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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Retired FBI agent arrested for lying on witness stand during Whitey Bulger trial

A retired FBI agent was arrested on perjury charges and accused of lying on the stand during the trial of gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
A retired FBI agent who was once second in command in the agency's Boston office was arrested Thursday on perjury charges and accused of lying on the stand during the trial of gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
James Fitzpatrick surrendered to U.S. marshals after learning there was a warrant for his arrest.
The 75-year-old Fitzpatrick was charged with six counts of perjury and six counts of obstruction of justice. He was due to appear in federal court on the charges Thursday afternoon.
During Bulger's 2013 trial, Fitzpatrick testified he tried to convince the FBI to terminate Bulger as an informant, because Bulger didn't appear to be helping the FBI's mission to gather information on the Mafia. Fitzpatrick said his bosses didn't agree with him.
Prosecutors suggested he exaggerated his claim to sell copies of a book he wrote about Bulger.
Fitzpatrick told jurors that in 1981, about six years after Bulger began working an informant, he was given the task of assessing the mobster to see if he was providing the FBI with useful information.
Fitzpatrick insisted that he tried repeatedly to persuade the FBI to end its relationship with Bulger, particularly after Bulger was considered a suspect in two 1982 killings.
During the trial, however, prosecutors suggested that Fitzpatrick exaggerated his claim.
"Weren't you more concerned with your own career rather than rocking the boat?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly asked Fitzpatrick on the stand.
The 85-year-old Bulger is serving two life sentences after his 2013 racketeering conviction tying him to 11 murders and other gangland crimes in the 1970s and '80s.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gambino gangster extradited to Italy

A New York mafia boss has been extradited to Italy after allegedly demanding €1 million from an Italian businessman, police said on Wednesday.

Francesco Palmeri was extradited to Italy following his arrest last December in New York, police said in a statement.

He stands accused of travelling to southern Italy and threatening a businessman in Matera, demanding repayment of a €1 million loan owed to New York’s Gambino mafia clan.

In order to intimidate the businessman, police said Palmeri was backed up by a few people linked to the criminal underworld.

The alleged mobster is said to be the number three of the Gambino clan, described by police as the “underboss” of the mafia family.

He was arrested alongside seven other people accused of being tied to the New York crime syndicate.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Philadelphia boss Skinny Joey Merlino is finally free with no strings attached

Joey Merlino
JOEY MERLINO has regained his freedom - no strings attached - for the first time since 1999.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in his favor yesterday, overruling a District Court judge who had ordered Merlino to serve another four months in prison for violating the terms of his probation on a 2001 racketeering conviction.
"He's out. He's a free man," Merlino's attorney, Edwin Jacobs, told the Daily News.
Merlino, 53, considered the current or former boss of the Philly mob, depending whom you ask, served about three months in a Miami prison after he was caught associating with mobster John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini at a Florida cigar bar last year.
At the time, Merlino was prohibited from associating with Ciancaglini because he was finishing up his probation on the racketeering conviction that had kept him in prison for about 12 years.
Jacobs had argued that the feds hadn't properly notified Merlino of the violation. A split appeals court sided with Jacobs today, but it has not yet issued its opinion with the rationale behind the decision.
Merlino, once known as "Skinny Joey," was believed to have been living in a halfway house or on house arrest and would have been cut loose early next month, even if the appeal was unsuccessful. Jacobs declined to say what Merlino's living arrangements had been prior to the ruling.
"He's done. Period," Jacobs said.
David Fritchey, chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, said the ruling is largely a moot point.
"He served all of his time," Fritchey said. "To appeal it would mean we'd be arguing whether he should be under house arrest for another week, which is not worth anybody's time."
Merlino has reinvented himself as the maitre d' at a new Boca Raton restaurant that bears his name.
Fritchey declined to comment on rumors that Merlino is tied up in another federal investigation. The progress of that probe, and whether it will result in an indictment, is unclear.
For now, it appears that Merlino will return to his job working the front of the house at his Italian restaurant.
"And whatever that may entail," Fritchey said.


