To Die Another Day: Victim’s Father & Mob Friends Wouldn’t Have Let Robert Durst Make It To Trial

September 22, 2021 – Famous Big Apple real estate fortune heir and high-society eccentric Robert Durst will die in prison.

If certain people were still alive, he would have almost undoubtedly died a violent death in the streets, made an example out of for all to see.

Last week, Durst, 78, was found guilty in California of killing Susan Berman more than 20 years ago. Berman’s dad, David (Davey the Jew) Berman, helped pioneer the mob’s building of modern-day Las Vegas and ran a Minnesota-based Jewish mafia empire before dying relatively young of a heart attack in 1957 at age 54.

Berman was murdered in Los Angeles in December 2000 by her best friend, Durst, who feared she was on the verge of cooperating with authorities in the investigation into the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen. The 55-year old Berman was found shot in the back of the head on December 24, 2000, inside her home in Benedict Canyon.

Kathleen McCormack Durst went missing in 1982 and was never seen again. Authorities believed Berman aided Robert Durst is disposing of his wife’s body.

The heavily-covered trial charging Durst with the Berman homicide was originally slated to begin in March 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings resumed in June.

Durst is also suspected of a slaying in Texas. Morris Black, a neighbor at one of the Durst family properties, has his dismembered corpse, found floating in Galveston Bay in 2001.

The story of Robert Durst inspired the 2010 film All Good Things, starring Oscar-nominee Ryan Gosling. Durst himself participated in the chilling 2015 HBO docuseries The Jinx, which chronicled his strange connections to all three cases and included an apparent hot-mic confession, where he uttered “I killed them all” after thinking he had completed his interview and was out of hearing distance of the crew.

Many that knew Davey Berman believe if he was alive when his daughter was slain, the killer either would have never dared pull the trigger in the first place or would certainly never live long enough to see a jury.

“This screwball would never even thought of lifting a finger to hurt Susan if her dad and his friends were still alive back then,” said one Vegas old timer who knew Davey Berman when he was in his 20s. “Her dad would have chain sawed this guy to death before the cops got to him believe me. I don’t care how much money he had. He could never have bought his way out of a slow, painful death. But this is a different age. A whole new era.  Street justice gives way to court justice. And who am I to judge. But for better or worse, street justice is much swifter. They wouldn’t have hunted him down and made an example out of him.”

Davey Berman was raised in Ashley, North Dakota by Ukrainian immigrants and then moved to Sioux City, Iowa as a teenager. By the 1920s and the height of the gangland Prohibition boom, he was living in Minneapolis and working as second-in-command to the Twin Cities Jewish mob boss, Isadore (Kid Cann) Blumenfeld. New York Jewish mob titan Meyer Lansky put Berman and Kidd Cann together, helping forge bonds that stretched from the farmlands of the heartland to the heart of the Big Apple and what would soon become the Five Families of the American mafia.

At first, Berman and his bodyguard and enforcer Israel (Ice Pick Willie) Alderman ran their own independent rackets separate from the Kid Cann Gang. But at Lansky’s behest, they joined forces, brought in the city’s biggest Irish crime lord in Tommy Banks and became a superpower-rackets combine backed by both the ruling Italian mob factions in Chicago and New York.

Besides building an early adulthood friendship and business relationship with Lansky, Berman and his brother and right-hand man, Charles (Chickie) Berman, cultivated ties to the Chicago “Outfit” during their days in Iowa, too. The press dubbed Kid Cann the “Al Capone” of Minnesota and the heat that reputation generated began bearing down upon the Bermans and their business operations, despite Davey’s close ties to Mayor Marvin Kline.

Following a stint in the Canadian army, where he saw combat in Europe during World War II, Davey Berman headed west to Las Vegas to aid Lansky and Lansky’s partner Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel in implementing their vision of constructing a resort-style gambling and entertainment mecca in the desert. Flanked by his brother and their top muscle, Ice Pick Willie Alderman, he landed in Las Vegas in 1944. One year later, at the conclusion of the war, he moved his wife and daughter, Susan, to Nevada to join him.

Berman headed an ownership group, including Lansky, that had controlling interests in the El Cortez, the El Dorado, and the Las Vegas Club. Upon Bugsy Siegel being murdered in Beverly Hills in 1947 for mismanagement of Flamingo hotel and casino finances, Berman was put in charge of the glitzy establishment, along with Lansky’s “boots on the ground” Moe Sedway from New York and Gus Greenbaum representing the interests of the Chicago mob. Kid Cann, according to FBI records, also received portions of “skim” money from the business arrangement in Vegas.

