That Screeching You Hear from Trump & Friends About Mueller & the FBI: Just Another Tactic He Learned from his Mobbed-Up Pals.

Donald Trump & the Mob: A Patsy Among Punks:
By Steve Villano

(Mobsters in the Gambino & Genovese Crime Families Screeched at the FBI & Robert Mueller (Just like Trump & Friends are Doing Now) Right Before Being Indicted & Convicted of Running a Criminal Enterprise. The FBI & Mueller ALWAYS Get Their Man…)

(reprinted from The National Memo, December 17, 2017)

Author Steve Villano’s remarkable new book is Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo And My Brother (Heliotrope Books 2017), the true story of his life as an aide to the late New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo and the sibling of a longtime Gambino crime family associate sent to prison for tax evasion.

The following is drawn from the pages of “Tightrope.”

Before all the signs and rumors that special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments are about to start tumbling down upon Donald Trump and his associates like a ton of bricks, many of us were baffled as to how long the huge target of the criminal investigation involving the Russians could get away with his lunatic, erratic, fanatical behavior, false claims about “fake” news, and histrionic attacks on the FBI and every federal law enforcement and intelligence agency.

 

That masquerade worked until members of Robert Mueller’s FBI investigative team induced Sammy “The Bull” Gravano—a man who murdered 19 people—to “flip” and provide evidence to convict John Gotti. After the Boss of the Gambino crime family was put away for life, Mueller’s men enticed the same Gravano to come out of the safety of witness protection and testify again; this time, he said that “The Chin” was totally lucid, and his insane behavior had all been an act.

 

Gigante, like Gotti, was convicted on Gravano’s testimony, and sentenced to life in prison, where he died. Mueller and his crack law enforcement professionals — expert in busting up criminal enterprises— were thus responsible for ending the reign of two of the most feared mobsters in the United States. Neither the Gambino nor the Genovese crime organizations (members from both of which married into my family) were ever the same again.

 

In Tightrope: Balancing A Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother, I write about the Trump family’s “ incestuous relationship with organized crime,” as the investigative reporter Wayne Barrett described it in his seminal work on the depth of Donald Trump’s lying and corruption, Trump: The Deals & the Downfall, (December, 1991, Harper Collins, NY, NY.)

 

Trump’s ties to the Genovese, Gambino, and Scarfo mob families were of great significance to me, since my brother Michael was convicted of being a bag man for John Gotti, while I worked for Governor Mario M. Cuomo of New York.

“My brother knew many of the mob guys Trump did business with, and how they joked that they could make the hair of the heir of Fred Trump’s construction business stand on end, getting whatever they wanted from him. It’s a lesson that was not lost on Russian mobsters, like Felix Sater, Trump’s partner in his SoHo hotel, and a number of his wealthy, well-connected oligarch friends. Nor was it a lesson ever ignored by Mueller and his top team of law enforcement officials. It’s also a lesson that came straight out of New York’s construction industry, where the Trumps made their money.’

 

“I’ve never dealt with an industry that has more pervasive corruption than the construction industry,” James F. McNamara, director of former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch’s Office of Construction Industry Relations told the New York Times in April 1982.

“When I say corruption I’m using a very broad term. Some of it is labor racketeering. Some of it is political influence. Some of it is bid-rigging; some, extortion,” said McNamara.

In an extensive story detailing the mob’s influence over New York’s construction industry, the Times reported:

“Organized crime figures have infiltrated many important construction unions, from truck drivers to carpenters to blasters. Sixteen of thirty-one union locals in the city that represent laborers, the backbone of any construction job, are described by law enforcement authorities as being under influence of organized crime.”

Many builders and developers throughout the New York metropolitan area, including the Trump Organization, considered it part of the cost of operating in the construction business, and paid whatever extra charges were exacted through organized crime’s control of the cement and drywall industries, or other aspects of the trades.

In Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, Barrett wrote that Donald Trump met with Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno in the apartment of attorney Roy Cohn in 1983. Cohn, hired by Trump ten years earlier, when the Trump Organization was sued by the federal government for racially discriminatory practices in housing, represented Trump as well as Salerno.