Grandson of legendary Genovese boss elected Mayor of New York village

Mobster’s grandson elected mayor of New York village
He gave voters a choice they couldn’t refuse.
Philip Gigante, the new mayor of sleepy Airmont, NY, is the grandson of the late Genovese crime-family godfather Vincent “The Chin” Gigante — causing agita for some residents who say they are terrified of their new village boss.
“It’s frightening for not just me but all village residents aware of his background,” said one businessman in the Rockland County village who requested anonymity for fear of “retribution.”
“If you were a resident living a couple of blocks from Village Hall, would you want to be named?” the man explained. “I’m not sure what he’s capable of, considering his family’s background.”
Philip Gigante, 41, a real-estate lawyer by profession who is also president of a freight business founded by his father, Salvatore, rubbed out his two opponents in a three-way March 18 election, collecting 904 votes to Thomas Gulla’s 689 and Ralph Bracco’s 261.
About a week before the election, the Rockland County Times ran a story revealing Gigante’s notorious grandfather, calling it “one of Rockland’s worst-kept secrets.”
But neither opponent used the Republican’s family history against him.
“I wouldn’t do that to another candidate,” said Gulla, 54, a planning-board member who said Gigante is a stand-up guy.
“He has the interests of the village at heart,” Gulla said. “Whatever his grandfather did for a living is not a reflection on him.”
Bracco, 64, who served as village mayor from 1993 to 1995, said he heard from voters concerned about Gigante’s background, but said he wasn’t going to raise the issue.
“I didn’t want to get in using negatives,” he said.
Some residents said they were disgusted that the mayor’s family tree didn’t come up at all on the campaign trail.
“The idea that the scion of the Genovese crime family now has a toehold in anything legitimate . . . is a stunning indictment of our society,” said another resident of the village of 9,000.
“Imagine if the grandson of Nicky Barnes was running for office — some guy who made his bones slinging crack and powder. There would have been an uproar,” the person said, referring to the infamous Harlem crime boss.
Gigante — who will earn $25,000 a year for the part-time job of mayor — told The Post that he’s legit.
“People are free to believe what they wish. My actions and accomplishments should speak for themselves,” he said.
Gigante said the family business he runs was started by his parents without cash or influence from The Chin.
“Their hard work and years of sacrifice has made it what it is today. I am saddened that people will try and trivialize their efforts and associate our business with anything but lawful and ethical beginnings,” he said.
A onetime boxer, Vincent Gigante rose to power as a Genovese-family captain in the 1960s and ’70s. He became boss in 1981 when Philip Lombardo stepped down because of poor health.
The Chin — the nickname comes from his mother’s Italian pronunciation of his first name, Vincenzo — famously ordered a failed hit on Gambino boss John Gotti in 1986, and with Gotti’s eventual imprisonment less than a decade later, was considered the country’s most powerful mobster.
The crafty “Chin” hid his leadership role for decades by pretending to be crazy — muttering to himself as he shuffled around near his mother’s Sullivan Street apartment in Greenwich Village in his bathrobe, pajamas and slippers. The act earned him a second nickname, “The Oddfather.”
In December 1997, he was convicted of running multimillion-dollar rackets and conspiring to kill Gotti and another mobster, fined $1.25 million and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He died in 2005 at age 77 in a federal pen in Missouri.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Parents of murder victim sue two turncoat Colombo family mobsters

Wedding photo of left to right, Dino Calabro, Joseph Competiello, Dino Saracino and Thomas Gioeli at the wedding of Competiello's sister.
The parents of an apparent mob murder victim have filed a $10 million wrongful-death claim against two crime-family turncoats.
Carmine and Rosa Gargano say wiseguys Dino Calabro and Joseph Competiello should pay up for the death of their son, Carmine Jr., who disappeared in 1994, according to papers they filed last month in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
The younger Gargano’s body has never been found.
In 2012, Calabro testified that Competiello confessed to murdering Gargano Jr. because he “felt like it,” according to court records.
Competiello, who was sentenced in December to 12 years on racketeering and murder charges, was not charged in Gargano’s death.
The two snitches were part of a sprawling federal case against Colombo crime boss Thomas Gioeli, during which Calabro testified in Brooklyn federal court.
Competiello allegedly admitted to shooting Gargano Jr. twice, including once in the eye, and then crushing his head with a sledgehammer for good measure, ­Calabro said on the stand.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Genovese soldier who ran the New Jersey waterfront sentenced to more than three years in federal prison

