Mafia boss shot dead in swimming trunks near Italian beach



Gaetano Marino — a boss from the Neapolitan Camorra — was hit by at least four shots to the head and another five or six to his back Thursday afternoon after he left the beach en route to his hotel in Terracina.



   CommentMILAN — Authorities were searching Friday for a gunman who shot and killed an organized crime boss clad in a swimsuit as he walked from a beach to join his family at a hotel in a resort town south of Rome.

Gaetano Marino — a boss from the Neapolitan Camorra — was hit by at least four shots to the head and another five or six to his back Thursday afternoon after he left the beach en route to his hotel in Terracina, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Rome in Lazio region. His family had gone ahead of him back to the hotel, police said.

The shooting caused panic along the crowded beach, and witnesses told police the gunman fled the scene in a small gray car driven by a second man.

Marino, 48, headed the Scissionisti , or “secessionists” clan, which had fought a bloody turf war in the streets of Naples for years with the rival Di Lauro clan over control of drug trafficking.

Marino was known by the nickname “Moncherino,” or stump, after he lost both hands in an explosion while planting a bomb in the 1990s. He stirred public outrage by appearing in the front row of a state TV audience this year while his 12-year-old daughter dedicated a song to him.

The Camorra has not hesitated in the past to assassinate rivals or traitors in public places, and Marino’s killing was being investigated as a hit by rivals, either inside or out of his own clan.

In the last few years, street killings blamed on mobsters have occurred in the Lazio region, including Rome, fueling fears among investigators that the Camorra, as well as the ‘ndrangheta organized crime gang from southern Calabria, have moved some of their interests near Italy’s capital.


 

Italian police say fugitive Sicilian crime clan boss is arrested in Venezuelan shopping mall


 
ROME - Italian authorities say a fugitive Sicilian Mafia boss has been arrested in Venezuela, with family ties aiding investigators on his trail.
Police and prosecutors in Palermo, the Sicilian capital, told reporters Tuesday that Salvatore Bonomolo was shopping in a mall on Margarita Island, a popular tourist destination, when he was arrested Monday. They said investigators tracked him down by following the movement of money his family sent to him from Italy and by intercepting phone calls his relatives made to him.

Italian authorities said Bonomolo had been wanted in Italy since 2007, where he has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years and 4 months in prison for extortion and Mafia association. He is an alleged boss of the Porta Nuova crime clan in Palermo.


N.Y.C Mafia Boss and Gay Club King Dies at 92




Matthew Ianniello, an infamous New York mobster who was one of the biggest operators of Manhattan’s gay clubs during the ’70s, died on August 15 at the age of 92, the New York Times reported.
The Mob Boss, who was also known as "Matty the Horse," was convicted of rigging construction bids, skimming profits from a number of establishments that he secretly owned and served several years in prison for his crimes. Ianniello was also known as the one-time acting boss of the Genovese crime family who was involved in the gay bar industry from the 50s through the mid-80s, Newsday pointed out.
"He was a huge moneymaker for the mob," Selwyn Raab, a former Times reporter who specialized in covering organized crime, told the newspaper. "Among the five organized-crime families, the Genovese were considered the most sophisticated. They were the ones in labor racketeering, the garment center, the fish market - they were the Ivy League of the New York mob."
According to the Times, Ianniello severed a nine-year prison sentence for racketeering and tax evasion involving strip clubs he owned and an 18-month sentence for illegally controlling garbage companies in Connecticut.
At the peak of his operation, Ianniello owned more than 80 establishments, which many called a "smut cartel." Among those establishments were gay clubs, which "were considered landmarks of gay night life, like the Gilded Grape and the Hay Market," the Times notes.
Ianniello joined the Army in 1943 and received a medal for valor in combat in the South Pacific. After fighting in World War II he and an uncle became partners in a restaurant.
BitterQueen.com writes that the mobster was extremely influential in NYC gay nightlife: ’No man had more of an instrumental role in gay nightlife in the Big Apple than Ianniello, and although he was straight the city’s Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce probably should send flowers to his funeral."
In the years before -- and for some time after -- the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in June 1969 that ignited the contemporary gay rights movement, the mob owned, controlled or shook down nearly every gay bar in the city, including the Stonewall. Although they certainly weren’t the kindest landlords and didn’t do much to their holdings, they developed a reputation as tough but fair; more importantly, they were the only "businesspeople" who would be associated with homosexuals.

