"The Last Great Mafia Empire"
Available on Kindle
Ed Scarpo's crowning achievement as a blogger.
I have a great story to tell in my next newsletter about how Dom and I worked together to write this book. Our first meeting was quite interesting. Dominick sang a rap song to me, for example; he'd written the lyrics himself. He also wanted me to do a story... I was in a daze talking to him, not because I was "starstruck" but because I envisioned this book, the one I am pushing here via my newsletter, and not the story he was pitching, which actually turned out to be among my most popular recent posts.
Dominick has quite a few irons in the fire at present; he is releasing a fictionalized graphic novel based on his times with Vinny Basciano, called Mafia Apocalypse. He sent me some panels. I got such a kick seeing a graphic depiction of Dominick and Vinny, the two of them in what is basically an adult version of the comic book for adults; films such as Sin City and TV show Walking Dead started as graphic novels.
But for now I want to tempt you to purchase this ebook. We will eventually have a print edition, but it will be more expensive than the $4.99 Kindle version, as we can't control the price of the print book; also if you buy the ebook, then want the print edition when it is available, you will be entitled to a discount..
I believe in allowing the content to sell the work, so I am including a new excerpt never-before-released that is based on research as well as some insight Dominick provides.
So.... check it out:
From Cosa Nostra News: The Cicale Files, Volume 1: Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire. Text and cover pages Copyright © by Dominick Cicale and Ed Scarpo.
Carmine Galante. No one could accuse the murdering Mafia strong man and former underboss to Joe Bonanno himself of not having the right stuff to be boss. Linked to more than 80 gangland murders, he stood a mere 5-foot-4, though there was “power and little compunction packed into his wiry… frame,” noted Adrian Humphreys in his book, The Enforcer: Johnny Pops Pappalia: A Life and Death in the Mafia. Utterly fearless, Galante—of whom an NYPD lieutenant famously said: “The rest of them are copper; he is pure steel”—was among the first to recognize the importance of Canada as a drug smuggling route into the U.S. He had, in fact, gone to Montreal in 1953 at the age of 43 and had literally organized the region’s criminal activity for boss Joe Bonanno.
“He was a very motivated and motivating man,” Humphreys wrote in The Enforcer, “and his organizing drive in Montreal was alarmingly thorough.”
Backing Galante was a gang of strong enforcers led by Frank Petrula, who helped cultivate Bonanno’s initial interest in Montreal. But fueling Bonanno’s immediate personal concern were the 100 bookies who had fled to Montreal to escape litigation created in wake of the 1950-1951 televised “Kefauver Committee.” Galante went up there to tell them that although they had departed New York, they were still beholden to the Bonanno crime family. In Galante’s grip, Montreal “wept and bled,” Humphreys wrote. Every nightclub and brothel, even underground abortionists, was shaken down by Galante and Petrula, who shared a sadistic streak. Humphreys relates a story about the two forcing a busboy in one establishment to dance barefoot atop crushed glass.
Galante brought organized crime in Montreal under his purview, but his wandering eye quickly sized up and remained forever focused on the opportunities Montreal afforded heroin trafficking. It was where drug wholesalers from Europe could meet with American and Canadian dealers to make their trafficking arrangements. The Mafia—particularly the Bonannos, straddling both countries—enjoyed supremacy in the heroin trade; they wholesaled the diluted heroin to dealers in major cities throughout the U.S. As Alexander Hortis noted in The Mob and the City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York, their heroin was “superior” due to [the mob’s] overseas connections in the underworld.
The Mafia was supplied with heroin by the Sicilian Cosa Nostra working with crime families based on the French Island of Corsica. The Corsicans were culturally similar to the families of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Although they were French, they even spoke in an Italian dialect. From the port city of Marseilles, the Corsicans ran smuggling operations throughout the Mediterranean. ...
Galante was so tempted by heroin’s deadly dollar signs he sought permanent resident status in Canada in February 1954, using as his reason a token investment in a Canadian restaurant. He revoked his own request when Montreal officials were poised to investigate him for procedural reasons. Galante at the time was suspected of killing an NYPD member as well as an influential journalist of Italian descent. He yanked his application so as to not permanently scotch his opportunity. Galante went back to America, and Bonanno appointed a two-man panel to oversee the family’s interests in Montreal. By 1960, Galante was sleeping in a prison cell, having been convicted for belonging to a massive heroin trafficking ring that included gangsters on both sides of the border. Galante may have been a mental dullard with a low IQ but he possessed a long memory. Galante announced his intentions shortly before his release in 1974 by ordering his men to dynamite the entrance of Frank “The Prime Minister” Costello’s mausoleum to herald his return to the streets. Once he’d regained his freedom, a bald and bespectacled Galante immediately threw his weight around. Refusing to acknowledge the imprisoned Rastelli as boss of the family, Galante assumed control and ramped up narcotics importation. Galante also enforced a tax on Sicilians operating in the U.S. He refused to share a dime with other bosses. Instead, Galante created a sort of Praetorian Guard out of Sicilian gunmen whom he himself inducted into the crime family. He also made traditional Italian-Americans into Bonanno family members. The solemn right to induct members is fundamentally reserved for a boss. Galante’s greed caused his downfall. That and the fact that he was seen as the mastermind behind the murders of at least eight members of the Gambino family and perhaps members of other crime families as part of his efforts to consolidate his hold over the drug business.
Bosses tend to be hesitant about killing another boss. But they will certainly hasten the effort when the intended target fails to repay a loan or withholds their perceived cut of the proceeds.
Carlo Gambino, who in 1957 seized control of the crime family that still carries his name, didn’t hesitate to take out a Genovese boss named Thomas “Tommy Ryan” Eboli. (Eboli was only a front boss for Philip “Benny Squint” Lombardo, the true boss of the Genovese family from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, although no one would know this until decades later.) In 1972, Eboli was living on borrowed time and the gruff mobster didn’t seem to care. Gambino and other bosses on the Commission had given him $4 million to fund a drug deal that went south when the narcotics merchant was busted and sent away to prison for 20 to life. The bosses lost millions of dollars and Tommy Ryan, unbelievably, not only failed to repay the debt but refused even to acknowledge it. Gambino ordered Eboli’s murder the same year. The Mafia hitters purposely waited until Tommy Ryan was departing his mistress's house, versus arriving, before shooting him dead. Owing to his status, Gambino thought the man at least deserved to go out with a smile on his face.
Galante, however, won no concessions once his time was up. On a terribly hot and humid July day in 1979, he had finished lunch on the back patio of Joe and Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant with several others, including his Sicilian bodyguards, when three men wearing ski masks showed up and blasted Galante and two dining companions to death in one of the most brutal gangland slayings. Galante’s death was immortalized in an iconic photo taken by an enterprising photographer. In it, the once-fearsome gangster is sprawled on his back, one eye gone, a cigar still in his mouth. ...
Dominick Cicale noted that some Mafia members had disagreed with the decision to hit Galante. This group believed Galante was, in fact, doing right by the Bonanno crime family. He was stepping in to fill a void that needed filling....
“Galante was claiming what belonged to the Bonanno crime family and there was nothing the other crime families could do about it. Galante was correct in his actions, so they decided to plot against him, setting him up to be killed. That was told to me by a Genovese crime boss,” Cicale noted.