argued that Anthony Antico gave the go-ahead to a crew of thugs to rob Louis Antonelli because the jeweler was paying cash tribute to the gangster for the privilege of selling his gems and watches in his social club. But the stick-up went bad and Antonelli was fatally shot.
Defense lawyer Matthew Mari said the acquittal on the robbery count was huge, and not only because it would have guaranteed Antico spent the rest of his life behind bars.
"He (Antico) told me he's glad the Antonelli family will finally know he had nothing to do with it," Mari said after the verdict in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The jury rejected the testimony tying Antico to the heist by two thugs who pleaded guilty to participating in the robbery.
Antico was convicted of running from prison an illegal gambling club on Sand Lane in Staten Island, and conspiring to extort Mario Gulinello, a Brooklyn man who had won $1.6 million picking the winners of six horse races at the Santa Anita racetrack in 2004.
The FBI had a wiretap on Genovese associate Joseph Barrafato Jr.'s phone when he was discussing the extortion plot with Antico -- the wire also picked up Barrafato chatting with his dog named "Sparky" while waiting for Antico to get on the line.
The jury also acquitted Antico of shaking down the owner of a Staten Island bagel shop -- a charge that was largely supported by the testimony of former Gambino capo Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo.

Mamma's boy 'mob' son blabs

Whatever happened to the oath of silence?
A reputed mobster living under house arrest blabbed about his mom's surprise party so he could get permission to go, court papers revealed yesterday.
In a letter to the judge, a lawyer for alleged Gambino family associate Michael Scotto disclosed that relatives plan to surprise his mom, Patrina -- who turns 51 next month -- with a bash at a Staten Island restaurant on Sunday.
Even prosecutors were more circumspect, noting that they didn't object to Scotto's request to attend an unspecified "social event." The request was granted.
Scotto, 24, was among 14 suspects busted in April on an indictment that included charges that several of them ran a prostitution ring that pimped out a 15-year-old girl.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ex-Union Official Pleads Guilty

Michael Forde, the former big cheese of the Carpenters Union New York City District Council, has pleaded guilty to a "racketeering scheme that stretches back to 1994" as reported by Bruce Golding for the New York Post:
[Forde] admitted selling out his membership by pocketing bribes to let contractors hire illegal aliens off the books. Reading from a written statement in Manhattan federal court, Forde further admitted lying under oath during a 2009 deposition at which he denied knowledge of the shady scheme.
Forde was among ten union officials and contractors variously indicted last August on racketeering, bribery, fraud and perjury charges. To date, eight defendants, including reputed Lucchese associate Finbar O'Neill, have pleaded guilty in the case, and the others, including union official Brian Hayes and benefit funds trustee Joseph Oliveri, an alleged Genovese associate, are scheduled for trial on September 7.
Further reporting: 
"Ex-carpenters union boss Michael Forde pleads guilty to racketeering charges; faces 10 years" by Scott Shifrel for the Daily News
FBI Press Release

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trial Date Set For Genovese Capo Slaying

The Department of Justice building in Washingt...Image via Wikipedia
A federal judge in Manhattan has refused to move a Nov. 1 trial date for defendants charged in a Western Massachusetts Mafia murder case, despite a deluge of new charges and new arrests.
A pretrial hearing in U.S. District Court on Monday yielded little new information about the prosecution of the 2003 contract hit on mob boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, but did produce a testy exchange between Judge P. Kevin Castel and defense lawyers for Fotios "Freddy" Geas, of West Springfield, Mass., and alleged former Genovese crime boss Arthur "Artie" Nigro.
"I just don't believe we can get this case investigated and prepared for November 1," Frederick Cohn, one of Geas' defense lawyers, pleaded to Castel, who snapped back: "It's July. What am I missing?"
Cohn also told Castel the government has asked defense lawyers to appear in Washington, D.C., before a capital punishment review committee for the panel to take a renewed look at the case to determine if the death penalty will be sought.
The Bruno case has continued to unfold since it was transferred here from federal court in Springfield, Mass., earlier this year. When it was being prosecuted in Massachusetts, Geas was poised to stand trial alone and was charged with one murder. Since being moved to Manhattan, it has sprouted five new defendants and more allegations of killings-for-hire.
Investigators and witnesses have said Bruno, 57, the then-regional leader of the New York-based Genovese family, was gunned down amid a power play by younger rival gangsters on Nov. 23, 2003, outside an Italian social club in Springfield's South End neighborhood. His reputed successor, Anthony J. Arillotta, 41, also was charged in connection with the murder but turned government informant, defense lawyers say. Arillotta's alleged turning was a pivotal moment in the case, since he apparently offered up a wealth of information about other murder and would-be murder plots outlined in new charges leveled last week.
As of Friday , Fotios Geas and his younger brother Ty Geas, formerly Arillotta's reputed enforcers, along with aging mobster Felix L. Tranghese and Italian-born mob captain Emilio Fusco also were charged in connection with Bruno's death.
Tranghese, 58, of East Longmeadow, and Ty Geas, 38, of Westfield, were arrested early Friday by FBI agents and state police. Fusco, 41, of Longmeadow, is believed to have fled to Italy and remains a fugitive. Tranghese and Ty Geas are being held without right to bail.
The Geases and Fusco also have been charged in connection with the murder of Gary D. Westerman, a fringe gangster who disappeared three weeks before Bruno was killed in November 2003. Westerman's bones, clothing and jewelry were unearthed in April, within days of Arillotta dropping out of the federal prison system.
The most recently unsealed indictment was the fourth in the case and also includes allegations that the Geas brothers plotted to kill Western Massachusetts bookie Louis "Lou the Shoe" Santos, but never carried it out. The indictment also alleges they attempted to murder a union boss in the spring of 2003 who had run afoul of Nigro. Frank Daddabo, age and hometown unknown, was shot several times and left for dead, according to sources familiar with the case.
Fotios Geas and Nigro were arraigned on the new charges on Monday, entering innocent pleas. While Ty Geas and Tranghese appeared in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on Friday, they have yet to make it to New York to be arraigned.
Cohn said in court that Fotios Geas will face a potential death penalty for the third time in three years. Certain federal murder charges, including murder in aid of racketeering, are so-called "death-penalty eligible," but require sanctioning by the U.S. Justice Department. Federal prosecutors have twice declined to pursue the death penalty against Fotios Geas.
The cases have been continued to Aug. 26 for a pre-trial conference.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