Chiefs’ Super Bowl win played part in tripping up organized crime in KC





In the old days, the mobsters would keep Kansas City open late. They didn’t care who saw them. The bars stayed open, and some of the region’s most wanted men were afraid of nothing. That’s a kind of power you can’t buy, but if you could, the Civella crime family could finance it.
“They were a monopoly here,” says William Ouseley, 77, a retired FBI agent who headed Kansas City’s organized crime division in the mafia’s heyday. “…You’d find these mob guys all over the city. Hanging out on Broadway, doing the bars, and out there for all to see.”
The Civella family was a powerful outfit, and its tentacles reached into Chicago and Detroit and Las Vegas. Yes, that’s where the money came and went, the dollars wagered and lost by most anyone who didn’t know how to play the game. Mobsters, though, had perfected the art of winning.
But even the professional gamblers had a weakness, and when most other bases were covered, it was hometown sports allegiance — and excitement over the Chiefs’ chances to win Super Bowl IV in January 1970 — that helped bring down the Kansas City Mafia.
Same as it is now, gambling was big business decades ago, and after Prohibition, outsmarting the betting system — and skimming a few bucks off the top — was a good way for criminals to pad their billfolds. And same as it is now, the Super Bowl was one of the biggest times of the year for gamblers.
Only in Kansas City, when the hometown Chiefs made it to the championship game, something happened. Even the most skilled bettors, the ones with the advantages, started betting with their hearts instead of their minds — abandoning the proven system that made mobsters wealthy and helped them run the city and Vegas casinos.
What happened next revealed a loose thread from the Civella family’s tightly knit organization. Ouseley and the FBI grabbed it and pulled, and the family and all it stood for began unraveling.
“A big spider web,” Ouseley says of the best bookmaking networks. “… It just spreads out.”
And this time, it was the mobsters who found themselves caught in the web.
Ouseley remembers the audacity and the reach. Mobsters here weren’t worried about being caught; they were nearly untouchable.
The area’s entire illegal gambling operation was headquartered at “The Office,” a tiny building now painted white and blue at the corner of 5th Street and Troost Avenue in Columbus Park. Like everything, it was a poorly kept secret, but until Ouseley was transferred to Kansas City in 1964, few were willing to look too deeply.
Horse racing was popular for a time, but suddenly football was eclipsing all else as the nation’s biggest sports phenomenon. That, of course, wouldn’t change even decades later, when some of the most high-profile betting action occurs on fall Saturdays and Sundays. Even now, Super Bowl Sunday is the year’s biggest day for gambling — legal or otherwise. Back then, though, crime families relied on an illegal wire service to handicap games, relaying valuable information and helping to move the point spreads — a scene captured in the 1995 crime drama “Casino,” whose plot featured characters and settings from Kansas City and even included a character based on Civella.
“They would take a bet on anything, damn near,” Ouseley says. And with inside knowledge, these criminals made big money.
In the late 1950s, the FBI made it a priority to weaken and eventually cripple organized-crime rings. Federal agents were moved around to offices in crime-infested cities, and later a new law was passed to allow investigators to install wiretaps to listen in on conversations between suspects.
The problem for the bureau was that the crime bosses, the agents’ big targets, rarely needed to get involved. Men like Nick Civella, whose family had led illegal activity in Kansas City since 1928, left those conversations to foot soldiers.
For a long time, all Ouseley wanted was to look the man in the eye, knowing the boss had been caught.
Years passed, and there were few slip-ups — certainly none that would result in an indictment. The Mafia kept growing, kept being careful, kept frustrating agents not just here but throughout the country. The Civella family had infiltrated the Tropicana casino in Las Vegas, and it was involved alongside other cities’ families in the control of four other casinos, including the Stardust, the basis of the fictional Tangiers in “Casino.”
In early 1970, the FBI’s Kansas City field office had installed wiretaps as it investigated a string of gangland killings. One of those was at a restaurant that was a hangout for some of the Civella power players.
Weeks earlier, the Chiefs had completed an 11-3 regular season, qualifying for the playoffs despite finishing second in the American Football League’s Western Division. Quarterback Len Dawson and a handful of future Hall of Famers had found a rhythm, and the Chiefs squeaked past the New York Jets in the first round. Then they defeated the Oakland Raiders in the AFL championship game, advancing to Super Bowl IV.
The celebration in Kansas City was on. Three seasons earlier, the Green Bay Packers had blistered the Chiefs, 35-10, in the first AFL-NFL championship game, and Chiefs fans were ready for a second chance.
Illegal gambling was so common in those days, though, that the week before the Super Bowl, Dawson was questioned by federal agents about whether he had participated in fixing games — after a man named Donald “Dice” Dawson, who knew the quarterback but was not related, was arrested carrying $400,000 and Len Dawson’s telephone number.
Several Chiefs insiders paced the hotel that day in New Orleans, trying to decide how their quarterback should play it.
“I just said: Tell them the truth,” Len Dawson says now.
He had spoken occasionally with Donald Dawson but denied having any business or gambling arrangement with the man. Len Dawson was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing just a matter of days before the biggest game of his life.
“I figured if I could handle that,” Len Dawson says, “I could handle anything.”
The NFL champion Minnesota Vikings were 12-point favorites over the Chiefs. Back in Kansas City, though, emotion had taken hold. The title-game loss three years earlier still fresh, Kansas Citians wanted redemption. Mobsters and sports handicappers abandoned their betting formulas and began placing wagers with hope rather than science.
“Kansas City,” Ouseley recalls, “was betting only Kansas City.”
Something was up, and the concern made its way up the Civella family tree. Sub-managers told Nick Civella that the action was rotten; they couldn’t get anything on the Vikings. There’s usually balance in a bookmaking organization, often consistent with the betting line, and throughout the second week of 1970, the balance had shifted firmly in the underdog Chiefs’ favor.
A betting network in those days was complicated, and bosses rarely got involved. Bets were placed at bars and at offices, storefronts with phony names and apartment houses.
“All of these various people,” Ouseley says, “have their own people.”
But in the days before Super Bowl IV, the betting was so stilted that Civella himself picked up a telephone, dialing the restaurant where an FBI wiretap had been installed. What was going on with the Super Bowl? Why was the line so out of whack?
Agents were listening. His concern over the betting action had forced him to make a kind of unintentional confession — and the FBI pounced.
The Chiefs indeed won the Super Bowl, 23-7 on Len Dawson’s superb performance, and a short time later, federal agents appeared at a country club in Kansas City. Civella was there, and he was being indicted by the FBI.
Ouseley was there, too, and as he had envisioned for so long, he looked Civella in the eye, knowing Kansas City’s biggest gangster was now in handcuffs.
“He got caught in the net,” Ouseley says.
In the months and years following Civella’s indictment, the thread the FBI pulled began to reveal other ties. To other cities’ crime families, to corruption, to Las Vegas. In time, it would all fall, changing the way casinos were run and weakening the hold that organized crime had held for decades. Ouseley captured the details in his two books, “Open City” and “Mobsters In Our Midst.”
Civella was convicted of illegal gambling charges in 1977, and a key piece of evidence was the recording from the week of Super Bowl IV. He died in March 1983, and although his family persisted, its power was mostly lost. Within the last decade, though, there have been reminders of the Civella family’s continued action — and inability to ignore a gambling industry that still produces big payouts. Three of Nick Civella’s descendants pleaded guilty for their involvement in an Internet gambling scheme whose details surfaced in early 2010.
But Ouseley says the days of brazen Mafia influence are finished, here and throughout the country. He says that’s the most gratifying thing from his FBI career, which ended in 1985 when he retired from the bureau.
He still lives in Johnson County, and he still thinks often about how much things have changed in the past four decades — including the role the Chiefs inadvertently played in that change.
“The ultimate deal,” Ouseley says, “is seeing what the mob was when I got here, which was out front, in your face, doing their business, running the town and out — no fear, no concern. ‘We’re the big guys; we’ve been here forever.’
“Closing that down, of course, was the ultimate.”

