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Mobsters

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NEWS
February 7, 1996 | by Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
Has prison life taken the macho out of the Philly mob? From a prison in Virginia, convicted former mob boss John Stanfa and a couple of his henchmen have taken to complaining about being far away from home while awaiting sentencing for acts of racketeering, including murder. Now one of Stanfa's alleged soldiers, Giuseppe Gallara, also known as "Joe Stanfa," who is in a South Jersey prison awaiting trial on the same racketeering charges, is yelping that North Jersey and New York mobsters get much better plea bargains than guys like him from Philly.
NEWS
April 23, 2000 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The litany of recorded conversations, outlined by a federal prosecutor during a plea hearing last week, was staggering: Anthony Viesti meeting in a South Jersey restaurant, where he solicits $20,000 for a drug deal from another mob associate. Viesti at Garden State Park, where he and several other reputed mob figures set up a drug purchase. Viesti at a second restaurant meeting, where the price for a pound of methamphetamine ($8,500) is negotiated. Viesti at another meeting, receiving a $7,500 payment.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 2010 | By Carrie Rickey, Inquirer Movie Critic
Thought exercise: Imagine Romeo and Juliet . Next, Bonnie & Clyde . Next, Thelma & Louise . OK. Now, reimagine all these doomed romantics on the same plate, add a dollop of Showgirls , a side of Dirty Dancing , a Scarface chaser and many, many, many Dukes of Hazzard car chases, and you have Kites , a Bollywood musical/gangster/melodrama romance in Hindi, Spanish and English. Preposterous? Oh, yeah. Preposterously entertaining? You bet. The principal attractions of this film are its gorgeous stars, Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan and Japanese-Uruguayan-Mexican bombshell Bárbara Mori, who have matching jade-green eyes and pearly smiles.
NEWS
March 23, 1998
Every culture has its myths. One that's prevalent in ours is the myth of the cuddly mobster. It probably goes back beyond Robin Hood, but the modern equivalent may spring from Damon ("Guys and Dolls") Runyon's short stories. Whatever the origin, thanks to movies and TV and especially (we must admit) the mass media, most Americans see the Mob as simpatico guys who are rough-hewn but have hearts of gold, living glamorous - if a tad dangerous - lives. Not so. No matter how cute we get in our news columns and editorials about the funny nicknames and Uncle Rocco's advice to nephew Louis ("Don't throw grenades, someone else might get hurt; use a double-barreled shotgun instead")
NEWS
July 26, 1991 | by Gary Thompson, Daily News Movie Critic
The virtue of "GoodFellas" was that it took the glamor out of mob sagas, and it's going to take a picture a lot better than "Mobsters" to put it back in. "Mobsters" tries, however. The movie casts a fond, nostalgic look back at the early careers of New York crooks Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Seigel, circa Prohibition. "Mobsters" does not allow itself to get bogged down by such troublesome issues as morality. Instead, it concentrates on the more exciting, fun-to-photograph aspects of gangsterism - clothes, cash, chicks and guns.
NEWS
September 3, 1993
It is tempting to suggest that the warring factions of the Philadelphia mob abandon their hit-and-run guerrilla skirmishes, and stage a pitched battle. Let them all gather, say, in some desolate swale in the Jersey Pine Barrens. Supply them with mortars and grenades, and let them wipe each other out. We're not serious about that solution, of course. But we are serious when we say that these bloody skirmishes are no longer hazardous only to the mobsters. The participants aren't simply colorful local characters with comical nicknames engaging in traditional rites.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 26, 1991 | By Carrie Rickey, Inquirer Movie Critic
Mobsters is Young Guns brandishing Thompsons instead of Winchesters. Not for nothing have wags already dubbed it Young Buns. This saga about the wild-oats years of gangsters Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel is scarcely more than an excuse to put vealcake hunks Christian Slater, Patrick Dempsey, Costas Mandylor and Richard Grieco in pin stripes and fedoras. The film boasts natty threads, handsome period decors, burnished-gold cinematography and a jazzy soundtrack, but where is the script that explains why these Lower East Side toughs became bootleggers and mob bosses?
NEWS
May 11, 1989 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two men who once held high posts in the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob were hit yesterday with 45-year prison sentences that are likely to ensure that they will spend most, if not all, of their lives behind bars. Former underboss Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, 49, who was demoted to soldier in 1986, was ordered to serve the sentence in addition to the life sentence he is serving for the 1985 murder of mob associate Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso. Mob captain Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, 55, who has been in prison on other racketeering charges since 1983, was scheduled to have been paroled tomorrow.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
"THE EQUALIZER" stars Denzel Washington as a home-improvement-store worker named McCall, whose secretive bearing is a source of amusement to his co-workers. They pester him for details, but all he will say, after busting a few old-school moves, is that he worked behind Gladys Knight as a Pip. It's not true, of course, but it's true he was a pip of a special-ops ass-kicker, as we suspect when we watch him go about his regimented business in his spartan home. He has the efficient habits of a military man, and also a romantic soul - he reads Cervantes.
