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Unmasking the Real Spider in Goodfellas!

Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. Gary looks into the intriguing life of Michael “Spider” Gianco, a real-life figure known from the movie “Goodfellas.” Born in 1954 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Gianco was associated with the Bonanno and Lucchese families and was a Jimmy the Gent Burke protege. Referred to as Spider due to his long limbs and excellent burglary skills, Gianco was a trusted member who could climb into hard-to-reach places. He was involved in organized crime from a young age, engaging in car theft and other illicit activities. Gianco was a crucial player in a car theft and smuggling ring, specializing in stealing cars from locations like JFK long-term parking. He would deliver these cars to a junkyard in Brooklyn, where they would be sold or shipped to Haiti. Gianco made money for every vehicle he stole and was involved in various criminal activities orchestrated by Jimmy the Gent and Paul Vario. However, his relationship with fellow mobster Tommy DeSimone was strained, leading to a fatal confrontation in July 1970. During a poker game at Robert’s Lounge, DeSimone fatally shot Gianco after an argument, with Jimmy the Gent instructing DeSimone to bury the body. The murder, reminiscent of a scene from “Goodfellas,” shocked those present, and despite the body never being found, Gianco’s fate was sealed. The aftermath of Gianco’s death further illuminated the ruthless nature of organized crime, showcasing the dangers and consequences of underworld disputes. The intricacies of mob life, rule-breaking, and allegiances are dissected, leaving listeners pondering the complexities of this dark underbelly of society.
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[0:00] Wiretappers out there back here in the studio of gangland wire i want to take a look at kind of a short one again here about michael spider gianco michael spider gianco his he was spider in the movie goodfellas he’s the one that joe petty character shot in the foot and then later killed when when he bucked it back up to him let’s tell you a little bit as a real guy this really happened as you know you know everything really happened in goodfellas for the most part he was you have of a young guy back then, I guess.
He was born in 1954. He was killed in 1970.
That tells you anything. He was from Brownsville, Brooklyn, and grew up in the neighborhood, South Ozone Park, Queens area.
He was a, you know, an associate of the Bonanno family and the Lucchese family, as all those guys around in that Roberts Lounge were, and there really was a Roberts Lounge, he was a protege of Jimmy the Gent Burke, he was a guy.

[0:59] Who would go out and do stuff. He was, and what’s interesting about him, he could be trusted.
He was from Italy, but he was from Sardinia, which is another island like Sicily off the coast of Italy.
He was born Michael Gianfranco. He shortened it to Gianco when he got over here.
And then of course, everybody became, started calling me Spider.
Now, the reason they called him Spider is because he had really long arms and long limbs and he was a great burglar. where he could climb up and get into places and things like that.
His family brought him over here when he was a kid. They settled in Queens.
He was a runaway. He was just a bad kid growing up, as most of these guys are that end up in that life.
He had some cousins from his father’s side that had gotten involved with organized crime, as a lot of young guys do in Brooklyn like that. He was a low-level associate.

[1:53] He was a good car thief also. also. He was one of these guys that knew how to steal cars.
He got to know Jimmy the Gent Burke, and he got to know Jimmy the Gent Burke.
Jimmy the Gent put him into the Barrio family and made him an associate because, again, he was an earner.
And Paul Barrio was a member of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, and he was hired by a bartender as a member of that union at Robert’s Lounge.
A guy named, you never knew who owned that lounge was a guy named Casey Rosado.
They had a restaurant named Bruno’s right there.
And because of his mob connections, he didn’t have to pay his union dues.
He probably wasn’t even old enough to drink when he first got that job there.
By the time Spider was 16, he was probably an alcoholic, heavy, heavy drinker, just like Henry Hill and a lot of those guys are.
He would become a made member because he was full-blooded Italian.
And he became a made member of the Lucchese family.
The Rise of Spider

[2:58] Jimmy the Gent nicknamed him Spider. He’s the one that gave him the nickname.

[3:02] Dropped out of school, of course. He spent all day at Robert’s Lounge, bartended.
He collected numbers. He sold, you know, fireworks.
He’s mob guys. I tell you, mob guys, if you’re listening out there, you love your fireworks. You love dealing fireworks.
You love, like God, he had the free fireworks show every year.
I know in Kansas City, some of the people who are involved in and around the mob have a fireworks stand.
There’s a lot of money that could be made in a a firework stand in a short period of time.
There must be some other scams in around it. I don’t know exactly what they were. They are. I’ve never known.
He made coffee. They had a card game going in the basement, which is where he got killed.
He would go down there and serve coffee and drinks to the guys down in the basement.

[3:48] When he got to be older and he could drive, he’s like a kid when he first gets started there in the Robert’s Lounge and with just like Henry Hill, really, they bring bring in these kids and groom them, bring them in, get them to do things for them.
And when they got him to do the auto theft, this was during the late 60s and early 70s. They started getting these smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
And he specialized in going out to the long-term parking at JFK.