Former NJ union chief gets 22 months for Mafia-linked scam
A reputed Genovese crime family soldier who prosecutors say ran the mob's business on the New Jersey waterfront for decades was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison Friday.
Stephen Depiro, 59, of Kenilworth, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in December for his role in a decades-long scheme to extort Christmastime tribute payments from members of the International Longshoremen's Association.
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Claire Cecchi sentenced Depiro to three years and five months in prison.
Depiro declined Cecchi's offer to speak on his own behalf.
His attorney, Alyssa Cimino, said her client was a devoutly religious man who attends church every Sunday and would go more often if the conditions of his home confinement while he's out on bail were less restrictive.
Cimino said Depiro called her office regularly asking if he could visit a 90-year-old aunt.
"I want to bring her escarole and beans," Cimino quoted Depiro saying.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mahajan mocked the suggestion that Depiro was singularly devoted to his immediate family.
"He is very loyal to his family, the Genovese organized crime family," Mahajan said.
Mahajan told Cecchi about dockworkers who lied to a federal grand jury about the tribute practice because they feared retribution by organized crime.
He said the extortion plot was a piece in the organized crimes's widespread influence on the New Jersey docks that forced many businesses to divert their cargo to other ports.
"That is one of the reasons why Port Newark is no longer the thriving hub of international commerce that it once was," Mahajan told Cecchi.
Depiro joins a long list of people who've admitted their roles in the Christmastime payment scheme, a practice that dates back to when the ports began using containers as the principal means of moving goods through the ports.
The FBI investigation revealed how the payments came out of the annual bonuses dockworkers received based on the number of containers that moved through Port Newark and Port Elizabeth in a given year.
Several of those who've pleaded guilty are in the 60's and 70's and have long since retired from work on the docks.
Among them is Nunzio LaGrasso, 64, of Florham Park. The former vice president of Local 1478 of the International Longshoremen's Association in Newark was sentenced to two years and four months in prison Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors say LaGrasso was an associate of the Genovese crime family.


Mob matriarch ordered beatdown of relative

The Gigliottis own the Cucino a Modo restaurant on 108th St. in Corona, Queens.
She's one rough mama.
The matriarch of a mob-connected family charged with using their Italian restaurant in Queens to facilitate drug trafficking schooled her husband on the art of a beatdown, the feds said.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Sandra Townes ordered Eleonora Gigliotti held without bail Friday and appeared shocked by the woman’s chilling instructions.
In the secretly recorded phone call, Eleonora is allegedly discussing a planned assault on a relative who supposedly stole money from them.
“Hurting him in front of his kids, Grego, we’re going to look bad,” she allegedly said.
“Have someone grab him at night and he’ll learn.”
Then she allegedly added, “Bring him here and bang him up over here.”
The judge said she initially thought Eleonora was trying to dissuade her husband from violence.
“But as I read the transcript, she was actually advocating violence,” Townes said.
Townes overruled an earlier decision by a magistrate judge to release the 54-year-old woman on $4 million bail. Eleonora faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life, and the judge believed she may have been plotting to flee to Italy before her arrest.
The Gigliotttis and their son, Angelo, are charged with conspiring to import 55 kilos of cocaine from Costa Rica, concealed in containers of yucca.
They own the Cucino a Modo restaurant on 108th St. in Corona, and also have reputed ties to Genovese crime family figures and the ‘Ndrangheta organized crime group in Italy, according to court papers.
“Gotta be strong,” Eleonora Gigliotti said to family members in the courtroom as she was led out, giving them a thumbs-up sign.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri described the defendant as a sophisticated drug trafficker. “She is not a mule,” the prosecutor said, referring to a low-level smuggler of drugs.


FBI busts mobster suspected in famous Boston art heist

Federal agents trying to solve the biggest art theft in the nation’s history arrested a 79-year-old Hartford man on Friday after conducting their second sting against him in three years to force him to disclose the whereabouts of $500 million in stolen art, the man’s lawyer said.

The suspect, Robert V. Gentile, was arrested by F.B.I. agents on charges of selling a .38 Colt cobra revolver on March 2 to an unidentified man who was acting as a confidential informant for the authorities. Investigators say Mr. Gentile, who has been on probation as a result of a 2013 conviction that was part of the first Federal Bureau of Investigation sting against him, received $1,000 for the sale.

