. . . .the old familiar faces. . .
Of course they may not be so familiar if you’re working for “The Newspaper of Record”
“There are certain rules — explicit rules — that all made members of the mob are meant to follow: No beards. No sleeping with another gangster’s wife. No cooperation with the government in accordance with “omertà,” the Mafia code of silence.”
There’s omertà at the NYT too.
Like the grave.
“But then there are those customs that are so engrained as part of the mob way that they never need to actually be spoken. High among them — perhaps right at the top — is the ban on being gay.”
Yeah, we remember The Sopranos.
“So when Robert Mormando, a confessed Gambino family gunman, appeared on Monday for a hearing on his sentence for his role in the shooting of a Queens bagel store owner in 2003, he seemed to indicate that La Cosa Nostra’s laws may sometimes be honored less while being practiced than they are while being breached. Mr. Mormando, 44, not only confessed to acting as a government informer, but he also took the extra — and, it should be said, perilous — step of outing himself in court.
The unusual admission was made in a 10th-floor courtroom of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, though it was clearly more an act of self-interest than one of self-expression. He had already pleaded guilty to taking part in the shooting of the bagel store owner, Angelo Mugnolo, and was trying to obtain a lower sentence by persuading Judge Jack B. Weinstein that his cooperation was riskier than most, since he had lived for many years as a closeted homosexual in the mob.”
Oh really? As I remember it (and believe me I remember it) in the waning days of mob rule of the bars (ie. post-Stonewall, when the big money was moving elsewhere) the crime families would put their “Funny Uncles” in charge of their remaining watering holes — like my fave Tamburlaine . You could always spot the Goombah, and the sharply dressed little boytoy he invariabley had in tow.
Which is why, David Chase was wildly overstating the case in his series — and Robert Mormando in “real life.”
““He didn’t want to make an announcement to the world,” said one person with knowledge of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the dangers facing Mr. Mormando. “He wanted the judge to know what risks he took — why he wasn’t just your average cooperator, someone who had simply broken the code.”
Mr. Mormando’s hearing was, in fact, cloaked in secrecy, listed on the daily court calendar under the name “John Doe.” The documents in his case are under seal and even Pacer, the online federal court archive, has been scrubbed clean of anything related to the matter.
“He’s in an absolute state of fright,” said the person with knowledge of the case. “You have to understand that his partner is totally freaking out. His partner has no connection to any of this. You can just imagine how fraught the whole thing is.”
“A divorced father of two, Mr. Mormando was born and raised in Ozone Park, a neighborhood in southern Queens long associated with John J. Gotti, the former (now deceased) Gambino family don. “At 16 or 17, he befriended them all,” said the knowledgeable person. “They made him feel important. He knows them all. They accepted him into their midst.”
Complicating matters is that Mr. Mormando had a close personal friendship with Richard G. Gotti, Mr. Gotti’s nephew, who is currently in prison on a federal racketeering charge. While there is no suggestion that the friendship was anything more than that, the mere fact that an avowed gay man was once “inseparable” from a Gotti is “an intolerable stain on their name,” said the person who has knowledge of the case.”
(All together now) OH PRUNELLA!!!!!
The NYT would have done well to consult this website for information about the subject as a whole and the Carlo Gambino and
Vito Genovese crime families in particular. Plus the fact that THIS Sopranos actor
had, as the saying goes “intimate knowledge” of the world he portrayed.
Looking a little further, they might have been drawn to this sidebar as it was tangential to THIS —
“Littlejohn” was quite a character. He hung around G.A.A all the time, but never showed up for our “zaps” (ie. demonstrations) As the Firehouse was drawing business away from the few Mafia-run clubs left, like Embers’ little slime pit, he was keeping tabs. Naturally he was expected to be paid. So when he wasn’t recompensated to his satisfaction he hit the bank where the money was dropped every week.
This didn’t make it into the movie — though it was otherwise teriffic and featured Al Pacino at his very best.
(Back to the clueless NYT)
“Indeed, that type of “stain” has led to acts of violence in the past. In 1992, for instance, John D’Amato, a former boss of the DeCavalcante crime family, was murdered by an underling when, after an argument, his girlfriend told his cronies he was gay. “Nobody’s going to respect us if we have a gay homosexual boss sitting down discussing La Cosa Nostra business,” the gunman, Anthony Capo, testified at a murder trial in 2003.
There are, nonetheless, certain gay men who prospered in proximity to the mob — perhaps most notably the lawyer Roy Cohn, who represented dons like Anthony Salerno and Carmine Galante. The mob was also known for running gay bars and night clubs, including the Stonewall Inn, at a time when they were still considered part of the underworld.”
Love the “considered.”
Psychologically, of course, the Mafia is built upon a traditional view of manhood, one it shares with the military, wherein “gayness” is considered not only unconventional, but also weak. “The mob is all about men respecting men,” said Gerald L. Shargel, who was John J. Gotti’s lawyer. “That obviously introduces a high level of machismo.”
The case of Mr. D’Amato, in particular, was such a breach of protocol that “The Sopranos” stole his story, introducing a character named Vito Spatafore who was killed after two of his fellow gangsters saw him at a gay bar. Joseph R. Gannascoli, who played the role on TV, suggested in an interview on Tuesday that the Mafia and homosexuality were not an easy mix.
“Having never been gay or a mobster, I can still tell you that it’s got to be hard,” he said, “almost like a kind of triple life.
“Still, you’d figure even mobsters would be getting with the times. My feeling is it doesn’t really matter if they’re gay. So long as they earn.”
Wow, that’s just what Tony Soprano said!
Oh Fugettaboutit. “Family Values” always win out in the end, don’t they. Even with blood all over them.
Hey, I ordered some onion rings for the table.