 

The meeting between Trump and the Genovese boss occurred only a year after the New York Times had detailed organized crime’s stranglehold on New York’s construction industry, denying Trump any alibi that he did not know with whom he was meeting. Salerno, along with then-Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano, tightly controlled the city’s concrete industry through their company, S & A Concrete. Cohn’s client list— built since he moved to New York from Washington, DC in the mid-1950s, following his work as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) —included celebrities, the Studio 54 club, Salerno, Donald Trump and, later, John Gotti.

 

Barrett, who died the day before Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, documented that Cohn also represented Trump in meetings with another key New York construction industry player during the 1980’s, convicted labor racketeer John Cody, who was another former associate of my brother Michael.

Cody, at the peak of his power in the mid-1970s through 1982, when he was dealing with Cohn on Trump’s behalf, was no small operator. As President of Teamster Local 282, Cody controlled 4,000 drivers of delivery trucks in New York City and Long Island. He had the power to bring to a grinding halt the $2.5 billion construction industry, which employed 70,000 people. He could shut down any construction project in New York, including Trump Tower, by pulling out his drivers. Cody told Barrett: “Donald liked to deal with me through Roy Cohn.”

 

Barrett reported that Trump did, however, have to deal directly with John Cody’s girlfriend, Vernia Hixon, to whom Trump gave a sweetheart deal for several apartments, one floor beneath his own penthouse in Trump Tower.

“Despite his posturing as a New York power player, Trump cowered in front of John Cody, behaving more like a bagman, than a big man. As recently as last October, Cody’s son Michael told Christopher Dickey and Michael Daly of The Daily Beast how Donald gave Cody whatever he wanted: “Trump was a guy who would talk tough, but as soon as you confronted him, he would cry like a little girl. He was all talk, no action.”

 

That’s exactly the opposite of what Trump was telling Billy Bush about how he mistreated women on the now infamous Access Hollywood tape, released the week before Michael Cody’s interview in The Daily Beast and distracting most of the media from Trump’s crime family connections — which went all the way back to his father’s business partnership with Genovese crime family capo Willie Tomasello in the 1950’s. Both Fred Trump and Tomasello were hauled before a Senate committee and questioned about misuse of federal housing funds.

 

John Cody made sure Trump took good care of his special friend Verina Hixon, who now lived directly under Trump’s penthouse. The mobster funneled some $500,000 to Hixon for renovations of her apartments, while he was in jail for racketeering and income tax evasion. When Trump balked at fulfilling some of his promises to Cody’s girlfriend, Barrett reported that “Cody and Hixon cornered him in a nearby bar and got his agreement.”
“Anything for you, John,” was Hixon’s recollection of Trump’s comments to John Cody. “Anything for you.”

 

Trump was so terrified of crossing Cody that at one point, when Cody called Trump from prison to complain about construction problems on Hixon’s apartments, Barrett reported that “Trump greeted him nervously on the phone. “Where are you?” Trump asked. “Downstairs?”

 

“My father walked all over Trump.” Michael Cody told The Daily Beast. “Anytime Trump didn’t do what he was told, my father would shut down his job for the day. No deliveries. 400 guys sittin’ around.”  To John Cody and his colleagues, Donald Trump was just another puffed-up pasty patsy, who did whatever the mob guys asked.

 

Indicted by a Brooklyn grand jury on charges of racketeering, extortion, and tax evasion, John Cody was sentenced to five years in prison at the end of 1982. His sentencing judge, Jacob Mishler, was the same federal judge who would sentence my brother Michael to federal prison six years after Cody’s conviction.

 

With Cody’s ability to wield such vast economic power and choke off Trump’s flow of cash, there was little wonder that Donald Trump asked Roy Cohn to meet with Cody to keep him happy. They were in business with these guys. They had buildings to complete, and fortunes to make. Cooperating with the FBI or federal and state law enforcement officials to clean up the construction trades industry was not in Donald Trump’s self-interest. Making money was.

 

“There are no heroes in this industry in terms of helping law enforcement officers,” Jim McNamara told the Times. Many observers believe that Trump, although he holds the nation’s highest elected office, behaves the same way today toward the Russian mob and its international criminal empire. See no evil, speak no evil—especially if your business is dependent upon the mobsters under investigation.

