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Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins interviews Michael Vecchione about his book; Homicide Is My Business: Luigi the Zip―A Hitman’s Quest for Honor. A retired New York City criminal prosecutor, Michael Vecchione, tells how he met Luigi Ronsisvalle and gives us an intimate look at the life of a professional killer. Luigi told Mr. Vecchione about his journey from Sicily to his arrival in the United States and his first murder for hire to his last. We learn that Luigi the Zip had an ambition at age twelve to be a made man in the Mafia. He appeared in front of a presidential commission and said, “American child falls in love with baseball, I fall in love with Mafia.”
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Hey, are you are tappers out there? It’s good to be back here in the studio with you gangland wired is going right on. Retired intelligence Sergeant Gary Jenkins here and I have on this as if you’re onto YouTube, you can see on the screen Miko Vecchione, is that correct, Michael? That’s correct. All right, great. And, Michael, I know if you’re on social media at all you and Bob stuff, you’ve seen this book we’ve seen come up, a lot of people are sharing this about Luigi, the zip. And he is the author of this book. So Michael, first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself how you are interested in you know what your work history, I know a little bit about it, but tell these guys about your work history. And then how you got interested in writing these my books? Sure. First of all, thank you, Gary, for having me. It’s such a pleasure to be here. And, and I, I have been involved in law enforcement,
probably for well over 40 years. I started way back in 1973, in a Brooklyn district attorney’s office after I graduated from law school, and, and I wound up leaving, after after about seven and a half years, to go into first Police Department as as an attorney for the New York City Police Department. And then after that, my own law practice for 10 years. At that point, the District Attorney in Brooklyn, a guy by the name of Joe Hines, Charles, Joe Heinz, had been elected and, and was looking to, to expand the trial aspect of the office, he had come up with this idea of dividing the borough, the Brooklyn, County of Brooklyn or county of Kings, into into five separate areas. And when police precincts in those five separate areas, was served by different bureaus in the in the office. And so the people who were working in the ADH, who were working in those bureaus got to know the police officers, detectives, the informants, the bad guys, and and he needed someone to try cases and asked me if I wanted to come back and I did. For I came back, I was promoted to Deputy Chief for the homicide bureau. Then I was promoted to homicide chief at about three months later, then Chief for trials and ultimately, in 2001. Just before 911, I was promoted to Chief for the rackets division.
And I retired from the office in 2013 as chief of the rackets division and first deputy district attorney and, and all those years, Gary, I was trying cases myself, in addition to being the supervisor, I wouldn’t ask people to do what I wouldn’t do and, and I wrote homicide duty going out to talk to pre two witnesses and defendants and precincts in the middle of the night. I did all of that stuff. And, and it was a it was I have to say that it was it was a very rewarding career. I really loved what I did. And and I was sorry that the DA lost his election since 2013. Because I probably wouldn’t be talking to you today. But if he had if he hadn’t, I’d be still working. So but to get back to Luigi. The book is called homicide is my business. And the subtitle is Luigi de zip. I hit man’s quest for honor. So how did I meet Luigi, I was a back in my first stint in the DHS office. While I was in the homicide bureau. I was at that point when I met him I was I was the probably the most experienced homicide prosecutor that we had. And, and I was, you know, I was doing some work one day and I get a call in my office from my boss. And he tells me that he wants me to come into his office. He’s got somebody wants me to want to meet. And I go in there and there were two detectives from the Brooklyn homicide squad who had come into the office. I didn’t see them walking in. So I hadn’t seen who they brought in. And they had brought into the office, this guy Luigi Ronsis Foley. And the reason they had him is that he had several by guests several months before, had turned himself into the FBI. He had and I’ll get into why in a second. But he had he had an open Brooklyn homicide case and after the FBI had gotten through debriefing him and giving and getting everything they wanted from him. They turned him over to the NYPD because of this open case, and the NYPD debrief them he confessed to them to this to this homage to this murder. And but they knew that you had a lot more information. Now the NYPD was not going to keep this guy on, you know in protective custody and, and waste all kinds of manpower. So who did they call Today came to the D. A ‘s office and said, Listen, this guy’s got a lot of information. Why don’t you guys take them and, and you’re going to deal with his case in any event. So the homicide that was opened was a case that was assigned to me. And and when I walked into my boss’s office, he told me the story that the DEA, the cops had this this informant who had been a hitman. And he said, It’s the new corner case. He’s the guy in a new corner. That’s where this homicide occurred in a restaurant in Brooklyn called a new corner restaurant, an Italian restaurant and, and he said, you know, this guy’s Italian from Sicily, you’re Italian. He’s yours you deal with. So that’s how I got involved with and, and I had to detect this bring him into a conference room in our area of the office. And when he walked in, I couldn’t believe it. I said to myself, this guy can’t be a hitman. He looks like a you know, he looked like somebody walked in, you know, like a plumber or something. He was. He was just an ordinary looking guy. He looked like he was built like a bowling ball. He was as tall as he was heavy. And, and I sat him down. And I I said to him, you know, I don’t know anything about you. We’re gonna get to know each other. But you look like you’re hungry. He said, Yeah. And he said to me in Italian, that he was eating shit. In the Brooklyn house of detention. He is the Italian word met a day. So I said, Okay, what do you want to eat? So I told him, he said to me, I want to veal cutlet Parmesan hero, and I want a bottle of beer. Gary, that was the key, the opening up his his information. I provided him with that every time he came into the office for the next several months. And I got more information out of him than I ever hope to get. And as a result of it, you know, as a result of everything I learned, and then I turned them over to to another squad in the police department. Then he went to jail for the homicide. But he got a very, very good sentence because of his cooperation. While he was in jail, he learned I’m sorry,
this first murder. I mean, was it obvious like a mafia connected murder? Or what was the one that I had? Yeah, that first month he brought Yeah, well, during with that?
