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

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bonanno captain turns down crime family promotion to consigliere

Jack Bonventre is facing 21 to 27 months in prison when he’s sentenced this month for collecting a loanshark debt.
They made him an offer he refused.

Getting promoted to the powerful position of consigliere in a Mafia crime family apparently isn’t what it was once cracked up to be.

So says the lawyer for reputed Bonanno capo Jack Bonventre, who prosecutors say declined the high-ranking post.

“He (Bonventre) turned it down, he didn’t want it,” Bonanno gangster Vincent Asaro blabbed in a conversation with an associate that was secretly recorded on March 8, 2013. “Jack didn’t want no part of this no more.”

Bonventre is facing 21 to 27 months in prison when he’s sentenced this month for collecting a loanshark debt, and defense lawyer Gordon Mehler argues in court papers that the job offer for consigliere — Italian for counselor — should not be held against his client.

Mehler complains that the feds are exaggerating the relevance of the alleged promotion.

“Assuming that this is even true, traditional organized crime families in New York are now weaker than 20 or 30 years ago and the Bonanno family in particular has been largely decimated by arrests and defections. Being considered for consigliere does not have the same meaning as it once did,” Mehler wrote to Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross.

Robert Duvall (l.) played the consigliere in the "Godfather" films. He's seen with Al Pacino in a scene at the Senate Hearing in "The Godfather II."
The Bonannos’ last publicly identified consigliere is Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Argentieri and Alicyn Cooley disagree, contending that it shows Bonventre holds a powerful and prominent position among the Bonannos.

Bonventre, 46, is described by his lawyer in the sentencing papers as a hardworking owner of an auto body shop in upstate Orange County and submitted letters from two Catholic priests attesting to his good deeds, which included the donation of fuel to his former parish, St. Helen in Howard Beach, Queens, after the area was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

A mob consigliere is a respected and wise member of a crime family who is consulted on various matters and is “devoid of ambition” to take over as boss, according to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia,” by Jerry Capeci. The consigliere is part of the crime family's top hierarchy, along with the boss and the underboss.

Consiglieres operate in the shadows, settling disputes and advising the boss. One of the most famous is the fictional Tom Hagen, portrayed by actor Robert Duvall, who counseled Don Vito Corleone in the classic film “The Godfather.” In real life, Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano was consigliere to the late Gambino boss John Gotti for a time.

Bonventre was one of five people arrested for the robbery of a Lufthansa Airlines shipment in 1978. Pictured, Vincent Asaro (c.), believed to be involved in that infamous heist, is taken from FBI Headquarters in 2014.

The Bonannos’ last publicly identified consigliere, Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito, has been dogged by criminal charges in recent years and was recently observed by NYPD detectives doing something not so wise — having a long meeting with the family’s Bronx street boss John Palazzolo in a Queens diner.

Sources say the beleaguered Bonannos are run by a panel that keeps changing as they’re arrested, while the reputed boss, Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso, serves a 15-year sentence for his role in the murder of a mob associate.



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