Friday, September 15, 2017


If you know anything about the Philadelphia mob, you know history has always been sorta sketchy there.  If we go back to Angelo Bruno, everyone knows why he was called the "Docile Don." In the end, he just didn't like murder as a means.  He was a diplomat, and he believed discussion far outweighed using a gun to solve a problem.  Not to say that Bruno wasn't capable of murder he was, but he preferred the latter.  It enabled him to say insulated and enabled him to just stay off the radar of law enforcement.

The story that is not often told and believe me it includes some serious guys, is how Scarfo came to be, how Frank Tieri got revenge, and how Vincent "The Chin" Gigante was behind it all.  I have gone on record before chastising those who make statements about the Gotti and Castellano issue, when in fact, others before him did the exact same thing.  Carlo Gambino had three bosses killed. Vincent Gigante tried to kill Frank Costello, and had a hand in Castellano and Bruno's death.  So from that perspective anyone who tries to argue John Gotti and the Paul Castellano hit, and how it was "out of line,"  just doesn't make any sense and holds no weight with me.

So how did this all happen? First of all, you need to understand a few things.  Angelo Bruno was against drugs.  Not that he was against taking profits from drugs, he just forbid any of his men to get involved in that business.  The problem was, he was allowing Gambino's and Genovese's to move drugs in North Jersey, which was Philadelphia territory.  It agitated most of the guys on the streets and they felt it was unfair that he allowed other crews from other families to move weight, yet they couldn't.  Nobody was more incensed than Antonio Caponigro.

Antonio Caponigro
Antonio Caponigro was Angelo Bruno's consigliere. He saw the market shrinking and new that serious money could be made selling methamphetamines.  He also knew that Bruno was under indictments and was in failing health.  Rather then wait out the death of Bruno, he decided to act. However before we get there, we have to talk Nicodemo Scarfo for a second.

Nicodemo Scarfo was a maniac.  One of the reasons Bruno banished Scarfo to Atlantic City was because "Little Nicky," was uber violent and couldn't seem to keep himself together.  He literally stabbed a guy to death with a butter knife in a diner over a seat.  All that being said Bruno sends Nicky to Atlantic City to essentially wither away.  Bruno knew Atlantic City at the time was a dead end.  It was a way of shelving Nick without ultimately doing so.  Nicky was angry about it, but did his best to make ends meet.  For Nicky it was just a waiting game.

With Caponigro frustrated and unwilling to sit by struggling financially as well as the guys on the streets he decides to make a move on Bruno.  He knew Frank "Funzi" Tieri from the Genovese crime family.  They had known each other a long time, and had a beef a few years prior.  The beef was over rackets in Newark and North Jersey.  While Caponigro had rackets there, Tieri moved in and refused to leave even though the territory belonged to Bruno.  There was a sit down over the matter and Bruno sided with Caponigro, and believe me Tieri never forgot it. They eventually moved passed the beef, at least that's what Caponigro believed.

Frank Tieri
Caponigro knew he couldn't just whack Bruno.  He needed backing from someone other than his own men.  He made a call to Frank Tieri, his old friend, and left for New York.  He explained his situation and Tieri agreed in principle to the murder of Bruno.  He told Caponigro not to worry and that if it went to a commission hearing he would fully back Caponigro.  It was a lie, a very shrewd lie.

Caponigro returned to Philadelphia believing the hit had been sanctioned.  It wasn't.  Caponigro enlisted Frank Sindone, Alfre
d Salerno and John Simone.  He gave the order, and the hit was done.  Angelo Bruno was sitting outside his house in a car with John Stanfa.  The gunmen walked up and shot Bruno multiple times, killing him.  Stanfa was injured in the hit, but with just flesh wounds.

I have always thought John Stanfa was in on the hit.  There is no reason as to why the gunmen wouldn't have killed him.  A witness is no good, so the mere fact that Stanfa really wasn't hurt speaks volumes.  In any event, when the commission finds out about the hit, they summon Caponigro to New York immediately.  Vincent Gigante is the one who ordered Caponigro to New York.  He told the rest of the commission he would handle it, and for them not to "concern themselves," with the issue.
Vincent Gigante

When Caponigro arrived he was questioned.  He had believed it had been sanctioned.  After a while, probably out of fear he tells Gigante that it was Tieri who sanctioned it, and knew about it.  Tieri denied knowing about it, having involvement in it, and acted shocked at the revelation.  Immediately Vincent Gigante ordered him killed.  Caponigro's body would be found in the trunk of his car with fourteen bullet wounds, stab wounds and money stuffed into his mouth as a sign that he got greedy.