On Pleasant Avenue, a Grisly Past Fades, and a Target Moves In

One August morning in 1882, a police officer discovered the body of a man in an empty lot on Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem. His clothes were covered in mud. His skull had been fractured, his throat cut. The stab wound was of such force that it penetrated to the spinal column. The police believed the man was a peddler who was the victim of a robbery, for there was nothing of value found in his pockets.
People lined up to board free shuttle buses offered by a new Target store, which is the new face of Pleasant Avenue.
It was one of the first grim acts to be documented on Pleasant Avenue, a street that once had trouble living up to its name.
Two years later, in 1884, a day-old newborn was abandoned on the avenue, wrapped up in newspapers, his throat cut. In 1935, Thomas D’Auria, 20, attempted to intervene during an argument between his parents at their house on Pleasant Avenue. His father killed him, stabbing him with a bread knife.
In 1949, Candido Perry made the mistake of reducing the price of a beer to five cents a glass at his Pleasant Avenue bar and grill. Some men with an apparent interest in competitive pricing assaulted Mr. Perry and smashed up the place.
Over the next few decades, Pleasant Avenue would become known as one of the most famous gangland stretches in the history of the mob. It was where Anthony Salerno, known as Fat Tony, ran the Genovese crime family before he was convicted of racketeering in 1986. It was where Francis Ford Coppola filmed the scene in “The Godfather” when Sonny Corleone beats up his brother-in-law.
On Sunday afternoon, a city’s focus once again returned to Pleasant Avenue, for entirely different reasons.
A new Target store was opening. Fifty years after a teenager who lived on Pleasant Avenue was pulled from the East River with 124 stab wounds on his body in 1960, nearly seven years after a man was shot at Rao’s restaurant at Pleasant Avenue and 114th Street for heckling a Broadway soprano in 2003, crowds of shoppers packed the neighborhood. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal was on sale, two for $4.
The Target’s grand opening represents a new era in the life of one of New York City’s most misnamed thoroughfares. Target’s advertisements for the new store, at the East River Plaza at 517 East 117th Street, featured a drawing of a little gray bird resting on a Pleasant Avenue street sign. The soundtrack of the day came not from police sirens but from the jingle-jangle of the Soft Sensations ice cream truck parked outside Rao’s. A bodega owner fiddled with his iPhone. The only Tony people knew was the one on the cereal boxes.
A 14-year-old boy who lives on the avenue said he heard something about the street being a mob stronghold years ago, but he did not know the particulars. “The Mafia is no more,” he said. “No gangs. Just regular people.” He could not talk for long. He was on his way to Target.
New York City’s streets and the residents who live on them have at least one thing in common: Their reputations can change, for good or bad. There were three homicides reported last year in the 25th Precinct, down from 35 in 1990.
Pleasant Avenue is no longer an Italian enclave, but a black, Puerto Rican and Mexican one. It is home to the Love Café, a laundromat, bodegas, apartment buildings, community gardens and a halal food cart. It is a short street, spanning just six blocks from 114th Street to 120th Street near Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive. At the southern end is Jefferson Park, and at the north are the red-brick buildings of the Wagner Houses public housing complex.
John Vitale, 51, grew up on Pleasant Avenue. He remembers when there were five Italian social clubs on the avenue, when even the car thieves stayed away out of fear of stealing a mob man’s vehicle. “I’ve seen guys leave cars running, brand-new Caddies,” said Mr. Vitale, who now lives in the Bronx but still visits the old neighborhood. “Nobody’s touching it.”
Though the mob influence in the neighborhood has faded, that old reputation lingers in small ways. One 56-year-old Puerto Rican man recalled the bad old days of the Mafia, and the dividing lines that kept East Harlem’s blacks, Puerto Ricans and Italians separated. Asked his name, he declined to give it, worried about the consequences all these years later.
It was shortly before 2 p.m. as shoppers strolled past a 68-year-old man sitting in the shade of the trees along Pleasant Avenue. He is one of the few Italian-Americans who still lives on the avenue, and he remembered the street’s Italian past fondly. “It was just like any other old Italian neighborhood,” he said. “People had respect for each other. Not like today.”
The man was happy to give the name of his pit bull, Cinnamon, but declined to provide his own (“You can ask, but you’re not getting it,” he added).
He pointed to the corner where Mr. Coppola shot the fight scene in “The Godfather.” He has lived all his life on Pleasant Avenue, except for the 27 years he was incarcerated. He was asked if the time he served was related to the mob history of the neighborhood.
“No,” he responded with a chuckle, “that was related to me.”


Shrink who said 'Oddfather' Vincent (Chin) Gigante was nuts outed as a fake

The prominent New York psychologist who bought mobster Vincent (Chin) Gigante's crazy act has been deemed a fake himself.
A federal jury said that Wilfred Van Gorp fudged applications for up to $300,000 in federal grants for HIV/AIDS research at Cornell University Medical College.
The verdict means that Van Gorp and Cornell will have to shell out upwards of $1 million to repay the grants plus damages and legal fees.
"This is a big deal," said Dr. Daniel Feldman, a one-time student of Van Gorp's who brought the lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court. "This is how taxpayers' money gets spent and how little oversight gets done."
Feldman, whose partner has HIV and who lost a previous partner to AIDS, signed on to Van Gorp's program to fight the disease.
He brought the lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act after spending more time on Van Gorp's sideline as an expert for hire in legal cases than on AIDS research.
Van Gorp became well known after declaring Gigante - the Genovese boss dubbed the "Oddfather" for wandering Greenwich Village in his bathrobe - to truly be crazy.
But Gigante's crazy act was uncovered in 2003 when the feds compiled evidence of Gigante talking lucidly on the phone, and he admitted his fakery in federal court.
"It was all so compelling and it was all such a fraud," Van Gorp said after the fakerery was revealed.
"I'm happy but I feel like crying because I hate that this is happening," said Feldman. "I hate that we spend money for these things and it's not being used as we thought it was."
Cornell and Van Gorp argued that the 1998 NIH grant was made before new drugs were proven so effective that the program couldn't find as many HIV patients as anticipated.
But District Judge William Pauley, who will decide how much the university and Van Gorp will pay, ruled that the government had warned the doctor about that.
Jurors said Van Gorp should have changed NIH updates to show he wasn't working with as many HIV/AIDS patients, noted Feldman's lawyer, Michael Salmanson.
"Dr. Van Gorp has spent his life researching AIDS," said his lawyer, Nina Beattie, after Thursday's verdict. "He was in the forefront since the early 1980s, before people knew what AIDS was.
"Dr. Van Gorp never had any intent or reason to mislead the government regarding the fellowship or the work of the fellows. He was disappointed in the verdict and plans to move to have it set aside."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Genovese Family Linked Construction Firm Sues NYC

A mob-linked construction company is suing the city for more than $37 million over its work on the Macombs Dam Bridge.
Schiavone Construction Co. claims the city shortchanged it by nearly $4.9 million on a $142 million contract from 1999.
The New Jersey-based firm's Manhattan federal-court filing also claims it racked up more than $32 million in extra costs due to poor city planning.
A 2005 affidavit filed by the feds alleged that Schiavone was tied to the Genovese crime family, and that company execs schemed to steer city money to a mob-linked trucking-company official.
A spokeswoman for the city Law Department, Liz Thomas, said Schiavone originally filed its claims over the bridge job in 2007, and the pending suit was filed under terms of a court-ordered stipulation.
"We continue to analyze these claims," she said.