“Davey Berman was one of the very early major players in Las Vegas, he was essentially one of the founding fathers of The Strip,” said Geoff Schumacher, a Las Vegas mafia historian and executive director of the city’s Mob Museum. “That was a cutthroat world he existed in and found success and respect in. Those guys didn’t play games and didn’t trust just anyone. Everyone in Vegas held Davey Berman in very high esteem.”

In the 1950s, Berman sold his shares in the Flamingo and purchased interest in the Riviera. He died on the operating table during heart surgery. Lansky lasted until 1983, dying peacefully in Miami. Kidd Cann, who passed away in 1980, had moved from Minneapolis to Miami later in life to work for Lansky’s gambling interests in South Florida.

This article was originally posted here

The Prodigal Son Returns: Skinny Joey Back In South Philly For First Time In Half Decade, Mob Gossip Mill Ablaze

September 16, 2021 – Philadelphia mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino has been making the rounds in the old neighbourhood lately, returning to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time in five years. First on his agenda was reuniting with his mom, Rita, who he had not seen in person since 2018.

The handsome, swashbuckling 59-year old gangland figure relocated to Boca Raton, Florida in 2011 upon his release from prison on a racketeering conviction. The FBI believes he runs the Bruno-Scarfo crime family from afar using a series of proxies and front bosses. Merlino took control of the crime family in the 1990s when he was just in his thirties by winning a shooting war for power.

Per sources and media reports, the Skinny One was present for a glad-handing session with the rank-and-file at the local mob clubhouse in South Philly at Ninth & Christian in the first few days of his return and made his way to at least one meeting with his attorney, the venerable Eddie Jacobs. Paparazzi and federal surveillance units were snapping photos simultaneously as Merlino took in the Philadelphia Phillies-Colorado Rockies MLB game last Thursday and Friday nights from box seats at Citizens Bank Park. Merlino’s daughter dates a member of the Colorado Rockies.

Following his Friday night at the ballgame, Merlino and his entourage went clubbing and hit up Rouge in Rittenhouse Square. Over the weekend, he dined at some of his old-school favorite haunts like Chickie’s & Pete’s and The Saloon. He watched the Philadelphia Eagles’ NFL opener Sunday afternoon at Chickie’s & Pete’s.

Merlino got off his parole restrictions (from a 2016 gambling pinch) back in July and is allowed to meet with anybody he wants. According to sources, he has met with several of his high-ranking mob lieutenants so far during his stay. This weekend, he will head to the wedding of a close associate’s daughter.

Fox29 and Mob Talk Sitdown News Dave Schratwieser was the first to report on the particulars of Merlino’s return to South Philly.

This article was originally posted here

‘Majority’ of Colombo administration arrested on racketeering, extortion charges

‘Majority’ of Colombo administration arrested on racketeering, extortion charges

A substantial number of Colombo administration members were arrested Tuesday on racketeering and extortion charges, including alleged boss Andrew “Mush” Russo, 87, and alleged underboss Benjamin “Benji” Castellazzo, 83.

The bust was carried out in a join operation between the NYPD and FBI to unravel a labor racketeering and extortion fraud system.

In Brooklyn federal court, 14 defendants were charged on a 19 count indictment. Of these 14, 10 alleged members of the Colombo crime family were reportedly attempting to penetrate the long-standing construction labor union and its healthcare program in Queens.  The defendants are also facing extortion accusations having to do with workplace safety certifications.

Russo, Castellazzo, consigliere Ralph DiMatteo, capos Theodore Perisco Jr., Vincent Ricciardo, Richard Ferrara, soldier Michael Uvino, and associates Domenick Ricciardo and Thomas Costa are all charged with racketeering.

The unsealed indictment shows high-up Colombo members threatening construction labor union officials with violence.  One member reportedly collected a union manager’s salary using threats of “bodily harm.”

One of the defendants, Ricciardo, was caught on a wiretap saying life-threatening statements.

“I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f—–g house, you laugh all you want pal, I’m not afraid to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point? I would f—–g shoot him right in front of his wife and kids, call the police, f–k it, let me go, how long you think I’m gonna last anyway?” Ricciardo says on the recording of a phone conversation.

Andrew “Mush” Russo, alleged boss of the Colombo crime family (NY Daily News).

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn Kasulis stated, “oday’s charges describe a long-standing, ruthless pattern by the administration of the Colombo crime family, its captains, members and associates, of conspiring to exert control over the management of a labor union by threatening to inflict bodily harm on one of its senior officials and devising a scheme to divert and launder vendor contract funds from its healthcare benefit program… In addition, for their own enrichment, the defendants conspired to engage in extortionate loansharking, money laundering and fraud, as well as drug trafficking.”