[4:16] Where they did the Lufthansa heist. It seemed to be their territory.
Went out and stole cars from the long-term parking at JFK, plus the neighborhoods of Howard Beach and all around it in that area. at Ozone Park area.
He would deliver these cars to the Bargain Auto Junkyard in Starrett City.
Spider’s Criminal Activities

[4:35] Brooklyn on Flatlands Avenue.
Any of you guys that live there in New York, after he would leave the car, they would take off the license plate, switch out the BIN number for one that would have been junked out, and now you got a new car.
Either that or they would sell it for parts, depending on what they had many times his cars were stolen or were many times his cars were shipped out of new york and down to port-au-prince haiti and sold his new cars down there they had a eduardo’s sea and land services incorporated which is located in south ozone park and he’s the one that would handle that part of the auto the auto theft ring gen kanko gen gianco gianco spider gianco made a hundred bucks for every car he stole now this was actually henry hill’s chop shop and smuggling ring operation but you know jimmy the gent and paul vario got a big piece of this action all along he had kind of a hostile relationship with this tommy de simone all along it wasn’t just that one incident that popped this off he had a long-term hostile relationship like you will somebody at work you’ll have somebody that just rubs you the wrong way or you rub them the wrong way you both rub each other the wrong way we’ve all all been there he had to you know paul barrio and jimmy burke were like kind of the.
Tommy DeSimone’s Influence

[6:00] The bosses and and they had to keep it under control when they were around but tommy d simone was he was he he wasn’t he he was more in and he because he had participated in other mob sanctioned murders for paul barrio and pulled off more successful crimes than gianco so he kind of in the pecking order he was on up in the thing and he was involved in the air france robbery the Lufthansa robbery, and he had a lot of praise, was really well-respected in the Lucchese family.

[6:33] Now, of course, what happened is basically what happened is what you saw in the movie.
Tommy DeSimone likes to pull his gun and wave it around. He even had kind of a target practice down in the range.
He had a new Colt .45 revolver, which is unusual. Those are great big guns and revolver, too.
The Shooting Incident

[6:53] But and so he was jacking around and he did that he shot him in the foot and they took spider out and he saw a doctor the whole nine yards and came back with his foot all bandaged up back to work and he’s you know hustling coffees and doing things for people there the same as you know they was his name was his name michael impero impero they played the part and they did a good job i I understand.
Sometime shortly after that, it’s July of 1970. We know that for sure.
DeSimone, Tommy DeSimone is playing poker in the basement of Robert’s Lounge.
Playing with Jimmy the Gent, Burke, and Angelo Sepp.
Gianco served their players drinks, but he forgot DeSimone’s Crown Royal.

[7:39] Well, DeSimone, Tommy DeSimone was already drunk and he started berating him for it and berating him for it.
And Gianco, Gianco then just turned around and said, you know, why don’t you go fuck yourself?
Tommy DeSimone pulled out his Colt .45 and shot him three times in the chest.
Right. You know, everybody’s sitting there just like in the movie.
Everybody’s sitting there in shock. Doc, Jimmy Burke, James, Jimmy the Gent, he was enraged.
And he made DeSimone do something with the body and bury him.
And he buried him in an unfinished section of the basement in Robert’s Lounge.
It was after this murder that Henry Hill considered DeSimone a psychopath and stayed away from him, just like in the movie.
Now, they never found the body, so they must have dug it back up and reburied it or something, because they never found the body.
Which is why when Henry Hill was on the Howard Stern show one time after he went into witness protection and came back out and became this kind of minor celebrity after the movie was released.

[8:43] He was on Howard Stern’s radio show one time, and Gianco’s sister called in, demanding to know from Henry Hill where the body was buried, but he never would say.

[8:52] So that might have been one that he had more of a part of than what he led on to the FBI.
You don’t know. They have to admit all their crimes to the FBI.
So that’s the story of Spider, Michael Gianco, who was Sardinian, came over to this country from the old country and was a made guy, supposedly.
I don’t know if I buy that. I read this one place where it said he was a made guy because he was native born Italian.
I don’t know if I really buy that or not, because if Tommy DeSimone, who is a made guy, if he kills another made guy, I don’t know.
No, you know, the rules usually are, you know, you’re in huge trouble if you do something like that.
But sometimes for a guy that’s making a lot of money and part of a crew that’s making a lot of money and this guy that he kills isn’t very important.
I don’t know. What do you guys think?

[9:41] It’s, you know, never ending questions about the mob.
You think you have a handle on what the rules are and who abides by the rules, then you don’t.
Final Thoughts and Helpful Tips

[9:50] Then you think you do and somebody, you know, has to have, make sure they have permission permission to kill somebody then something like this happens so you just never know anyhow thanks a lot guys you know I like to ride motorcycles so don’t forget when you’re out there on the streets watch out in your cars watch out for motorcycles when you if you have a problem with PTSD and you’ve been in the service be sure and go to the VA website and get that hotline number if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol which goes hand in hand with PTSD our friend Anthony rugiano.

[10:22] Who had a social club somewhere around in this area, or his dad did.
He has a, he didn’t have one. He is a counselor at an alcohol drug addiction treatment facility down in Florida.
He has a hotline on his number. You could have him as your counselor, maybe. That would be cool.
Don’t forget to like and subscribe. Tell your friends about us and keep coming back.
Oh, and share it. Share this on your social media, too, if you think about it. I try.
And check my social media page out. the gangland wire podcast facebook group we got a huge group on there almost 40 000 now and you get a lot of comments you got a lot of people on there that were connected at one time or grew up in the neighborhoods and and have a lot of make a really interesting comments about different things that are put on there sometimes there’s fights between people too but if you do get on there just remember no politics okay thanks a lot guys

4 thoughts on “Unmasking the Real Spider in Goodfellas!”

  1. You are usually spot on on your reporting….. if spider was 16 when he died you are reporting he may have been a “ made “ guy and took part in all kinds of crimes. I don’t think this is accurate at all.

  2. I have seen a few things saying Spider was made because he was a good earner (he supposedly never killed anyone). His car theft ring was every bit as lucrative as you describe Gary. Another piece they got right in the movie was that his family did have a history of being rats (it’s not a given that he would become one as well as insisted by Pesci’s character!).

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