Well, I’ll tell you, it was it was fairly obvious because of the location. And because of the people involved. What, what it was, and that was not his first homicide, by the way that was that was in the middle. His first homicide in Brooklyn was I’ll tell you about in a bit. He had already done several homicides in Sicily. He was part of the Sicilian Mafia, not a made man which is why he came to the United States. But he had been working for a big mafia Capo in Sicily, I had been doing hits in Sicily as well. This case was had all the earmarks. And when you look back on it now, you realize that we were right. This the victim was a chef in an Italian restaurant, the new corner restaurant. And the story goes and Luigi tells me this story very graphically and vividly. That the chef who he called Enzo, I think that was his nickname. I forgot his real name. I have it in the book, but I don’t recall it right now. He said this guy was raping his own niece. He had been having sex with his niece for for a long time until the niece had finally had enough and went to her family. And they lived out in a section of Brooklyn that is that many mobsters live in it’s the section is called Bensonhurst and, and they were they had friends and inroads in the Gambino family they knew that that you know that this guy needed to be taken care of and they went to the Gambino boss told him the whole story. And the Gambino said we’ll take care of pay got a hitman to go to the restaurant this
This is Old Country stuff here. Oh yeah, this school Old Country stuff. This name mafia at its finest.
Exactly. Exactly. They they they got a hitman and he went to the restaurant. But when he shows up at the restaurant, he sees that there are police cars outside detective cars, some some radio cars, and he takes off he says I’m not doing this. So I’m gonna get caught and I’m gone. Yeah, that was loss of face. But again, Vinos by the way, but but the but he didn’t know this, that the cops were there because the food was so good that they were there. They weren’t there for any investigation or anything of that nature. So there was a there was cooperation among the banana family, which is what Luigi was attached to. And again No family and there was a particular individual who, who kind of acted as liaison between the two families. He went to Luigi who he knew and said, I have this job for you, do you want it? And Luigi listen to what was thought what the story was. And he said to him, not only will I do it, but it’ll be essentially my pleasure to do Luigi his whole mantra from the time that I met him was that anyone that he killed, deserve to be killed. And that he didn’t do the killing. He didn’t he wasn’t the one responsible. It was the guy that paid him who was responsible. So he took the he took the hit at a discount. And, and he’s he’s went to the restaurant because he didn’t know what the guy looked like. He didn’t know anything about the restaurant where Luigi live for your listeners. And for your viewers, who was in the northern part of Brooklyn. This restaurant was in the southern part of Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is a big mass land area. So it’s, it’s like being instead of being in France, as opposed and, and Italy or France and Germany, it might as well be, you know. So he found out he went to the restaurant, did a little surveillance, which was what His thing was, and, and he kind of wandered into the kitchen, just to see what the what the lay of the land was. And if the guy was there, and he walked in, and he said, I’m looking for Enzo, in this broken English. He’s relaying the story for beach, he must have said it in Italian to them. And they say Enzo Enzo, not here, Enzo is in Sicily, said okay, so he left. And he then went back every week or so, for a month, month and a half, maybe even two months. Finally, one day he goes in and he says, you know, looking for Enzo and he said Ansel is still insistently, his Mama died. So he’s staying there for a long, longer period of time. About two or three weeks after that, instead of going he makes a call to the restaurant. And he asks, Is Enzo there? And they say, Yeah, and so he came back from Sicily, everything is okay. You know, sorry for his mother die and that kind of you said, Okay. He still didn’t know what Enzo look like. So what he did was he got his Gambino compatriot to pick up the young woman put her in a car. Luigi me and he sat in the car, across the way from across the street from the entrance to the kitchen, where Enzo worked, and where he would come to work around four o’clock in the afternoon. Excuse me. So they were sitting there and like clockwork Enzo showed up. The young woman said, that’s him. He said, Okay, they took the woman home. That night, the Gambino guy picks up Luigi gives them a gun, a walk to the restaurant, he walks in, they go to the restaurant, he waits outside the week he goes in, and he just simply says Enzo Enzo, here he goes, some of someone else in the play said, yeah, he’s over there. It’s over by the stove. He goes up to me. So you Enzo. Yeah, man. So who are you takes out a gun. He said, I blasted him right in the head, fell down a pit him again, was out of his car, gets in the car, gives the gun to the Gambino guy drive. He drives into his car now. And he does what he did after every hit in New York. He drove to Atlantic City, so that the heat would die down and then in a few days, he would come back and hopefully everything was okay. So that is the that’s the hit. That was the open homicide that he came in with the cops after confessing to it when the FBI debriefed him. I guess it was several months
before, but it’s they have something else on him. What?
