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

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bronx actor says he was blessed to grow up amongst wiseguys

When it comes to the Bronx, Chazz Palminteri sheds his tough-guy persona.

“I have such a strong feeling and passion for ‘A Bronx Tale’ because it’s my life and it’s my parents,” he said of the musical during BroadwayCon at the Jacob Javits Center on Sunday. “And I was blessed with growing up with all these wise guys that taught me the streets.”

The 64-year-old actor has seen the story of his life evolve over 27 years from a book to a one-man show to a movie directed by Robert De Niro, and now a Broadway musical (for which De Niro is also a co-director).

While “A Bronx Tale” focuses on his relationship with his mobster mentor, Sonny, Palminteri credits his fame to his parents — specifically, his late father.

“My father and my mother saw all my successes, but it was my dad who made me who I am today, not Sonny,” he said. “Sonny guided me, but it was my dad who led by example and said, ‘Promise me you won’t waste your time.’”

Palminteri is still a big deal in the Bronx’s Belmont neighborhood, where he was raised. To prepare for the musical, he took cast members to his old stomping grounds.

“Three days after I got this job, he called me and said, ‘I’m taking you to the Bronx and showing you the neighborhood,'” said Bobby Conte Thornton, who is making his Broadway debut playing Palminteri’s character.

“Walking down the street with him, people will call him by ‘Chazz,’ or ‘C,’ or ‘Calogero,’ depending on how old they are and when they knew him from,” he said.

The show’s lyricist, Glenn Slater, also recalled how walking the streets with Palminteri as a tour guide is unlike anything else.

“It’s not exactly what it was like when he was there, but he brings it to life,” Slater said of walking the streets with Palminteri. “It’s a 20-minute story at every corner and storefront and you feel like you’ve gone in a time machine.”


Monday, January 30, 2017

Runaway mobster planned to turn himself in after the NFL Super Bowl

A suspected mob associate accused of hiding from cops wasn’t trying to avoid arrest on federal gambling charges — he just wanted to wait until after the Super Bowl to turn himself in, his lawyer said.

Anthony "The Kid" Camisa is one of 46 suspected East Coast mobsters and associates hit with racketeering charges in early August.

While most were collared when the charges came down, Camisa was one of three who remained on the lam.

Authorities nabbed Camisa in late December — some four months after the high-profile indictment — and have since pushed for him to remain behind bars until trial.

Prosecutors have argued that his apparent disappearing act makes him a flight risk.

Camisa’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, made a bail petition anyway. McMahon said Camisa’s rep as an alleged gambler actually shows he was absent for a “practical reason” rather than a criminal one.

McMahon argued during a Jan. 12 bail hearing that his client wanted to be available for a major event in the sports-betting world before surrendering.

“Your Honor knows that the government claims that my client has a gambling business,” McMahon said. “Without being indelicate, I think it is fair to say that my client expressed to me that he intended to surrender after the Super Bowl ... ”

“Judge, I told you what the reality is. The reality is he was going to come in after the Super Bowl,” McMahon later added at the hearing.

“If we accept the government’s allegations for purposes of this bail hearing that he is a gambler, there is a practical reason why somebody would wait until after the Super Bowl to surrender,” McMahon said.

Prosecutor Amanda Kramer, of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, said the evidence against Camisa is “very strong” and includes recordings.

“He was basically using a website, a gambling website, and getting people to bet on that gambling website,” Kramer said. “He was then helping place bets and collecting money. The evidence bears that out.”

Kramer also said Camisa “effectively concedes, that he makes all his money through illegal gambling.” Camisa also had some $980 in cash when cops caught him that was probably from gambling, she said.

Kramer also seemed perplexed by McMahon’s Super Bowl argument.

“I don’t know that I have ever heard a defendant even propose as an explanation that he wanted to stay out of jail so that he could continue to commit the very crimes that he is charged,” she said.

Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Sullivan wound up denying bail, saying Camisa lacks judgement and shows “impulsivity and immaturity.”

McMahon told The News that Camisa maintains his innocence.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Son of Colombo crime family founder dead at 71