“There is something eerily familiar about the attacks on the FBI by Trump and his lackeys at Fox News and in Congress. They sound exactly like my brother did, when he was sentenced to prison as a bagman for John Gotti who had never paid income taxes on the illicit money he collected for the crime boss. They sound like my brother’s former Gambino family associates with their bitter attacks on the “Feds” and the “fuckin’ gov’ment.” They all cursed the government and the FBI more intensely as the charges against them became more real, and their prison sentences became a certainty. My brother continued to curse the FBI and the “fuckin’ gov’ment” after he got out of prison–sent there because of solid FBI evidence against him.”

Trump was, and still is, a punk-wannabe among punks: an amoral actor doing business with amoral peers. As John Cody’s son observed, and my brother’s friends demonstrated, they had zero respect for Trump. They knew they could squeeze him for as much as they wanted, since all that mattered to Trump was money. That’s a language understood very well by organized crime—whatever dialect is spoken by the Gambino, Genovese, Scarfo or Russian criminal enterprises. It’s also a way of life that Robert Mueller has developed great expertise—and extraordinary results—in holding accountable to the law.

 

Steve Villano is a journalist, film producer, educator, and consultant who worked as a speechwriter for New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and headed his New York City press office. He now lives in northern California.
Copyright 2017 The National Memo

Donald Trump And The Mob: A Patsy Among Punks

C-SPAN Airs “Tightrope” Reading December 3, 2017, from Coast-to-Coast

So there it was: On C-SPAN’s “Book TV” schedule for this week:
BOOK TV SCHEDULE: FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 27-DECEMBER 3…on there with the same listings with HBO, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and with the new books of Matt Tiabbi and Katy Tur.

 

We were at my son’s home, with my granddaughters looking on, and their father logging on to C-SPAN to see if my book reading was listed in C-SPAN’s upcoming schedule for Sunday, December 3, so my son could DVR it. No sooner did he get it on the screen, when my oldest granddaughter, Age 8, shouts, “There’s Grampy’s name,” and we all froze.

 

We knew it was coming, but seeing it on my son’s big video screen just kind of stopped us all in our tracks. Now we knew that C-SPAN’s airing of my reading of “Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother was real.  No longer was it a speech I delivered that was taped by C-SPAN at the 50th Annual Italian American Studies Association Conference in Washington, DC.  There it was, up on the big screen, in living color.   Now, thanks to C-SPAN’s Book TV, you can watch my reading, wherever  you live in the country.  The times to watch or record are this Sunday, December 3: On the East Coast: 8:10 am and 11:30 am; On the West Coast, 8:30 pm. Tune in to hear me read from the opening chapter of Tightrope.

 

If you like what you hear and want to order a copy of Tightrope: Balancing a Life Between Mario Cuomo & My Brother (Heliotrope Books, NY, NY, 2017) you can do so on the homepage of my website at www.socialvisionproductions.com, or by going directly to amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

 

But, don’t just take my word for it.  Read what The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta had to say about Tightrope:  

“What an amazing book you’ve written. Mario Cuomo would have cheered. As impressive as your writing style, what blew me away was the honesty, your willingness to dig deep and share with readers your love and distain for the mob choice your brother made, your unabashed admiration for Mario Cuomo,and your inner turmoil throughout. To weave all this into a book, plus the stereotyping of Italian-Americans, is quite a feat. Congratulations!” — Ken Auletta

 

 

 

 

Salvator Mundi

Circa 1490-1519, oil on panel, 45.4 cm × 65.6 cm (25.8 in × 17.9 in), private collection. (Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

 

Salvator Mundi

Born on Sunday,

Forgotten Tuesday

On a very slow newsday.

 

 

Moore’s young girls

Made him weep on Wednesday,

Ryan’s bloodsuckers sold him out on Thursday.

 

 

Salvator Mundi,

Crucified Friday,

Lies & hypocrisy hammered him away.

 

 

Salvator Mundi,

Saturday’s dump,

Rose from the dead,

Saving us from Trump.

 

 

 

 

Kleptocrats & Pedophiles

 

Kleptocrats & Pedophiles,

Dazzle us with lies and smiles.

Hands in pockets, mostly ours,

Hands on genitals of fragile flowers.