NEWS
December 6, 1986
With a headline appropriate to the outbreak of World War III, The Inquirer recently heralded the indictment in New Jersey of Nicodemo Scarfo, among others. And so continues the intense fascination of the press with Italian- Americans accused of involvement in organized crime. Each act of an Italian alleged to be in organized crime is trumpeted in a way atypical of crimes committed by others. While every piece of scholarship on the subject insists that virtually every ethnic group has its organized criminals, only Italian-Americans remain at front and center in the press.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 16, 2016 | By William Bender, Staff Writer
Bruno is back, baby! Angelo Bruno, whose reign as Philadelphia mob boss ended with a shotgun blast to his head in 1980, is experiencing a posthumous resurgence. The "Gentle Don," as Bruno is sometimes known, surfaced on the big screen last year, played by actor Chazz Palminteri in Legend, the British gangster film starring Tom Hardy. Philadelphia filmmaker Tigre Hill is wrapping up his appropriately titled organized-crime documentary, The Corrupt and the Dead, that will feature Bruno and other mob bosses.
NEWS
February 19, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
WHO'S really in charge of the Philly mob? For the past few years, the answer might've depended on where you looked or whom you asked. Prosecutors. FBI agents. Street word. Underworld informants. Beat cops. Wiretapped conversations. Gamblers. Defense attorneys who will look you in the eye and swear that the Mafia ain't real. Some say Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, 75, still runs the show. The low-key acting boss returned to Packer Park a year ago after spending 32 months in federal custody through two racketeering trials on a 2011 indictment.
NEWS
February 8, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
Reputed mobster Anthony Nicodemo, dressed in a blue shirt and tie with his wrists handcuffed, did not utter more than three words during his 15-minute visit Friday morning to Courtroom 1101. "Yes," he told Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. "No," he said. "Guilty," he said three times. Nicodemo pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, conspiracy, and weapons charges in the 2012 shooting death of Gino DiPietro. Minehart sentenced Nicodemo, 43, to a minimum of 25 years in prison as part of the plea deal.
NEWS
November 23, 2014 | By Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Staff Writer
BOCA RATON, Fla. - A woman took Joseph Merlino's hand and towed him across the marble floor to her friends, who fussed over him, cooing. "The veal parmiagana! Fabulous!" somebody else told the maitre d' of the hot new Italian restaurant in South Florida that bears the family name. He had stopped to ask how they liked everything. "Loved the cheesecake," a woman said. "Is that your mother's recipe?" And so it went on a drizzly Friday night in the land of perpetual valet parking as the reputed former boss of the Philadelphia mob darted around the room, greeting diners.
NEWS
October 29, 2014 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
APPARENTLY, Denzel Washington left some Russian mobsters un-killed in "The Equalizer," so Keanu Reeves cleans up leftovers in "John Wick. " The former is the grittier vigilante movie, the latter more of a stylish put-on. "Wick" has the look and feel of a movie adapted from a Frank Miller-ish graphic novel or a first-person shooter game, but is evidently the original work of a couple of professional stunt men. The influence shows. So does some conceptual wit. They've created a blue-tinted world built on a fun mythology - a community of professional assassins who take the Corleones' "it's just business" creed and run with it. They have an informal trade association that establishes rules and ethics, they stay at a posh hit-man hotel in Manhattan, have access to private hit-man clubs and have their own Kruggerand-like currency (this needs to be updated with bitcoin and Applepay)
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
"THE EQUALIZER" stars Denzel Washington as a home-improvement-store worker named McCall, whose secretive bearing is a source of amusement to his co-workers. They pester him for details, but all he will say, after busting a few old-school moves, is that he worked behind Gladys Knight as a Pip. It's not true, of course, but it's true he was a pip of a special-ops ass-kicker, as we suspect when we watch him go about his regimented business in his spartan home. He has the efficient habits of a military man, and also a romantic soul - he reads Cervantes.
NEWS
September 12, 2014 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
A KINGSESSING man involved with mob associate Ron Galati's alleged insurance-fraud and murder-for-hire schemes quietly pleaded guilty yesterday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. Jerome "Rome" Johnson, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts each of attempted murder, witness intimidation, conspiracy and related charges connected to the case against Galati, a South Philly auto-body-shop operator with ties to reputed mob boss Joseph Ligambi and his nephew George Borgesi. The case is under court-ordered seal, but yesterday's development could signal more trouble for Galati if Johnson agrees to testify against him in Philadelphia.
NEWS
September 1, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Anthony Bruno, 61, a well-regarded writer of crime novels and books about real-life criminals as well as a devoted teacher of the Japanese martial art aikido, died Thursday, Aug. 28, at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage several days earlier. Mr. Bruno, who lived in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia with his wife, Judith Sachs, was the author of Iceman: The True Story of a Cold Blooded Killer . The book is an authoritative account of the life of contract killer Richard Kuklinski, who claimed to have murdered as many as 200 people during his long criminal career affiliated with various North Jersey and New York crime families.
NEWS
June 24, 2014 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
NOW MIGHT BE THE TIME to equip the Popemobile with a remote starter. During a weekend pilgrimage into the heartland of Italian organized crime, a defiant Pope Francis lowered the boom on the local Mafia, saying their "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good" had led to their automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church. But it was another quote from the 77-year-old pontiff that made international headlines and was heard on the streets of South Philadelphia, where the remnants of La Cosa Nostra still hold some sway: "Those who go down the evil path, as the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated," Francis told a crowd of tens of thousands in the small town of Sibari, Italy.
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