What perhaps is most astonishing about the end result, is that Frank Tieri was handed all of Caponigro's rackets, which included those they had a beef over, and m
ore.  Then Nicodemo Scarfo was made the boss of Philadelphia, and Nicky cut Vincent Gigante in on the SCARF, INC concrete business and was given generous kickbacks from the skim in Atlantic City.  Vincent Gigante made huge amounts of money from the deal, and Nicky even allowed more drugs to be moved in and out of his territory.  It was a win win for Gigante, Scarfo and Tieri.  I'm a firm believer in the saying "if it looks like it, smells like it, it probably is."

Nicodemo Scarfo
I'm not saying Gigante ordered it.  I'm saying he knew.  He knew something.  He knew the end result.  He could never sign off on something like that.  It's the same thing he did in the Castellano murder.  He was off the record about it, and would make sure he made a statement, but the ends always justified the means when it came to Gigante. Money.  I don't think he was any more loyal to anyone in that life than himself.  In many ways he was incredibly Machiavellian.  What enabled him to continue to do those things was his power.  Why would Caponigro go to New York knowing he was in deep shit, and just try and make up a lie about Tieri.  Tieri was a huge powerhouse and very well trusted and he had to know any assertion of a lie would get him killed.  The proof is in the actions.   Tieri wanted Caponigro dead over an old beef(money) Gigante wanted more income from rackets, and Scarfo wanted to be boss.  It all sorta worked out for them didn't it?

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Former gangster actor, known for two very specific roles has gone to the big casino in the sky. Frank "Vincent" Gattuso passed away in a New Jersey hospital while undergoing a heart procedure.  Frank Vincent had recently suffered a heart attack and was undergoing valve repair surgery when he passed away.

Those familiar with Vincent's body of work will be remember him as "Billy Batts," from Goodfellas and spirited, angry gangster Phil Leotardo from The Sopranos.  While Vincent has a long career as an actor beginning in 1976 alongside Joe Pesci in the  "The Death Collector."  He followed that up with roles in "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas," "Casino,"  "Shark Tale," The Pope Of Greenwich Village," and countless others.

While Vincent wasn't a leading actor, he played the supporting role incredibly well, and everyone whose a fan of mob genre films, knows exactly who Frank Vincent was.  While I disagree that he was "prolific" as some articles have mentioned in the last 24 hours, what I can say is that he was a part of a group that include Tony Sirico, and Vincent Pastore who were at the bare minimum believable.

I never truly was a fan of Frank Vincent, only because I felt that he played into a stereotype too hammy for my own tastes, what I can say is that while Frank Vincent has an impressive body of work, his truly best work was on The Sopranos.  I thought Vincent played the role of cranky, vengeful Phil Leotardo exactly the way "Phil" was on paper, and that's what I will remember him for most.

What fans of this genre will miss most, is his raspy voice, with a "don't fuck with me" attitude.  He made you believe he was who he was protraying, and for an actor that's the greatest compliment one can bestow.  RIP FRANK!!!

Here is Phil's best work!!!



I continue to get inboxed and messaged regarding the state of affairs in Philadelphia, Pa.  A lot of people are either misinformed or because there is so much misinformation out there, that people are getting confused.  So in an effort to stifle that, let's get down to it.

Currently, as we speak, the Philadelphia mafia, is splintered into four factions.  It doesn't mean four families within one, it simply means, that their are four small subgroups.  If anything it's by design to insulate the Philly mob.  We know the players, and the boss is still the boss, but because some are getting confused, let's break it down.

For starters Joey Merlino is the boss.  He makes the decisions, and at the end of the day he has final word on everything going on, however he is not actually overseeing day to day operations of the entire family.  That mainly has to do with his criminal trial that's coming shortly.  It's better for Joey to insulate himself a bit, and if that means they use a front boss system, or a four tiered system then so be it.  So who are the players?  Remember, four factions, four capos, and rank and file comes in underneath.






Each one underneath has a crew.  Some of the crews operated as far as Delaware, up through New Jersey and some in New York as well, all though it's limited to certain areas.  One of the more interesting facets of this is Philip Narducci and Joe Pungitore.  Both of them are Scarfo-era gangsters.  One might wonder why Borgesi, Mazzone, and others are not on the top four here.  For starters you have to understand how Pungitore and Narducci hold top spots considering the bad blood over the last twenty years between Merlino and Scarfo guys.

To begin with when both Pungitore and Narducci got out of prison and hit the streets, Joey was in a rebuild.  He could have easily shelved both, but didn't.  He saw the release of Narducci and Pungitore as advantageous, and as an extension of an olive branch allowed both to come into the Merlino Family.  The move upset the apple cart a bit, drawing the anger of Georgie Borgesi.