Yeah, so here’s, here’s how he gets to the FBI. After doing several hits, for the bananas, the Gambino shows. He gets a call one day from his the same guy. His name is Murghab. Les was the guy’s last name. He says I want you to come to meet meet me at my house. I want you to meet a guy who
international criminal his name was Macelli Sendona, Sendona was the criminal who was responsible for the fall of several banks in Italy and had co opted Pope John, I’m sorry, Pope Paul the sixth into allowing him to run the Vatican Bank which he basically cause to collapse as well. He came to the United States and he
So he knew he had a problem he knew. And in his warped mind, the only way to take care of the problem was to get rid of the prosecutor in Italy and get rid of the prosecutor in New York, who handling the case. He thought that if he killed both of them, that by the time the each office got back to you know, high, put someone else on the case, they got up to speed, it would have been a year, two years and a lot of things can happen and he would have been probably gone somewhere else. So he, he goes to The Gambinos, and they tell him that we have somebody because they were Luigi was at this point, a primo hitman, he had done jobs for everybody and he and he was successful and all over.
So he goes to meet this guy Sedona and sits down with them and Sedona tells him what he wants done. And he says to him, and Louise, he was hurting for money at this time. He says, I’m going to pay you $100,000 I want you to hit this prosecutor slash judge in Italy. And I want you to hit the prosecutor in the in Manhattan, the US Attorney, Assistant US Attorney, and he says and in the Manhattan case, because I’m here in the United States. Once he’s down and you kill him, I want you to stuff his pockets with drugs so that it looks like it was a drug hit. And it doesn’t come back to me. So Luigi doesn’t answer him right away. He talks to he talks to his boy Murghab lane. And he says to him, I can’t do that. I’m not doing that. Really. He said he said to me, he said, Mike, if I kill a prosecutor in New York, that’s it. I’m done. I have a family. I can’t I couldn’t do it. So he tells this, Gary, this international criminal, he tells him No, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. That was the beginning of the end for Ron’s his folly and the mafia. He had sensed over the course of several months and even a year up to that point that things were not going according to the way he wanted them to go. You know that the recognize that the Sicilian Mafia was much different than the American mafia. And he claimed to me that the American mafia had had no morals Believe it or not, killing killing people insistently thought it was moral. And the United States said they, you know, they, they don’t honor You know, they’re not honorable men. So he, he, he’s hurting for money, as I said before, and he he rent ranges after he tells him don’t know he arranges he hears about a robbery that he’s told is a sure thing. Every I think it was every Friday, Friday, or Thursday, I don’t remember a courier money courier shows up at a place in Queens, collects the money, brings it out in a bag to the armored car and they take off. And it’s usually around 30 $40,000, which was a pretty good hit for him. So he get He and two other guys drive to the location in Queens, New York. And they sit and sure enough, the courier comes out in a business. Luigi tells me though, he says for Mike, it was no man it was a woman. He said, I know. I can’t rob no one. He said that’s No, that does insistently. That’s that’s no we don’t do that. But um, but I’m stuck. I need the money. So we robbed her, takes the bag. He opens it on the way to where they were going to count it is three $1,000
Oh, the cruelest blow of all. One other
thing happens. Apparently they were witnesses. And the police apparently knew who followed the car. When they got to this location. They were surrounded by police cars, which is arrested. He gets bail set on him only 500 bucks. He says I have to get out. He says for two reasons. One, I can’t ever get on the stand. Because he knows what will happen to him in terms of the mafia killing him because he has too much information. And he says More importantly, I will lose face. I can never admit to robbing a woman if my family hears about it. I can never face them again that that was his thinking. So who does he call? The only money source? He knew at that point? I don’t I still don’t understand that. He called sim donor.
