View Full Version : The Mob Can Be VERY Useful At Times...

10-30-2007, 11:27 AM
Sure they are usually known for racketeering, loan sharking, murder, drug and gun-running, prostitution, assassination at small Italian eateries in The Bronx, etc. (I just watched The Godfather this weekend for the first time in my life), but here is something that came out in the news today about something that happened over 40 years ago, and I am glad it happened:

Mafia girlfriend says the FBI used mob muscle to crack 1964 civil rights case
The Associated Press
Published: October 30, 2007

NEW YORK: The FBI used mob muscle to solve the 1964 disappearance of three civil rights volunteers in Mississippi, a gangster's ex-girlfriend testified, becoming the first witness to repeat in open court a story that has been underworld lore for years.

Linda Schiro said that her boyfriend, Mafia tough guy Gregory Scarpa Sr., was recruited by the FBI to help find the volunteers' bodies. She said Scarpa later told her he put a gun in a Ku Klux Klansman's mouth and forced him to reveal the whereabouts of the victims.

The FBI has never acknowledged that Scarpa, nicknamed "The Grim Reaper," was involved in the case. The bureau did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

Schiro took the stand as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of former FBI agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, who is charged in state court with four counts of murder in what authorities have called one of the worst law enforcement corruption cases in U.S. history.

Prosecutors say Scarpa plied DeVecchio with cash, jewelry, liquor and prostitutes in exchange for confidential information on suspected informants and rivals in the late 1980s and early '90s. Scarpa died behind bars in 1994.

The notion that Scarpa strong-armed a Klan member into giving up information about one of the most notorious crimes of the civil rights era has been talked about in mob circles for years.

It supposedly happened during the search for civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who were beaten and shot by a gang of white supremacist Klansmen and buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The case was famously dramatized in the movie "Mississippi Burning."

Investigators struggled for answers in the early days of the case, stymied by stonewalling Klan members.

In 1994, the New York Daily News, citing unidentified federal law enforcement officials, reported that a frustrated J. Edgar Hoover turned to Scarpa to extract information. The Daily News said the New York mobster terrorized an appliance salesman and Klansman already under suspicion in the case and got him to reveal the location of the bodies.

Schiro testified Monday that she and Scarpa traveled to Mississippi in 1964 after he was recruited by the FBI. She said they walked into the hotel where the FBI had gathered during the investigation, and the gangster winked at a group of agents. She said an agent later showed up in their room and handed Scarpa a gun.

She said Scarpa helped find the volunteers' bodies by "putting a gun in the guy's mouth and threatening him." She said an unidentified agent later returned to the room, gave Scarpa a wad of cash, and took back the weapon.

The killings galvanized the struggle for equality in the South and helped bring about passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Seven people were convicted at the time, but none served more than six years.

Mississippi later reopened the case, winning a manslaughter conviction against former Klansmen and part-time preacher Edgar Ray Killen two years ago. He is serving a 60-year prison sentence.

Schiro's remarks about the Mississippi episode were only a brief part of her full day of testimony.

Schiro, 62, started dating Scarpa at age 17 after meeting him in a bar. She said she had been around mobsters most of her life, so his boasts that he had been involved in 20 gangland murders did not frighten her.

"I was impressed," she said.

She said she was more surprised when the Colombo crime family captain told her about his ties to the FBI. "I said, 'What do you mean, you're a rat?'" she recalled. "And he said, 'No, I just work for them.'"

DeVecchio became the informant's "handler" in 1978, and Schiro said she was allowed to sit in on weekly meetings at the couple's apartment. She said that when Scarpa offered stolen jewelry to the agent, he took it and put it in his pocket.

Schiro testified that in the fall of 1984 she overheard DeVecchio warn Scarpa that the girlfriend of another Colombo capo was a potential "rat," or informant.

"You know you have to take care of this?" DeVecchio said, according to Schiro.

"I'll take care of it," Scarpa said.

The girlfriend was gunned down at a mob social club a few days later.

