Joe Bruno on the Mob – Lynda Milito – Part 3
Just to make it legal, on November 23, 1966, Louie and Lynda tied the knot at City Hall. Since they came from different religions and from families with different perspectives on integrity, there was no big wedding in the couple’s plans; no immediate honeymoon either. Instead of a honeymoon, Louie, being the sentimental slob that he was, went hunting with his pals in the woods of Pennsylvania; Lynda bit her tongue and went back to work.
A few days before their wedding, Louie got a phone call from his lawyer, Charlie LoBianco. It seemed that some poor soul was shot in a bar. A woman witness went through a mugshot book at a local precinct, and pointed to Louie’s picture; saying he was the shooter. This was very puzzling to Lynda, since as far as she knew, Louie was a small-time burglar, and she wondered why a small-timer would have his picture in a police precinct mug book.
In her book, Mafia Wife, Lynda explained the situation.
“When Louie got off the phone with his lawyer he told me that some lady had fingered him for something he didn’t do,” Lynda said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Louie told his wife. “Charlie’s taking care of it. He’s putting a squash on the deal.”
Lynda though “squash” was something you cooked with marinara sauce.
“What’s a squash?” she said.
“That’s when someone changes their mind,” he said.
That didn’t sound Kosher to the Jewish girl from Coney Island.
“Well, did you do it?” she asked Louie.
“I didn’t do nothing,” Louie said. “She got me mixed up with someone else.”
A couple of days later, Lynda got a call from attorney LoBianco.
“Have Louie call me,” LoBianco said. “The witness changed her mind.”
Louie was never arrested, and the incident was never discussed again. Still, it got Lynda thinking that maybe Louie Milito was more involved in the mob and mob business than she ever dreamed, or could possibly stomach.
Another of Louie’s quirks bothered Lynda enormously. Louie was ostensible an animal lover (he adored dogs, and cats not so much), so why, when he went hunting with the boys, did he get his jollies killing innocent deer? To Lynda’s way of thinking, those two human characteristics just don’t jive. If Louie could snuff out the life of Bambi, what else was he capable of doing?
In August of 1967, Lynda reached the point of no return: she got pregnant. Louie was jubilant at the thought of having a son, or even a daughter, but that didn’t mean he had softened much. He rudely told Lynda, “You want the money for that baby to be born in a hospital; you have to come to work and watch-out for me for the phones.”
“But what if I get caught?” she said.
“Lynda! Stop putting the jinx on everything,” he said. “It won’t happen. And if it does, you’ll have the baby in prison.”
On April 10, 1968, the Militos had a daughter, Deena. Soon after, they moved into a larger apartment on East 92nd Street in Flatbush.
Louie was giddy with pride over his newborn daughter.
“He used to call her Deeney-weenie,” Lynda said. “Louie used to come into Deena’s bedroom, pick up a hairbrush as if it were a microphone, and sing anything by Elvis Presley to Deena. He would ask me if he could sing like Elvis, would I love him more.”
In 1970, Lynda found herself pregnant again, which was not a good thing, since by this time, Louie had made it a habit of beating her.
Then there was the problem of where the Milito family should live. Lynda wanted Louie to buy a house in Station Island, where they could have their own garage (instead of renting one), and where their daughter and future children could romp in their own backyard. Louie put the kibosh on that.
He screamed at her, “Lynda, say I’m pinched again; what if I have to go away? I’m not putting my name on no papers for a house. We don’t need a house yet.”
Due to his passion for hunting, Louie bought a big piece of property in the mountains of Pennsylvania. On a big hill, he placed a mobile home. To add to Lynda’s angst, Louie spent tons of money in materials and manpower to building a nine-hundred-foot shale road from the main road to his mobile home. This was money, Linda felt, would be better spent putting as a down payment on a nice Staten Island house. Lynda let Louie know her feelings about the situation in no uncertain terms, and on a regular basis.
This did not please Louie Milito too much.
One day, Linda found papers in the bedroom dresser drawer that indicated Louie was investing in the stock market without Lynda’s knowledge.
“I confronted him, and said he had some nerve investing in the stock market when we could use that money for a house,” Lynda said.
Louie’s eyes bulged with rage. “That’s none of your business what I do with my money.”
Louie pushed Lynda against the wall; her feet were off the floor and his hands were around her neck.
“See your neck!” he screamed. “I could snap it in a second!”
Louie released his grip and stormed out of the house. Lynda, now frantic, called her mother and told her what had just transpired. Lynda said she wanted to leave Louie and move back with her parents.
Mom Lustig, true to form, nixed the idea.
”You have a baby already, and one on the way and now you come to me with your problems?” Mom said. “You stay with your husband. There’s no room here; we don’t want no babies here. You made your bed, so now you can lie in it.”
When Louie came home, Lynda told him she wanted a divorce.
“The only divorce you’ll get is when I put you in a box,” Louie told her. “Then I’ll call your father and say you ran away with another man.”
Knowing Louie’s way of thinking, an abortion was out of the question, so Lynda decided to force a miscarriage. She lifted heavy furniture all day long, and even did two-handed overhead thrusts with the bulky vacuum cleaner. When Louie came home that night, he found his wife on the floor in the bathroom with her head in the bowl. There was a mixture of blood and water all over the bathroom floor.
Louie rushed Lynda to Maimonides Hospital, where the baby was born premature, but died a few minutes later. It was a girl.
For a while Louie was nice to Lynda. He even agreed to buy her a nice, big house in Staten Island: at 552 Arlene Street. However, Louie had an ulterior motive for buying the house; he needed a large room to conduct meetings of his crew, which included Sammy “The Bull” Gravano.
In 1973, the Militos had a son. They, of course, named him Louie.
Lynda wanted to name her son Robert. Her father was Louie; his father was Louie. As far as Lynda was concerned, there was enough Louies in her world. She wanted the name Robert for her son, but Louie wanted Louie, and he got Louie.
Also, in 1973, a major crisis occurred in Louie Milito. The City of New York and the New York Telephone company got smart. They installed new chrome cover-plates over the boxes in pay phones throughout the city.
Louie was stymied.
He brought one of the new chrome cover-plates home, and spent months trying to figure a way to open the locks. When the old lock-picks didn’t work, Louie created new picks; they didn’t work either. Louie was still making money with his car-title scam, but losing the pay-phone gigs put a big dent in his wallet.
As a result, Louie Milito took up shylocking to make up the difference, and he did quite well in the illegal-loan business.