Castellazzo’s attorney, Jenifer R. Louis-Jeune, made a statement supporting her client’s innocence; while Attorney Seth Ginsburg is confident that Ferrara “will be vindicated.”

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself. The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll in another statement Tuesday, “These soldiers, consiglieres, underbosses, and bosses are obviously not students of history and don’t seem to comprehend that we’re going to catch them.”

This article was originally posted “here

Philly Wiseguys Will Be Broken Up Into Multiple Trial Pods In ’19 Racketeering & Drug Case Targeting Upper Echelons Of Bruno-Scarfo Crime Family

September 15, 2021 – U.S. District Court Judge Barclay Surrick is seeking to divide up last November’s racketeering bust of high-ranking Philadelphia mobsters Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone and Domenic (Baby Dom) Grande and 12 others into three separate jury trials.

Surrick made his intentions clear at a status hearing on the case this week. Joe Meringolo, Mazzone’s attorney, countered Surrick’s proclamation with an offer of two different trials, one for those charged with participating in a racketeering conspiracy and the other for those not named in the conspiracy counts

Mazzone, 59, is the Philly mafia’s reputed underboss and was caught on an FBI wire at a 2015 mob induction ceremony giving a welcome speech and pep talk to a group of five new “made members,” one of which was alleged to be his younger brother, “Sonny” (also facing charges in this case).

The affable, well-liked 42-year old “Baby Dom” Grande is a skipper in the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, allegedly being groomed to one day take the reins of the family and lead it into the future, according to a number of sources. At least one member of Grande’s crew was wiring up for the feds and recording conversations talking about mob business, structure and protocol.

Both Mazzone and Grande are out on bond awaiting trial under home confinement conditions. Grande is a nephew of Mazzone’s by way of marriage.

Besides the racketeering counts, Grande has several drug offenses hanging over his head. The only counts Mazzone has to deal with are racketeering related.

Unlike Mazzone, Grande has never done hard time behind bars. Mazzone did almost a decade as a guest of the federal government courtesy of a 2001 racketeering conviction. None of the trials are expected to get started until the spring 2022, despite Meringolo telling Judge Surrick, that him and Mazzone were ready to go to trial immediately.

Fox Philly29’s and local mobologist Dave Schratwieser was the first to break the news of Judge Surrick’s intentions on his Mob Sitdown News website and social media accounts.

This article was originally posted here

British tourist mistaken for elusive mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro

British tourist mistaken for elusive mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro

An unsuspecting British tourist who was mistaken for highly elusive Cosa Nostra boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, 59, was arrested at a restaurant in the Hague last Wednesday.  He was said to be having lunch with his son and a friend when numerous police special force vehicles suddenly swarmed the location.

“Suddenly there were seven cars in front of the business. Officers with guns drawn…,” said the owner of the restaurant, according to the Times.

He was then taken to a maximum-security prison facility and held for four days.

The tourist has only been referred to by his lawyer as “Mark”.

“Mark” is believed to be a 54-year-old man from Liverpool living in Spain, who was visiting the Netherlands for the grand prix in Zandvoort. It was then confirmed that he had no ties with Cosa Nostra or any of the clans.

Matteo Messina Denaro is one of the most wanted criminals on Earth, and has been eluding world governments and police forces since he went on the lamb in 1993.

Matteo Messina Denaro (Far Right) – Bustle

Denaro was sentenced to life in prison twenty years ago after a bombing that killed ten people.  Since then, he has been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia during numerous trials.

Officials have been using a computer-generated image of Denaro to estimate what he might look like presently.  It has been assumed that Denaro has undergone significant cosmetic alterations since he went on the run.

The generated image had been circulated and publicized by Italian, Dutch, and other countries’ media.

This article was originally posted “here

“Game Tax Gangster” Big Frank Whitcher Cashes In Chips In Motown, Passes Away Young At 52

September 13, 2021 – Former Detroit mob associate Frank (Big Frank) Whitcher died of natural causes over the weekend. He was 52 and long removed from his days as muscle on the street, having battled cancer and a variety of other health ailments in the recent past. In the 1990s, Whitcher was a collector for the Tocco-Zerilli crime famiy.

Whitcher was busted in the historic Operation Game Tax case back in 1996, which ensnared virtually the entire administration of the Detroit mafia and several lower-tier members like Whitcher, who was listed as co-defendant No. 16 in a 16-person federal racketeering indictment. Then-Detroit mob boss Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco and his underboss and first cousin, Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli were the top two defendants in the landmark legal assault.