Anthony Colombo, a mobster’s son who successfully agitated to keep out even a single reference to the Mafia during the entire 175 minutes of the film “The Godfather,” died on Jan. 6 at his home in San Diego. He was 71.
The cause was complications of diabetes, his son Joseph A. Colombo said.
Mr. Colombo was a 26-year-old military school graduate in 1971 when he helped persuade the producer of “The Godfather,” the sponsors of the network television series “The F.B.I.” and even the Nixon administration’s Justice Department under Attorney General John N. Mitchell to expunge the term Mafia and its Sicilian counterpart, La Cosa Nostra, from the screenplay, weekly scripts and official lexicon.
At the time, Mr. Colombo later said, his power of persuasion was derived from his position as the vice president of the Italian-American Civil Rights League, the anti-discrimination group founded by his father, the organized crime figure Joseph A. Colombo Sr.
Had the Mafia withheld its unofficial blessing from the film, any number of unexpected impediments might have interfered with the production of “The Godfather,” like labor troubles, missing scenery or even missing cast members.
The author and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi wrote in The New York Times in 1971 that film’s producer, Albert Ruddy — threatened with boycotts, wildcat strikes and demonstrations only weeks before shooting was to begin — “was uncertain whether he would be able to make the movie at all.”
Anthony Colombo reflected later that solely on the basis of his civil rights group’s power of peaceful protest, “if we didn’t want it made in New York, it wouldn’t have been made, period.”
The Mafia was mentioned dozens of times in the Mario Puzo novel on which the film was based.
The TV series “The F.B.I.” sanitized future scripts after Mr. Colombo contacted Lee A. Iacocca, the president of Ford Motor Company, which was one of the show’s sponsors.
The league also lobbied against other stereotypical portrayals, like an Alka-Seltzer commercial in which a man says, “Mama Mia, that’s-a some-a spicy meatball.” And it claimed credit for hampering production of The Times for one day by blocking delivery trucks, all in an effort to discourage the paper from making indiscriminate references to the two Italian terms for organized crime.
The league’s campaign was criticized by State Senator John J. Marchi, a Staten Island Republican, as based on “a preposterous theory that we can exorcise devils by reading them out of the English language.”
Anthony Edward Colombo Sr. was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 25, 1945, to Joseph A. Colombo Sr., who described himself as a real estate broker, and the former Lucille Faiello. Anthony grew up in Orange County, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley and graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy in 1965.
In addition to his son Joseph, he is survived by his wife, the former Carol O’Brien; another son, Anthony Jr.; two daughters, Lucille and Cristine Colombo; four grandchildren; his brothers, Vincent and Christopher; and his sister, Catherine.
Joseph Colombo was gunned down at a Unity Day rally in Columbus Circle in Manhattan on June 28, 1971, in what Anthony later suggested was a conspiracy by law enforcement.
The elder Colombo, who never completely regained consciousness and died seven years later, insisted publicly that the Mafia was a myth. Anthony sued WCBS-TV in 1971 (and later settled for undisclosed terms) after he was identified as a reputed member.
In 1986, though — “to save my family and four children the agony” of a trial, he said — Anthony pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering conspiracy charge that involved running an illegal gambling club. His plea agreement included a 14-year sentence.
While he maintained that he was not a Mafioso, the conspiracy count to which he pleaded guilty accused him and the other defendants of belonging to a “secret criminal organization known as the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra.”
After his father died and the Italian-American Civil Rights League largely faded from public debate, Anthony Colombo owned or operated catering halls, dry cleaning businesses and construction companies.
“Colombo: The Unsolved Murder” (2013), written by Don Capria in collaboration with Mr. Colombo, offered an explanation of why Mr. Colombo had embarked — reluctantly, the book said — on a criminal career himself after his father’s death.
“He felt he needed to make certain sacrifices to protect his family,” Mr. Capria wrote. “He has paid for his lawlessness and has since abandoned his belief that crime is a necessary evil in life.”


Facing at least 25 years in prison John Gotti's grandson eyes plea deal

The grandson of the late Teflon Don is eyeing a plea deal, his attorney said following a brief court appearance in the beefy 23-year-old’s drug case Wednesday.

“We’re just ironing out some details,” Gambino grandson John Gotti’s lawyer, Gerard Marrone, told The Post.

Despite the fact that a Queens judge set bail at $2 million during the mob scion’s last hearing, Marrone said his client plans to remain behind bars as a “good faith” gesture.

“Why let him out when we’re so close to a plea?” the attorney shrugged. “We feel it’s good faith to keep him in there.”

The young Gotti appeared cheerful during his short stint in the Queens courtroom — grinning at his father and a female friend as he was led in.

He gave the duo a merry wave as he was led out, after which Marrone beamed that his client was doing well behind bars.
Peter Gotti appears outside the courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

“His spirits are very well,” the attorney said. “He’s working out. He’s still in his drug program doing well. We want him to make a positive time of it while he’s in [Rikers].”

Dad Peter Gotti — son of the notorious Dapper Don — has been by his son’s side since his June and July arrests, and in the pews for each appearance.

He declined to comment.

The tatted-up defendant had faced up to 25 years-to-life in prison if convicted on felony drug peddling charges following a raid of his Howard Beach home that netted a trove of drugs, cash, and prescription pads.

Gotti will return to court Feb. 8.


Mafia wife pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine out of Queens pizzeria

The matriarch of a mob-connected Queens clan pleaded guilty in Brooklyn court on Monday to smuggling drugs through the family’s pizzeria.

Eleonora Gigliotti, 56, copped to one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, months after her husband, Gregorio — a reputed Genovese associate — and son, Angelo, were found guilty of smuggling 55 kilograms of cocaine from Costa Rica.