And he says this in Dona? You got to put up my bail. Sendona basically says, Forget it. Yeah, I’m not doing it. Well, he says, no, no, you gotta do it. And he kind of hints that maybe if he doesn’t do it, this approach is gonna have a problem. So don’t it doesn’t do it. He gets out of jail by getting his brother in law to put 500 bucks up. And when he gets home, he makes a call to Sedona and he says to him,
And the FBI kept them debrief them to gave up the Halston donut thing to them. And then they brought him to us with the fit of homicide. So so that he’s lucky that desk Sergeant didn’t or a clerk didn’t say, git out of my station here. Yeah, it’s good to hear I can see that out. But Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Look at you know, he told me that they didn’t come right away do you have down at?
So I, I, I, but I love the idea that I was now going to going to have this guy and debrief him and find out what he knew. So I started to when he told me about the Sedona name, which he told me initially, because I found out how he got there. I did research on Sedona and every time he came back to the office, he mean Grasisvali to tell me more things. I had learned more things. So I was educating myself while he was educated. You know?
But Catania had there had had a guy who was running things. His name was Rapa Sardi and he, he had a I think it was sort of like a coffee shop Cafe kind of placed in a katanya. And Luigi wanted to meet him in the worst way. Why? Because he wanted to become a made man.
And when he later testifies years later in front of Ronald Reagan’s commission on organized crime, which we set up for him, he told the Senate there when the senator asked him about his beginnings, how we got into this, he said, Senator in America young boys want to play baseball. In Sicily, young boys want to be mafia. And that was that was his that was his way of telling him that I wanted to do this my entire life. But it didn’t work out. So it didn’t. It wasn’t so easy coming. He was a if you see the see the buck, you see the picture of him. He was a schlubby looking guy. I can’t imagine that that rep sorry. He thought that this was a guy that was his aunt the answer to his prayers to become, you know, the next dawn on the island. So he, but he works his way in to wrap Sardis confidence and wrap aside his slides giving him these young you know, these small jobs or these small mafia jobs. That means collecting money for guys that didn’t pay him loan shark money, gambling money. Little kind of, I guess, disagreements among citizens that they had been using the mafia to settle for for decades. Yeah. And he doesn’t he does a good job. He does a good job. So rapid, sorry, one day says to him, but he keeps hounding him. Basically, whenever, you know, I can do more I can do more episodes. He says, I have a job for you. A businessman in Milan, Italy, owed rhapsodic money wasn’t paying. Wrap aside, he wanted him hit. Now, you might say, Well, how’s he going to collect his money if he if he hits a guy? You know why he did it, he wanted to send a message to anybody else who owed him money, that if you screw with me, this is what’s going to happen. So he gives Luigi the guy’s name, tells him gives him as much information as he can. Luigi has to do all this research, and then he has to learn and figure out how to get to Milan. So he finds out that you take the ferry from Catania, across the Adriatic to Naples, or thereabouts. Naples, there’s a train station you get on the train from there you go north to Milan, and which is what he did. And how does he he finds out where the guy lives, he finds out where he works. And this is his MO from that from this point on in terms of his hits. And he’s travails him, he’s avails him for as long as it takes for him to feel comfortable about finding a spot to kill him. And, and one morning he did, he found that not one morning, he found the spot and then one morning, he he shot and killed this, this businessman. Now he asked to reverse all of the track back to Catania. When he gets back. It’s late, goes home. In fact, he lied to his wife. He didn’t even tell his wife what was happening because he didn’t want to tell her that he was going to murder somebody. He brought a bouquet of flowers for her when he got home and said, You know, I says after you’ve sent your business,
we call those doghouse roses.
Next, the next day, he goes to me, he goes to the social to the coffee shop. We’re at Sardis. There, he gets what he pays them. And then he shows him something. It’s the Italian newspaper. Yeah. But in the mainland and the guys the hit was in the newspaper. Gary Luigi thought that he had died and went to have this is exactly what he was looking for. Exactly. And, and
he did remain behind that. Yeah, yeah. But he was mad. Sad.
So now we’re episode he knows that he’s, he’s a guy that’s confident and gives them another hit in Rome. He kills I don’t know how familiar you are with Rome, but he kills this guy. At the Trevi Fountain Oh,
my God. Yeah, that’s tourist him and tourists all over the place. 24 hours a day, probably lots of times.