 

 

Kleptocrats & Pedophiles

Steal from all, ‘specially chiles–

Take our money, take their honey,

Turn victims bright days dark, not sunny.

 

 

Kleptocrats & Pedophiles

Driven by everything that’s vile.

Rape the public; rape our young–

God spit on you, mankind’s dung.

 

Kleptocrats & Pedophiles,

Robbing families all the while–

Thoughts and prayers of pigs and plunder,

Hasten the time they’re six-feet under.

 

90th Anniversary of Sacco & Vanzetti’s Execution Reminds us that Hate, Xenophobia Kill Human Beings

 


https://goo.gl/images/01X7

On the eve of the 90th Anniversary of the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti, Donald Trump delivered the kind of racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, hateful speech that resulted in two Italian immigrants being sent to the electric chair — not because the evidence against them was clear, but because their ethnicity was.

 

Today marks the 90th Anniversary of this specific consequence of killing people because they are different, and inciting a mob to murder. Donald Trump comes by his xenophobia and his hatred of immigrants naturally. His father, Fred Trump was arrested in Queens, NY., 90 years ago this past May, at a KKK Rally which was anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic and anti-black. Three months after Fred Trump was arrested at the KKK Rally, Sacco & Vanzetti were electrocuted.

 

History teaches us that the unjust execution of Sacco & Vanzetti is by no means the first, nor the most catastrophic example of the consequences of the hatred of “the other”, as the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis reminds us. It is not even the most egregious example of the hateful, fatal consequences of xenophobia concerning Italians.

 

That event happened 36 years earlier, in 1891, in New Orleans, LA, when 11 innocent Italian Immigrants — acquitted by a jury in a dramatic murder case — were ripped from a jail by a maniacal mob of 20,000 White Nationalists (the actual name of the group was the White Nationalists League), shot and lynched in the single largest mass lynching in American History. The White Nationalist League was incited to riot by the elected Mayor of New Orleans, Mayor Shakespeare — much like Donald Trump was inciting 20,000 White Supremacists in Arizona last night to take violent action against the press, and others.

 

The White Nationalist League, which took credit for the lynchings of the 11 innocent Italian immigrants, was also responsible for erecting the pro-segregationist, pro-Confederacy statues throughout New Orleans, which the current Mayor has wisely decided to take down. Trump’s defense of those symbols of racial oppression, and his incitement of modern-day White Nationalists to riot again last night in Phoenix, are not part of some low-rated reality show, but have real, life-threatening consequences.

 

Even though Google didn’t see fit to remember Sacco & Vanzetti on the 90th Anniversary of their death, we can. And while we’re at it, we can honor the memories of the 11 innocent Italian immigrants murdered by the White Nationalists of their time, in New Orleans, in 1891.

 

The names of those innocents, who came to America to seek a better life for their families, are: Pietro Monastero, Joseph Macheca, Antonio Marchesi, Antonio Scaffidi, Emmanuele Polizzi, Antonio Bagnetto, James Caruso, Rocco Geraci, Frank Romero, Loretto Comitz and Charles Traina. They are not as well known as Sacco & Vanzetti, but they are the victims of one of the biggest hate crimes committed by White Nationalists in American history, 20,000 of whom were incited to riot & murder by a high-ranking elected official.   Twenty thousand White Nationalists brought to a murdering frenzy by a demagogue preaching hate & violence against others.

 

Remember that on this 90th Anniversary of the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti, and as we reflect upon the largest mass lynching in American history, carried out by an inflamed mob of 20,000 people against innocent Italian immigrants whose only crime, was being different.

The President & The Puttana

 

Vito Genovese’s puttana came on to me during my senior year of high school, while the mob boss was still alive.

 

It was Springtime, 1967, and my mother and I arrived at my Aunt Josephine’s small Woodside, Queens, apartment when it happened. Genovese’s girlfriend, a fiftyish French woman named Charlotte, batted her long lashes at me, spoke a few words in her sexy French accent and I was smitten. She was visiting my mother’s oldest sister, having accompanied our cousin, Jean Eboli, married to the brother of Tommy Eboli, who would—in just two years—succeed Don Vito as head of the Genovese Crime Family. I studied French for four years in high school, and Vito’s sultry puttana was verbally seducing me right before my mother’s incredulous eyes.