Mr. Gentile’s lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said his client knew nothing about the art theft, which occurred 25 years ago at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and included works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Officials investigating the robbery have said in recent weeks that they thought Mr. Gentile remained their strongest lead in the frustrating case because most of the men they had identified as suspects in the robbery were dead.

“It’s the same F.B.I. guys doing the same thing as last time,” Mr. McGuigan said. “They won’t stop squeezing my client.”

Federal officials refused to comment on the arrest Friday. But at a hearing in United States District Court in Hartford, a federal prosecutor, John Durham, said that investigators had a recent recording of Mr. Gentile discussing the sale of some of the stolen paintings.

Mr. Gentile was first imprisoned in May 2013 after he was convicted on federal charges of weapons possession and illegal sale of prescription narcotics. He was sentenced to 30 months and released on probation after serving one year because of his poor health.

After his first arrest, Mr. Gentile told officials he had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the 13 pieces of art stolen from the Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990. Investigators dug through his property and underneath a shed in his backyard looking for clues to the theft, and found what appeared to be a price list for each of the items.

At the time, Mr. McGuigan said, the authorities said they would drop the charges against Mr. Gentile and even grant him some of the $5 million in reward money if he told them the location of the stolen art. Mr. McGuigan said it would be “illogical” for his client to withhold information with so much reward money at stake. Prosecutors later said that Mr. Gentile performed poorly in a lie-detector test when questioned about the theft.

Mr. McGuigan said that in court on Friday, he and Mr. Gentile again adamantly denied that Mr. Gentile had any information about the crime. Mr. McGuigan said his client had diabetes and required a wheelchair. He questioned why Mr. Gentile was arrested on Friday during a visit to his parole officer when the alleged gun sale occurred more than six weeks earlier.

“If he’s such a danger to the community,” he said, “why did they wait so long to take him in?” Mr. McGuigan said the two F.B.I. special agents who arrested his client on Friday are the same men who offered Mr. Gentile a deal on the Gardner case in 2012. The agents, Geoff Kelly and James Lawton, are the lead agents on the Gardner investigation, according to the F.B.I.

In an interview in March, Mr. Kelly said he remained convinced that Mr. Gentile, a reputed member of organized crime, had knowledge of the art through longtime underworld associates in Philadelphia.

Mr. Gentile will be back in court on Monday after spending the weekend in jail, his lawyer said, adding that the weapons charge carried a prison term of 10 years and that he would accuse the F.B.I. of entrapment.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bonanno mobster gets 21 months for collecting loanshark debt

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
A Bonnano gangster who turned down an offer to serve as the crime family’s consigliere was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in prison for collecting a loanshark debt.

Jack Bonventre, 46, claimed he had walked away from the mob years ago, and his lawyer put up a long-winded argument about how growing up in Howard Beach, Queens, could be a lure for young men to want to become gangsters.

“Loyalty is like a sausage,” defense attorney Gordon Mehler said in Brooklyn Federal Court, “but it’s not always savory.”

Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross said she agreed with the prosecutors’ arguments that a secret recording of a Bonanno capo ranting about Bonventre rejecting the high-level crime family position showed that he was a major player.

Bonventre faced 21 to 27 months under the sentencing guidelines and does not get credit for the year he spent under house arrest.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Former boss of longshoremen union sentenced in Genovese shakedown scheme

