STATE OF THE MOB

May 14, 2019 at 4:45 am

The murder of a reputed mafia boss has put a spotlight on the New York mob. But, with new competition in the underworld, how much power and influence does the mafia still have?

Aired on May 13, 2019.

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>>> FOR A MOMENT, IT FELT JUST
LIKE THE MOB WARS OF OLD.
A SUSPECTED CRIME BOSS GUNNED
DOWN.
POLICE SWARMING THE SCENE AND
SPECULATION MOUNTING OVER WHO
CARRIED OUT THE HIT.
BUT THIS IS 2019, NOT 1985.
THE MARCH 13th KILLING OF
FRANCESCO CALI OF STATEN ISLAND
CAME WITH A TWIST WHEN POLICE
ARRESTED A MAN WITH NO APPARENT
MAFIA TIES AND A REPORTED BEEF
WITH CALI OVER THE MOBSTER'S
NIECE.
MOB HIT OR NOT, CALI'S MURDER
HAS PUT THE SPOTLIGHT BACK ON
NEW YORK CITY'S NOTORIOUS FIVE
ORGANIZED CRIME FAMILIES.
BUT JUST HOW MUCH INFLUENCE DO
THESE FAMILIES ACTUALLY STILL
HAVE?
AND WHAT COULD CALI'S MURDER
MEAN FOR THE MOB?
JOINING US WITH ANSWERS TO THESE
AND OTHER QUESTIONS IS
JOURNALIST AND MAFIA EXPERT
JERRY CAPISI.
JERRY, WELCOME BACK TO THE
PROGRAM.
>>.
>> IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.
>> FOLLOWING THE MURDER OF THE
REPUTED GAMBINO BOSS FRANKLY
BOYD CALI, THERE WAS A LOT OF
SPECULATION AMONG LAW
ENFORCEMENT AND THE PRESS THAT
THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF A 21st
CENTURY MOB WAR.
AND YOU SUSPECTED RIGHT AWAY
THAT IT WAS NOT.
HOW DID YOU KNOW?
WHAT GAVE IT AWAY FOR YOU?
>> WELL, I DIDN'T KNOW.
BUT I SUSPECTED IT.
THE MOB JUST DOESN'T KILL PEOPLE
THE WAY ANTHONY CAMELO ALLEGEDLY
KILLED FRANK CALI.
>> WHAT IS IT THEY DON'T DO?
>> THEY GENERALLY WILL HAVE AT
LEAST TWO CARS AND USUALLY THREE
CARS.
ONE WOULD BE A CRASH CAR TO STOP
ANY PURCHSUERS, AND THE SECOND
WOULD BE A LEAD CAR USED TO PICK
UP THE SHOOTER AND DUMP OFF THE
CAR THAT WAS USED FOR THE HIT.
THIS WAS A LONE GUNMAN IN A
PICKUP TRUCK WHO GOT OUT OF THE
CAR AFTER SPARKING INTO FRANK
CALI'S CAR.
AND I THINK HE WENT AND RANG THE
BELL AND GAVE CALI THE LICENSE
PLATE THAT HE KNOCKED OFF HIS
CAR.
>> AND SOMETHING ELSE THAT MOB
HITS DON'T DO, RIGHT, THEY GO TO
THE GUY'S HOUSE IN FRONT OF HIS
FAMILY.
THIS IS WHAT I READ.
>> DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY,
THAT'S ANOTHER THING.
AT LEAST IN NEW YORK THERE IS
THIS RULE WHERE YOU DON'T KILL A
GUY, ESPECIALLY A HIGH RANKING
MOBSTER LIKE FRANK CALI IN FRONT
OF HIS HOUSE.
>> AND FRANK CALI WAS THE
UNDERBOSS, WHICH MAKES HIM LIKE
THE SECOND IN COMMAND?
>> EXACTLY.
>> ALLEGEDLY.
>> FRANK CALI WAS THE CRIME BOSS
OF THE FAMILY, THE NUMBER TWO
GUY.
HE WOULD BE JOHN GOTTI'S NUMBER
TWO.
HE WAS THE SAMMY OF THE GAMBINO
CRIME FAMILY.
>> WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CALI'S
REPUTED KILLER?
>> NOT MUCH, EXCEPT THAT FRANK
CALI DIDN'T LIKE HIM BECAUSE HE
WAS -- HE FELT HE WAS UNWORTHY
TO BE DATING HIS NIECE.
AND APPARENTLY HE WAS CORRECT ON
THAT ASSUMPTION.
HERE HE IS, THIS GUY COMES AND
KILLS THE GUY BECAUSE HE DIDN'T
LIKE --
>> AND HE WAS NOT MOB CONNECTED
IN ANY WAY?
>> AS FAR AS ANYBODY KNOWS.
AND IT'S PRETTY WELL ESTABLISHED
HE HAD NO MOB CONNECTIONS AT
ALL.
IF HE HAD SOME MOB CONNECTIONS,
HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE THOUGHT
TWICE OR THREE TIMES ABOUT
KILLING THE UNDERBOSS OF THE
GAMBINO CRIME FAMILY.
HE IS GOING TO HAVE A TOUGH,
LONG INTERESTING LIFE, NO MATTER
HOW LONG IT GOES FROM HERE ON
IN.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT.
I MEAN, HE IS NOW IN JAIL.
I'M GUESSING THAT THE GAMBINO
FAMILY HAS GOT A TARGET ON HIS
BACK.
WHAT KIND OF DANGER IS HE IN
JAIL?
>> THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE
GAMBINO FAMILY IS NOT HAPPEN
ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE KILLED
FRANK CALI, AND THERE WOULD BE
A, YOU KNOW, A TARGET RIGHT ON
HIS BACK FOR THE REST OF HIS
LIFE.
WHETHER SOMEONE IS ABLE TO GET
AHOLD OF HIM IN PRISON IS
ANOTHER STORY.
AND WHETHER HE WILL BE ABLE TO
BEAT THE CASE FOR SOME REASON OR
ANOTHER, THAT'S ANOTHER STORY.
>> UNLIKE JOHN GOTTI, THE DAPPER
DON, WHICH AS THE EXPRESSION
SAYS WAS A VERY FLASHY GUY,
CALI, THE REPUTED UNDERBOSS OF
THE GAMBINO FAMILY, WAS VERY
LOW-KEY.
IN FACT SOME LAW ENFORCEMENT
CALLED HIM A GHOST HE WAS SO
INVISIBLE, SO DISCREET.
IS THAT INVISIBILITY AND
DISCRETION THE NEW NORM FOR
MAFIA LEADERS?
>> OH, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.
THE MOBSTERS OF TODAY LEARNED A
VERY IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM JOHN
GOTTI.
YOU DON'T PARADE UP AND DOWN
MULBERRY STREET ON BROADWAY IN
LITTLE ITALY POKING YOUR THUMB
IN THE GOVERNMENT'S EYE AND SAY
COME AND GET ME.
FRANK CALI WAS THE EPITOME OF A
2019 GANGSTER.
LOW-KEY, AN EARNER, SOMEONE WHO
MAY NOT HAVE EVEN KILLED
SOMEBODY TO GET INTO THE CRIME
FAMILY BECAUSE IN THE MID-'90s,
THE MOB DECIDED, YOU KNOW, LET'S
NOT KEEP THIS UP.
EVERYBODY IS GOING AWAY FOR LIFE
FOR MURDER.
LET'S CUT THIS OUT.
LET'S PROTECT OURSELVES.
AND SO THEY ISSUED A RULING
WHICH BASICALLY PROHIBITS
SANCTIONED KILLINGS THESE DAYS.
IS THAT WHY PAUL CASTELLANO WAS
THE LAST MOB BOSS, GAMBINO MOB
BOSS WHO WAS KILLED IN A MOB
HIT?
GOTTI GOT HIM KILLED.
AND THAT WAS 32 YEARS AGO.
THAT THE REASON WHY WE HAVEN'T
SEEN THIS KIND OF KILLING?
BECAUSE THE MOB SAID THE MORE WE
KILL, THE MORE WE SPEND OUR
LIFETIME IN PRISON?
>> I BELIEVE THAT'S THE CASE,
CORRECT.