Borgesi's beef really began with Marty Angelina.  While Borgesi was away, Angelina took over Borgesi's rackets.  When Borgesi got out, he expected to be handed over whatever rackets he had.  Angelina refused.  He essentially told Borgesi to fuck off.   Borgesi in turn ran to Merlino for help, and Joey wasn't hearing it.  He told Borgesi to just deal with it.   Borgesi couldn't let it go and asked for Angelina to be killed.  Once again Joey wouldn't hear it, instead bumped Borgesi down to solider and forced him to operate out of Delaware.

To make matters worse, Borgesi then began a silent whisper campaign, and ended up trying to unite some associates to his side of the fence.  It was a ploy to try and shake the tree a bit, in order to force Joey Merlino to see his point of view.  Borgesi then opens up a social club on Packer Avenue.  It just created a mess for Merlino.

Borgesi felt that Scarfo-era guys had no right being inducted into the family, and was bitter about being bumped down, but he wouldn't have to wait long as Joey bumped him back up to Capo to appease the situation.   What shouldn't surprise anyone at this point is that Borgesi is simply a capo, but underneath his Uncle Joe Ligambi. 

It doesn't take rocket science to see what Merlino has done.  He has himself, and Joe Ligambi as one set, and two Scarfo era guys as the other set.  Merlino has the final say on everything, but the day to day operations from what I am hearing is controlled by Philip Narducci, which is bad news for Borgesi.  Why?

We have to sort of play psychic here, but from the street perspective let's see it how it really is. We know Joey Merlino is facing some monster time in his trial.  If he somehow is found guilty he's going to be looking at 15-25 years, effectively rendering him helpless.  He still will have some power, but I don't think it would be enough to run the family from prison.  If that scenario goes down, I would expect there to be some real ramifications and in a hurry.  I don't think Joey would necessarily bow out, but I also believe you will see a major splintering effect, and I don't think Ligambi at his age is going to stand in the way and cause a problem.  Not only does Ligambi not want to do another stint in prison, but Pungitore and Narducci have a lot of power.  

The flip side of this is Georgie Borgesi, who wants it all, but doesn't have the ability to conjure up the backing of New York or Philadelphia at this point.  What will likely happen, is Steve Mazzone will be offered a high end position and either Narducci(odds on favorite) or Pungitore will take over Philadelphia, and we then will see a reshuffle of the structure.  Borgesi however, if he isn't careful could find himself in a corner he can't get out of.  It makes the situation in Philadelphia a virtual powder keg, if things go a certain direction. You could also see Pungitore and Narducci split duties. I just don't see how Joey will be able to hold onto the reigns if he goes away for a twenty year stretch.

The one resolve Merlino has had, unlike Scarfo, is that he is a patient guy.  He doesn't pull the trigger out of delusion or haste. He's not that kind of leader.  However, if push comes to shove in this situation you could see blood spill over in the streets of Philadelphia depending on the situation. Philadelphia has always had one or the other when it comes to leadership.  They either have a leader whose fairly soft, or a leader who kills everyone.  The in-between seems to be Merlino, and so far so good for Philadelphia.  Merlino's strong asset is his ability to think, and his ability to put the bottom line ahead of jealousy and nervousness. Money.  As long as the money keeps piling up, he's happy, and that's the bottom line at the end of the day for the mob.  However, if that dries out, and guys start pulling a Borgesi, then all hell could break loose.

In final, I don't know exactly what will happen in Philadelphia.  If I had to give you a real street level idea, I would simply tell you that if Joey goes away, Narducci and Pungitore will try and take over, and Merlino loyalists will drop in line only because it will benefit them in the long run financially.  If guys don't fall in line, then we could  see SCARO VS. MERLINO part two.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Q & A with Mob Talk Radio host Jeff Canarsie

Questions posed by Scott Williams-Collier

1) So Jeff , it's great to see Mob Talk Radio finally back! It's been back a two months now and you are five shows in. The views on You Tube are looking great too! How's it going with the show and what does it feel like to be back doing what you love the most?

ANSWER: It was a long hiatus definitely.It wasn't necessarily something I wanted to do, but I really didn't have a choice because of the infamous litigation I have going on. It was just sort of one of those things that had to be done. The break was nice, but I did miss the research aspect a lot, but I didn't miss the death threats and just complete bashing I seem to take when people disagree with whatever I discuss. The show is going well, strong numbers coming back after a long hiatus is pretty cool to be honest with you. I really figured nobody would listen and I could just find something else to do, but once again I am utterly shocked by the sheer volume of compliments and listens. As far as being back in the grind of things, it's very hectic. What people may not understand, is that to do a one hour show is five hours of research and calls to numerous people and staring at endless court documents. It's all part of the process,but I'm enjoying it. There was a time when I couldn't stand seeing the word  MOB TALK, but I'm back and that's all that matters at the end of the day!

2) What can we expect from future shows. Do you have any guests lined up or any other interesting concepts  that you want to introduce to the show?