Goodfella Henry Hill still living in hiding 20 years after film release

In a familiar wiseguy drawl Hill shakes his head and admits: "I did a lot of bad things back then. I shot at people, I busted a lot of heads, and I buried a lot of bodies.
"You can try to justify it by saying they deserved it, that they had it coming, but some just got whacked for absolutely no reason at all."
The former mobster, who is still in hiding 30 years after becoming an FBI supergrass, is reminiscing about his life of crime over tacos in a fish restaurant near Los Angeles.
He is back in the spotlight as the 20th anniversary of the release of Martin Scorsese's seminal gangster movie Goodfellas approaches this year.
The film was the story of Hill's wild life in the Mafia and featured an assorted bunch of real life capos, hitmen and psychopaths, most of whom now lie in unmarked shallow graves, or died of old age in prison cells.
By contrast Hill, 67, who was played by a young Ray Liotta, is alive and seems as surprised as anyone that he wasn't himself "whacked". The Mafia has a notoriously long memory for betrayal and the price on his head was reputedly more than £1 million.
When he set up a website only a few years ago it was inundated with so much abuse he established a section called Threat of the Week. A typical winner read: "Regarding your corpse goodbye rat."
While he no longer wears a fake beard in public Hill still does his best not to draw attention. His designer suits are gone and now he's wearing anonymous looking combat trousers, a pink short sleeve shirt, and a cloth cap pulled low over his forehead.
He nervously chain smokes Pall Mall cigarettes, his eyes darting around and clocking anyone who walks in. At the sound of a chair scraping on the floor he instinctively spins around to look.
"There's nobody from my era alive today," Hill says. "But there's always that chance that some young buck wants to make a name for themselves.
"It's surreal, totally surreal, to be here. I never thought I'd reach this wonderful age. I'm just grateful for being alive."
Hill was born to an Irish father and Sicilian mother in New York in 1943 and joined the Lucchese crime family, one of the city's Five Families. He excelled at his chosen profession, hijacking trucks, fixing basketball games, collecting gambling debts, dealing drugs and "breaking heads".
Goodfellas, based on Nicholas Pileggi's book "Wiseguy", details how following the 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK airport, then the largest cash robbery on US soil, he "turned rat" and sent a string of Mafia figures to jail.
It meant Hill had to give up everything he had ever known.
"The money," he laughs ruefully. "The money was ------- unbelievable. We never robbed nothing small or that was not a major score.
"The government said a couple of hundred million dollars went through my hands. But I just blew it on slow horses, women, drugs and rock n' roll.
"We partied five, six nights a week and I was making $15,000 to $40,000 a week. That was just my end. But I was a degenerate gambler. I could lose $40,000 in a week."
Despite the wealth and status his Mafia connections brought Hill says he was constantly on edge as people were killed all around him.
He describes his friends Jimmy "the Gent" Burke, and Tommy DeSimone, played by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, as murdering psychopaths.
"The whole ------- crew were homicidal maniacs," Hill says. "Just about every guy was a cold blooded ------ murderer. It was tough for me. I showed up with them when I had to but I was walking between rain drops. Every day I was scared.
"I never killed nobody – at least not on purpose. I shot at people but we didn't stick around to find out what happened."
Hill doesn't like to talk about the bodies he helped bury but admits there were at least a dozen of them. By 1980 he was in fear of his own life.
He says: "I knew I was going to get whacked and it came pretty close. So it was either me or them. I knew it, and they knew it. Initially, I had a lot of remorse and it took me a long time to forgive myself for what I did, for being a rat. But I knew I saved a lot of lives by putting a lot of horrible people away. You live by the sword, you die by the sword."
Those he put away included Burke, a ruthless villain believed to have been involved in at least 50 murders. His name was changed to Jimmy Conway in the film for legal reasons.
Hill coached De Niro on how to play Jimmy and the actor, legendary for his attention to detail, was on the phone five or six times a day during filming.
"He would call and ask 'How would Jimmy hold a cigarette? How would Jimmy hold a shot glass? I thought that was kind of weird at the time but he did a great job," said Hill. He even taught De Niro the correct technique for pistol whipping a victim.
Goodfellas ends with Hill going into the government's witness protection programme. A final scene has him standing outside a modest house, saying: "Now I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook." Hill explains that, in reality, he was unable to fully break with the past and kept in contact with people back home. Details of his location leaked, and the Mob nearly got to him again.
He was moved 10 times to areas including Nebraska and Kentucky, living under aliases such as Martin Lewis and Peter Haines.
In 1987 he was arrested on drugs charges and he was released from witness protection in the early 1990s, re-assuming his own name.
These days he is a reformed character - most of the time. Last year he was arrested for a drunken scuffle at a hotel in Illinois. He still goes to Las Vegas every six weeks to gamble but he's no longer a high roller. While he used to throw away hundred dollar bills at the craps table, now he just plays the slots.
At home he spends a lot of time painting, which acts as a catharsis. A typical scene shows a man being shot and falling off a building. Ever the entrepreneur, he sells his work on eBay, and also uses the internet to market his own spaghetti sauce.
He still likes watching Goodfellas, which he describes as "95 per cent accurate," and speaks with genuine warmth about Liotta, who he saw just a month ago.
Hill is less enamoured with Hollywood executives and claims that, while he made $550,000 from Goodfellas, he is still owed millions of dollars.
He is still in contact with the FBI and delivers occasional talks at which he tells "knucklehead kids" to stay on the straight and narrow.
His message to any aspiring young hoodlums among them is simple.
"Forget about it. Stay in school."