The former vice president of a New Jersey longshoremen's union was sentenced to more than two years in prison Wednesday for his role in extorting Christmastime kickbacks from dockworkers.
Nunzio LaGrasso, 64, of Florham Park, pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering conspiracy charge in December 2014.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Claire Cecchi sentenced LaGrasso to two years and four months in prison, five months less than what New Jersey federal prosecutors were seeking.
New Jersey federal prosecutors say LaGrasso, the former vice president of Newark-based Local 1478 of the International Longshoremen's Association, doubled as an associate of the Genovese organized crime family.
"This is a conscious decision that Mr. LaGrasso made to further the aims of the Genovese crime family," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis told Cecchi.
The Christmastime payments came out of the annual bonuses dockworkers received , which hinged in large part on the number of shipping containers that moved through the Port of New York and New Jersey.
"He had numerous opportunities to cease his unlawful conduct."
LaGrasso's attorney, Edmund Denoia, urged Cecchi to consider his client's ailing health as well as his devotion to his 90-year-old mother.
Denoia said he got a measure of his client by listening to six months' worth of government-recorded conversations, many of which centered on LaGrasso's family life.
"This guy is the best," Denoia told Cecchi. "This man is a true family man."
Cecchi credited LaGrasso for the hours he spends caring for his mother and other family members. But, she noted, LaGrasso had a chance to put an end to his illegal activity.
"He had numerous opportunities to cease his unlawful conduct but did not do so," Cecchi said.
Several other members of the longshoremen's union have already pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme. In October 2014, Vincent Aulisi, 82, the former president of Local 1235 of the ILA was sentenced to 18 months in prison.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mob connected contractor bilks $1.5 million from One WTC construction

A mobbed-up World Trade Center contractor bilked the Port Authority out of $1.5 million, money he used to renovate his daughter's house, Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said Tuesday.
The contractor, Vincent Vertuccio, 60, of the Maspeth section of Queens, NY, hid his association with a company he controlled so it could win an $11.4 million contract with the Port Authority for work on the 1 World Trade Center tower, said the U.S. Attorney for the Easter District of New York, Loretta Lynch. Lynch's office said Vertuccio has ties to organized crime, which would have disqualified the company, Crimson Construction Corporation, from the trade center contract.
Vertuccio later deposited much of the $1.5 million he was initially paid under the contract into a bank account belonging to his mother, and then used that money on his daughter's house, Lynch's office said.
Lynch said Vertuccio also faces related tax fraud and money laundering charges with two co-defendants: his lawyer, John Servider, 53, of Patterson, NY; and a Crimson accountant, Praful Pandya, 68, of Queens. Lynch, who has been nominated by President Obama to the U.S. attorney general's post, said Vertuccio submitted fraudulent individual tax returns for the years 2008 and 2011.
Vertuccio and Pandya could not be reached. Servider did not return a call to his Queens law office.
Crimson was fired by the Port Authority when it failed to do the work it was paid for, said Lynch's office, which on Tuesday unsealed a 10-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 8. The Port Authority Inspector General's office took part in the case.
"Today serves as an unfortunate reminder that, as alleged in the indictment, organized crime continues to plague the region's construction industry," Michael Nestor, the inspector general, said in a statement.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bonanno rat claims Lufthansa heist money was spent on animated movie about ferrets

Dominick Cicale writes in a new book that he knows what happened to the $6 million loot stolen in the infamous Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport.
Mob veteran Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano blew some of the cash from the heist on a film project about an animated ferret, according to the book.

A mob rat claims in a new book that he knows what happened to the $6 million loot stolen in the infamous Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport, the Daily News has learned.

In a 52-page e-book called “The Mystery of the Lufthansa Airlines Heist,” ex-Bonanno capo Dominick Cicale contends that his Mafia mentor, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano got his claws on the stashed cash and blew a chunk of it in a film project about an animated ferret and the rest he gambled away at casinos.

Cicale and co-author Robert Sberna paint a perfect scene, writing that Basciano disclosed the untold story on Dec. 14, 2001, over dinner at the fabled Rao’s restaurant in East Harlem.

At the table were Cicale, Basciano, and capo Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato, the son-in-law of the Lufthansa robbery mastermind James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, who was immortalized by actor Robert De Niro in the classic film “Goodfellas.”

Lufthansa robbery mastermind James Burke (c.) is taken to court.

"The Mystery of the Lufthansa Airlines Heist: A Wiseguy Tells All" by Roberty Sberna and Dominick Cicale.

It’s unclear whether the trio were eating lemon chicken or meatballs, but the topic turned to Burke’s secret stash.

“Leaning closer to hear the two capos’ voices amidst the chatter of conversation and the jukebox in Rao’s, Dominick listened as Vinny explained that Jimmy Burke had asked a friend to rent a safety deposit box at a bank in Queens,” they wrote.

“Burke then placed between $2 million and $4 million in the box. He gave the keys to the box to his two daughters (Cathy and Robin).”