'Mob Wives' star's dad, Anthony Graziano, sentenced to 19 months in jail


'Mob Wives' star's dad, Anthony Graziano, sentenced to 19 months in jail

This wise guy is still smarting off.
Anthony “TG” Graziano, the 71-year-old dad of "Mob Wives'' star Renee Graziano and former Bonanno crime-family capo, today was admonished by a Brooklyn Federal Court judge and even his own wife for snickering and cracking jokes as he was sentenced to 19 months in jail on an extortion plot.
Graziano, whose courtroom chatter was so bad that his wife Veronica mouthed "Stop it!'' from the galley, will only serve 11 months for the rap against him -- collecting an illegal debt -- because the judge gave him credit for eight months already served.
He was ratted out by former son-in-law-turned-canary Hector Pagan, an ex-Bonanno informant who is Renee’s ex-husband. She was not in court.
Judge Carol Amon called Graziano's sentence "reasonable in light of the serious conduct ... on behalf of the Bonnano crime family" and considering Graziano's criminal history. Sentencing guidelines called for anywhere from between 27 to 33 months.
Graziano's lawyer asked for leniency given his client's long history of health problems, including diabetes and bladder cancer, but the judge noted that those ailments never seemed to get in his way before.
Graziano himself asked the judge before sentencing, "Can I get outta [the Manhattan Detention Center] fast? They're killing me in there.'' It wasn't known which federal prison he may finish his sentence in.
In a written statement read by his lawyer, Patrick Parrotta, Graziano asked for leniency because of his health and apologized to his wife for "causing her such pain and grief" and to his grandchildren.
"I am sorry to leave you again. Grandpa loves you all," he wrote in his statement.
Three others who also pleaded guilty to collecting illegal loans in a mob-controlled social club were sentenced, too. A fourth man implicated in the case was contesting part of his plea deal.

 

Colombo mobster LIKED talking about bloody hit: authorities





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A ranking Colombo mobster awaiting trial for ordering the murder of an off-duty NYPD officer took pleasure in discussing the bloody Mafia hit, authorities say.
Bonanno crime-family boss Joseph Massino “mentioned to [Colombo consigliere Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace] that there was a rumor circulating that [Cacace] had been responsible for the murder,” prosecutors wrote in a new filing in Brooklyn Federal Court.
“In response, Cacace smiled,” prosecutors said.
Cacace is set to go on trial next year for allegedly sanctioning the 1997 hit on NYPD Officer Ralph Dols because the cop had married the wiseguy’s ex-wife.
Sometime in the 2000s, officials said, Cacace smiled about Dols’ death while chatting with Massino — now an FBI informant — while the two were inmates together at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.
The conversation was recounted to the feds by Massino during a debriefing session in January 2009.
Details about the conversation were included in papers filed yesterday related to an upcoming pre-trial hearing in Cacace’s case.
But prosecutors also acknowledged that there could be a potential wrench if they try to use Massino’s 2009 recounting of his tet-a-tet with Cacace at trial.
They noted that Massino seemed not recall the jailhouse conversation when they asked him about it during a recent phone conversation.
Defense lawyer Susan Kellman insists that Cacace had nothing to do with Dols’ murder.
Last year, Massino — once dubbed “The Last Don” — became the first boss in New York mob history to take the witness stand as a federal informant at the trial of “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano
 

Recorded mob conversations could play a role in racketeering trial


 Recorded mob conversations could play a role in racketeering trial

It was just a bunch of guys sitting around a table, eating, drinking, and talking about the old days. There were a few bottles of wine, some antipasto, several nice entrées, and then a little anisette.

And all the while there was lots of conversation.

The talk focused on business - murders, robberies, "making" ceremonies - but then, what else would nine mob guys talk about over drinks and dinner?

That was the scene at La Griglia, an upscale Italian restaurant in North Jersey one day back in May 2010.

The question now is whether any of that talk - secretly recorded by a cooperating witness - is relevant to the pending racketeering case against Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and key associates Anthony Staino, Joseph "Scoops" Licata, and Louis "Big Lou" Fazzini, all of whom were at the meeting.



Defense attorneys say there is no relevance. They argue that nothing from the meeting, which was recorded by a cooperating figure who later killed himself, should be entered as evidence.

Prosecutors contend that the discussions help set the backdrop for the case and that they provide an unguarded account of the way organized crime operates.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno is scheduled to hear arguments on the issue Friday. His ruling could determine how the racketeering trial set to begin in October will play out.

To date, only snippets of the tapes, made by Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli, have been made public. They were referred to in a superseding indictment handed up this year and in a detention memo filed by the government in May.