ANSWER: I think the future is going to be incredible. There are many options in this genre, and of course I would like to move to a two hour format, which in the first hour we discuss a topic then open up the phone lines and let people hammer me with questions, threats, insults and whatever else they feel like they wanna say. I also want to move to live shows, and that's coming but it's down the road a bit. As far as guests, I have some great ones coming, but everything is timing and sometimes they just can't come on due to confidentiality agreements due to other projects, but I believe I can say Angel Gotti will do a show with me, as will Michael Bell who has an incredible book out and even did the cover for John A. Gotti's book "Shadow of My Father." I have others lining up, but just for now I want to keep a certain rhythm, but yes guests are coming!

3) For many regular listeners to Mob Talk Radio they will probably know a little about your background, so for any new listeners tell us about yourself and your childhood and ultimately what drew you to do MTR? 

ANSWER: I was born in Brooklyn, New York (Canarsie) and I grew up in many places honestly, but home has always been Providence, Rhode Island. I come from a super large Italian family, and well, as the story goes I don't discuss it much, but my cousin was Ray Patriarca's body guard and driver. Ray Patriarca was head of the New England Mafia. My grandfather was also active, high up, and well, when you grow up in that lifestyle, around that life, it impacts you. There is a big difference from growing up around it, seeing it for what it is and just knowing someone you heard of. I met a lot of people growing up and as a child I was transfixed by that lifestyle. The cars, the money, homes, girls all that stuff. It's very cliche to say that because that's what everyone says, but honest to God the one thing that stuck out at me, was how much my grandfather was loved and respected, and that's what I wanted. I tried that way of life at an early age, took a pinch, and that was the end of that.

I didn't know what my cousins, uncles and grandfather did, I was blind to it, until I was about 15 and it all sorta started to make sense in a hurry. My dad would drop hints to me but I was very dense. Eventually I figured it out, and that's what i wanted to do. There was nothing better in this world you could be, but as I said in the end I took a pinch and on his deathbed my father made me promise I would never revisit that life again and I didn't!

As far as MTR, it was really a whim, I had zero intentions of discussing the mob, because I new the amount of drama it would create in my personal life, and it has. I did one show, figured I would just openly discuss it and see what the reaction was. The reaction was insane, high numbers, tons of listens, then I started getting calls from back home telling me to "STOP IMMEDIATELY," and I refused to listen. So the personal toll has been really awful, but I enjoy doing it and after the first show it was a success so I just kept going. I try to keep it as historical as I can as not to inflame issues with street guys I do know, but everyone seems to like it, so here we are.

4) There may be some that aren't aware of this but you are a business partner of mine with The True Crime Page.  How are you finding it being involved with the True Crime Page and what is your vision for MTR and TTCP ?

ANSWER: When I first came across your page I was amazed. I'm a fan of serial killers in the sense of, I like figuring out why, what drives them to that point, you know.  So when I found your page I was excited. Thankfully we became close friends and the rest is history as they say. It offers a different perspective on crime from the standard, which to me is why it's so popular. It covers all aspects. I think as both pages go, I see it becoming a secondary radio show entirely. I think there is a part in society that would love that show. So Scott, start doing radio. Nobody is really covering that, so hint hint........

5) Now I know we have discussed this privately but I am going to ask this for our Q & A. We are both big fans of Frank Sinatra and find his life story fascinating.  Are you at some point going to do a show on Sinatra?

ANSWER: I think so. I have hesitated on that subject not because I don't think it is relative, because it is, but when I admire someone or love what they do, it's hard for me to write anything that could be construed as disparaging. Especially because my grandfather owned a horse track  with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I just have a tendency to protect people I care about, which is likely why I run from that topic, but I think at this point it can be done respectfully. You'd be amazed at how many idiots write so many false books about Frank. A lot of myth there for sure, but yes it's something I am really considering.

6) Are you working on anything else at the moment? Any books, scripts or documentaries or any other projects?

ANSWER: I am working on two books, one is genre related, one isn't. I'm involved in two projects that i cannot really discuss due to confidentiality agreements, but with these things you never know if they are going to work out or not, so we shall see, but if both come to fruition I believe my face will be seen to a much bigger audience.

7) After having a long break from Mob Talk Radio how are you finding life now you are back on the airwaves and how are things going living in Brooklyn?

