Before Massino “went bad,” as underworld associates refer to government witnesses, Vincent “Vinny Ocean” Palermo, the boss of the New Jersey crime family the hit TV series The Sopranos was based on, rolled on his family. Since then, dozens of made guys have joined the witness protection program rather than serve time.
Now the feds are scraping the bottom of the barrel to sweep up wiseguys to garner those headline-grabbing arrests. In New Jersey this month, twenty-one Gambino associates were arrested in a sweep.So as Boston’s underboss undertakes his battle for a bigger throne in prison, Brooklyn crime boss John “Jackie the Nose” D’Amico is arguing that he should be allowed to leave jail to resume his $700-a-week no-show job at a water-bottling plant. Only problem with that is that Jackie the Nose was caught bragging that he paid the company $700 a week to put his name on the payroll books to evade investigators. A judge is taking his request under consideration.
Covering the Mafia used to be so much fun. There was the crime family that plotted to kill Rudolph Giuliani and the Gotti son that wanted to kill the founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa. Then there was Vincent “The Chin” Gigante and his famous wanderings through Greenwich Village, Manhattan in a bathrobe to shake the cops. It worked . . . for a while. What about Joey Gallo, the gangster who was shot dead in Umbertos, dying in a plate of pasta or Carmine Galante, who died with a lit stogie in his mouth.My first book, Mob Over Miami, covered La Cosa Nostra in its glory years and exposed how South Beach, Miami was revitalized in the 1990s by gangsters' money. St. Martin’s Press announced this week it will republish the 2002 title in anticipation of a feature film, UnMade Man, based on my book.Now, the mobsters in my book were wiseguys. This generation being chased around by the government is earning the reputation that they are the not-so-wise guys.