THE MOB DID PUT OUT A RULING
KAECADE ININDICATING THAT THE L
SENTENCES THEY WERE GETTING FOR
MURDERS WAS DEPLETING THE CRIME
FAMILY.
THEY DECIDED THIS WAS NOT GOOD
FOR US.
WE DON'T WANT TO GO TO JAIL FOR
LIFE.
LET'S CUT IT OUT.
THERE WERE BODIES IN THE STREETS
IN THE '80s EVERYWHERE.
>> I REMEMBER.
>> THE GOVERNMENT FIGURED THIS
IS NOTED GOO THING, AND THE MOB
REALIZED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS
GOING AFTER THEM.
SO THEY CUT IT OUT.
>> SO LISTEN, JUST FROM READING
THE PAPERS, YOU GET THE SENSE
THAT THE MEXICAN AND COLOMBIAN
CARTELS, GANGS LIKE MS-13 AND
THE RUSSIAN MOB HAVE TAKEN THE
SPOTLIGHT AWAY FROM THE MAFIA.
HAVE THEY ALSO TAKEN A LOT OF
THE POWER AWAY FROM THE MAFIA?
>> I DON'T THINK SO.
NONE OF THEM HAVE REALLY GOTTEN
INTO LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES AS
WELL AS THE MOB DID.
THE MOB'S CLOUT, THERE IS NO
QUESTION ABOUT IT HAS DISSIPATED
QUITE A BIT IN THE LAST 15, 20
YEARS.
BUT THE OTHER EMERGING ETHNIC
GANGS, THEY'RE NOT REALLY
INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO
LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES THE WAY
THE MOB DID.
AND THE GOVERNMENT, THE LAW
ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY DOESN'T
LET THEM GET ENTRENCHED INTO
LEGITIMATE BUSINESSES IN THEIR
NEIGHBORHOODS AND COMMUNITIES
THE WAY THEY ALLOWED THE ITALIAN
AMERICAN MOB TO DO IN ITS OWN
NEIGHBORHOODS.
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED IN THE '40s
AND '50s.
THE MOB WAS IGNORED, YOU KNOW.
THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY
IGNORED THE MOB, DIDN'T WORRY
ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY WERE
INFILTRATING THEIR OWN
NEIGHBORHOODS AND LET THEM GET
ENTRENCHED.
AND THEN 20, 30 YEARS LATER THEY
REALIZE THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM.
LET'S GO AFTER THEM.
>> SO LISTEN, THE FEDS HAVE BEEN
VERY SUCCESSFUL, AS YOU'VE SAID
HERE, IN GOING AFTER THE MOB.
BUT JUST VERY RECENTLY, THEY
WERE NOT HERE IN MANHATTAN.
TALK ABOUT THE CASE WHERE THE
MOB BEAT THE FEDS.
>> EXACTLY.
THE SAME DAY THAT FRANK CALI WAS
SHOT AND KILLED, JOE C.
CAMMARANO AND PORKY WERE
ACQUITTED.
THE FIRST MAFIA BOSS TO DO SO
SINCE JOHN GOTTI BEAT THE BOSS
IN 1987.
THE GOVERNMENT WAS UNABLE TO
PROVE THAT THESE GUYS WERE
INVOLVED IN THE RACKETS THAT
THEY PRETTY WELL ESTABLISHED AT
TRIAL THAT THE BONANNO FAMILY
WAS INVOLVED IN GOING BACK TO
THE '80s AND '90s.
>> DO YOU EVER SEE A DAY WHERE
THE MAFIA WILL DISAPPEAR?
>> I DON'T THINK THEY'LL
DISAPPEAR.
I THINK THEY MAY BECOME LESS AND
LESS POWERFUL AS THE YEARS GO
BY, BUT I DON'T THINK THEY'LL
DISAPPEAR.
I DON'T THINK THEY'LL DISAPPEAR
IN MY LIFETIME.
>> WELL YOU HAVE A LOT TO WRITE
ABOUT THEM.
WELL, JERRY, THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR JOINING US.
>> IT'S A PLEASURE, RAFAEL.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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