But you know, when he told me it was actually good for him because he blended in then tourists and he was able to, to get away and back to Sicily. So he does several more hits for rapid Sarti. While this you may ask, well, what is he doing? You know, there’s he working, does he have a job? He did. He worked on the railroad in Sicily. I don’t know what his role was, but he worked on the railroad. And, and he gets into a dispute with some guy who is then like him and was talking behind his back. And an honor and respect were huge for Luigi. Yeah. And he told me that. He said, I could not let that stand the heat. I looked, I couldn’t lose space. They wanted to kill this guy. It’s the it’s one time he insistently at one time in the United States that he did a hit for himself. Kills. Finally, at some point, he said, You know, I’m not getting made, he goes to rapid Sarti and he says you know what about this what what am I going to be become a man of honor that’s what they called it over there. Episode he says, Ah, no, no you know you gotta wait your turn and he tells him but I got I got something for you. You need to go move go to the United States in Brooklyn, they’re looking for people like you and the American mafia you’ll get made faster than you would here. And he says, and you know what, you use my name, when you get to a place called a place in Brooklyn called Knickerbocker Avenue which was the center of the gap of the boat Banana Fan, and that’s where they say had their operations so he he Luigi didn’t know why. Why would did they want him? Why would Why would does that was at a good place. Well give a little background. Well before this years before Joe banana, who was the head of the annatto family, and his number one lieutenant, the guy named Carmine Galante, who was a big who was big into the drug into drug dealing, even though quote unquote, the mafia doesn’t do drugs, which is total crap. That’s just not the case. They went to Sicily. And they, they, they established a kind of a pipeline that ultimately became the French Connection. And, and, when put banana and Galante knew that if they were not going to share with the other families in the drug proceeds, which they couldn’t and wouldn’t do. And the other families found out about it. Well, it was going to be a war so they needed soldiers. So they recruited these zips. And those zip title comes from the American mafia kind of looking down on these guys like Luigi coming from Sicily who don’t speak English, who speak very fast, who they say use different kinds of guns, which they called Zip guns. So the name kind of evolved and became a derogatory term for these guys that were being imported from Sicily to be the strong arm people for the banana family. So that’s how Luigi, but he had a legitimate passport. He comes to the United States with his family. He finds his compatriots who had come before Him, they find an apartment for him and his family and he sets himself up near Knickerbocker Avenue. Now he has to repeat Gary the entire process all over again. Because when he shows up at the coffee shop with a social club, they say essentially who you get nothing but his zip essentially. So he does the same thing he buys his time buys his time and one day finally goes in. And he sees a guy sitting at a table with a with a espresso coffee in front of me reading the Italian newspaper. And he describes him to he said Mike is dressed in a beautiful suit and a beautiful tie. And this is a big thing for him and shoes. His shoes were were just beautiful. He was a big thing into the into the into the shoots. Yeah. You said I know in my mind, that’s the guy I have to speak to. So he walks up to him. And it’s a guy named the quanta Pinot the quanta. And Pinot the Quanto was the second in command of the banana enterprise and Nick on Knickerbocker Avenue. That head guy was a guy named Peter Locata. He ran the Gambino activity, I’m sorry, the banana activities and, and operations and Nick on Knickerbocker Avenue. But the Quanto was the guy that Luigi approached and after being dismissed again, get lost. He went back and he went back and he finally said, Can I buy you a drink? And the quad I must have been I don’t know it was the day that he was felt that he wanted to do something for this guy and tell him sit down. And Luigi uses the name rapid Sardi from says I’m here I’m up and he tells him this whole story and the corner says okay, I got some work for you. And he gives them the same kind of crap work that the other guy did go collect debts go do this sweep those the shit the social club, that kind of stuff. It doesn’t it really doesn’t sit with him as obviously so I’m not gonna get made if I do this. But the quanta in introduces him to a guy who he says he should partner with and he’ll learn how to do the things that need to be done in order to become a made guy. And and it will was a guy named Laporta. His name was Paolo Laporta. Laporta was kind of on the same level with Luigi in terms of the way that he was thought of by the, the people in charge. But he was a little higher. He thought that that meant that he was, you know, the king and the boss of of Luigi. And he was also he saw how how well Luigi did his work. He collected the money. Well, he brought it back. He did everything right. Laporta got jealous, thought that they were going to basically move him aside for Luigi. So he tells them that he gets Luigi one day and he says to him, I want you to meet me tonight. This afternoon. At the at the club. We’re going to go to another part of Brooklyn. There’s a guy who owns a drugstore there who owes sin your decliner money. And we got to collect from him. We’re going to rob him and get the money and give it to the quantum because he owes a tool. So Luigi meets him. They drive him into quantas car, I’m sorry, in LaPorte his car. And he points out to get the drugstore. So that’s the place and he gives them a gun. And does he go in robbing a place? So he walks in, he announces the robbery. The the drug is looks up behind the counter, reaches under the counter and pulls out I think a 45 and start shooting at him. He said to me, Mike is a good thing. That guy’s a bad shot. He says I’m dead. And