The family members hid the coke inside boxes of yucca, using their Queens pizzeria, Cucino a Modo Mio, as a front, prosecutors said.

All told, they smuggled over $1 million worth of drugs in two separate shipments in 2014, hiding the cocaine inside the box flaps.
Angelo Gigliotti

Eleonora delivered $360,000 to the dealers in Costa Rica and shipped the drugs back to a warehouse in the Bronx, prosecutors said.

The family stored their drug money, guns, ammunition and books for their illicit transactions inside the pizzeria.

Eleonora — who had previously been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial — faces a mandatory five years in prison, but could be ordered to serve up to 17-1/2 years.

Her sentencing was scheduled for April 12.

As part of the plea deal, Gigliotti agreed to pay $1.625 million in forfeitures. If her case had gone to trial, the matriarch could have faced life in prison.

Angelo, 36, faces 15 years in prison and Gregorio 20 years behind bars.

They’re expected to be sentenced on March 20.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

New TV series on the Rizzuto crime family coming in 2017

Not for FEATURED IMAGE spot. Bad Blood book cover
Rogers Media announced Thursday that principal photographer has finished on the six-part drama series Bad Blood? The Vito Rizzuto Story, which stars Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) in the lead role, as crime boss Vito Rizzuto.
The series, which was filmed in Montreal and Sudbury, also stars Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy) as right-hand man Declan Gardiner and Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) as patriarch Nico Rizzuto Sr.
Bad Blood the series will be broadcast in the fall in English on City and FX and in French on Radio-Canada. It is based on the book Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards. The series description reads:
Kim Coates as Declan Gardiner in the TV series Bad Blood, set to air on City, FX and Radio-Canada in fall of 2017.
“When Rizzuto is suddenly arrested and extradited to Colorado’s Supermax Prison for the 1981 murders of three Bonanno crime family members, the powerful empire he built begins to crumble. Rizzuto watches helplessly as his family and friends are killed one by one. Upon his release from prison in October 2012, a Shakespearean-level revenge tale unfolds, leading to the brutal murders of his closest companions, and ultimately, to the death of Rizzuto himself.”


Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo Guzman being held at notorious Manhattan detention center

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has landed in a place were he cannot escape and cannot do business, a dreaded stronghold in lower Manhattan that some call the “Guantanamo” of New York.
The Mexican drug kingpin is being held at least for now in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a featureless slab of mushroom-colored concrete just south of Chinatown. The detention center has in the past been the temporary home of mafia dons and terrorists, Ponzi schemers and drugs lords.
“There are no cellphones. He has to know it is over,” said Jamie Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of the investigation. “He is in a U.S. prison now. He is not going to be able to communicate.”
Less than 24 hours after his extradition from Mexico, Guzman appeared Friday in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn to be arraigned on a 17-count indictment on charges of drug trafficking, conspiracy to murder and firearms violations. Represented by a government-appointed federal defender, Michelle Gelernt, he pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A far cry from the mythical proportions he has assumed in popular culture, Guzman, 59, looked short and paunchy, a subdued man who has been cornered. He appeared to speak no English and used an interpreter. Answering questions about whether he understood his rights posed by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, Guzman spoke softly saying nothing more than “Si, senor.”
In a surprise move on the eve of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, the Mexican government extradited Guzman to the United States — apparently a parting gift to the Obama administration. He arrived late Thursday night at an airport in Long Island and was driven in a 13-car motorcade to the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
“As he deplaned, this most notorious criminal of modern times, as you looked into his eyes you could see the surprise; you could see the shock. To a certain extent, you could actually see the fear as the realization started to kick in that he is about to face American justice,” said Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez.
“He is about to face American justice in a city whose foundation is bedrock as strong as the will of the citizens that live in this city, and I assure you no tunnel will be built leading to the bathroom,” he added.
Guzman has twice broken out of Mexican prisons — once in a laundry basket and another time in a tunnel that was dug by associates under his shower— so there are concerns about whether New York will prove up to the task of confining the Houdini of drug lords.
The Metropolitan Correction Center might be just such a place. Built in 1975, the 12-story structure has slit-shaped windows with frosted glass so prisoners cannot peer out at the busy city around them. A tunnel allows prisoners to be transported to an adjacent federal courthouse without ever seeing the light of day, although it is unclear whether Guzman will pass through that tunnel since he is being tried in Brooklyn, not Manhattan.
Numerous high-profile individuals have been held at MCC New York during court proceedings, including Gambino crime family bosses John Gotti and Jackie D’Amico, drug kingpin Frank Lucas, Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff, terrorists Omar Abdel-Rahman and Ramzi Yousef, and weapons trafficker Viktor Bout.
The facility holds about 700 prisoners who are awaiting trial.
According to lawyers, Guzman is mostly likely to be housed in the notorious 10 South Wing, the segregated housing unit for prisoners who need to be separated from the general population.