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

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vito Rizzuto's mansion up for sale

The palatial mansion of Vito Rizzuto, the Mafia boss of Canada whose family has been decimated by gangland rivals, is on the market for just under $2-million as the family seeks to “downsize.”
“This beautiful stone residence was custom built to the highest quality standards and is now being sold for the first time by the original owner,” says the real estate listing.
What it does not say is that the occupant who made the stately home such a distinctive address is currently serving time in a U.S. prison for his role in three gangland murders.
The colossal structure, part Tudor style with decorative half timbering and part Medieval revival with imposing stone and recessed entranceway, boasts five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a three-port garage and a large wooded lot.
The opulence leads to one conclusion: “Crime pays,” said Andre Cedilot, a retired organized crime reporter in Montreal and author of Mafia Inc., a French-language book about the Rizzuto clan.
“They are very, very rich, the Rizzutos. During 30 years they could not be touched. They were the kings of Montreal.”
While putting the home up for sale makes some wonder if the Rizzutos are considering abandoning Montreal when Rizzuto is released from prison next year, Loris Cavaliere, a long-time lawyer for the family, downplayed any significance.
“It’s just for sale. It’s time to move on,” he said Monday.
Despite the obvious visual appeal, the house carries the weight of history.
While the listing boasts an “elegant garden and patio located on an immense and magnificent wooded lot,” to some that might conjure the shocking sniper attack from the same woodlot that struck and killed Rizzuto’s father, Nicolo, last November, just two doors down.
The listing notes “elegant granite floors grace the large entrance,” an entranceway where Rizzuto was confronted at dawn by Montreal police in 2004 and told that he was under arrest for a mob massacre made famous in the Hollywood film Donnie Brasco.
The home’s “luxurious and large master suite replete with a separate living area, a large dressing room and closet,” is where police waited while Rizzuto got dressed that day before escorting him to prison, setting off a media frenzy. He has not seen his home since.
The “marble mantle imported from Italy,” might remind some of the charges pending against Rizzuto in Italy, where his extradition has been requested for his alleged role as the head of an underworld financial empire.
And the “three additional bedrooms each with their own ensuite bathrooms and large closets,” might remind a buyer of Rizzuto’s three children, one of whom was shot and killed in 2009.
All of that past, said Liza Kaufman, the sales agent with Sotheby’s International Realty, is irrelevant to the sale.
“It only raised eyebrows with reporters not with consumers,” said Ms. Kaufman.
“Why should anyone be frightened? There are so many historical homes that have had owners with a lot more notoriety than this. We have had showings and there are families that are interested. It is a great family home. Whoever buys it is going to buy a beautiful, exceedingly well-built family home with a colourful history.”
Ownership of the home is listed under the name of Rzzuto’s wife, Giovanna Cammalleri, according to municipal records.
“It is a typical case of an empty nester. I know she wants to downsize,” said Ms. Kaufman.
“It is not my job to judge, it is just my job to put the house on the market and sell a beautiful house. There are no legal declarations we have to make vis-à-vis the house because nothing untoward, as far as we know, took place there.”
The sale is not a concern for federal prosecutors in Montreal.
“Vito Rizzuto was not prosecuted in Project Colisée [the large police operation that hit his criminal organization] and there were no proceeds of crime seizures regarding his assets in Project Colisée,” said Alexandre Dalmau, a federal prosecutor involved in that case.
“We don’t have anything pending on that property.”
The property was purchased by the Rizzuto family in 1981, about four months after Rizzuto travelled to a Brooklyn social club, where he jumped out of a closet with other mobsters, clutching a gun. Three rebellious captains of the Bonanno Mafia Family, one of the notorious Five Families of New York to which the Montreal mobsters were a part of, were then shot and killed.
On the large, cloistered strip of land on Antoine-Berthelet Avenue in Montreal’s posh Cartierville, the family built three abutting homes. Nicolo Rizzuto and his wife moved into one. Next door was Nicolo’s daughter and son-in-law, Paolo Renda, and Vito and his family lived next to that.
In recent years, however, their life of crime caught up to them. Nicolo Rizzuto and Mr. Renda were charged in Canada in 2006. After their release, Mr. Renda went missing, reportedly kidnapped and is now presumed to be dead.
Rizzuto was convicted in New York of racketeering and is being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Florence, Colo. He is scheduled for release on Oct. 6, 2012.



Post a Comment