ANSWER: Who said I live in Brooklyn? lol.  Brooklyn is good. I enjoy Brooklyn, always have. It's a melting pot of everything, but for the life of me I have no fucking idea what a hipster is.  Cross between Frank Sinatra and Emo kids? I don't get it but it makes everything interesting. Life is good, I have a good group of friends and they know who they are, but I try to stay as low-key as possible, just because there is always some nutcase out there who wants to try and prove a point, and I'm not about to go to jail for beating the piss out of some bigmouth wannabe actor who has an imaginary beef over nothing. that's one thing I want to get out there. I take a lot of crap, and that's fine. Any time you do this topic you are going to get detractors. I accept that, everyone has an opinion, but there is a group out there who specifically comes at me. They believe they are in the mafia and make threats such as "oh he doesn't know who we know, he better be careful." Those types of things make me laugh so hard. How gangster is when you take to Facebook saying that shit. They even made comments about my sister passing away at ten. What am I supposed to do? Grab a burner and light them up? I just sit back and watch them fail at everything they do, and just grin.  A man doesn't need anybody to step in on reputations. A man handles his business himself, something I pride myself on. These guys make threats on imaginary reputations. Perhaps it's an unwise thing for my to say, but frankly I don't give a fuck! I never have. You want anything from me, come talk to me like a man. They don't, they won't, and if they do they had better bring their own gurneys because they will need it. Sorry it was just on my mind and it drives me nuts.

8) What was it like growing up in a mob family?

ANSWER: Normal, I know people must be laughing, but I didn't have a clue until I was a teenager. I noticed small things as I said earlier, but the wads of money, cars, suits all seemed normal to me. I just figured everyone was successful. Phrases from my Uncle Joe like "Oh we're going down to the hot suit store," never sorta made me thing twice. It was swag. My grandfather was probably the biggest swag hijacker I have ever seen in my life. My god his basement was like fucking Macy's. Wall to wall clothes, suits, shoes, socks, dress shirts, ties. Why my uncles had to go to the store was hilarious. We had one in the basement. There is nothing really abnormal about my childhood but something my mother said me as a kid sorta haunts me. I saw on my grandfathers caddy a police sticker. It was one of those support your local police station stickers. I remember thinking my grandpa was a cop. I ask my mom if grandpa was a cop, to which she scoffed. I was just confused.  She explained that he took care of a lot of cops and their families. Little did I know that was code for payoffs. I then remember asking what if someone tries too hurt us. Kids ask stupids questions all the time. The answer was something that I can still replay like an old voicemail. "Nobody will ever try to hurt you or anyone in this family, if they do heaven and earth will be moved and that person will never breathe another day in their lives." She meant it, and believe me there are those that tried and paid dearly for it. So if anything, I felt protected. You would have never known my grandfather was who he was. He was calm, loving and quiet. He never swore, and if he was mad he wore it on his brows like a hammer. He wouldn't raise his voice but toy knew when he meant business that's for sure!

How about a story. There was a time, and I was just a baby, but I have heard this story a million times. My family was at a restaurant. There was a particular waiter there who was gay, my family was very open to everything, but this waiter kept staring at my bother Tony. After a while my uncle's noticed this and mentioned it to my grandfather.  He told them to just ignore it, eventually rage gave way and they ripped this waiter up by his tie, dragged him outside and nearly beat him to death.Turns out they knew best, because years later he was arrested for touching kids. So I have a lot of stories, but honestly, It was very normal, but just a lot of coded conversations. Things like Joey Peeps went away, nobody will see him again or Vito Romano went for a swim in Florida and drowned. Stuff like that, but I wouldn't change my childhood for any reason. there is one more story I want to tell you to show how powerful my grandfather was.

We were in Newport, Rhode Island (the beach). My grandfather would sit high up on the dunes smoking a cigar while we played in the water. There was a kid, he was about 12 or 13 and I was 8. He kept showing my cousin DJ in the water, holding his face in the water.  After a few warnings I got protective. I walked up to this kid and one punch knocked him out. He eventually got up and ran down the beach crying. I thought I was going to catch a beating, I was brought up to fight, but to walk away. In any event, this kid comes walking back down the beach with two irate parents. They started in on what a bully I was, never mind this kid was twice my size. This kids mom is screaming at me, my mom is getting aggressive. Behind us my grandfather walks up, doesn't say a word. This kids mom makes eye contact with him and the next thing shes apologizing to me. Her son is a bully and they are sorry for causing any trouble. She was rushing her words, and soon they left. I turned round and there was my grandfather who was smiling at me. He pulled me aside and said, "Jeff there are times when one must walk away, but never when it comes to blood. I am proud of you." He then handed me a one hundred dollar bill. He hugged me and kissed me on my head, and went back to his chair. It was probably then that I should have knew, but I was just a kid, but I knew he had some serious clout, because he scared the shit out of those people.

9) What are some of the differences to how you approach that lifestyle versus other bloggers and journalist?