Whitcher pleaded guilty in the case and did a short prison sentence. Tocco and Zerilli were convicted at separate jury trials, both doing prison terms and then dying of old age respectively in 2014 and 2015.

According to the indictment, Whitcher was part of the crime family’s Zerilli faction and once was ordered to physically assault a Detroit construction company owner refusing to pay a mob street tax. When the Zerilli branch of the organization was discontinued in the early 2000s, Whitcher left his life in the mob behind.

This article was originally posted here

Springfield (MA) Mafia Strongarm Receives Half-Year In Prison For Roughing Up Loanshark Victim In Front Of Social Club

September 10, 2021 — Western Massachusetts mob enforcer Anthony (Fat Anthony) Scibelli was sentenced to six months in federal prison last week for assaulting a debtor. The assault occurred in Springfield, home to a longtime satellite wing of New York’s Genovese crime family. Scibelli got off relatively light, as prosecutors were seeking at least 18 months for his punishment

Scibelli, 54, pleaded guilty to extortion earlier this year in front of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni, admitting to collecting a juice loan debt for the local mafia crew in Springfield in the parking lot of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club, in the city’s South End two years ago. Mastroainni took it easy on Scibelli at last week’s sentencing hearing, doling out a prison term three times more lenient than the U.S. Attorneys Office sought as the minimum term.

The social club has been Ground Zero for area mob affairs for decades. Scibelli’s beating of a man who he had been friends with in the past, was recorded on an FBI body wire the debtor was wearing that afternoon in June 2019.

The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club has acted as Ground Zero for the mob in Western Massachusetts for decades. These days, the club is run by reputed the skipper of the Springfield mob crew, Albert (The Animal) Calvanese, a convicted loanshark and a veteran staple of the Western Massachusetts underworld.

The debtor (someone Scibelli was attempting to collect a $40,000 loan sharking tab from) is described in federal court records as a “fixture at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Club.” Scibelli was recorded discussing “Albert” and the fact that the debtor should avoid angering him. The original street loan issued to the debtor was just $5,000.

“I want my money motherfucker….. you’re a real cocksucker,” said Scibelli as he pounded the debtor, throwing him a beating outside the club after a card game. “I want my money by the first of the month.”

Calvanese, 58, wasn’t charged in connection with Scibelli’s case. Authorities believe Calvanese took command of the Springfield mob crew in the 2010s after violent infighting, natural attrition and a series of government defections decimated the once well-oiled-machine of a rackets combine.

Scibelli is a distant relative of the notorious Scibelli brothers, former crew bosses, Frank (Frankie Skyball) Scibelli and Albert (Baba) Scibelli, who died in 2000 and 2012 respectively. Calvanese came up in the mob as a collector for the Scibelli brothers, per sources.

This article was originally posted here

Healthcare Curriculum: Buffalo Mafia’s ‘Teach’ Masechia Battling Cancer, Avoids Prison Time For Now

September 3, 2021 – Reputed Buffalo mob figure, narcotics trafficker and high school teacher Michael Masecchia has cancer and his chemotherapy treatments will delay his sentencing on drug and weapons charges for at least a year. The 55-year old “Teach” Masecchia pleaded guilty to marijuana dealing and illegal gun possession last year in front of U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra, who postponed sending Masecchia to federal prison for eight years last week.

Masecchia was an English teacher and football coach at Grover Cleveland High School in the Buffalo area for more than two decades. As part of his plea deal, he admitted to trafficking in marijuana since 1999 and operating an illicit grow operation in rural Cattaraugus, New York. He also copped to doing business with former DEA agent Joe Bongiovanni. When the DEA raided his residence, agents found nearly $30,000 in cash, 8 unregistered guns, ammo, various forms of anabolic steroids, cocaine, codeine tablets, hypodermic needles and hashish.

Bongiovanni is readying to go to trial in federal court, charged with protecting Buffalo mob-connected drug operations while working in the Buffalo DEA office. The 57-year old Bongiovanni has pleaded not guilty.

Per sources, Masecchia has been involved in Western New York mob affairs for years in various capacities. Some rumors have even pegged him a “made man.” His bust is part of a multi-pronged assault by federal and state authorities, per sources, targeting associates of reputed Buffalo mafia don Joseph (Big Joe) Todaro, Jr. in an effort to bring down the slippery Todaro, Jr., who the FBI believes has headed the crime family for the last 15 years behind the veneer of a pizza-parlor magnate.

This article was originally posted here

Ray Of Light: “Joe Shine’s” Grandson Avoids Prison In Chicago Outfit’s ’19 Bookmaking Case Out Of Cicero Crew

August 28, 2021 – Chicago mob associate and former Melrose Park police officer John Amabile was spared prison time for his role in a mafia-related sports gambling operation last week. U.S. District Court Judge Martha Pacold instead sentenced him to six months on home confinement and three years probation.