Two More Arrested In Genovese Capo Slaying By FBI

The FBI has arrested Ty Geas and Felix Tranghese for their alleged roles in the 2003 hit of Genovese capo Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno in Springfield, MA as reported by Jacqueline Jing and Jackie Brousseau for WWLP.  The feds previously have indicted Anthony Arillotta, the reputed capo who allegedly succeeded Bruno, Arthur Nigro, the reputed former acting boss in New York, and Fotios "Freddy" Geas, the brother of Ty Geas and a supposed sometime enforcer for Arillotta, for their alleged roles in the rubout.  Frankie Roche, the admitted triggerman in the Bruno slaying, alleges that he was paid $10,000 by Freddy Geas for the job.  Arillotta reportedly is cooperating with the feds.

Mob Canaries Take Court Pounding

The government trotted out the dregs of humanity to take the witness stand in the racketeering case against reputed Genovese capo Anthony "Big Nose" Antico, his defense lawyer said yesterday.

"A parade of some of the most disgraceful human beings on the face of the Earth" is how the alleged mobster's lawyer, Gerald McMahon, described the government's witnesses in closing arguments.

Antico, 74, is charged with shaking down a Staten Island deli, plotting to rob a $1 million lottery winner, running a gambling parlor and ordering the botched robbery of a Staten Island jeweler. The jeweler, Louis Antonelli, was shot twice and died in 2008 from his wounds.

The feds maintain that Antico pulls the strings in the Genovese family and ordered the robbery of Antonelli.


Gotti mafia man, Kevin McMahon, avoids life sentence by snitching on Charles Carneglia

He was the late John Gotti's lucky charm - and mob canary Kevin (The Midget) McMahon lucked out himself Friday.
McMahon, 43, dodged a life sentence for two gangland murders and was sentenced to time served - less than five years in prison.
The light punishment was a reward for his testimony against the Gambinos' fearsome hit man, Charles Carneglia.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein apologized to the grief-stricken daughter of slain armored car guard Jose Delgado-Rivera but said McMahon's cooperation was critical in the government's effort to dismantle the crime family.
The skinny, 5-foot-2 hood showed none of the swagger that he once displayed on the streets of Howard Beach, Queens, while hanging out with Gotti and his crew at the height of the mob boss' power.
After McMahon helped fix a jury, leading to Gotti's acquittal in 1986, the Teflon Don said McMahon brought him good luck and wanted him nearby at card games.
Prosecutor Roger Burlingame said McMahon's cooperation was particularly courageous because Carneglia and his mobster brother John had taken the homeless kid under their wing.
"The truly horrific thing about the Carneglias is the manipulation of a 13-year-old who had been rejected and betrayed at every turn, and they saw that as an opportunity for a flunky who would run through walls for them, a henchman at their disposal," Burlingame said.
McMahon declined to speak in court but poured out his feelings in a letter to the judge.
"I truly believe John Carneglia saved my life. . . . I was sleeping in freezing cold sheds and stolen cars," he wrote.
"My biggest mistake was when John Carneglia went to prison in June 1989 I should have moved away. Instead, I felt obligated to John and his family and I became closer to Charles Carneglia. This is how I got involved in these heinous crimes, which I sincerely regret."
McMahon participated in the 1990 killing of Delgado-Rivera during a stickup at Kennedy Airport, and the slaying of mobster Louis DiBono in the World Trade Center garage.
Defense lawyer Stuart Grossman said McMahon "cried like a baby" after testifying against Carneglia, whom he called "uncle."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Appeals Court Affirms Mafia Cops Convictions

A federal appeals court has affirmed the conviction of the so-called Mafia Cops who were nailed for eight murders on behalf of Lucchese crime family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso while "serving" with the NYPD as reported by The Associated Press
In an opinion issued Friday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found "no merit" to the appeal by "Mafia cops" Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. Eppolito had claimed he was denied effective counsel. Caracappa argued he was convicted on faulty evidence.
The Mafia Cops were sentenced last year to life+ in prison.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trial Update: Anthony Antico

One look at Anthony Antico sitting at the defense table and you swear he was born to be on trial for something.
By the way the 74-year-old Genovese family capo throws up his hands and mouths, “So what?” to a bugged phone conversation played back in court Monday afternoon, it’s a cinch the old goat is a natural. 
Accused Genovese mobster Anthony Antico is on trial for racketeering and robbery in the murder of Grasmere jeweler Louis Antonelli.
When U.S. District Judge Carol Amon gathered jurors last week for pretrial instructions at Brooklyn federal court, where “Tico” is on trial for racketeering and robbery in the murder of Grasmere jeweler Louis Antonelli, Tico occupied himself by burying every knuckle in his nostrils one at a time as if he were digging for Jimmy Hoffa.
Then he treated the courtroom to a matinee by licking his fingers.
Tico’s family said later that he was giving the jury a nose-picking show because he is “stressed” and the pressure of the trial is causing his nose to bleed.
Stress? Since when do mobsters show stress during a trial? Can’t a wiseguy pick his nose in court simply because he has the couth of an orangutan?
After all, they don’t also call Tico “Big Nose” for nothing.
No, Tico can relax, at least according to his lawyers.
Those federal racketeering conspiracy, robbery and weapons charges are bogus, Tico’s attorneys say, because Tico was nowhere near the El Sabor Tropical restaurant in West Brighton April 29, 2008, when Louie the Jeweler took two bullets in the chest.
Antonelli, who sold his jewelry at Tico’s social club in Brooklyn, died about a week later.
Prosecutors say Tico ordered the robbery of Antonelli because the jeweler wasn’t making his tribute payments.
Such is life when you make your living selling bling-bling to the mob. Mobsters love their bling even more than they love giving shiny gems to their wives and goombahs.
So much so, that when Louie the Jeweler showed up carrying cases of gold and silver rings, bracelets and necklaces made out of diamonds, rubies and sapphires, it should have been Louie’s pleasure to sell them all the bling they wanted and then kick the money back to Tico and the other higher-ups as tribute for sharing their space.
And by the tone of one wiretapped phone conversation between Tico and Antonelli, all was well at the social club in 2006 — even though Tico was calling from prison at the time.
“Miss you very much,” Tico told Louie the Jeweler without a trace of a hint that there was a problem.
Then Grant City role models Charles Santiago and Joseph Gencarelli showed up at El Sabor Tropical two years later and Louie the Jeweler was a memorial tribute.
Some robbery that turned out to be.
Although jewelry appraiser and prosecution witness Stacy Seger estimated that Antonelli was carrying about $250,000 worth of jewelry at the time, Santiago and Gencarelli skedaddled from the scene of the crime empty-handed.
Oh, sure, cooperating rats like Salvatore (Sally Fish) Maniscalco and Colombo wiseguy Michael (Mickey) Souza leap-frogged each other to cut deals with the feds and get on the stand to finger Tico as the guy who gave the order to rob Antonelli.
But there was no robbery.
It’s iffy to claim there was even an attempted robbery.
Prosecutors say Santiago shot Louie the Jeweler with Gencarelli at his side while Sally Fish, John (Wizzie) DeLutro and Anthony Pica stood lookout.
The other witness, Antonelli’s bodyguard, Joseph Aiello, killed himself a couple of months later. Now he’s too dead to get up on the stand and say whether he was the one who actually set up Louie the Jeweler for the hit.
That’s a tough robbery conviction to pin on Tico.
But all bets are off if the old coot starts picking his nose again.