Prosecutors say Licata, 71, a capo who represents the Philadelphia crime family's interests in North Jersey, set up the meeting and dominated the conversation. Among other things, they allege, he joked with Ligambi about the murder of John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto; complained about problems with the Lucchese crime family; and waxed philosophical about the need for quality over quantity in La Cosa Nostra.

There are more detailed accounts in a 150-page government document, not yet made public, that includes partial transcripts from the meeting at La Griglia in Kenilworth and from a second restaurant meeting, attended only by Licata, Fazzini, and Stefanelli, at the American Bistro in Belleville in October 2010.

The government document will be the focus of the legal arguments on Friday.

What is clear from memos already made public is that on May 19, 2010, Ligambi and Staino traveled more than 80 miles to break bread with Licata, Fazzini, Stefanelli, and several reputed leaders of New York's Gambino crime family, including brothers John and Joe Gambino and Lorenzo Mannino.

Ligambi, 73, was introduced to the New Yorkers as "the acting boss" of the Philadelphia mob; Staino, 54, was described as a capo, or captain.

The meeting lasted several hours and included rounds of drinks and lots of food. La Griglia touts its pasta and steak and chops dishes.



Some samples from the menu: Spaghetti served with lobster, toasted herb bread crumbs, and roasted shallots in a sherry lobster sauce goes for $24. A rack of lamb chops served with fingerling potatoes and broccoli rabe in a rosemary-balsamic reduction is listed at $38. And a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino, a classic Tuscan red, costs $85.

What Ligambi and the others ate and drank that day has never been detailed. What they discussed has already been alluded to in several government documents.

At a hearing last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor, one of the prosecutors in the case, said the 150-page government memo includes transcripts of about 90 minutes of conversation gleaned from more than seven hours of mob chatter.

How any of the discussions recorded by Stefanelli fit into the racketeering-conspiracy case now pending is the fundamental question.

The answer may depend in part on how much of the history of the Philadelphia mob Robreno is prepared to allow the jury to hear.

Defense attorneys contend that none of the topics discussed has anything to do with the racketeering-conspiracy charges pending against Ligambi and the others.

The case includes allegations of gambling, loan-sharking, and extortion built around sports betting and illegal video poker machines.

The defense contends that violence tied to other mob regimes, particularly from the bloody Philadelphia crime family headed by Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo in the 1980s and the organizations run by John Stanfa and later mob boss-turned informant Ralph Natale in the 1990s, has no connection to the current case.

References to murders and acts of violence from those periods, they argue, are both unfair and prejudicial.



The issue here is not what the mob was, but what it is today," said Gregory Pagano, Staino's attorney, sounding a theme that was repeated by other defense attorneys and that will likely emerge as a talking point in the coming trial.

The theme seems to imply that while the defendants may be mobsters, they're not the gun-toting, head-bashing gangsters who preceded them.

Edwin Jacobs Jr., who represents Ligambi, said at that same hearing last week that the government was trying to build its case on "an outdated reputation of an organization that is not on trial. ... They're trying to present these people as every bit as evil as those who went out and committed murder for Scarfo."

But prosecutors say the Ligambi organization is a continuation of a mob family that stretches back decades, and that Ligambi and his codefendants played off the mob's reputation for violence to extort and intimidate in the 21st-century Philadelphia underworld.

At last week's hearing, the prosecution drew a comparison between the mob and the New York Yankees.

Murderers Row, the famous Yankees juggernaut of the late 1920s, was a team from the past, Labor said, but today's Yankees are part of the same organization.

"These defendants used threats of violence and exploited the history and reputation of La Cosa Nostra" to control the underworld in which they operated, he said.

That reputation and that history, he contended, were the things discussed as they sat around a table at La Griglia eating good food and drinking fine wine.







Mobster in ‘lawyer go-round’




This gangster needs to do a better job at choosing his mouthpiece.

An imprisoned mobster who claims he was sold out by a prominent defense lawyer is facing potential problems with the new lawyer handling his case.

Reputed Gambino crime- family associate John Matera — who’s serving 20 years in the slammer for setting up the 1998 murder of mob rat Frank Hydell — hired lawyer Seth Ginsberg to file suit last year in a bid to get his sentence tossed.

Matera contends that his previous lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman — who won acclaim for his defense of Mafia prince John “Junior” Gotti — had a conflict of interest because he was also representing another mobster, Thomas Dono, who took part in Hydell’s rubout.

But Manhattan federal prosecutors say that Ginsberg has a conflict of his own because he’s a “key witness” regarding Matera’s claims, which hinge on a secret recording made by another mob turncoat, Lewis Kasman, that Ginsberg learned about in 2008.

Under federal law, there’s a one-year statute of limitations to bring forth “newly discovered evidence,” and the feds say Ginsberg “has represented Matera since at least July 2009 — well more than one year before the filing of this motion.”

A court hearing into the matter is set for Wednesday


Teresa Stanley, Bulger’s other longtime mate, dead at 71




She was the other woman in James “Whitey” Bulger’s life, the one who spent nearly 30 years with the gangster but refused to leave her family to stay with him on the run.

Teresa Stanley died of lung cancer Thursday morning at her home in South Boston, surrounded by her family. She was 71.

“She was a beautiful person, both inside and out, who carried herself with tremendous grace and dignity, at times under some difficult and challenging circumstances,” her son-in-law, Ron Adams, said Friday during a brief telephone interview. “She died peacefully surrounded by her family and friends. She will be missed by all.”