he says I’m dead. I know be able to collect the money. I run outside because he had to get out of there. Laporta had taken off on. Yeah. Taken off. It was a setup. It was so basically setting up Luigi to be killed. Laporta knew that the guy had had a gun. Yeah. So he walks back to gets back to Knickerbocker Avenue and he’s now looking to kill the court who’s who’s one of their guys. They calm him down and they tell him we’ll see you tonight. Come to the club tonight. Well, the Porta and he make make peace. So Porter, I said that, did he? What did he do? He said he he gave me half of what we would have stolen from the guy and the drugs as a peace offering. So let me just tell you, so they become pretty good. They become pretty good, pretty good partners. Oh, really. And I’ll tell you about two things. One thing that’s that’s very important that fits into the kind of the idea of the Sicilians coming to the United States is that most of them couldn’t get passports to come to the United States. The gap the the bananas were forging passports in Brooklyn and Luigi and Laporte. His job was to drive to the Canadian border, is they had a legitimate passports, go into Canada, where they would meet all these zips, handout all of these forged passports to them. And then those guys would make their way into the United States and down to Brooklyn. And he said it was very successful. We made a lot of money. He told me how much I don’t remember exactly how much they told me how much for every pet passport that he delivered, he was making good money. So things were going well. And so the boy says to him, one other time, we got to go upstate New York to a small town. There’s a guy up there who again owes, I think it was maybe Locata. At this time, the boss money.
So what’d he say? He said, I said, what happened? He said he’d go up to this small town in upstate New York rural at this point. And it was it was nighttime. And they drive into the town. And he points out the pizzeria that the owner that the guy owned that that they had to collect from. So Luigi says that places closed I don’t know what he’s doing. He says, Well, you just follow me. They break. Laporta breaks into the pizzeria. And he then goes about the attaching all of the gas lines in the store. Yeah. He closed that. They closed the back door. They get into the car and they drive two blocks away. Luigi doesn’t know what he does. He doesn’t know what’s going on. And he said, what what what are you doing? He says just wait. About five or 10 minutes later, he goes to a payphone that’s how long ago it was Gary actually. And the porter makes a phone call. It’s back in the car. Luigi says who you call. He says Wait, wait. Five seconds later or 10 seconds later? The place? The pizzeria explodes. Yeah. There’s the there’s sparks from the old phones. The gasoline the natural gas all over the place. Blew the place apart. Yeah. So that was that was kind of the you know the work that Lou He did up to a certain point. But once again, Gary, he wasn’t being made. He wasn’t he was, they wouldn’t he was. He said, I’m stuck. He was a good gambler, too. And he I’m sorry, he was a big gambler, not a not a successful gambler. But he knew how to gamble. Yeah. And, and look, the boss Locata at a casino, above an illegal casino above his social club. And, and he was losing money. And he didn’t know how he didn’t know what was going on. They were finding counterfeit bills in among the money. So he goes to Luigi one day, and he says to him, I know that you know about gambling, I want you to go up to the casino tonight. And I want you to watch and you see, and I want you to tell me what’s going on. So he says, I go up. I watch. He says, Mike, it takes me two minutes, I find out what the hell’s going on to. He called them a name, which I will not use. And he said they were using, he said, I knew that they had counterfeit money. And they were they were stuffing. The when they when they were playing. They were playing with counterfeit money, and then they were getting good money back. Right? So he said they took a break and they went to the bar. So what’d you do? He says, I went up to the bar, went up to them, tapped him on the shoulder. He says I know what you’re doing. He said you stop. And they said, Oh, who are you? You said you know, no care who I am. You stop, do you know stop? Then I stopped you. What happened? That was it. They’re gone and never had another counterfeit bill into place again. But now he impressed the boss, the boss was impressed to the boss now sent them out to do all kinds of jobs. Another day, and this is the point where I said I’m getting to he’s in the in the social club. And the same casino has has a dealer who is out sick. And the boss doesn’t want to lose the night, the night of gambling. So he says to Luigi, can you deal and he says sure. And he knows he can because he’s been up there playing forever. And Luigi is a big, big gambler. He said No worry, I’ll take care. So he’s now dealing blackjack. And at the table are four main guys. Well, maybe five, I think maybe was for three of them. And Anacapa. And Luigi is dealing and he’s listening to them talking and they’re talking and he hears them saying that one of their own, one of the other soldiers needs to be hit. Why? Because he was messing around with the with a widow of one of their friends. And he was he was raping her and he was also pimping her out. He was putting her out on the street and guys were where he was getting money for people to rape to have sex with her. They said it’s no good. But none of them wanted to do it because he was one of their friends. Luigi said to me, Mike says I know that this is this is my my chance. And so he says to them, I’ll do it. And he did. He did and this is the first hit in America. He finds the A finds out where the guy lives where he works. Get some in the morning as he’s getting into his car walks up to him with the with the gun, a gun that he didn’t know he didn’t have a gun. He had to go buy a gun from some street bum. He said it was a revolver. He says I know even though for work, he drove to a very desolate section of Brooklyn on the water to test the gun to see if the gun was going to work.
