Joe Bruno on the Mob – Is the Bonanno Crime Family Rudderless?
February 19, 2012
The LAW is gloating that the Bonanno crime family is basically a non-entity, or maybe even extinct, but I’m not so sure.
According to Joseph Ponzi, chief investigator for the Brooklyn DA’s office, the recent arrest of acting Bonanno boss Vincent “Vinny TV” Badalamenti was the “last man standing” in the Bonanno hierarchy, and that the Bonanno’s presently have no one in charge. Badalamenti was arrested with the help of mob rat Hector “Junior” Pagan, who is the ex-husband of “Mob Wives” reality star Renee Graziano. Pagan also wore a wire while speaking to his ex-father-in-law Anthony Graziano, which resulted in Graziano’s arrest.
The FBI is also gloating about the recent arrests of the top Bonannos. “They keep setting ’em up, and we keep knocking ’em down,” said Seamus McElearney, the FBI , the leader of the FBI squad assigned to the Bonanno crime family.
If the FBI and New York City law enforcement has learned one thing in the past 80 years or so of chasing the mob, it should be that as soon as one mob boss goes down, by either getting whacked or put into prison, another mob boss rises from the ashes, or gets “a bump up” to take their place. So it surprises me how smug both the Brooklyn DA and the FBI are with their statements about the demise of the Bonannos.
If the law enforcement groups really feel they have their Bonanno problem licked, I’m sure there are a few smiling faces in the Bonanno ranks, hoping the law has let their guard down, so that the mob can continue with business as usual.
Stay tuned for further developments.
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By BRAD HAMILTON
Last Updated: 12:21 PM, February 12, 2012
Posted: 10:36 PM, February 11, 2012
It started “The Godfather.” It ended “Jersey Shore.” Last week, the Bonanno crime organization — one of the “Five Families” of New York lore — became a parody of itself, shot down not on the tollway but with leopard print and mascara.
There’s Renee Graziano in court, crying as she explains how her husband, Hector Pagan, flipped for the DEA, wearing a wire to nab her father, Anthony “TG” Graziano, consigliere to the Bonannos.
Then there’s Renee on VH1’s show, “Mob Wives,” undergoing full-body plastic surgery that leaves her sliced up like prosciutto. She discusses the family business in such detail that her father stopped talking to her.
It’s hard to tell who wounded the family more — the rat or the reality star.
In a recent episode, the oldest of the “Mob Wives,” Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, turned to Pagan and summed it up. “We need some new guys . . . some real men.”
An epidemic of snitching and a slew of arrests has gutted this once-robust family, started by original commission member Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonanno.
Joseph Ponzi, chief investigator for the Brooklyn DA’s office, says the recent take-down of acting boss Vincent “Vinny TV” Badalamenti — a relatively unknown bagel-store owner from Bensonhurst whom Ponzi called “the last man standing” — has left the family rudderless.
There’s no clear boss, street boss or consigliere. The in-house counsel job became vacant on Jan. 27, when Anthony Graziano, busted with Badalamenti and other senior leaders, was charged with racketeering and extortion, thanks to Pagan’s wire.
“They keep setting ’em up, and we keep knocking ’em down,” said Seamus McElearney, the FBI supervisor whose squad investigates the Bonannos and has been hammering them and the Colombos with equal vigor.
The feds have secured a number of key Bonanno defections, including that of Joseph “Big Joe” Massino, the only New York crime-family leader ever to rat out his own people. Massino began cooperating in 2004, and over the last eight years his defection has been exploited to maximum advantage, bringing down virtually the entire upper management.
The biggest to fall was the family’s toughest tough guy, ex-boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, and one of the few not to flip. He nearly drew the death penalty in June, thanks to Massino having secretly recorded the two of them blabbing behind bars, where Basciano not only copped to killing an associate but discussed in detail how and why the hit went down. Massino loosened up Basciano, his successor as family head, with a grim summary of the state of affairs.