After a long hiatus, the Mob Gals are back, baby. Since launching The Boston Mob Guide, we have spoken at numerous venues, been interview on TV and radio, been featured in various publications and a host of other activities. Meanwhile James “Whitey Bulger” went on trial, was found guilty on numerous accounts, and is now serving several life sentences. Bev cover the trial for the New York Daily News, so she had a front-row seat to this chapter in Mob history. In August, we traveled to Las Vegas for an appearance at The Mob Museum and we now write regular blog for the museum! We’re going to start reposting the items on this blog — with other content. We are now looking into writing a book on women in the mob — the molls, the mistresses and the mothers — as well as pursuing other related projects. Below is the link to the Mob Museum blog and links to some of the individual blogs we have done.
Christmas has always been a moneymaker when you’re in the Mob. A few hundred dollar tips doled out during the holidays by a capo or consigliare can net a nice return, often well before the New Year rings in. If you’re ambitious, however, it can be even more profitable. Just ask the four Italian mobsters who forced shop owners in Naples to buy poinsettias at 100 times their actual value. The store owners paid as much as $140 each for the red flowering plants but in the spirit of the holidays, it was all for a good cause. The proceeds went to raise money for the families and legal fees of jailed mobsters. Unfortunately, the three-year fundraising effort was cut short this year when all four mobsters were arrested as organized criminals and charged with extortion and burglary. It now looks like these four won’t spend Christmas with the Family……
Last week, we came across some quirky stories about some criminal figures that gave us a brief glimpse into what the Mob is like today. These little gems, gathered from around the world, will update you on Mob activity but may leave you wondering, “What the heck?”….
Sure there was organized crime before the United States decided to institute a nationwide ban on the sale and importation of liquor on January 17, 1920. But it was Prohibition – with its bootlegging, rum-running and speakeasies – that was the real shot in the arm to mobsters. By 1933, even ardent supporters had to admit: Prohibition was a colossal failure, an example of social engineering run amok. …
Amid the solemn commemorations of Veterans Day this past week, one U.S. military veteran sits in a jail cell in Massachusetts, waiting a judge to tell him he will spend the rest of his life in jail. Yet it’s a strange paradox that many Mobsters, like James “Whitey” Bulger, once proudly wore the uniform of the U.S. Air Force or Army or Navy, acted heroically or were discharged honorably. Take Steve “The Rifleman” Flemmi, a Bulger associate and one of the nation’s most lethal killers. He got his nickname not from his renown as a killer for hire but when he was sharpshooter in the U.S. Army. He enlisted at age 17 and did two tours of duty with the 187th Infantry Regiment – winning both the Silver and Bronze Stars. It was his prowess with a rifle in the Korean War that got him his nickname. Mob boss Vito Genovese was an interpreter and advisor to the U.S. Army military government in Naples during WWII. Carlo Mastrototaro was both a Mob kingpin and decorated World War II combat veteran. His actions won him the Silver Star, the military’s third highest award for valor in the face of the enemy. Meyer Lansky was reputed to have disrupted rallies by Nazi sympathizers. He also helped the Office of Naval Intelligence‘s Operation Underworld, to recruit criminals to watch for German infiltrators and submarine-borne saboteurs. Lucky Luciano helped the U.S. military in the invasion of Italy; according to published reports, Mafia members in Sicily patrolled the roads for snipers, provided guides over mountainous terrain and arranged welcomes for the advancing troops. All courtesy of Luciano..
In other news:
Our trip to Las Vegas and was incredibly successful. We did a talk and signed books at the Mob Museum and spend the rest of our time exploring Vegas and the surrounding mountains. (Steph even won some money at the slots). We were extremely impressed with the quality of the exhibits and research at the Mob Museum.
The museum struck a balance between highlighting the lives of gangsters — many of them fascinating though violent individuals — with a hard look at the impact organized crime had on immigration, American culture and history. The role of law enforcement was also examined, with special attention to the groundbreaking hearings held in Congress. The artifacts on display are also intriguing — Stephanie was particularly interested in the Prohibition-era material.
We hope to make a return visit one of these days.