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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My life as a Colombo family hitman

She seduced him over wine and M&M’s.
He was 18, a clean-cut delivery boy at Danza’s supermarket in Bensonhurst who attended John Jay College and wanted to become a firefighter like his dad, an FDNY lieutenant.
She was his customer, a Brooklyn housewife and dark-haired looker who offered soft drinks after he brought her groceries.
One day, out of the blue, she asked him point-blank, “Do you fool around?”
“No girl had been that forward, and it struck me as almost insulting,” recalled Larry Mazza of his 1979 encounter with Linda Schiro, then 32.
“So I said, ‘Of course I fool around — what do you think, I’m gay?’ ”
“She busted out laughing and asked me if I wanted to come over later.”
When he returned that night, “She was wearing this one-piece, black jumpsuit. She had beautiful eyes, very Italian looking. She put a bottle of wine out and some M&M’s. We had a few glasses. The next thing you know we were on the couch getting hot and heavy.”
The romp would change his life — if it didn’t end it first.

Greg Scarpa and Linda Schiro

Hitman Larry Mazza, here in an FBI survelliance photo, spills on the mob.

Vincent Fusaro, Colombo hit.

His Mrs. Robinson was the common-law wife of notorious mobster Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa, a bloodthirsty Colombo capo who once famously proclaimed he had “stopped counting” the number of his murder victims at 50.
Today, 30 years later, Mazza leads a comfortable life in Florida, where he works as a personal trainer and fears neither jail nor the mob family he joined. He did nine years in federal prison after admitting to his crimes and helping prosecutors try an allegedly corrupt ex-FBI agent, Lindley DeVecchio.
Though he never went into witness protection, Mazza believes none of his old crew has the slightest interest in coming after him, and so he’s written a book detailing his brutal life as a Mafia hitman. In bloody candor, he agreed to share his story with The Post.
It all began with the seduction of Linda Schiro.
She wasn’t just Scarpa’s pseudo-spouse and mother of his son, Greg Jr. She was also his confidante, a business partner with whom he hashed out Colombo strategy.
Schiro told Scarpa about her delivery boy and asked if he could help him out. She left out the part about the frequent trysts.
“She insisted on introducing me to him,” Mazza said. “She said, ‘He can do a lot of things for you. I want you to be successful.’ ”
Mazza somehow assumed her man was a Jewish doctor. Then he pulled up in a brand-new black Cadillac.
“The way he got out of the car, the way he dressed — with the sunglasses at night, a gold medallion around his neck, a diamond watch and a seven-carat pinkie ring, which was extremely impressive — I knew something was a little off.”
The three went out to dinner, where Scarpa told the teen he owned a supply company that serviced fire extinguishers. “He would start me in sales and maybe one day I would run the company,” Mazza said.
The new job worked out for a while, but when the business went bust, Mazza found himself “in no-man’s land. That’s when Linda suggested to Greg that I get into the numbers business.”
If he had any doubts about what he got himself into, they were quickly erased. Scarpa put him to work collecting number slips — players plunked down a dollar to win $500, with the daily drawing based on race-track results — and Mazza soon became an enforcer.
Any stores that put in lottery machines faced retribution.
“One got a truck driven through their storefront,” he said. “Another got visits from us and we’d walk out without paying.”
Eventually, the lessons turned to murders, for which he began as a driver. “The first one, it’s drop me off. Next one, I’d pick him up. Next time, bring a shovel. Baby steps.”
His first taste came after Scarpa learned that the livery-car driver who took Linda’s daughter to school every morning one day took her instead to Prospect Park and tried to make out with her. The girl was just 14.
“We gave that guy a vicious beating, and I thought that’s where it would end. I remember telling Greg that he didn’t rape her. We taught him a lesson.
“But I guess him and Linda couldn’t get over it. Greg just said, ‘He’s got to go.’ I wasn’t involved. This was personal. It wasn’t business.”
But Mazza began to suspect that the next hit would be himself.
His fling with Linda had carried on, and she didn’t mind tempting fate.
“We did it several different places — the car, hotels, though we had plenty of time at home alone because he traveled so much. We had the house four or five nights a week.”
On one occasion, they were going at it on a couch in the front of the living room — just as Scarpa was driving down the street.
“She wants to make it last, telling me not to stop. Finally she runs upstairs. Greg comes in, and she comes right back downstairs with this big smile. And he says, ‘You look like the cat that ate the canary.’ ”
“I started feeling really guilty. Greg and me were becoming friends. Before, it was like she was doing the wrong thing, not me. But once he started helping me, I was very uneasy. I thought, at some point this guy is going to kill me.”
Scarpa had once told Mazza that if he ever sat someone in a particular chair at his club, asked a question and got the wrong answer, a guy would come out of the closet and kill the person in that chair.
Which was where Mazza found himself sitting one day as Scarpa told him, “You haven’t been the same. I love you like a son and Linda loves you, and I know you two are close.”