Federal prosecutors described 33-year old Amabile, the grandson of one-time Chicago Outfit rackets boss Joseph (Joe Shine) Amabile and the brother to a reality television star, as the right-hand man, bodyguard and collector for Greg Paloian, a longtime Outfit connected bookmaker and convicted federal felon dying of brain cancer.

Paloian, Amabile and others were indicted in a 2019 case that the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office in Chicago claim was being run out of Elmwood Park and Melrose Park, “protected” by Outfit underboss James (Jimmy I) Inendino and paying “tribute” to jailed former Outfit boss Michael (Fat Mike) Sarno. Prison phone and wire-transfer records link the 66-year old Paloian to Sarno, who has been locked up since 2010 on federal racketeering and extortion charges.

FBI documents tie Paloian to one of Jimmy I’s loan sharking operations in the 1990s. Law enforcement considers Paloian and his criminal activities to fall under the auspice of the Outfit’s Cicero regime, dating as far back as the Rocky Infelise days.

Earlier this year, both Paloian and Amabile pleaded guilty in their case. Paloian, diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor after the indictment dropped two years ago, was sentenced to three years in prison, but has been granted a medical delay in reporting to the BOP to begin serving his time.

The FBI estimated Paloian had approximately 60 different bettors wagering with him on a daily basis. According to the court records, he directed his gambling action through a website he owned.

Amabile was an officer in the Melrose Park Police Department between 2015 and 2019, when he was forced to resign because of his current legal troubles. He brought Paloian bettors and split the vigorish on their wagers.

His grandpa, “Joe Shine” Amabile, was a feared Outfit shot caller and enforcer in the 1960s and 1970s. Chicago Crime Commission documents listed him as crew boss of the Stone Park neighborhood and an aide-de-camp to Chicago mafia leader Sam (Teetz) Bataglia.

Joe Shine’s other grandson, Joseph (Grocery Store Joe) Amabile appears on various incarnations of the huge ABC reality dating show franchise The Bachelorette. Joe Shine died of a heart attack in 1975.

This article was originally posted here

NYC Mob Boss Persico Probably Wasn’t A Rat After All, Ace Reporter Capeci Heads Disputing Of NY Daily News Story

August 27, 2021 – The Dean of American mob writing himself, Jerry Capeci, is at the forefront of a movement to discredit the New York Daily News’ bombshell frontpage story last week declaring deceased Colombo crime family don Carmine (The Snake) Persico a confidential informant for the FBI. The original story cited an FBI document from 1971 in which Persico, among other prominent New York mafia figures, are listed in a column categorized as cooperators.

Some claim reporters and editors at The New York Daily News are misinterpreting the document. Others say even if read correctly, the source for the intelligence included in the document is an unhinged, unreliable and unrepentant mafia enforcer sociopath who’s own cooperation with the government came under great legal and moral scrutiny.

Capeci pens the world-renowned weekly Gangland News column. Gangland News is the publication “of record” for New York mafia activity and history and the gold standard for American mob reporting.

Persico led the Colombo crime family from the mid-1970s until his death in prison of natural causes in 2019 at age 85. He spent the majority of his reign behind bars. The Persico bloodline is the last great mob dynasty existing in the U.S. today.

The New York Daily News obtained the court brief tying Carmine Persico to informant status from attorneys representing Persico’s one-time acting boss turned rival Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena, who is seeking a compassionate release from prison. The document also lists long-dead Big Apple mob powers Paul Castellano and Joseph (Crazy Joe) Gallo in the same cooperator column as Persico.

Castellano was boss of the Gambino crime family until he was assassinated in 1985 on a crowded Manhattan street during rush hour traffic exiting his car in front of Sparks Steakhouse. Crazy Joe Gallo was killed in the spring of 1972 in Little Italy after he dined at Umberto’s Clam House for his role in the first and second Colombo Wars.

The issue critics are taking with the document being waved around by Orena’s attorneys is that the source of the information on the document is named as “NY 3461-C-TE,” better known as infamous informant and mob killer, Greg (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa. When the Persico and Orena factions began shooting it out in the 1990s Colombo War, Scarpa served as the imprisoned Persico’s muscle on the street.

Scarpa, who received a dirty blood transfusion from a heroin-addicted member of his “Wimby Boys” crew, died of AIDS in 1994. Orena, 87, has been locked up since April 1992. Later that year, he was convicted of murder and racketeering.

This article was originally posted here