While he was Mark getting a revolver, there’s not so many moving pieces. Exactly. For the work.
Exactly, exactly. And he and he gets the guy and he shoots some guy goes down. He gets in his car. And he drives to Atlantic City. So first time he did it. Why? Because he knew it was far enough away from Brooklyn, he could let the heat die down and then he could come back. This is before Atlantic City had gambling. So he just stayed in a hotel he had there were enough women to keep them happy because that was the other thing about Luigi, no matter what he looked like he was a womanizer. He always had he always had women. And when he comes back, he now he’s killed one of the butternut banana guys, right when he comes back. He’s welcomed as a hero. He said that everybody patting him on the back. He said he felt so good because they he did a job a dirty job for people who didn’t want to do it, but it needed to be done. He said this guy deserves to be killed. So so that was the beginning of his his career as a hitman. And and it was a very successful one very, very successful. So so you could see, you know, there’s more and I don’t want to
tell all the stories that have been Oh, there’s a ton more so. Yeah, that’s a good taste of what’s in this book. It’s really interesting. I have a question. to hear about the whole zip thing and and Carmine latte and bringing all those guys over because I think it was a couple of of civilians who were his bodyguards the day that he got killed and it seemed like they ended up having a whole Banano section of crew of nothing bad to say and born and bred people have by the end debit they kind of moved into the banana. No family is a legitimate part of the banana family.
Baldo, a motto and bone and Shay’s are bone venturi with a two word gut but go on to his two bodyguards, who were responsible for setting him up to be to be killed. And I’ll tell you that story next may hopefully have me back and I’ll tell you the story, but I also met them because really, yeah, I was working. I was still in the office. I was in the office in time when Galante was killed. In fact, I was in the middle we I was in the middle of a softball game, the homicide bureau of the DHS office was playing homicide detectives and NYPD detectives in a softball game out in Coney Island. And at a at a high school field. When I see all of these detectives started to huddle up and they’ve got and they all took off. And I find out from one of the cops what happened, and he said Carmine Galante was just killed and on Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn, but he I’ll leave you with this Garin, the reason that his bodyguards turned on him was that they were more loyal to the thing that is most important to the to the mafia. Money, money. Yeah, the last day was not sharing and not giving enough money to the other people in the banana family that made them feel like they were partners. They knew that they would not be making the kind of money that he was making. He was making millions of dollars a week in the drug business millions a week. And that was the plot was was put together by the new boss by that point. Peter Locata had gone. The new boss on Knickerbocker Avenue was a guy named Salvador Catallena. And Catalina was a big drug guy. So he fit right in with what Colombia was doing. But he wasn’t getting the money that they that they wanted. And that’s how they set this whole thing up. And, and you know how things would help. This is what I always laugh about. The day that the bodyguards drove Galante to the restaurant, Joe and Mary’s was the name of the place a small Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. It was a was a hot summer day. These guys and I’m sure a lot they didn’t pay attention to it. These guys both were wearing leather jackets. And the reason is that when the shooting started later on outside on the patio when they were eating, these guys duck down behind tables, but they were afraid of getting hit with shrapnel. So they wore these leather jackets as opposed to short sleeve shirts. So
remember that my boss is out there. If your bodyguards show up wearing leather jackets on a really hot day, you can think about what’s going on.
