A popular culture phenomenon has been the success of a reality show titled The Mob Wives. My friend and fellow Mob chronicler, Ed Scarpo publishes a page dedicated to inside information about the show on his blog, Cosa Nostra News.
I think the most interesting person on Mob Wives is Karen Gravano. Karen’s father is Sammy The Bull Gravano, the man who testified and brought down the Teflon Don, John Gotti. Sammy could not stay out of trouble and opted out of the Witness Protection program. He is serving time today for a narcotics conviction.
I believe one reason that La Cosa Nostra stories are so popular is the fact the characters are multi-dimensional. These professional mob guys have relationships with wives, children and other extended family members. These family members go to the store, go to school, attend parent-teacher conferences, go to kid’s athletic events, host family dinners and all the rest of the things that all of us do.
Many Kansas City persons have told me about going to St. Pius high school and William Jewell college with children of La Cosa Nostra members, swimming in a backyard pool behind Tony Ripe’s house, playing football with the children and many other normal family activities. A secretary at prominent Kansas City law firm tells of the kindness and generosity of Mob clients. The Director of the ACLU tells the story of Nick Civella calling him and expressing his support for the pro-life view of abortion. Below is a clip of Carl “Tuffy” DeLuna talking with concern for his wife and the wives of his underlings, as he realizes that they may go to jail. After I gave a talk on Gangland Wire, a man introduced himself as a relative of Tuffy’s. He remarked that he appreciated that I included the below clip to show how a mob underboss instructs his underlings on how to deal with family and going to jail.