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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bonanno captain laments in secret recordings that he's part of a dying breed

Gaspare Valenti, a Bonanno associate,  testifies at Brooklyn Federal Court in connection with the Lufthansa "Goodfellas" heist.
The Bonanno gangster accused of helping pull off the biggest heist in U.S. history complained that he was part of a dying breed in tapes played Thursday at his racketeering trial.

Broke and bitter and 76 years old, Vincent Asaro bemoaned his fate in a car while his cousin Gaspare Valenti secretly recorded the conversation the feds.

“I’m the only wiseguy left in my neighborhood,” Asaro complained.

Referring to the 1978 Lufthansa robbery that netted $6 million in cash and jewelry as “the thing,” Asaro complained that he didn’t get a big enough cut.

“We never got our right money, what we were supposed to get, we got f----- all around," Asaro ranted in a February 2011 conversation. "Got f----- all around, that f-----g Jimmy (Burke) kept everything."

Burke, aka Jimmy the Gent, was one of the masterminds of the spectacular robbery at Kennedy Airport that was immortalized in the movie “Goodfellas.”

When Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri asked Valenti what he and now 80-year-old Asaro were talking about, the mob turncoat answered, “The Lufthansa heist.”

Testifying in Brooklyn federal court for a third day, Valenti said they got on the subject of “the thing” after a crew member Danny Rizzo came begging for a pack of cigarettes and $200.

"I thought he (Rizzo) was kidding," Asaro said on one of the tapes. "He looked f------ desperate."

Valenti, 68, explained that Burke “kept the money from the other guys,” referring to the shares owed to the half dozen members of the crew who were later whacked.

The once fearsome Asaro is also charged with strangling a suspected snitch in 1969 with a dog chain.

“Jimmy kept it all,” he said. “Our money from Lufthansa.”

Burke, who died in 1996 and was the model for the "Goodfellas" character played by Robert De Niro, killed them all, prosecutors said earlier.

Prosecutors say Asaro personally pocketed more than $500,000 but blew most of the money at the track.

On another tape, Asaro complained that his son Jerome would not help him out even after he got him inducted into the Bonanno crime family, gave him their fence company, and split the proceeds from the sale of a Carvel store.

“My son’t a real scumbag,” he said. “Not a f----- penny, not a f---- dime. He broke my f----- heart."

Asaro and Valenti are heard on the tapes trying to come up with a score to make some quick money, like hijacking a truckload of cigarettes.

Valenti even mentions getting food stamps and complains how the bureaucratic process has become complicated.

“It used to be easy, food stamps,” Asaro says.

In a September 2011 conversation, Asaro expressed fear that his frequent blowups with other Bonanno wise guys could result in his being put out to pasture.

"I'm broke, I'm getting like a f----- animal," Asaro says.

While Valenti testified on Wednesday, Asaro could be heard telling his lawyer that his cousin was wearing a beige suit and that he’d worn a different suit each day of testimony.

"He's dressing a lot better now," Asaro joked to his lawyers. "Maybe I should go in the witness protection program."

The once fearsome Asaro is also charged with strangling a suspected snitch in 1969 with a dog chain.



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