Rapper Rick Ross poaching mob boss John Gotti's nickname 'Teflon Don' for new CD

"Teflon Don" was mob boss John Gotti's nickname. Now it's the name of Miami rapper Rick Ross' new album.
And Gotti's grandson's got a bone to pick.
The Miami rapper should have gotten the okay from his family first, Carmine Agnello, 24, told the Daily News Tuesday.
"My grandfather paid his dues for that nickname. That was my grandfather's life," Agnello said.
John Gotti was dubbed the "Teflon Don" after winning acquittal after acquittal in the 1980s. He was finally convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992.
"He should have asked for permission. A standup, respectable guy would come and ask 'If I could use the nickname,'" Agnello, who is trying to launch a music career under the name Carmine Gotti, said of Ross. "I think he's a great artist, but you can't just start calling yourself that to sell records ...He wants to go for that whole image, but hey, be yourself."
Then he took another swipe at the 34-year-old, whose real name is William Leonard Roberts.
"Only in America can you go from being a corrections officer to calling yourself Teflon Don," Agnello said, noting Ross' former career.
The choice of "Rick Ross" for his stage name also has gotten him in trouble.
Ross is being sued by ex-druglord Ricky (Freeway) Ross for using his name in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Ross' fascination with the mob didn't start with the album he released Tuesday. His latest mixtapes, also released this year, were called "The Albert Anastasia EP" and "Carlo Gambino." Both Anastasia and Gambino also were mob bosses.
Ross could not be reached for comment.

Mob rats in duel as stoolies finger each other in $1 million murder-for-hire insurance ploT

One of these two snitches is lying through his teeth.
A Genovese gangster who spent 18 years as an FBI informant was implicated Tuesday by an NYPD stoolie who claims the mobster hired him to be the hit man in a $1 million insurance murder plot.
A lawyer for mobbed-up Joseph (JB) Barone insists that his client is a righteous man who stopped murders and saved the life of a federal judge while on the feds' payroll.
"He was not just good at gathering information, he was the best they ever had," defense lawyer Jose Muniz said in opening arguments at Barone's trial.
"Better than Donnie Brasco."
Muniz contradicted the tale of NYPD informant Michael Cooks, who testified for the prosecution that "JB" was a cold-blooded killer eager for a big payday.
Cooks, a 35-year-old career criminal, said Barone offered him $100,000 to whack a Connecticut businessman. Cooks said he backed out over fears for his own life - and guilt pangs.
"I'm not a killer, that's for sure," Cooks said on the first day of the trial. "My conscience pretty much came in effect, and I let [my NYPD handler] Angel know."
Barone and his businessman buddy, Anthony Piliero, both 49, were accused of the murder-for-hire scheme set for last year.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Zack said Piliero held a $1 million life insurance policy on a fired former employee of his, Douglas Agnessanto.
Piliero contacted Barone in 2008 when the policy rates were about to skyrocket and asked him to arrange a hit, Zack said in his opening statement.
The killer was supposed to make the slaying look like a home invasion, Zack said.
Barone allegedly reached out to Cooks - who says he was previously recruited for a plot to assault one of JB's ex-girlfriends, but chickened out.
"What Barone did not know is that Cooks had been an informant with the NYPD," the prosecutor said. "And with that the net began to close around Joseph Barone and Anthony Piliero."
Cooks said he cased the street and the New Milford, Conn,. house of the intended target.
Barone began working for the feds after his father - a made member of the Genovese family - was killed by the mob, Muniz told the jury.
His recruitment of Cooks was just another ruse in a lifetime of doing the FBI's bidding, Muniz said.
"He was arrested for being so effective," the lawyer said "... All his dealings with Mr. Cooks were a farce."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Witness Describes Failed Mob Murder

The failed murder-for-hire of a Connecticut businessman was the latest in a string of botched jobs orchestrated by a Genovese gangster who's long been in league with the feds, a criminal crony testified today.
Michael Cooks said his first caper with mobster Joseph Barone -- who divulged his informer status as part of a desperate defense strategy -- involved a home invasion to rob $80,000 Barone said was stashed in the victims' freezer.
But after Cooks and an armed accomplice burst into the house and tied up a female resident with duct tape, there was no cold cash to be found.
Another plot involved a series of failed attempts to slash, run over or shoot Barone's ex-girlfriend, with Cooks saying he got cold feet over attacking her in full view of her infant child.
The woman, who Cooks said was named "Nancy," eventually fled the state unharmed, he testified in Manhattan federal court.
Despite the setbacks, Cooks said that in the summer of 2008 Barone offered him the chance to make "some real money" by killing millionaire Douglas Agnessanto so a former business partner, Anthony Piliero, and Barone could collect on a secret $1 million life-insurance policy.
Cooks staked out Agnessanto's house -- making videotapes that were played for the jury -- and cooked up a plot to hide in the bushes inside a sleeping bag before he chickened out and went to the cops, leading to the arrests of Piliero and Barone.