Stanley, a South Boston native, was 26 and divorced with four children, ¬ages 3 months to 7 years old, when she began dating Bulger in the fall of 1966. She was a beautiful woman, with movie-¬star looks, sparkling blue eyes, and an easygoing nature. He had been released from prison the previous year after serving a nine-year stint for several bank robberies.

They never married, but Stanley said Bulger supported her and her children and raised them as his own. He kept a separate apartment, but had dinner with Stanley and her children most nights at her home on Silver Street in South Boston. He spent all holidays with them.

Stanley testified in court that she was unaware of Bulger’s alleged criminal activities.

“If I ever asked him a question, he would tell me to mind my own business,” Stanley testified. “He would say it’s none of my concern, so I never asked any questions.”

Allegations that Bulger killed 19 people, including two young women, shocked and sickened Stanley.

Charles “Chip” Fleming, a retired Boston police detective who was ¬assigned to the FBI-led task force that hunted Bulger for years, said Stanley once told him: “The Jimmy Bulger you guys know is not the one I knew.”

Stanley said Bulger was good to her children and ¬recalled how they would walk around Castle Island in the winter. She said he was always concerned about whether she was warm enough.

“She got caught up with a bad guy,” Fleming said. “Maybe she put blinders on, but she was a good woman. She’s at peace now.”

Bulger, 82, a longtime FBI informant, is scheduled to stand trial in March in a sweeping federal racketeering case that includes charges that he participated in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. He had been a fugitive for 16 years, one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, when he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 22, 2011, along with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig. Greig was sentenced in June to eight years for conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, and identity fraud.

Stanley said during a series of interviews with the Globe that she was stunned in the fall of 1994 when Greig, whom she had never met, revealed to her that she had been having an on-and-off again affair with Bulger since the mid-’70s.

“She wanted to break it off with him, and she had to do something that would just end it for them,” Stanley said. A furious Bulger showed up as the two women were discussing his infidelity at Greig’s Quincy home, Stanley recalled. Bulger insisted the affair with Greig was over and took Stanley to Europe, stopping in Dublin, Rome, and London.

Shortly after they returned to Boston, Bulger was tipped by a former FBI agent on Dec. 23, 1994, that he was about to be indicted on federal racketeering charges. Bulger took off again with Stanley. By February 1995, she had had enough of life on the run. She missed her family and asked to go home.

Bulger returned to Massachusetts, dropping Stanley off at a Chili’s Restaurant in ¬Hingham. Then he picked up Greig in Dorchester and disappeared again.

In retrospect, Stanley said Greig had done her a favor, because if she hadn’t learned about the affair she might have felt obligated to stay with ¬Bulger.

“After 30 years, I wouldn’t have been able to say: ‘That’s it. You’re on your own. See you later,’ ” Stanley said.

A year later, Stanley began cooperating with the FBI after agents told her Bulger might try to kill her because she knew too much. She revealed Bulger’s alias, Thomas Baxter; his early hideout in New York; and the location of safe deposit boxes where he had stashed money.

But Stanley almost immediately regretted what she had done and told Bulger’s longtime associate, Kevin Weeks. He warned Bulger, who quickly scrambled to get new identification and eluded capture.

On Friday, Weeks had only kind words for Stanley.

“She was a beautiful lady and a lovely person,” he said. “She had a kind heart.”

Stanley testified for the government at the trials of Bulger’s former FBI handler, John J. Connolly Jr., who was convicted of federal racketeering and murder. But she was always uncomfortable in the limelight, rarely gave interviews, and expressed sadness for the families of Bulger’s alleged victims.

Stanley struggled financially as she rebuilt her life without Bulger. After living like a stay-at-home wife with him for years, she was without any savings or pension. At age 54, she went to work as a banquet waitress, carting heavy trays during events at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

“She was a very hard worker,” Adams said. “To see a woman pick herself up at that age, get up at 4:30 a.m. to go to work, come home for lunch, and go back to work. . . . She did it with a smile and never had a bad word to say about anybody ever.”

She came to relish her newfound independence. In past interviews, Stanley talked about rekindling friendships she had dropped because ¬Bulger did not like it when she went out at night with her ¬female friends. She was devoted to her elderly mother and was devastated last year by the death of her son, William. Her three daughters, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren were a source of great pride to Stanley, who often talked about how much she loved them.

When Bulger was captured last year, Stanley said she did not recognize him from the mug shots taken after his ¬arrest. “I never would have known him. It didn’t really look like him.”

She said she had moved on with her life, and she dreaded the unabated publicity that followed his arrest. “I think other people deal with it better than me,” Stanley said. “It brings up all the bad stuff






Should Bulger judge recuse himself?