ANSWER: I sorta loosely lived it. I know some serious people, I grew up inside a family, so my perspective is different from just reading a newspaper or a book. A lot of writers don't understand the streets, they think they do but they don't. If a real hardcore knock around guy came to talk to them, they would shit their pants. I approach it from the streets. I think my attorney Elio  says it best "you know the streets better than any other writer I have met." He knows who I am, who I am related to, and he knows I see things from the inside out rather than the outside in. It's never as simple as guy A shoots guy B. Sometimes it can be,  but there are a lot of politics to the mob, and if you don't understand that, how can you accurately describe it? You can't. You simply take a stab and hope you are on the right track. I also don't take what informants say as gospel. I refuse to. Some of them do then find out later they were totally off base. Not knocking them, they do what they do and I do what I do.

10) You know some serious people, out of all the people you know or knew, living or dead, who's the one that made you the most uncomfortable?

ANSWER: Anthony Senter , perhaps is the most disturbing. He was in the DeMeo crew. While I can say he is nice to a large extent, believe me he is still deadly, and still lives by a code. It's  not so much what he says it's how he says it. We had a falling out a few years back, but really he was the one that creeped me out a bit. Not because at any point did he make a threat or anything, but you just knew he was and what he was capable of at some point.

Probably the most kind fun guy I have discussed things with it Carmine Persico. He was really genuine, and liked writing letters. Always expressed gratitude and just really came off as a great guy. I could never utter a bad word about that guy, he knew my grandfather very well, and he told me some stories I didn't know, granted they were small anecdotes but I appreciated it.

11) You spent a week with with Henry Hill, what was that like?

ANSWER: A lot of people don't know that about me. I don't tell many people about that, but yes I spent a week with Henry. It was under the guise of a screen play and I wanted to do some research. Henry called on my phone to arrange it. I will never forget when my father came outside and said "Uh Jeff  Henry Hill is on the phone." The look on his face was one of "WHAT THE FUCK?" Between Anthony Senter, Joey Testa, cousin Georgie and now Henry Hill my father was used the phone ringing with a mobster on the other end. He used to joke he divorced my mom but couldn't get away from the mob. I flew out and spent a week with Henry and he was a lot of fun, was a funny guy, but he was also a drunk and a huge liar. Believe me, I can say this with a 100% honesty, if there was a guy who really regretted his life, Henry did! It poisoned him to the extent that only booze and coke kept him from leaping off a building. He talked at length about Jimmy Burke, Paul Vario, and it was pretty amazing. I was just getting my feet wet with this genre. We're talking almost 17 years ago now. If anything, it was an experience I will never forget as long as I live.

Check out the links below for the latest Mob Talk Radio Shows. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Paquale "Patsy" Parrello, 73, famous for the Pasquale Rigoletto's Restaurant in the Bronx, has just been sentenced in his part of the racketeering and extortion bit which was included in the East Coast Enterprise case including Joey Merlino and a host of others.   Judge Richard Sullivan, who accepted the guilty plea wouldn't consider Parrello's staunch civic duties or collections of letters from those who knew Parrello, asking the court for leniency.

" I don't think the Roman Catholic church looks too favorably at extortion. he said before announcing Parrelo's sentence. Judge Sullivan also followed that up with other thoughts. " There's a long history of Capo's dying in prison, you must have understood this, you had 88 months to think about this before."

Parrello, 73 is a Captain in the Genovese Crime Family and was caught on wiretapes, issuing a very serious threat to someone who was late making payments to Parrello.  According to the wiretaps and the federal government, what was heard was Parrello talking to an  Lucchese associate, "I want Buddy to choke him, choke him, actually choke him, the mother fucker, tell him, listen to me, next time I'm not going to stop choking,  I'm gonna kill you."  Hardly the words of a quiet, civic minded grandfather.

Judge Sullivan didn't mince words and handed down a seven year stretch for the aging Capo.  Perhaps Parrello regrets taking a plea deal now, as Eugene "Rooseter"  O'Nofrio  and "Skinny" Joey Merlino are the only two hold outs from the massive indictment.  Everyone else had plead out.already and are awaiting sentencing.   Eugene O'Nofrio has gone to great lengths to separate himself from Merlino, and we will see how this will play out in court down the line, but for Parrello, this any stretch of time you have to do beyond 70 could very well be a death sentence.

Perhaps Parello, who was looking at 40 years over this indictment made the right decision in the end, but perhaps more than anything this could be a sign to Merlino and D'Nofrio that the shit is about to hit the fan if they are found guilty....

Friday, September 1, 2017


I'm still sitting here this morning laughing about a story I heard last night.  I fully enjoy the side of mob lore, and legends.

Sometimes the stories are way to filled with gaps to make any sense, but this is a story repeated from former crooner Al Martino.

If you have ever seen the Godfather, one of the more famous scenes is when fictional crooner "Johnny Fontaine," is down on his luck, and goes to "Don Corleone," played by Marlon Brando for help in attaining a starring role in a film.  The issue isn't that Johnny Fontaine wasn't a talented guy, he was.  But Woltz refused to give Fontaine the role out of petty jealously because Fontaine had bedded one of Woltz's starlets.   Woltz had paid a lot of money to get her right, and called her "the greatest piece of ass he had ever had."   So his answer was no.