Colombo Mobster Begging For Witness Protection

Meet Michael "Mickey" Souza.
Before legendary Colombo underboss John "Sonny" Franzese pricked Souza's finger with a sterile diabetic needle in 2005 to make him a made man, Souza had built quite the fiasco-filled résumé.
There was the time he shot himself, Plaxico Burress-style, while tucking a handgun in his sweatpants. There's his arrest for boating while drunk. And then there was the time he injured one of his fellow goons while the two busted up a funeral parlor.
If an organization is no better than its worst guy, then the Colombos are indeed in trouble.
And what thanks do they get for taking in this mopey mobster? He's now turned stool pigeon.
Souza, 42, made his debut on the witness stand last week at the racketeering trial of Genovese gangster Anthony Antico in Brooklyn Federal Court.
He was facing 30 years to life for drug trafficking when he sought a cooperation agreement from the feds.
"'Hello, John,'" he wrote to John Buretta, the chief of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's organized-crime section, in 2008, offering to help "seal up" some federal cases.
"P.S. I am so ready to go to [the witness protection program] ... can't do this anymore," Souza concluded.
His testimony - and dramatic turn against the bosses - speaks to the Colombos' disarray and lowering of standards for supposed "men of honor."
"Their [the Colombos'] roster is getting pretty thin," conceded a law enforcement official.
Souza's troubles go way back.
He was "honorably discharged" from high school because "I baseball-batted somebody on school property," he testified. He instead graduated to loansharking, drug dealing and running a Staten Island gym called Evolution, where wiseguys and wanna-bes pumped iron.
And after assaulting his own wife, he was marked for death by his mobbed-up father-in-law.
But maybe worst of all was violating a previously unknown rule by exposing himself in a Staten Island bar owned by a gangster.
"You know, the rules, you don't take out your private part in a wiseguy's place," Souza said on the stand, in describing his past with the mob.
In Souza's bizarro world, "sitdowns" to settle beefs are now called "standups" - "you talk on the corner." And he paid the medical bills for a guy whose eye he popped out during a grisly fight.
But Souza said he sees the Mafia more clearly now. "There's no honor in this life. It's all about the dollar," he said.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Basciano trial not until 2011, if then

The death penalty trial of Vincent Basciano won't begin before February 2011 at the earliest. Judge Nicholas Garaufis has ordered that potential juror questionnaires be ready for February 2011. It is still up in the air if there 1) will be a death penalty phase since Garaufis has asked the Department of Justice to reconsider seeking capital punishsment and 2) if the death penalty should go away, whether there would be the need for a trial if the case is amenable to a plea bargain. Basciano is alreay serving a life term from an earlier federal conviction. Stay tuned.


Gambino Mobsters Complain Prison Is Bad For Their Health

These are the tough guys?
Nearly half of the 14 accused Gambino mobsters rounded up in a recent bust are whining to the court about their weak hearts, bad backs and other aches and pains.
The chief complainer: reputed boss Daniel Marino, who insists his bum ticker should be his ticket out of prison.
Marino's lawyers argued last week that the 69-year-old needs to be released on bail - or else he risks a stroke.
The alleged wiseguy led a gang of mobsters and wanna-bes arrested this spring on a litany of charges from extortion to sex trafficking.
Among their prey, Manhattan federal prosecutors say, was a 15-year-old runaway sold on craigslist for $200 a session.
Prosecutors called the sex crime a "new low" and described the players as an explosive mix of experienced criminals and violent up-and-comers in the Gambino family.
But from their cumulative list of ailments, Marino's crew make it sound like they are lucky to get out of bed in the morning.
Manhattan Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan has not decided whether to release Marino - but he and other judges sure have gotten an earful of gripes:
- Onofrio (Noel) Modica - accused by prosecutors of being a made man overseeing his own crew - is only 46. But he has been "physically disabled for eight years, in constant pain," his lawyer has said.
Modica had two disks in his neck removed and another two fused in the hopes of ending his chronic pain from injuries suffered while running a successful bakery, his lawyer said.
He has been released on bail.
- Thomas Orefice, 33, is accused of coming up with the idea of making money off of young hookers and giving a thumbs up to adding a 15-year-old to the stable.
Orefice's underlings were "the youngest, most dangerous and most active crew," Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig has said.
But when he was held without bail, he needed Percocet for a bad back, according to court records.
- Michael Scotto, 24, tested positive for opiates when he was busted. His lawyer said the drugs were actually pain meds for a back injury. The marijuana in his system went unexplained.
Scotto has been released on bail.
- Thomas Scarpaci, 35, needed his Percocet prescription when he was held in the Manhattan lockup. He also needed his Nexium for his acid reflux. He has since been released on bail.
- Steve Maiurro, 31, who reportedly rented an apartment for the 15-year-old prostitute, suffers from a ruptured disk and needs to be medically monitored while in lockup, according to court papers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bruno Indelicato Wants Out Of Prison

Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato, the son of the murdered capo Alphonse Indelicato, is trying to get out of a 20 year prison term.  Court papers filed in Brooklyn federal court show that Indelicato has filed a habeus corpus motion, alleging that despite his guilty plea in 2008 that the government failed to disclose a letter which contained allegations against Dominick Cicale, the turncoat.  Because he wasn't aware of the letter, Indelicato, said he made an unintelligent and involuntary decision to plead guilty to the conspiracy to murder Frank Santoro, the papers stated.  The allegations about Cicale, who was a key witness in the case which led to the conviction of capo Vincent Basciano, apparently involve claims he tried to fabricate allegations of a murder plot.  Indelicato gained notoriety when his father died in the infamous 1981 Three Captains murders during a battle for control of the Bonanno family, detailed in King of The Godfathers.  The younger Indelicato had a reputation for being  uncontrollable  and out to avenge his father's death, according to undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone. It was Pistone who remembered that Sonny Black Napolitano told him that if he found Indelicato in Florida to kill him. (Pistone never tried that). 
   Bruno ventually came back into the crime family fold and was close to Basciano. According to court testimony in Basciano's trial, Indelicato was involved in the Santoro hit in the Bronx. Prosecutors filed court papers deriding Indelicato's motion, saying the information about Cicale was widely known and that Indelicato knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty. A decision is pending.


NYC Anti Mob Agency Raises The Ante

Official seal of City of New YorkImage via Wikipedia
The Business Integrity Commission, the New York City watchdog agency which attempts to keep organized crime out of the waste carting industry, public wholesale markets, and shipboard gambling operations, is proposing increases in the registration fees it charges to meat, fish and produce wholesalers as reported by Candice M. Giove for the New York Post: "The mob-busting commission wants to increase registration fees for each wholesaler to $4,000 from $250. It also seeks to raise the cost of employee ID cards to $100 from $20 and double the price of background checks to $600."
The City of New York Business Integrity Commission