J.W. Carney Jr. may very well be a grandstanding criminal defense lawyer who is working hard to stall justice on behalf of his infamous client, James “Whitey” Bulger.
But Carney raises a legitimate issue when he questions the impartiality of Richard G. Stearns, the judge who is presiding over the case of the notorious gangster, who is charged with 19 murders.
Stearns refused to recuse himself, writing in a July 17 memorandum that “I have no doubt whatsoever about my ability to remain impartial at all times while presiding over this case.” However, the test is not whether Stearns has any doubts. It’s whether a reasonable person has them. And a reasonable and well-informed person — one who knew of Stearns’s prosecutorial career in Boston and longtime friendship with FBI director Robert Mueller — just might.
 Stearns was an assistant US attorney and chief of the criminal division during many of the years that Bulger was allegedly committing heinous murders. Yet he writes that he knew zero about Bulger’s secret deal with the FBI and had no knowledge “of any case or investigation” in which Bulger was “a subject or a target.”
It’s true Stearns was not a member of the New England Organized Crime Strike Force, which dealt directly with Bulger. But he worked in the same office and as chief of the criminal bureau, everything criminal would have gone through him, such as search warrants and wire taps.
Even if a reasonable person believes Stearns knew nothing about the Bulger deal, would that same reasonable person believe he is now unbiased about the twisted ties between Bulger, the FBI, and federal prosecutors?
As WBUR reporter David Boeri put it in a recent report regarding Stearns’s recusal: “So ask yourself: After 20 years of investigative reports, books, movies, congressional inquiries, Bulger’s years of success avoiding capture and the hearings that blew the cover off Bulger’s relationship with the FBI, might you have doubts or suspicions that a judge who worked in the US Attorney’s Office at the time can be impartial?”
And what about Stearns’s close relationship with the head of the FBI?
Boeri’s radio report also included a clip from a 2006 ceremony that was held to unveil a portrait of Stearns. During remarks as the featured speaker, Mueller, who flew in from Washington, said he was honored to count Stearns “as a friend and mentor.” Stearns, in turn, called Mueller’s attendance “the greatest tribute that a friend could pay.” That closeness raises questions about the judge’s eagerness to dwell on embarrassing information about the FBI’s deal with the devil.
The Bulger case ended up in Stearns’s court a year ago, after the gangster was finally captured after years on the lam. Prosecutors asked that racketeering charges against him be dropped. The rationale, they said, was to proceed immediately to the murder charges, and finally get justice for the long-suffering families of Bulger’s victims. Stearns had been assigned the original murder case, so he kept it.
But those prosecutorial maneuverings also got the case away from Mark L. Wolf, the federal judge who first exposed the corrupt relationship between Bulger and the FBI. Wolf is known for his meticulous and time-consuming approach to his job — as well as for his toughness on government lawyers, for whom he shows little mercy.
A surprise part of Bulger’s defense is Carney’s charge that his client had entered into an immunity agreement with the federal government in the 1970s — and the agreement prevents prosecutors from charging Bulger with crimes, including murder.
Carney is pledging to name names and identify prosecutors who allegedly cut the deal with his client. His threat is that Stearns was and is relevant to the decision; that Bulger got immunity from someone with whom Stearns worked closely and that because of that, Stearns cannot be an impartial judge.
At a minimum, Stearns’s refusal to take himself off the case gives Bulger an issue to raise on appeal. But there’s more at stake. If Carney is bluffing, he will be revealed as the circus ringmaster that prosecutors describe. If he’s not, Stearns could be revealed as one more person caught up in the web of dishonor between Bulger and the FBI.



Sentencing Monday for father of Staten Island 'Mob Wives' star, 4 others




STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Payback comes Monday for five Staten Island wiseguys who allegedly shook down loanshark victims.

The defendants, who purportedly have high-ranking positions in, or ties to, the Bonanno organized crime family, are slated to be sentenced in Brooklyn federal court, for pleas relating to unlawful debt-collection conspiracy.

Scheduled to appear before Judge Carol B. Amon are Vincent (Vinny TV) Badalamenti, 54, of Annadale, the alleged acting Bonanno boss; reputed Bonanno consigliere Anthony (TG) Graziano, 71, of Huguenot; and borough residents Vito Balsamo, 56; Anthony Calabrese, 44, and James LaForte Jr., 35.

Graziano is the father of "Mob Wives" reality-TV star Renee Graziano,

Court documents said Balsamo is an acting captain and Calabrese a solider within the family. LaForte, who served time for his role in a Nassau County real-estate scam, is a Gambino crime family associate, according to prosecutors.

A sixth defendant, Nicholas (Nicky Mouth) Santora, of Long Island, a reputed Bonanno captain, is slated to be sentenced in October.

Badalamenti, Graziano, Balsamo and Calabrese each pleaded guilty earlier this year to collection of unlawful debt conspiracy.

The defendants face varying sentences, with Graziano looking at the stiffest: A possible range of 27 to 33 months in prison, court papers said.

According to those documents, Badalamenti is the highest-ranking Bonanno member on the street. He "wields day-to-day control over all other Bonanno members and associates who are at liberty." He also allegedly controls a mob social club on 20th Avenue and 72nd Street in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst section.

Prosecutors said the suspects used violence and intimidation to get cash from victims, and some crimes date back to 1999.

Some of the alleged incidents occurred while Graziano and LaForte were living in federal halfway houses shortly after their release from prison. Santora allegedly broke the law in some instances while on supervised release after serving a stint behind bars, court papers said.

In the original court filings, prosecutors accused Calabrese and unnamed others of extorting and beating the owner of The Square pizzeria in New Dorp between May and August of 2010.

Feathers were ruffled over the shop's pizzas, which were considered too similar to those of L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn. However, the owner, whose two sons previously worked at L&B, has denied being attacked or forced to pay money to end the hostilities, according to published reports.

Previously, in 1999, Badalamenti allegedly ordered a bar taken over on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn when its owner failed to pay a debt.

In another incident, Graziano directed a cooperating witness to see a loanshark victim and to "break his [genitals]" and "open him up," court papers stated. In another, the witness told Graziano that a second man from whom he was trying to collect a debt "was crying hysterical," said court documents.

Defense lawyers have submitted briefs arguing for little or no jail time.

Graziano's lawyer, Patrick V. Parrotta, recommended a non-jail sentence of "strict home confinement and subsequent supervised release," citing his client's poor health. Graziano suffers from diabetes, which is also affecting his eyesight, has a history of bladder cancer and an enlarged prostate, said Parrotta.

"Mr. Graziano is in no condition to withstand the rigors of prison for any extended period of time," Parrotta wrote.

Badalamenti's attorney, Ronald P. Fischetti, argued that his client, at the very least, should be credited with 12 months' jail time. That's the time he's already served under a prior plea to a different charge arising from the same offense, Fischetti maintains.