As stated above Fontaine goes to Corleone, and Corleone sends in Tom Hagen.  They have a meeting where Woltz explains his position and even brings up an old story about Fontaine using Corleone to get out of a recording deal, where the oft quoted line "I ain't no bandleader," comes from.  In the end Fontaine gets what he wants as does Corleone.  Later in the film "Michael Corleone" explains to "Kay" that "Luca Brasi" was the one who shoved the gun in the said bandleaders face.

What you may not know is two things here.  First, before we get to Martino, let's discuss that oft quoted line.  If you didn't know it, that's a true story.

 It was Frank Sinatra who desperately was caught into a contract where he couldn't make money, and his ability to go out on his own would have been almost impossible.  He could but said "bandleader," would get a huge kickback.  That bandleader was Tommy Dorsey.  Tommy knew Sinatra had talent, and he knew if he lost Sinatra he would lose money.  Therefore the contract was incredibly lopsided, and Sinatra knew it, but he also knew he needed to be seen.

Sinatra went to the Fischetti brothers, and the mob stepped in and put a gun to Dorsey's head, and in the end Sinatra walked away from the deal.  Years later Dorsey and Sinatra would make some huge records together, and all had been pushed aside.

Al Martino's character in the Godfather was essentially Frank Sinatra.  Anyone who says otherwise isn't telling you the truth. That aside, let's move on to Al Martino.

When The Godfather was in early casting Francis Ford Coppola wanted an Italian, good looking singer to play the role of Johnny Fontaine.  Martino was signed and even pitched in $50,000 to help in the early stages of production.  The studio wanted Martino and everything looked ready to go.   The issue was after Martino signed, Coppola had a change of heart.  He wanted an actual "actor" to play the role.

Coppola essentially fired Martino, and then refused to give back the $50,000 that Martino had invested.  Martino was pissed. He tried reaching out to Coppola but he was not returning calls.  Martino then pulled something right out of the film.  He called his Godfather Russel Bufalino. He knew that Bufalino had some control at Paramount, especially over this project.   He met with Martino and told him not to worry that "the role is yours, and you will also get your money back."

A few weeks later, Martino is told via Paramount that the job was his, and he would get his money back.  When he returned to the set Coppola tried to isolate him repeatedly, which is why when we see Martino in shots it's always from behind.  Coppola went to extreme lengths to not show his face.  He even forced Martino to sit in a separate area for lunch and wasn't allowed to speak to the cast.  Marlon Brando who knew Russel Bufalino very well wasn't going to tolerate Martino getting treated unfairly so he drove Martino to set everyday and ate with him at every meal, infuriating Coppola.

What people didn't understand, or maybe don't even know today, is that Rusell Bufalino had complete control over the script written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola.  He made sure what was in it, and what wasn't.  He also ensured that all the labor which went into the production was his own unions.

 If you listen to Francis Ford discuss The Godfather, he often says he hated the shoot.  He uses excuses like long delays, and uses the line about how the studio didn't like Pacino or anyone else.  It's not true.  The studio was happy with everything accept Coppola's tantrums on set, and the way he tried to dictate how a mafia film was made.

In fairness to Coppola, I can understand how he's an artist and wanted this film to be his own.  I get that, but for him to sit there and try to coyly say "I don't know who the mafia is or was, I had to get books to read about them, " is hilarious.  Before he could even get hired he had to talk to Rusell Bufalino.   Fuzzy memory on that guy.

The Godfather turned out to be a huge success, but that film had more to do with mob influence than most people know.  Woltz and Bufalino sort of echoed themselves in many ways.  Who knows, had Bufalino said no to the premise then The Godfather would have never been made.  History as we know it from that genre would look a lot different.  Now you know......

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Earlier today I put out a notice that I would take some time and answer your questions, and just as I suspected we quickly received the questions, so here we are.  With that let's begin.

Q1: Via Michael DeMeo- "Will you do an episode on Tommy Pitera?

A:  Absolutey, it's just a matter of this is such a huge genre that I have a tendency to try and mix it up a bit so we aren't always discussing the same types.

Q2: Via Robert Wilkins- "Was "Mad" Sam DeStefano formally inducted into the "Outfit" or was he just an associate?

A:  Well, as you know Mad Sam was a nutcase in many ways.  He didn't ice pick people's balls for no reason.  He was more serial killer than gangster, however he was highly sought after by the upper echelon for his "job skills."  He was not an inducted member.  He was a high up associate, and hit man, loanshark and etc.  The Outfit never made him because they thought he was too "crazy."  They thought he was too reckless and they couldn't control him which is why he was never "made."