“In late 1998, when Bruno first told Vinny about the safety deposit box containing the Lufthansa cash, Vinny came up with the idea to approach Robin with a scheme, while keeping it a secret from Cathy.”

Basciano’s scheme was making a cartoon called “Ferretina” with the late film producer Frank "Frankie Sardo" Avianca, whose research showed that it was a can’t-miss because 20 million Americans owned ferrets.

Basciano and Indelicato convinced Robin Burke to finance “Ferretina” with the Lufthansa cash, Cicale claims. About $250,000 went to the animated project, which was a love story about ferrets that travel from Europe to America.

But the film was never made and Basciano kept dipping into the Lufthansa funds, blowing it in Las Vegas and at Foxwoods.

According to the book, from 1999 to 2000, Vinny and Bruno made several trips to the safety deposit box, taking out $200,000 to $500,000 at a time.

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci appeared in "Goodfellas" in 1990.

Reached by phone Friday, Cathy Burke chuckled and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and promised to call back — but didn’t.

A former law enforcement official who worked on the Lufthansa case called Cicale’s tale “preposterous.”

“A lot of the money went out as tribute to the heads of the five crime families and (Jimmy) Burke put money in drug deals and dress factories in Queens,” the source said.

If James Burke was alive, surely Basciano and Indelicato would have been dead men if he found about the scheme.

He had several crew members whacked for blowing their cut of the robbery on mink furs and a pink Cadillac.

“Not only did Vinny lose all of the Lufthansa money, but he also took $40,000 from the safety deposit box that had been earmarked for college tuition for (Jimmy Burke’s granddaughter),” Cicale wrote.
Police are seen parked beside a stolen black van discovered in front of 595 E. 95th St. in Brooklyn on Dec. 13, 1978. They suspected the van, reported stolen from Queens, was used by thieves who escaped with more than $5 million in cash and jewels from a Kennedy Airport hangar.

Cicale ratted out Basciano and testified twice against him. While he mentioned the ferret movie project, he never told prosecutors or the FBI about the Lufthansa money, sources said.

He claims that when Cathy Burke found the safety deposit box plundered in 2004, “she was so angry at Bruno that she nearly ended her marriage to him.”

Basciano is currently serving a life sentence at the Supermax prison and Indelicato is due to be released in 2023.

Later this year, Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro will go on trial for his role in the Lufthansa heist, the only mobster ever charged with the spectacular heist.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Bonanno captain turns down crime family promotion to consigliere

Jack Bonventre is facing 21 to 27 months in prison when he’s sentenced this month for collecting a loanshark debt.
They made him an offer he refused.

Getting promoted to the powerful position of consigliere in a Mafia crime family apparently isn’t what it was once cracked up to be.

So says the lawyer for reputed Bonanno capo Jack Bonventre, who prosecutors say declined the high-ranking post.

“He (Bonventre) turned it down, he didn’t want it,” Bonanno gangster Vincent Asaro blabbed in a conversation with an associate that was secretly recorded on March 8, 2013. “Jack didn’t want no part of this no more.”

Bonventre is facing 21 to 27 months in prison when he’s sentenced this month for collecting a loanshark debt, and defense lawyer Gordon Mehler argues in court papers that the job offer for consigliere — Italian for counselor — should not be held against his client.

Mehler complains that the feds are exaggerating the relevance of the alleged promotion.

“Assuming that this is even true, traditional organized crime families in New York are now weaker than 20 or 30 years ago and the Bonanno family in particular has been largely decimated by arrests and defections. Being considered for consigliere does not have the same meaning as it once did,” Mehler wrote to Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross.

Robert Duvall (l.) played the consigliere in the "Godfather" films. He's seen with Al Pacino in a scene at the Senate Hearing in "The Godfather II."
The Bonannos’ last publicly identified consigliere is Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Argentieri and Alicyn Cooley disagree, contending that it shows Bonventre holds a powerful and prominent position among the Bonannos.

Bonventre, 46, is described by his lawyer in the sentencing papers as a hardworking owner of an auto body shop in upstate Orange County and submitted letters from two Catholic priests attesting to his good deeds, which included the donation of fuel to his former parish, St. Helen in Howard Beach, Queens, after the area was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

A mob consigliere is a respected and wise member of a crime family who is consulted on various matters and is “devoid of ambition” to take over as boss, according to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia,” by Jerry Capeci. The consigliere is part of the crime family's top hierarchy, along with the boss and the underboss.