“I can see where this is going, and I’m getting nervous,” Mazza said. “The closet is right behind me. He said, ‘I know what’s going on with you and Linda.’ ”
“I said, ‘Greg, I respect you and I think you are far from an idiot. But only an idiot wouldn’t see what’s going on.’
“He busted out laughing. Came around and gave me a big hug and walks me outside. And so now I’m feeling better. He says, ‘I can understand how it happened. But nobody else in the world can know. Because if it gets out, the two of us could be killed.’ ”
Ultimately, Scarpa even gave the affair his approval.
“He didn’t want to take anything away from her,” is Mazza’s explanation. “But maybe it was selfish. He was seeing all these other girls, and those nights I would be with Linda.”
In 1991, an internal Colombo war erupted. Acting boss Victor Orena seized power from jailed patriarch Carmine Persico.
Scarpa had long been loyal to Persico, so he readied a trio — himself, Mazza and Mazza’s boyhood pal, Jimmy Delmastro — with a mission to assassinate any Orena loyalist they could find. “For eight months, that’s all we did: wake up and go looking for people to kill,” Mazza said.
And though the Persico faction was outnumbered 3 to 1, Mazza’s side had more shooters — and one huge advantage. “Greg’s law-enforcement source,” he said, an insider who gave Scarpa tips on where their rivals were hiding.
On one occasion, they sped to the social club of a target on Avenue U and came upon seven enemy soldiers.
“Greg had just heard from a wiretap that this guy was putting a hit team together to target us. So we said, ‘We better get them first.’ We pulled up and rolled down the windows and opened fire on them,” Mazza said. “The three of us had pistols. Jimmy was driving. I was firing from out the back window. There was bullets going all over the place.”
No one was killed, but two weeks before Christmas 1991, Scarpa’s crew brought down a major player, Vinnie Fusaro.
“We were passing by the social clubs where Vic’s guys would hang out. This day we were on Bath Avenue and spotted Vinnie’s car, so we came around the block again. He was in his driveway, hanging Christmas lights on the garage. He never seen us. He was facing the garage.
“Greg had an Army type of rifle, an M52. He says, ‘Don’t even get out.’ He rolls down the window and hit him right behind the ear. It was a hell of a shot. Guy went down like a sack of potatoes. But he shot him two more times — once in the neck and one in the body.”
The beginning of the end of the war came when the Scarpa crew, again aided by their leader’s secret source, got to Nicholas “Nicky Black” Grancio, who as consigliere was one of Orena’s top lieutenants. “Everybody knew we had a cease-fire during the holidays, but Nicky Black had sent a message he was going to kill me,” Mazza said.
So on Jan. 2, the team made its move, picking up the target’s Toyota Land Cruiser on Avenue U.
“I knew it was him inside because a couple of weeks earlier he’d been subpoenaed to testify in a grand jury and he wore this big hunter’s-type jacket, red and black plaid, heavy, and a hat over his ears.
“He gets to a house and pulls over. His nephew, Joe Colino, was in the passenger seat. We pull up. We’re in a sedan, and we had a big walkie-talkie and coffee cups in the window and a blue police siren. I can’t believe he didn’t notice us. I just think he was so convinced it was the law.
“Greg had his rifle, but he was having trouble with the security clip. I had the shotgun, a 12-gauge, double-barreled riot-control gun stolen from a police car in Lakewood, NJ. Greg said, ‘Let’s get him.’ So I opened my window, pulled out the shotgun. I was close enough I could have smacked him. I aimed right behind his ear. I saw his whole face fly off, including his nose, and hit the windshield. It was chilling.
“His nephew got hit with fragments. He was just screaming. I heard it a block away. We dropped Greg off at the house and drove back to Jimmy’s house, where we had to babysit his daughter. We had just done something like that, and here we were, playing with his baby, drinking wine and watching ‘Seinfeld.’ ”
Finally, the war caught up with Mazza. Scarpa had his eye shot out during a gun battle with a gang that attacked Greg Jr., after which Mazza drove his mentor to the hospital and fled to Florida. That’s where he got arrested and hit with a slew of charges, including murder and racketeering.
Scarpa died of AIDS in 1994 — he contracted it during a blood transfusion for a bleeding ulcer, insisting he’d take blood only from his crew. One had been infected from a dirty steroid needle.
The informant allegedly was FBI supervisor DeVecchio, who was tried for murder in 2007. Mazza testified as a prosecution witness, as did Linda Schiro, but the case fell apart when an old interview surfaced in which she claimed DeVecchio hadn’t been involved.
After getting out of jail eight years ago, Mazza, 51, began shopping a book and TV project about his life and role as mob-war executioner. His autobiography will include a diary he wrote in jail.
“I was this big hitman and involved in this big Cosa Nostra war, but I didn’t really know all the things that come with that, the treachery, the cold-bloodedness,” he said.
By the end of his gangland career, Mazza had participated in some 25 murder plots, four of them slayings where he delivered the kill shot.
“People thought if I followed my father, I could have been a captain [in the FDNY] or even a chief,” said Mazza. “How could this have happened?”


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