Gary interviews Jeffrey Sussman who is the author of 15 non-fiction books. Mr. Sussman’s most recent book, Big Apple Gangsters: The Rise and Decline of the Mob in New York, is the subject. He has also written extensively about professional boxing as well as the subject of Marketing. with books like Boxing and the Mob: The Notorious History of the Sweet Science; Rocky Graziano: Fists, Fame, and Fortune; Max Baer and Barney Ross: Jewish Heroes of Boxing, and Power Promoting: How to Market Your Business to The Top!
In this interview, Gary and Jeffrey discuss his chapter on Greg Scarpa or the “Grim Reaper.” Scarpa started as a young mobster in the Profaci crime family. Later he will graduate to be a Capo and hitman for the the Colombo crime family. He will fuel his success as a gangster by making a deal with the FBI. During his entire mob career Greg Scarpa acted as an informant in exchange for Burau turning a blind eye to his crimes.
The Grim Reaper and the KKK
During the summer of 1964, KKK members murdered three Civil Rights workers as they drove through the small town of Philadelphia Mississippi. The FBI sent many agents to solve this crime as seen in the film, Mississippi Burning with Gene Hackman. In that movie, hackman depicted a rouge FBI agent who threatened sexual torture to solve this crime and locate the victim’s bodies. In reality, Jeffrey tells us the FBI brought their prize informant down, gave him a gun, and pointed out the most likely suspects. Scarpa kidnapped an appliance store owner by buying television and taking him prisoner as he delivered the TV. Greg Scarpa beat the man to a bloody pulp and when he still refused to divulge the perpetrators and location of the bodies, Scarpa threatened castration. The man quickly confessed. A grateful FBI paid Scarpa $100,000 as a reward. They pointed him at another unsolved murder and when they refused to pay him another $100,000, he returned to New york.
Greg Scarpa Loses an Eye
On December 29, 1992, Greg Scarpa was on house arrest and wearing an electronic monitoring device. Lucchese family mobsters, Michael DeRosa and Ronald Moran, were doing a drug deal with Scarpa’s son, Joey Scarpa. They tried to cheat him over the money and threatened to kill him. Joey Scarpa told his Dad about this intimidation and the father and son hit the streets looking for retribution. Even though he was being monitored by his ankle monitor, the father and son drove to DeRosa’s house. During a short gun battle, they shot DeRosa. Ronald Moran was there and he fired back. Scarpa was wounded in his eye. Scarpa and his son drive back home where he poured whisky into his wound. The phone was bringing and he told the caller from the monitoring company that he had just stepped out to the pharmacy to get some medicine. Prosecutors learned about the ambush and revoked Scarpa’s house arrest.
The Mobster gets AIDS
Prison and death
During the time of the above gunfight, Greg Scarpa was suffering from HIV and was into full-blown AIDS. He had received his infection from a blood transfusion. In a lawsuit against his doctor, the court learned about another complaint filed against this defendant doctor for allegedly sedating two different male patients. While they were under sedation, the doctor supposedly sodomized the patients. Mr. Sussman tells us the judge, in this case, remarked, “let’s see here we have a mafia hitman plaintiff and a defendant medical doctor who is accused of sedating and sodomizing patient.” Scarpa settled for $300,000 in cash payments to his family. On December 15, 1993, a federal judge sentenced Greg Scarpa. On June 4, 1994, Gregory Scarpa Sr. died in the Federal Medical Center (FMC) for prisoners in Rochester, Minnesota, from AIDS-related complications.
Show Notes by Gary Jenkins
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