Q3:  Via The True Crime Page- "What's your opinion of Al Capone?

A: This will certainly start some shit.  I'm not a fan.  It's not to detract from Al's abilities or his balls.  He was a tough guy who didn't mince words, and he would get nasty when he needed to.  The one thing I think that gets lost in books is that people assume he was the "capo di tutti capi," (boss of all bosses) and that simply wasn't the case.  He ran Chicago but he took orders from New York, at least in terms of certain things.  He had his own power, and at one point had the ears of the commission, but you also have to understand that the Midwest is an entire other world compared to New York.  He had the backing of New York but any assertion he ran the entire mob isn't true.  He will always have his place in history, but was he Lucky Luciano or Vinnie the Chin? No.  Smart, but he drove New York nuts because he couldn't stay off newspapers.

Q 4: Via  Joseph Valerius- Who killed Tommy DeSimone? I believe it was Jimmy Burke but the general public seems to think it was John Gotti, which is bullshit.

A: Your assumption is accurate.  John Gotti had nothing to do with Tommy DeSimone's murder.  It was Jimmy Burke.  The idea that Jimmy didn't know, or that he was eating in a diner with Henry Hill when he found out, is absolutely false.  Jimmy Burke shot Tommy in the head himself.  He didn't have a choice.  Jimmy was feared, and he knew it was either Tommy or him, and Jimmy did what he did when there was a problem.  He disposed of the problem.  Tommy was invited around to a house where he was to meet Jimmy.  Jimmy didn't hesitate.  He pulled out a gun and put Tommy away.  Tommy fully trusted Jimmy that's why it lends itself to the truth.  Tommy would have been lulled by Jimmy.

Q5: Via Darran Vizard- Did Neil Dellacroce plan to make a move on Carlo Gambino at any point?

A:  I don't believe so, but maybe you were referring to Castellano?  In either case, I don't believe so.  He might have been swayed to go along with the hit on Castellano but I highly doubt it.  Neil was insanely smart and deadly, but he lived the code was a 24-7 gangster.

Q6: Via Mike Devine- How much do you figure the Snakes wife Mrs. Persico gets a month from the Capo's?

A: lol.  The safe answer is zero right?  I would imagine she sees nothing personally. I doubt anyone comes over with a bag of money. I am sure Carmine ensured she was taken care of when he went away. Especially between her son and husband.

Q7: Via Sigurjon Gunnarsson- What is the biggest mistake Castellano made?

A: He was greedy.  He choked off his own men to the point where they couldn't earn a dime.  He failed to give the men he was ordering to murder on his behest respect.  He loathed street guys.  Paul was never a street guy.  He wasn't a tough guy.  However considering all of those things, the biggest mistake he made was being a giant hypocrite.  He had his own cousins selling drugs, in Jersey, took massive profits yet wanted to chastize others for the same thing.  Greed was his biggest mistake.

Q8:  Via Luis Angel Marquez-Coriano- Whose in charge in Philly?

A: Joey Merlino is the boss.  However Philadelphia right now is split into four factions in an effort to insulate.  The four guys who are leading the mob there with a crew under them is: Joey Merlino, Joe Pungitore, Philip Narducci and Joe Ligambi.

Q9: Via Jim Gerran- You said John Gotti never killed anyone, what happened with James McBratney? So Trump's mentor Roy Cohn didn't get him only two years for a hit(like that movie made it seem?)

A: I don't believe I said John Gotti never killed anyone.  If I did, then I could see your confusion.  As far as McBratney, John did time for that hit, but it was Raplh Galione who actually pulled the trigger. What is interesting is that Anthony Senter's uncle Robert Senter(DeMeo crew associate) helped McBratney kidnap Carlo Gambino's nephew Manny Gambino.  McBratney was the one only killed, and Senter continued to work with Roy DeMeo.  Very Strange.  As far as Donald Trump and Roy Cohn, I'm not sure which movie you are talking about.

Q 10: Via Messenger J. Thorpe- Top three gangsters of all time. Reasons?

A: 1. Carlo Gambino, not only was treacherous, but highly elusive.  He took over by intelligence, power, and being a real sneaky guy.  He never did any real time and died at his summer home.  You can't ask for anything better in that life.   2.  Vincent Gigante- He was crafty and was able to stay out of prison most of his life(without the exception of some early stuff) and he knew how to make serious money.  3. Anthony Salerno, is perhaps one of my favorites.  He made close to $400 million dollars a year.  He was the brains behind a lot of rackets.  He never left his neighborhood, and took it on the chin literally in the commission case, when he wasn't actually the boss.  He accepted his fate, and went away for the rest of his life for "this thing."  You have to marvel at that.  I know there are some I didn't bring up, but to me, those three are in a league of their own.

I hope you enjoyed the ten in ten.  Hopefully we can do this more often...