Ex-Carpenters Local 608 President Pleads Guilty

Seal of the United States District Court for t...Image via Wikipedia
John Greaney, the former president of Carpenters Local 608 in NYC, "pleaded guilty today as part of a cooperation deal with prosecutors and admitted sharing bribes with once-powerful labor leader Michael Forde" as reported by Bruce Golding for the New York Post:
Greaney, 50, said he took cash payoffs from four contractors to let them hire illegal aliens off-the-books and avoid making mandatory contributions to the union's benefit funds. He also admitted lying under oath to deny the scheme and obstruct a court-ordered investigation of corruption at the carpenters union District Council, where Forde served as secretary-treasurer until he was busted last year.
Greaney was among ten union officials and contractors variously indicted last August on racketeering, bribery, fraud and perjury charges, and is the seventh to plead guilty.  The three remaining defendants -- Forde, Brian Hayes and Joseph Olivieri -- are scheduled for trial in September, and Olivieri "allegedly has longstanding ties to the Genovese crime family."  Last month the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced in a press release that federal Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. "has appointed a Review Officer to oversee the operations of the Carpenters Union New York City District Council and its Benefit Funds."
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Picky, picky! 'Nose' is gross

Say it's snot so.
A reputed crime-family captain, with the nom-de-mob "Big Nose," dug in for some nasal gabagool during an appearance in Brooklyn federal court yesterday -- picking and pulling the entire time the judge instructed the jury on deliberations.
Then he disgustingly licked every finger.
Anthony Antico, 74, who is on trial on for a variety of racketeering charges, spent a good 10 minutes probing his proboscis.
Relatives at the trial swear that the alleged mobster -- who has health problems -- is so stressed that it's making his nose bleed.
Anthony Antico.

Anthony Antico.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feds Apply Pressure On Colombo Boss Tommy Shots To Flip With New Cop Murder Charges

Ruthless, toothless former Colombo crime boss Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli is now accused of killing a city cop, the Daily News has learned.
Gioeli has been charged in a new federal indictment with participating in the 1997 murder of off-duty NYPD cop Ralph Dols in Brooklyn.
Gioeli, 57, passed on the order from then-consigliere Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace to underlings to gun down the cop because he had married Cacace's ex-wife, the feds say.
That brings to six the number of gangland slayings Gioeli is tied to - three of which he could face the death penalty for, including Dols' murder.
Sources said Gioeli's role in the cop killing was confirmed by capo Dino (Big Dino) Calabro, who agreed to become a government snitch earlier this year.
Gioeli has pleaded not guilty to the new charges.
The decision whether to seek the death penalty could be made by the U.S. attorney general in the next 60 days.
Defense lawyer Carl Herman predicted in court that the government would not seek the ultimate punishment.
Since his arrest two years ago, Gioeli has complained of a litany of health and dental woes at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Jeweler gunned down for dissing high-ranking member of Genovese crime family: feds

                                                                        Louis Antonelli

A mobbed-up Staten Island jeweler fatally shot in a botched robbery was targeted because he disrespected a high-ranking mobster in the Genovese crime family, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.
Louis Antonelli's offense was failing to kick up cash tributes to capo Anthony Antico for the privilege of peddling gems in Antico's social club, Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri said in opening arguments of the gangster's racketeering trial.
Antonelli, 43, was gunned down on April 29, 2008, in West Brighton, S.I., as he was approaching his vehicle shortly after retrieving jewelry from a nearby storage facility.
Defense lawyer Gerald McMahon blasted the government witnesses lined up to testify against the 74-year-old Antico, calling mob associate Stefan Cicale "a chain saw murderer" for dismembering a gangland victim and former Gambino capo Michael DiLeonardo "a mass murderer."
Later, Federal Judge Carol Amon got the lawyer to concede that Cicale chopped up the victim's corpse, making him merely a "desecrater of the deceased."
Antico is charged with illegal gambling, giving his approval to a crew of thugs to rob Antonelli in 2008 and the extortions of a bagel shop and a lottery winner.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Crime Family Movie Could Be A Real "Hit"

The man who made Mafia history by testifying against his own father wants another shot at glory -- John Franzese Jr. has written a treatment for a screenplay about life with his dad, John "Sonny" Franzese.
Franzese Jr., whose testimony in Brooklyn federal court helped send the doddering 93-year-old don to prison for, most likely, the rest of his life, recalls an idyllic suburban childhood filled with the "fun and excitement" of hanging out with some of the most famous figures in the sports world -- and the underworld.
"I was his favorite son, without a doubt, and he was my idol and hero," he recalls in the proposal, which boasts a title long enough to fill a couple of screens -- "The John Franzese Story: From a Loving, Devoted Son to a Mafia Man to Hopeless Drug Addict to a Life."
DADDY DEAREST: John Franzese with wife Tina in a wedding 
John Franzese with wife Tina in a wedding photo. 
Boxers like Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta and Rocky Marciano would visit the family's Roslyn, LI, home, he says in the treatment, exclusively obtained by The Post.
He happily remembers how he and his six siblings were welcomed in the Mets clubhouse.
And how his dad's pals treated him like royalty.
"People gave me things for free all the time," he says. "When I came around, all the known gangsters came by to say hello. My day was all fun and excitement. It was obvious to me I was being known, and known all over, and I loved it!"
When he played Little League, his dad would show up "with a crowd of people, many of them gangsters considered to be 'with him.' "
"I started to notice a change in the coaches, the parents, and the tone of the whole practice when my father showed up. He wasn't an actor or famous politician, but everyone noticed, was mesmerized by his presence," he says.
Eventually, he says, he started scoring heroin and coke from his family's mob buddies in Williamsburg.
"It seemed to me, as an 18-year-old boy/man, the neighborhood welcomed me with open arms and wallets," he recalls. But even though his dad took him into the family business, he never was fully trusted because of his addiction.
Hinting at why he turned against his father, he says that everything he did -- including choosing a life of crime -- was to earn his dad's love.
"So I would stand up to the task of making him proud because I needed to feel that way, whatever it took," he writes.
"And that meant depleting myself of myself, retiring anything and everything of who I was for who I needed to be.
"I had to sacrifice everything I loved, everything I was before this life of crime, all my past. My former childhood friends, girlfriends, sensitivity, feelings, everything!"