That’s the key. That’s the key, but the hit the hit team, you know, wound up killing the guy that owned the restaurant who had nothing to do to kill Goliath, they shot another another person who didn’t get out. He was leaving the lunch. And he didn’t get out fast enough. Before he was leaving. He had done he was done eating and you had to go somewhere else and he didn’t get out fast enough. He got killed and and that that turned into when the when the press and everyone else started to get there. A guy that I know a photographer had made his way up to the roof guy read that of the building right next to it and took that famous photograph of Goliath. They sprawled out with the cigar. And the rumor is that he didn’t have a cigar that to make it
please put it in his mouth. Yeah, yeah. So my son had a friend that was from New Jersey, went to high school with him and it was back home. And I was working in intelligence unit here and so and he sees that picture of Dante with the you know, with a cigar in his mouth, so he clips it out of a newspaper brought it back at it framed and gave it to me. Yeah, I used to have forgotten the wall and the Del
Sol you know very well, when I’m talking about when I when when when we talk again, I’ll tell you I haven’t I haven’t one of the stories involves a newer cop to and I’m okay, I’ll tell you that. Next time I’m gonna give you I’m gonna leave a little cliffhanger. So you’ll have me back and I can tell you
Oh, yeah, I’m gonna have you back. You’re you’re like me, you’ve been where the rubber meets the road back east there and I’ve been where the rubber meets the road in Kansas City, but you’re when you’re been there get in New York. And so I want to get you back on. I like getting that kind of the law enforced. But look, we’ve got all these guys praying cheese and Gravano they’re like telling all their mob stories. You know, like, we got my stories too. So yeah,
absolutely. Absolutely. I can tell you about the hit that was put out I had a contract taken out on at some point and you know, it was so so it was, you know, it was a it was a fun, a fun time and I did a lot of a lot of the work with the detectives, I was prosecuted. I was a lawyer. I didn’t you know, I didn’t wasn’t trained. I didn’t carry a gun, but I was a hands on guy. And yeah, it came to the point where the detectives sought me out and trusted me and, and if there was an issue or a problem that they needed, dealt dealt with, you know, in terms of a legal issue a legal problem, a search warrant to that and I was the guy that they would you know, they would call so it was a it was a fun, I had a really a very rewarding career to the A’s office and, and I miss it. The thing that keeps me going, though, and he’s books, I can tell you stories if you can’t see, but if you could look to your, to your right, I got boxes there, I’ve saved all my summations, I’ve saved whatever paper I can have. So when I, when I write, I’m in the midst of writing another book right now and say my first actually I finished it in the midst of writing book two of a series. And it’s a it’s a it’s a fantasy. It’s a it’s a novel, but the crimes that are depicted in this story are all cases of of mine. So I had to come up with a way of linking them together. And that’s the fantasy part of it. It’s it’s about a prosecutor who’s recruited by a special organization in the Federal Government to take on an evil force that is company Brooklyn and is responsible for these horrific debts. And it turns out that evil forces Satan, so it’s a battle of good versus evil. So it for that book called Fallen Angel,
oak and fallen angel. Now, Michael, go back over the titles and when people look at this video, they’ll see the titles I’ll get pictures. Okay, let him laugh. So go back over the titles for the audio guys.
The Luigi book is called homicide is by business. Luigi, the zip a hit man’s quest for honor. That was that’s the one that I that came out in November. Yeah, the one that will be out at the end of January is called Fallen Angel, a true crime fantasy. So that’s, that’s that
one on the mafia cop cop. It’s called friends
of the family, friends of the family, friends and family. And then I did one called crooked Brooklyn. It was about my years in the as the chief of the rackets division where I put three Supreme Court judges in jail and and convicted the head of the Democratic Party in Brooklyn convicted another Assemblyman convicted a dentist who lost his license because he became a drug dealer and he became a body snatcher. And he was stealing and taking bone and tissue out of bodies without permission and selling him. It’s a it’s a very, very long story. That’s, that’s crooked Brooklyn.
It’s really interesting. You got to get that book. Yeah,
it’s it’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble that all of these are and, and one other one that’s not about me, but I did it with it with my writing partner at the time. It’s about a an agent for the Veterans Administration who latched on to almost by mistake, a an investigation into a doctor who was accused of killing veterans at the Veterans Hospital here on Long Island. And it turns out that he did, he was murdering veterans. That led him to a second individual in Massachusetts, a nurse who was murdering the veterans, which led him to a third and to a fourth. So the book is called behind the murder curtain. And it’s, it’s about an agent named Bruce Sackman. And the subtitle is who who hunts, doctors and nurses who are killing all veterans. So that’s the other
one. Well, that’s why on Well, that’s interesting stuff out there. Well, Michael bet God, I really appreciate you coming on the show. And I look forward to that and to interviewing you again. And it’ll be fun.
Anytime, Gary. Thank you again for having me. It was my pleasure. And, and I love doing this talk. In fact, when I tonight, actually in a few hours, I’ve got another book signing for homicide is my business. So I this was a practice. I’ll be talking about stuff against and
pretty soon. Pretty soon you’ll just be like, I’d rather you would have to do anything. Yeah, like Yeah, exactly.
So if we don’t see each other before Christmas, have a Merry Christmas.
You too. Nice talking to you. You too. All right. But you guys know that I ride motorcycles. So don’t forget to look out for motorcycles. And if you have a problem with PTSD or you have a friend or relative that does and you’ve been and you’re bad or they’re a bad way, get ahold of the Veterans Administration go to their website, they have a really good hotline for you and, and you can get some help there. So thanks a lot, guys. Thanks a lot, guys. Thanks a lot, guys. So thanks a lot, guys. Thanks a lot, guys. Thanks a lot.