Balsamo's lawyer, Michael Rosen, contended his client had a "minimal




Colombo mobster LIKED talking about bloody hit: authorities


A ranking Colombo mobster awaiting trial for ordering the murder of an off-duty NYPD officer took pleasure in discussing the bloody Mafia hit, authorities say.

Bonanno crime-family boss Joseph Massino “mentioned to [Colombo consigliere Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace] that there was a rumor circulating that [Cacace] had been responsible for the murder,” prosecutors wrote in a new filing in Brooklyn Federal Court.

“In response, Cacace smiled,” prosecutors said.

Cacace is set to go on trial next year for allegedly sanctioning the 1997 hit on NYPD Officer Ralph Dols because the cop had married the wiseguy’s ex-wife.

Sometime in the 2000s, officials said, Cacace smiled about Dols’ death while chatting with Massino — now an FBI informant — while the two were inmates together at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.

The conversation was recounted to the feds by Massino during a debriefing session in January 2009.

Details about the conversation were included in papers filed yesterday related to an upcoming pre-trial hearing in Cacace’s case.

But prosecutors also acknowledged that there could be a potential wrench if they try to use Massino’s 2009 recounting of his tet-a-tet with Cacace at trial.

They noted that Massino seemed not recall the jailhouse conversation when they asked him about it during a recent phone conversation.

Defense lawyer Susan Kellman insists that Cacace had nothing to do with Dols’ murder.

Last year, Massino — once dubbed “The Last Don” — became the first boss in New York mob history to take the witness stand as a federal informant at the trial of “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano.




Mobster refuses plea deal




WHO'S the boss?

A seemingly low-level mobster put the kibosh on plea deals that four Colombo wiseguys — including the crime family's acting boss — were ready to take Friday.

Then again, Angelo (Little Angelo) Spata is no ordinary mob associate.

Spata is the son-in-law of the crime family's official boss Carmine (The Snake) Persico, who is serving a life sentence.

He’s charged with wire fraud in connection with Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst and illegal gambling. He blew off federal prosecutors on Thursday and had a deadline of Friday to accept the deal.

 He told them to stick it.

His hard-nosed bargaining left acting boss Andrew Russo, capo Dennis Delucia and soldiers Ilario Sessa and Joseph Savarese in the lurch.

“Everything has broken down,” Delucia's lawyer Robert LaRusso glumly informed Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said in court that Spata’s move means everyone's plea offers were off the table.

The men can either go to trial or try to negotiate new deals on less favorable terms, officials said.

Since Spata is a member of the Persico royal family, the other gangsters have no choice but to abide by his decision and keep their mouths shut, sources said.

The sources also said Spata is gunning for the same sweet deal that his brother-in-law Michael Persico recently wrangled — which gave him protection from the guilty plea being used against him in any future prosecution.

“The government is going to regret (Michael Persico's) plea agreement for a long time because now everyone is going to ask for it,” a source said.

This is Spata’s first arrest, and he faces about 20 months in prison.

Spata operates a company that rents amusement park rides to neighborhood Italian feasts and carnivals throughout the city. While he's co-defendants stew in jail, he's been free on $1 million bail. Prosecutors last year agreed to allow him to jet to Venice and Paris for second honeymoon with his wife Barbara.

Mob rat Anthony Russo testified in June that Spata was eagerly looking forward to becoming a made man in the crime family. Spata's lawyer Joseph Corozzo declined to comment.

2nd man pleads guilty in Philadelphia mob case



PHILADELPHIA -- A second Philadelphia mobster has pleaded guilty in a federal racketeering case that also names alleged boss Joseph Ligambi.

Martin Angelina pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to operating illegal poker machines and attempting to collect loans through extortion. He faces a December 3 sentencing.

Angelina is the second alleged mobster to plead guilty in a racketeering and illegal gambling case that names a dozen other reputed mobsters. Gaeton Lucibello pleaded guilty last week.

Prosecutors say Ligambi headed Philadelphia's La Cosa Nostra family and attempted to make illegal gambling earnings appear legitimate.
Trial is set in October for nine of the defendants, including Ligambi and alleged underboss Joseph Massimino. Trials have yet to be scheduled for three others.

Judge weighs scope of mob history at Philly trial



PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A U.S. judge must decide how much mob history the government can detail at the upcoming racketeering trial of nine alleged La Cosa Nostra members in Philadelphia.

The 52-count indictment accuses the alleged crime family of gambling, loansharking and threats of violence under Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi in recent years, but nothing resembling the mob hits and gangland executions that rocked Philadelphia a generation ago.

Federal prosecutors nonetheless hope to tell jurors about the violent 1980s reign of Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and a line of other infamous Philadelphia mob bosses before and after him. Defense lawyers say that will taint their clients.

"They're trying to make the jury believe these people on trial here are every bit as evil as the people who went out and committed murders for Scarfo," lawyer Ed Jacobs, who represents Ligambi, argued Thursday at a pretrial hearing.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno did not immediately rule on the issue. The government also asked for extra jury protection. They want to keep jurors' names anonymous and have them escorted to court each day from a secret location. Similar precautions were taken at Scarfo's 1988 trial — when he was convicted of a racketeering indictment that included nine murders — and other mob cases at the downtown courthouse.

The defense agreed to the anonymous jury, but said the appearance of other security measures could influence the jury.

"The others (trials) were full of murders. This is a gambling and money case," Jacobs said. "We want to try the case on the evidence, not on impressions."

Prosecutors challenge the notion that Ligambi's operation was not violent, given the alleged threats. Government wiretaps captured defendants threatening to get "gorillas ... to chop you up" and "put bullets in your head," according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor.