Aged Colombo Crime Bosses Complain Of Teeth Problems

The ruthless Colombo crime family is going toothless.
A second jailed boss is flapping his gums to a judge about dental problems.
After Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan promised he would try to help former acting boss Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli get an appointment with the prison dentist, another complaint cropped up.
"We have a dental problem also," said lawyer Susan Kellman, who represents former acting boss Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace.
"My client has no teeth on top, and one of his teeth on the bottom is missing," she said. "He can't go to trial with no teeth."
Cacace's sunken mouth was concealed on Friday behind a new bushy beard.
"I'll work on it," the judge said.
Cacace, 69, is charged with ordering the murder of off-duty NYPD cop Ralph Dols because he felt disrespected when his ex-wife married the police officer.
Although Cacace only recently broke his upper denture, Gioeli's dental problems have been dragging on for nearly two years.
By the time Gioeli's dentures were finally delivered to the jail recently, they no longer fit, said defense lawyer Carl Herman.
"His mouth configuration has changed, and I don't want him in front of a jury with no teeth," Herman added.
Kellman said medical appointments have been canceled in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park because everyone is on lockdown since the air conditioning conked out. This week the temperature in the facility rose to a stifling 108 degrees, she said.
Chief Judge Raymond Dearie told the Daily News he has been in regular contact with the MDC warden since June 4 about renting air conditioning units, but he was unaware of a lockdown.
Gioeli, 57, is also charged with several murders and both gangsters could face the death penalty.
Last week, 93-year-old Colombo underboss John "Sonny" Franzese joined them at the MDC after he was convicted of racketeering. Franzese has numerous health problems, but none involve his teeth - so far.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Anthony Urso's Saga

Federal Bureau of Investigation mugshot of Ant...Image via Wikipedia

In a little noticed letter he wrote in 2005 just before sentencing, former Bonanno acting boss Anthony "Tony Green" Urso, related how he thought turncoat underboss Sal Vitale, Joseph Massino's brother-in-law, got him involved in racketeering action so that if he refused Vitale could justify killing him.  As Urso explained it, Vitale was jealous of him because had a close relationship with Massino. "Vitale was my biggest enemy within the family, so much so that on several occasions (sic) he (Vitale) attempted to have me killed by bringing false accusations against me. These accusations were dismissed as ridiculous by Massino because he knew of the jealousy on Vitale's part and he knew that I was a loyal friend to him."  Urso was Massino's driver. Because he is dyslexic and can't read or write, Urso had someone else write the letter to Judge Nicholas Garaufis in the hopes of getting a sentence less than 240 months, something Urso felt was a death sentence at his age. "While I am not the shooter in this case, nor any other case for that matter, I still battle with my demons over this young man's death," said Urso in the letter, an apparent reference to the Vitale-ordered slaying of  the son of Anthony "Boots" Tomasulo.  Vitale told the FBI in his debriefings that Urso had the victim follow him by car to a location where others did the killing. Massino didn't order the slaying, which was done because the younger Tomasulo was causing problems for the Bonanno gambling interests, according to Vitale. Urso plead guilty in 2005 to one count of racketeering conspiracy and despite his letter was sentenced to 240 months. He is now 74 years old and in Elkton FCI. 

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bloodshed In Montreal: Rizzuto Family Feud?

Mafia crime family structure treeImage via Wikipedia
Police in Montreal, QC Canada are theorizing that all the recent attacks against senior reputed Rizzuto crime family members may be the result of an internal conflict rather than a Mafia war as reported by Paul Cherry for The Gazette:
In an article penned by Pierre de Champlain in yesterday's Journal de Montreal, the retired RCMP analyst listed the theory, among four, that "certain members of the Montreal Mafia have decided to do some interior cleaning of their own house." * * * Montreal police Deputy Chief Jacques Robinette said all theories are being looked at. But Robinette also emphasized there are no signs that two different groups are at war. * * * "Please come to us (to help) us try to understand what is happening on the street. Because I read (in the media) that it's war. But a war between who? The Sicilians vs. the Calabrians? So far it's only the Sicilians who have been taken down," he said. The leaders of the Rizzuto organization are of Sicilian origin. "For now, there is no war. To my knowledge you need two (sides) to have a war. We still don't understand what is really going on," Robinette said. * * *  Organized crime expert and veteran crime reporter Michel Auger said it is still early to jump to conclusions. "But I think it is a conflict between generations - young people who want to get rid of the old. It could be internal, a difference of opinion."
In any event, it's been a brutal few months for the Rizzuto clan:  last week family leader Agostino Cuntrera and his driver and body guard Liborio Sciascia were shot to death; last month reputed consigliere Paola Renda apparently was kidnapped off the streets; last December Nick Rizzuto Jr., the son of imprisoned reputed boss Vito Rizzuto, was gunned down; and last August convicted drug trafficker Frederico Del Peschio, a close associate of the family, was murdered
Meanwhile, police in Montreal are saying that a series of eighteen fire bomb attacks primarily against Italian cafes in the north end since last September is not part of a Mafia war but the result of "street gangs demanding a share of drug profits" as reported by CBC News:
"They wanted a cut on every [dollar] of drug sales," said Deputy Chief Jacques Robinette. Robinette said arrests have been made in five of the attacks, but 13 cases remain unsolved. He stressed that the attacks were against the specific cafés and not against the broader Mafia, as gang members tried to apply pressure on businesses where they presumed drugs might be sold. None of the incidents resulted in damage or injuries. In the initial aftermath of the attacks, police admitted they were stumped by the cases. The shop owners weren't talking much.
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19-year-old, son of Mafia stockbroker, accused of pulling gun over $600 debt

Apparently the rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the crooked tree.
A wannabe gangster looking to follow in his dead father’s Mafioso footsteps allegedly held a gun against a Staten Island dad’s head Wednesday night in an attempt to recoup a debt, authorities said.
"You’re son owes me $600. Give me $600 or you’re both dead," Frank Persico, 19, threatened the 43-year-old victim in front of New Dorp High School at around 9:10 p.m., according to court papers. It’s unclear what the debt was over, sources said.
Persico is the son of late Colombo crime family associate Frank Persico, who spent five years in prison after pleading guilty to cheating investors out of $50 million in a massive mob-run "pump and dump" scheme.
The senior Persico — cousin to one-time crime boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, currently serving life sentences for murder and racketeering — died in 2006 shortly after being released from federal prison.
To help him intimidate the victim, authorities say the younger Persico — who was charged with assault in October 2007 for punching a kid in the eye — recruited hammer-wielding construction worker Albert Morelli.
"You better come up with the money or you’re dead," Morelli, 32, snarled at the dad, court papers state.
The victim called 911 and cops — who couldn’t find the thugs during a canvass — set up a sting, with the victim calling Persico and promising to drop off half the money at a handball court near the Woodbooke Estates townhouse development in Rossville, a law enforcement source said.
Persico, Morelli — still armed with the hammer — and additional accomplice Vincent Valenti, 20, showed up to the exchange and were nabbed by cops waiting to pounce, the source added.
Cops recovered Morelli’s hammer but not Persico’s handgun, sources said.
Persico and Morelli are both charged with second-degree menacing and second-degree harassment, said a spokesman for D.A. Daniel Donovan.
Morelli is also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, while Valenti was hit with misdemeanor marijuana possession.