April 4, 2022 – According to the new book, Sonny: The Last of The Old Time Mafia Bosses by S.J. Peddie, the New York Daily News isn’t the only one to think historic New York mob don Carmine (The Snake) Persico was a rat.
Peddie’s much-anticipated book based on the author’s exclusive tell-all interview with the man, John (Sonny) Franzese, himself in the final months of his extraordinarily fascinating life, reveals, among other things, that Franzese believed that Persico, the longtime Colombo crime family leader, was a confidential informant for the FBI. The book was released by the Citadel Press on March 28 and is garnering great reviews. Peddie writes for Newsday.
Franzese died at age 103 a free man in February 2020. He loyally served as a capo and then underboss to Persico during Persico’s epic reign and did a total of almost 50 years in prison in his legendary gangland career. Persico passed of natural causes in 2019 behind bars, having headed the family from his prison cell since the mid 1980s. Franzese told Peddie he thought Persico was giving info to the feds to try and trip him up out of jealousy and insecurity and helped coordinate an alleged conspiracy to frame him for a series of bank robberies that he would get found guilty of in 1967.
The NY Daily News made waves and caught considerable blowback last year for a frontpage story declaring Persico a rat sourced from a 1971 FBI documents lawyers for a former Persico rival put into the court record as part of an appeal for a compassionate release in his racketeering and murder case.
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 whose cooperation with the government came under a significant amount of legal and ethical scrutiny.
The NY Daily News obtained the court brief tying Carmine Persico to informant status from attorneys representing Persico’s one-time acting boss turned enemy-combatant Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena. The Persico and Orena factions went to war in the streets of New York in the early 1990s, leaving 12 bodies in its wake and Orena locked up with Persico on a life sentence.
The issue critics are taking with the document filed 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 crews began shooting it out in the second Colombo Mob War, Scarpa served as the imprisoned Persico’s top muscle on the street. Franzese was incarcerated for the most of the war, but upon finally emerging from prison, he helped make the peace between the two opposing factions.
Scarpa died of AIDS in 1994, a victim of a dirty blood transfusion years earlier. Orena, 88, has been locked up since April 1992.
This article was originally posted here