Bonanno crime family capo Vincent Asaro was a member of the mob crew that carried out the 1978 Lufthansa airport heist, says a mobster who has penned a new book.
Frank Palmieri, a pseudonym for the mobster who claims he is a made member of one of the city’s five crime families, says the jury screwed up in November when they acquitted Asaro of the infamous crime.
“Vinny dodged a bullet,” Palmieri told the Daily News in an exclusive telephone interview. “I was very happy for him.”
Palmieri is the author of “Bugs, Bull, & Rats,” an anecdotal recounting of some of the mob’s most notorious hits and hit men. The Lufthansa caper — which netted about $6 million in cash and jewelry — is not mentioned in the book. But Palmieri does implicate a Genovese mobster in a Brooklyn social club murder in which he was twice acquitted. He also predicts the Mafia will be gone in 15 years if wiseguys don’t wise up.
“Call me the last of my kind,” writes Palmieri, who is in his 70s and a legitimate earner these days after giving up bookmaking.
Palmieri said a “very close friend” of Asaro’s told him shortly after the Lufthansa robbery went down that Asaro was involved.
“I don’t know how much Vinny got from the robbery, but he hit the jackpot winning the case,” Palmieri said.
Asaro himself admitted after the verdict last year in Brooklyn Federal Court that he was shocked by the outcome.
“Vinny is a serious guy, a respectable guy,” Palmieri said. “He wasn’t bloodthirsty.”
Palmieri doesn’t have any use for rats like Henry Hill, whom he knew slightly, saying the late hood’s popularity, as portrayed in the film “Goodfellas,” was exaggerated.
Palmieri said he decided to write the book to set a few things straight about the mob and also make a few extra bucks.
He was also acquainted with Asaro’s cousin, Gaspare Valenti, another Lufthansa alumnus who turned rat and testified against Vinny.
“He’s a piece of s---. It takes a real lowlife to do what he did, especially to his cousin. Karma will get him,” Palmieri said.
But Palmieri says he hopes that when Valenti is sentenced for the Lufthansa robbery, he doesn’t do a day in jail, either. “I don’t want to see nobody go to prison,” he said.
Asaro’s defense lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio dismissed Palmieri’s accusations.
“After a lengthy trial, Mr. Asaro was acquitted of all charges related to the Lufthansa heist,” Macedonio said. “Anyone who claims the verdict was erroneous has been misinformed.”