 

I was polite and respectful, of course. My Aunt Josephine, a brilliant and scheming peasant woman, born in Italy in 1899, who admired money and was mobster neutral, had taught us how to act around these folks. Having cooked for members of both the Genovese and Gambino crime organizations, who married into our own family, Aunt Josephine’s kitchen was a little like Gertrude Stein’s salon for street toughs who loved superb tomato sauce, the way Stein’s patron’s loved good art. The lesson from Aunt Josephine was clear: the host always showed respect, even if your guest was a puttana.

 

It’s too bad Donald Trump didn’t have an Aunt Josephine to teach him life’s lessons. If he did, he might have known how to act toward the reputed puttana of convicted racketeer, mobster and NY Teamster Local Boss John Cody. Donald’s dealings with Vernia Hixon, who bought several of the best apartments in Trump Tower in 1982, revealed Trump’s inherent “pussyness” in the face of real power.

 

“Trump was a guy who would talk tough, but as soon as you confronted him, he would cry like a little girl,” Cody’s son, Michael, told The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey and Michael Daly in an October 13, 2016, article entitled “The Swiss Connection: The Party Girl Who Brought Trump to His Knees.   “He was all talk, no action.”

 

Cody was not just any casual observer. His father controlled the construction trades industry throughout the New York Metropolitan Area for a number of key years in the 1970’s and ‘80s, as head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 282.   No trucks carrying any building materials, especially cement, could move to a construction site without Cody’s approval. The flow of cement was controlled by the S & A Concrete Company, a mob-front business co-owned by the Gambino & Genovese Crime families. If building developers didn’t pay what Cody or S & A Concrete demanded, their jobs—like Trump Tower—could be halted.

 

“My father walked all over Trump.” Michael Cody told The Daily Beast. “ Anytime Trump didn’t do what he was told, my father would shut down his job for the day. No deliveries. 400 guys sittin’ around.” To John Cody and his colleagues, Donald Trump was just another puffed-up, pasty patsy.

 

One of the things Cody told Trump was to make sure he took very good care of his special friend Verina Hixon, who purchased three prime units in Trump Tower, just beneath Trump’s Penthouse. Hixon’s units, included the only swimming pool in the entire Trump Tower complex. The strikingly-beautiful, Austrian-born divorcee, according to Wayne Barrett, in Trump: The Art of the Deal, “had no visible income…and by the end of 1982 had signed contracts to purchase the units for a total cost of around $10 million.”

 

Cody made sure Trump took good care of Hixon, even funneling some $500,000 to her for renovations on her apartments while he was in jail for racketeering and income tax evasion. When Trump balked at fulfilling some of his promises to Hixon, according to Barrett “Cody & Hixon cornered him in a nearby bar and got his agreement. “Anything for you, John, “ was Hixon’s recollection of Trump’s cowering comment.

 

Trump was so terrified of crossing Cody that at one point, when Cody called Trump from prison to complain about construction problems on Hixon’s apartments, Barrett reported that “Trump greeted him nervously on the phone. ‘Where are you? Trump asked. Downstairs?”

 

“Trump ended conversations with my father by saying, “Whatever you say, John,” Michael Cody told The Daily Beast.

 

However, as soon is Cody was stripped of his union leadership and his jail term dragged on, Trump got brave. He sued Hixson for $250,000 on the apartments’ alterations, but Cody’s tough, no-bullshit consort was not so easily bullied. According to Barrett, she counter-sued The Donald for $20 million, and her attorneys threatened to bring in the Attorney-General to look into the possibility of Trump paying himself ‘kickbacks.’

 

Trump quickly caved and Cody’s reputed puttana with the seductive accent stayed in her tower on Fifth Avenue through the end of the decade, until her money finally ran out. Perhaps Aunt Josephine could have ended things more amicably for everyone over a good meal in her kitchen, but considering the two parties involved, it’s unlikely.

 

Hixson, now in her early 70’s and living in Europe, refers to Trump as “that awful man,” and Trump who thinks a fine meal is a Trump Tower taco, is busy bending over for mobsters from Russia. Whatever they want, Vlad. Anything.

 

 

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