April 2, 2014 |
Ralph Natale has been legally blind since his days testifying against his former mob colleagues. But when it comes to whom to blame, the former Philadelphia don and a federal judge just don't see eye to eye. Last week, U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin rejected claims that prosecutors and prison officials ignored Natale's complaints about his deteriorating vision while he served out a 13-year prison sentence - neglect that he says has since...
May 3, 2013 |
Somewhere along the East Coast, former mob boss Ralph Natale spends his days sitting in a chair, staring at nothing. And for that, he blames the government. Natale headed Philadelphia's mob until the late 1990s, when he got busted on drug charges and became the first mafia don to turn on his own family. He spent years testifying against other wiseguys. But as prosecutors used him to win convictions, Natale was losing his eyesight - and no one cared, he claims. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the 78-year-old says he's now functionally blind because prosecutors and prison officials wouldn't get him the treatment he needed.
October 1, 2012
JOSEPH MERLINO, whose father, Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, was an underboss to Nicodemo 'Little Nicky' Scarfo, rose to prominence in 1989 after authorities alleged that he tried to kill the mob boss' son, Nicky Scarfo Jr. Scarfo Jr. was repeatedly shot on Halloween inside Dante & Luigi's, at 10th and Catharine streets, but survived. Scarfo's father, who had been running the mob from prison, eventually lost control as most members of his organization were imprisoned. With Scarfo Sr. in prison for life, various factions of the mob vied for control.
April 24, 2012 |
In the refined language of the law, it's called a plea bargain. But more often than not, say defense attorneys, it's a deal with the devil. The latest example is playing out in Atlantic County Court, where a jury is deliberating the fate of Craig Arno following testimony by Jessica Kisby, his former girlfriend and alleged accomplice in the Taj Mahal carjacking-murder case. Both were arrested in May 2010 in the murder of Martin Caballero, a North Jersey grocer who traveled to Atlantic City to celebrate his daughter's birthday on the night of May 21 and ended up dead.
September 29, 2011 |
ONCE SHE GOT the travel bug out of her system, Ruth Louise Seccio settled down in her native Philadelphia, where she worked at various restaurants as a popular and efficient waitress. But before that for several years, she and her daughter Ruthann saw lots of the country, as Ruth went from one waitressing job to another. "We got to see different cultures," Ruthann said. "We had friends who were cowboys, all sorts of people. I learned to adapt to every situation. "I went to 68 different schools before I was 13. " Ruth Seccio, a charming redhead and a generous woman who took care of the elderly in the senior-living facility where she lived, died of cancer Friday.
September 19, 2011
THE RECENT reporting by Dan Gross and William Bender on organized-crime bosses Joey Merlino and Ralph Natale show the unhealthy mentality of convicts wanting to glorify their crimes. Trying to create a source of income from hurting others is not what our society should support. The list of individuals affected directly or indirectly by organized crime is extremely long, beginning with the families of the criminals. What child would be proud of their "hit man" father who murdered others, thinking only of himself and what goal would be fulfilled by taking another's life?
September 12, 2011 |
NOT TO BE outdone by former mob boss Ralph Natale , who is working on a memoir, it turns out that Joey Merlino , who was just released from a Florida halfway house and whom Natale testified against, has been talking to veteran actor and screenwriter Leo Rossi about writing a movie about his life. On Friday, Northeast native Rossi confirmed that he has had six phone conversations with Merlino, who he says "has got a great sense of humor. " Rossi says that he and Merlino are both trying to line up financing for a possible biopic about the jailed mob boss.
September 2, 2011
"HE DON'T LIE. " That's what Ruthann Seccio, the former ex-girlfriend of Ralph Natale, says of the tell-all memoir that the married mobster is trying to get published. "What he's telling you is the truth," she said. But Seccio, 42, whom Natale, 76, met in 1994 while she was sunning by the pool with his daughter, has mixed feelings about his book. "He ratted on everybody and he left me holding the bag," Seccio said last night. "There was a hit on me. I had a whole family of gangsters trying to put poison in my drinks and wanting to shoot me. " Seccio, now engaged to another man, wouldn't mind seeing a few bucks for her troubles.
September 2, 2011
EXCERPTS from the handwritten first draft of Ralph Natale's memoir. * Referring to the 1918 flu pandemic that killed his paternal grandparents: "I write this to show where I came from and to explain also why I turned out to be what I am. My father never knew love or kindness from a mother or father, so how was he to know how to give this to his son? . . . So this made me unfeeling when, as a man, I took men's lives who wanted to take mine, or something that belonged to me or what I believed in at that time, 'La Cosa Nostra.' " * Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno talking about Natale to Gambino crime-family boss Carlo Gambino in the 1960s; the conversation apparently was reconstructed by Natale, a former associate of Bruno: "He has killed without hesitation on my orders before, and has done this without creating a storm with the police.
September 2, 2011 |
RALPH NATALE has always been a talker. In 1994, after doing 15 years in prison on drug-dealing and arson charges, he talked himself into bed with a hot blonde half his age - his daughter's best friend - with empty promises of a better life and a yarn about his 62-year-old wife's ailing health. While he was boss of the Philadelphia mob, the FBI secretly recorded Natale talking about sketchy business deals, insubordinate underlings, a proposed Atlantic City strip club with "the finest broads" and his hatred for government informants who rat on fellow Mafia members.