Consiglieres operate in the shadows, settling disputes and advising the boss. One of the most famous is the fictional Tom Hagen, portrayed by actor Robert Duvall, who counseled Don Vito Corleone in the classic film “The Godfather.” In real life, Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano was consigliere to the late Gambino boss John Gotti for a time.

Bonventre was one of five people arrested for the robbery of a Lufthansa Airlines shipment in 1978. Pictured, Vincent Asaro (c.), believed to be involved in that infamous heist, is taken from FBI Headquarters in 2014.

The Bonannos’ last publicly identified consigliere, Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito, has been dogged by criminal charges in recent years and was recently observed by NYPD detectives doing something not so wise — having a long meeting with the family’s Bronx street boss John Palazzolo in a Queens diner.

Sources say the beleaguered Bonannos are run by a panel that keeps changing as they’re arrested, while the reputed boss, Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso, serves a 15-year sentence for his role in the murder of a mob associate.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Former acting boss of the Detroit mafia is dead at the age of 87

The former acting boss of the Detroit mob, Anthony "Tony Z" Zerilli, who triggered a massive FBI dig in northern Oakland County in 2013 in search of James R. Hoffa, died several days ago of natural causes in the Ft. Lauderdale area. He was 87.
Scott Burnstein, a local mob expert, who runs the website, Gangster Report, wrote that Zerilli was the last of the upper-echelon old guard in the Detroit mafia. He was an underboss and acting boss and son of the local Godfather Joseph "Joe Uno" Zerilli. He was also the son-in-law of the New York don Joe Profaci.
Less than a decade ago, he was stripped of his duties as the syndicate’s No. 2 in charge, Gangster Report reported.
After being out of the spotlight for quite a long time, Zerilli surfaced as a very public figure in January 2013 when he told NBC 4 New York reporter Marc Santia, formerly of WDIV  that Hoffa was buried in northern Oakland County, but he had nothing to do with the 1975 disappearance. At the time of the Hoffa disappearance, that property belonged to another top-ranking mobster.
The statements put the FBI in a bind. Embarrassed before in its never-ending hunt for Hoffa, the agency would have preferred to avoid another failed dig, and the accompanying skepticisim and wisecracks from the public. On the other hand, it was hard for the agency to ignore Zerilli's claims considered he was a guy who was once high up the chain, who could have had some knowledge.
So, in June 2013, the FBI started digging up a property in Oakland Township, but came up empty after more than two days and called it quits. Few were surprised.
Several months before the dig,  Zerilli told the New York reporter that the mob intended to move Hoffa's body to a hunting lodge in Rogers City at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, but never did. He gives no names, saying he's not a snitch.
At the time, the NBC 4 correspondent Santia says Zerilli, who was hurting for money, came forward in hopes of profiting from publicity and showing he had nothing to do with Hoffa's abrupt disappearance outside a Bloomfield Township restaurant on July 30, 1975. He has a website to promote a book in the making.
"Finally, a book will soon be published with all of the facts surrounding the Hoffa disappearance," his website said, adding: "Many have long speculated that Anthony J. Zerilli was the 'boss' of the Detroit Mafia, and that he ordered the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. This is absolutely untrue."


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Big Ang from Mob Wives finds out she has a throat tumor

"Mob Wives" star Big Ang may be suffering from a serious health scare.

The 54-year-old TV personality, real name Angela Raiola, recently found out she has a large tumor in her throat, according to TMZ.

Raioli's reported mass is "the size of a lemon," the gossip site noted, adding that sources are saying she is already at a Staten Island hospital getting prepped to have it removed through surgery.

There is no word on whether or not the tumor is benign, TMZ's sources stated.

Cast photo from VH1's "Mob Wives" featuring Big Ang (l.)
Big Ang of "Mob Wives" is reportedly is suffering from a throat tumor.

BIg Ang first realized something was wrong when she began feeling discomfort in her neck.

She was last spotted out and about at a New York City event Tuesday wearing a turtleneck.

A rep for Raioli has yet to respond to the Daily News' request for comment.