Defense attorneys have sought to portray Schiro who testified that prosecutors were paying her $2,200 a month for living expenses as an opportunist who framed DeVecchio at the behest of overzealous prosecutors.

They have also accused her trying to improve her chances for a tell-all book deal about Scarpa.


Nitro Express
10-30-2007, 07:54 PM
When I lived in Syracuse, New York the local Catholic church had been burgarized and some expensive artwork and furniture was stollen. The priest notified the local police and no progress was being made. He then notified the local underboss; everything was returned within three hours of notifying the mob.

Organized crime is ran by one boss. Beurocracy is minimal. They aren't bound by lots of red tape procecdures. Their street smarts and connections allow them to accomplish what the police never could.

Nitro Express
10-30-2007, 08:00 PM
My oldest brother was friends with Francis Ford Copela and met him through a classmate he had at Stanford's film production school.

I love the Goddfather movies but Copela was reluctant to make the other two but did a great job. Making movies is a lot of work and dealing with the studios isn't fun and with the mass marketing of products in movies today, it's gotten even worse.

Copela happily makes wine now in Northern California and my brother said he never liked dealing with the Hollywood types in LA. George Lucas is the same kind of character.

10-30-2007, 09:04 PM
It's funny you bring up the Godfather because I was just reading the other night how whilst they were making the film they were getting a ton of shit from Italian American politicians and lobby groups trying to stop it being made saying it was anti Italian.

The studio set up a meeting with the head of the Colombo family and an agreement was ironed out whereby no mention of the word Mafia or Cosa Nostra was made in the film and that mob guys would be used as extras and stagehands.

All the objections from politicians and everyone else immediately stopped...



10-30-2007, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by Nitro Express

I love the Goddfather movies but Copela was reluctant to make the other two but did a great job.

I think the 2nd is just as good as the first.

Everyone bitches about the third but its a good movie its just that the other two were impossible to follow.

10-30-2007, 09:11 PM
Originally posted by Seshmeister
I think the 2nd is just as good as the first.

Everyone bitches about the third but its a good movie its just that the other two were impossible to follow.

NAILED IT! 5-ER from juice! :killer:

10-30-2007, 09:14 PM
Originally posted by Seshmeister
I think the 2nd is just as good as the first.

Everyone bitches about the third but its a good movie its just that the other two were impossible to follow. agree as well!!:D

10-30-2007, 10:38 PM
Originally posted by Seshmeister
I think the 2nd is just as good as the first.

Everyone bitches about the third but its a good movie its just that the other two were impossible to follow.

Part II is without a doubt a much better made movie. Coppola said he had the freedom and less hassle from the studio to do it, unlike his many comments in regards to when he made the first movie.

I agree with you regarding Part III, I think the premise was bold and the right way to attempt to finish the saga - Michael trying to find redemption for himself and family, whilst at the same time caught up in the whirlwind of warring families and the Vatican financial scandals in the 70s and early 80s, and the "murder" of the Pope. However, I do think that there were certain things with Part III that really weighed the movie down such as Sofia Coppola's annoying character and some scenes written in the script all seemed...rushed, like Puzo and Coppola didn't think things over to work out story alternatives, Coppola even acknowledges that somewhere in the commentary of the film saying they were never given further time by the studio to work on things more.

Some of the complaints I have with Part III are:

(1) Sofia Coppola (already mentioned) I get mixed feelings about her. For the most part I find her character fairly annoying with the love story with Vincent, but Coppola said his first choice was Winona Ryder, so I don't know what was going through his head then. Maybe Sofia wasn't too bad afterall.

(2) Tom Hagen should've at least been given a mention for us to know what happened to him. Coppola said he couldn't obtain Duvall again for the role.

(3) Joey Zasa (modelled on John Gotti) comes across too faggy compared to the likes of previous opponents like Sollozzo and Hyman Roth.

(4) For some reason I feel that Neri should've been killed in this one. Kinda makes up for Fredo. I just didn't like to see him live by the end of it.

