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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Former Colombo Capo Franzese Coming Out With New Books, Movie, TV Series

At midnight on Halloween, 1975, Michael Franzese walked into a room with five other men.
He was 24 years old, and about to join the Colombo crime family in New York. The boss of the family was sitting at the head of a horseshoe formation, other members all around.
He took a knife and cut Franzese's finger, and Franzese cupped his hand as the boss put a picture of a saint there and lit in on fire.
The boss told Franzese that he was being born into a new life.
"If you violate what you know about this life or betray your brothers, then you will die -- and he looked me straight in the eye -- then you will die, and you're going to burn in hell like the saint is burning in your hands," Franzese recalled.
On Saturday evening, nearly 35 years later, Franzese stood before the congregation of the Frederick Church of the Brethren and told them how he had turned from the life of crime to a life of God.
The other five men who were sworn into the family with him that night are all dead -- none from natural causes, he said. Franzese himself rose to a position as a "capo," leading a wholesale gasoline business and other enterprises that brought it millions of dollars a week.
He has left that life behind, and now travels around the country giving talks to churches, at-risk youth, professional and student athletes, and corporate executives. This is his second visit to Frederick. Since that visit in 2008, he has published two more books and signed contracts for a movie about his life and an A&E television series, "Anatomy of the Mob."
Franzese is the first speaker in the church's "Fearless" sermon series, scheduled to last until the end of October. He spoke at the 5:38 service Saturday and is scheduled to continue with presentations today.
He looks back on his life and now sees God's hand in everything. Even his struggles were a way of helping him break the hold that that life had on him, he said.
"God does have a way of preparing us and a way of holding us up, if we allow him, if we put our trust in him," Franzese told the group.
He recounted several times in his life where he was afraid, and said, like everyone, he still has fears.
But one of the lowest points in his life came during his 29 months spent in isolation in prison, or, as he called it, "the hole."
Franzese was convicted on racketeering charges and of federal tax fraud. He spent eight years in prison.
One night, he hit bottom. He worried that he would lose his wife, who had led him to Christ. She was 27 and they had been married for only a few years.
He was fearful for his life, and felt like he had nothing but enemies.
"I have felt every emotion you can have in this world, from ecstasy right down to grief. But the worst emotion you could ever have is hopelessness," Franzese said. "And that night my fear was in the hopelessness that I had, that my life was over, done."
In the past year, he has seen the despair in people's eyes as they deal with unemployment, losing their homes, war and environmental disasters.
But he wants people to realize that God can give them a purpose and help them through their struggles.
Franzese, who still has a mob contract out on his life, told the congregation that he is one of the most fortunate, blessed men they had ever seen.
"Because had I been left on my own to do what I wanted to do, I'd either be dead or in prison for the rest of my life," Franzese said. "It's what I deserved and it's what I earned."
Instead, he has been given a purpose.
"I'm just a messenger here, here to share a story about what God has done in my life," he said. "If you're here, God really wants to plant a seed in your heart."

Enhanced by Zemanta


Post a Comment