The trial will also feature testimony from two mob turncoats, Peter Caprio and Gene Milano, along with a retired FBI agent who infiltrated the Gambino crime family in New York, prosecutors said. The government also wants to call an expert to interpret the mob slang heard on wiretaps during the 12-year investigation.

The judge, pondering the scope of mob history he should allow, wondered if the mob's feared reputation didn't help Ligambi's crew, even if the alleged threats were never carried out.

"(If) they benefit from the LCN's reputation, ... isn't it necessary, then, to lay out the background?" Robreno asked.

Ligambi, alleged underboss Joseph Massimino and the others are set for trial in October.

Two defendants, Martin "Marty" Angelina and Gaeton Lucibello, have pleaded guilty before trial, but their pleas don't call for them to cooperate.

Three others named in the indictment are not yet scheduled for trial.


Relatives of Harold Konisberg's victims rage as remorseless hit man is sprung from upstate Mohawk Prison and living out his final days at posh Florida gated community




Still remorseless Jewish gangster spent nearly five decades in jail for the contract killing of Teamsters honcho Anthony (Three Fingers) Castlellito. Konisberg is suspected in 20 other mob hits.

Legendary Jewish hit man Harold Konisberg, 86, was quietly released from Mohawk Prison in June. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1961 for the contract killing of Teamsters honcho Anthony Castellito.

Legendary Jewish gangster Harold (Kayo) Konigsberg has been sprung from an upstate prison in a surprise parole decision that will allow him to live out his final days in a posh gated community in Florida, the Daily News has learned.

The still-remorseless 86-year-old mob hit man was quietly released in June from the maximum-security Mohawk Prison, where he spent nearly five decades for a gangland murder.

He might have died behind bars after being sentenced to 20 years to life for the 1961 contract killing of Teamsters big Anthony (Three Fingers) Castellito, on orders from union rival Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano.

Konigsberg — suspected by the feds in as many as 20 other mid-20th century mob hits — used a Venetian blind cord to strangle Castellito in the kitchen of the dead man’s upstate vacation home. His body was buried in New Jersey but never found.

Retired NYPD detective and veteran mob buster Joseph Coffey said it’s a disgrace that Konigsberg is free.

“I knew him well and he was the worst of the worst,” Coffey said. “He enjoyed killing and enjoyed getting paid for it.

“He was a nasty bastard and he should have gotten the (electric) chair.”

Jennie Castellito was just 13 when her dad was killed.

“When ‘Tony Pro’ died in prison — he had cancer — that was the greatest news I heard,” she told The News.

She had hoped the same fate awaited Konigsberg: to be hauled out of the Rome, N.Y., prison in a body bag.

“My father’s dead and he didn’t have the last 49 years to spend alive with his children and grandchildren,” she said. “I don’t think he should have been released. I don’t understand it.”

Konigsberg, who had been locked up since 1963, has maintained his innocence in the Castellito rubout. He’s been denied parole seven times since 1998, but has been housed in the prison hospital for nearly two years with unspecified maladies that appear to have contributed to his release, parole records show.

The octogenarian showed not a whiff of regret or sorrow at the April parole hearing that ultimately led to his freedom.

“This is over 50 years old. When does it end? I mean you can’t keep holding it against somebody for 50 years, 60 years, and say the crime was this or that,” he whined, according to a hearing transcript.

Castellito, who lives in Florida, said she was not notified by the New York Division of Parole about Konigsberg’s release, and was never given the chance to offer a victim-impact statement. She said she’s outraged Konigsberg is now living about 130 miles away.

There was no answer Wednesday at the pink-stucco, waterfront home Konigsberg now shares with his daughter Edie in Weston, Fla.

An ashtray on a table outside the house — which is valued at $750,000, records show — held three cigarette butts and a cigar. A housekeeper, who said she’d just returned with a repaired pair of pants for Konigsberg, declined to comment.

Konigsberg’s colorful mob life was chronicled by his nephew Eric Konigsberg in an article in The New Yorker and a book, “Blood Relation.”

Taken under the wing of gangster Abner (Longy) Zwillman — the so-called “Al Capone of New Jersey” — Konigsberg was a violent and feared racketeer in Jersey City and Manhattan.

He also earned a reputation as a major loanshark who pummeled deadbeats with a lead-lined rubber hose. Back in the day, doing time in the Hudson County Jail was a breeze for the thug.

“He had a private apartment done over for him in the jail library, with his own TV, telephone, radio, refrigerator, hot plate, desk and sofa,” Eric Konigsberg wrote in The New Yorker. It was even alleged that a shapely young blond, Marilyn Jane Fraser, was smuggled into his cell in 1965 to provide him female companionship, The News reported at the time.

New York State Parole Commissioners Sally Thompson and Michael Hagler stated no reason on the record for granting Konigsberg’s release.

He’s been in the prison’s hospital since October 2010, and he offered this gripe in a 2008 hearing.

Board spokeswoman Carole Weaver said she couldn’t discuss his medical issues, which were discussed at the April hearing but are redacted from the record.

In 2008, Konigsberg complained that he has spent an excessive amount of time in prison because he rebuffed then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s effort to make him rat out the mob.

“There was no way he could break me,” the tough guy said, according to a 2008 hearing. “The Nazis, the Germans, those people that were not hanged at Nuremberg didn’t do 20 years,” he ranted.

Coffey said it was very unusual for the Mafia to use non-Italians to do their hits, but Konigsberg was an exception because of his ruthlessness. Konigsberg insisted to the parole board that he was not insane, but Coffey recalled that the hoodlum represented himself at an extortion trial in Manhattan Supreme Court and claimed he was crazy.