One thing that also intrigues me was that Mario Puzo said before he died that he would love to make a Part IV with having a two-story style similar to that of Part II - with Vincent (Andy Garcia) continuing on as head of family and ultimately leading to his downfall, whilst flashing back with the rise of the Corleones in the 1920s and 30s and when Sonny (his illegitimate father) becomes a murderer.

10-31-2007, 09:31 AM
The groovy thing about the first one is that it relies heavily on 'tradition' and 'family'.

Despite the 'family business', the Mafia has a strict code of respect. They value family above anything else.

The wedding scene at the beginning was a brilliantly done depiction of Italian tradition, and was beautifully photographed.

I have always said there are three entities in this world where you can ask for assistance:

1. Roman Catholic Church - They may be good at providing solace and comfort when you are having problems in life, or on an international level, brokering peace agreements between countries or large groups of people, but that is about it.

2. The legal government and it's law enforcement entities - This is the first point of contact usually for just about everything. Need help with laws or criminals? There ya go. But yes, beaurocratic red tape, and special interests, as well as inherent corruption and a lot of dick sucking and butt-fucking young boys by Republicans mean you can only get so much help out of politicians.

3. The Mafia - You need help now? You willing to do a favor to Funny Tony and The Boys someday on down the line? You can have your problems solved TODAY!

And yes, you can get your illegal help in areas like gambling, drugs , prostitution, etc., though these days the Mafia is more in the background of such operations, and dealing with your front line hookers, bookies and drug-dealers will not give you any notion of who the major players are in those operations.

The CIA and FBI will use the Mob to accomplish stuff that they legally cannot do.

When I read about the Grim Reaper sticking a pistol in the KKK guy's mouth, I laughed like fucking hell!

Do NOT fuck with the Mafia.

They want something from you, if you refuse their 'offer you cannot refuse', then you will be refusing to live a long and happy life lol.

They are the unofficial enforcers for the 'official' government.

And that story about the stuff stolen from the Catholic Church is a riot!

They do take their religious beliefs VERY seriously.

You fuck with the Catholic Church like that, and the Mob finds out, you are going to be in a world of fucking shit!


Oh and one other thing....the part of The Godfather about the movie producer and the horse's head?

Stories have floated around Hollywood for years that producer Harry "King" Cohn was pressured by the Mob to give a part in the movie "From Here To Eternity" to Frank Sinatra. There was no "horse head" involved, but Harry was dead set against hiring Sinatra.

One story says Sinatra got the part because he was willing to do the picture for only $8,000, which was less than 1/10th the salary he got for his previous picture.

But the other story, which refused to go away, was that the Mob pressured him into hiring Sinatra, and he caved in.

Of course it resurrected Sinatra's career (he was considered washed up at that point) and made him a superstar.

I must admit...when I heard that producer character scream after discovering the horse's head in his bed, I laughed like a motherfucker!

Nobody, but NOBODY fucks with Don Corleone!


10-31-2007, 06:29 PM
As far as I know, the Sinatra story is essentially true. I don't fully remember the details of it, but I do recall that some mob men close to Sinatra had confronted producer Harry Cohn in person and forced him to give Sinatra the part. Author Anthony Summers covers this in a recent book on Sinatra, and I think the main sources quoted were witness/es who were said to be there when it happened. Cohn was modelled on the character Jack Woltz who in real life had a passion for thoroughbred horses, even though the horse's head was only Puzo's fiction.

Hardrock69, if you've only just gotten into The Godather movies then you really should read the novel. It's very closely related to the movie right down to the smallest of details which are noticeable.

10-31-2007, 09:29 PM
I have heard from many people, and I would think this even if I had not, that the book would kick the movie's ass.

9 times out of 10, the book is superior to a movie, so someday I will check it out.

I dig Sinatra as a great interpreter of songs, and a decent (but not great) actor.

10-31-2007, 10:28 PM
It's a great book and was a bestseller before the film was made.

Puzo is a really good writer and The Sicillian and Omerta are also great.