The Mob and Me: Wiseguys and the Witness Protection Program

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This revealing first-person narrative, by one of the founders of the Witness Protection Program and a personal protector to more than five hundred informants, offers an eye-opening, dead-on authentic perspective on the safeguard institution. How did law enforcement’s frustration with the criminal underworld and a serpentine series of hit-or-miss rules and mistakes give rise to one of the most significant and endlessly fascinating government-run programs of the 20th century?

In 1967, U.S. Marshal John Partington was given the task of overseeing the protection of the wife and young daughter of renowned mobster Joe “The Animal” Barboza, now an informant with a bounty on his head. It wasn’t Partington’s first time guarding underworld witnesses. But this time was different. It was at the behest of Senator Bobby Kennedy that Partington became the architect of a new high- threat program to get the bad guys to testify against the worse guys. Lifelong protection in exchange for the conviction of the upper echelon of organized crime would require a permanent identity change for every member of the witness’s family, a battery of psychological tests for re-assimilation, and a total, devastating obliteration of all ties with the past. With no blueprint for success, it created a logistical nightmare for Partington. He would have to make up the rules as he went along, and he did so without the luxury of knowing whom he could really trust at any given time. And so, the Witness Protection Program was born.

The account John Partington tells of the next thirty years of his life is a never-before-seen portrait of members of the underworld and law enforcement—from Joe Valachi, the first mobster to violate the “omerta,” the sacrosanct code of silence, to high-profile informant and NYPD narcotics detective Bob Leuci, immortalized in Prince of the City. He reveals the details of the protection provided such significant figures as Watergate players to Howard Hunt and John and Maureen Dean. Ultimately, Partington delivers the unvarnished truth of the Program, from the heavily-shielded delivery of witnesses to trial, to countless death threats, to managing an ever- rotating crew of U.S. Marshals, to the step-by-step procedure of reinventing his sometimes dangerous, sometimes terrified charges and their families as uncomplicated suburbanites. These would be the guarded new neighbors just across the street bearing secret histories—uncomfortable actors in a play that would run for the rest of their lives.

Lifting a cloak of confidentiality and controversy, The Mob and Me immerses readers in the rarified, misunderstood world of Witness Protection—at once human, dangerous, intimate, surprising, and stone-cold violent.
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About the author

John Partington is an inspirational speaker who leads with an infectious enthusiasm evident in all his preaching and teaching. John and his wife, Andrene, are Senior Pastors of Edge Church West Adelaide, Australia. They have three children, Aaron, Heidi, and Bethany.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Sep 14, 2010
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781439167762
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
True Crime / General
True Crime / Organized Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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No one can tell the true story of the Mafia in America better than Bill Bonanno. He was there. He lived it.

Bill Bonanno was born into a world of respect, tradition, and honor. The son of legendary mafioso Joe Bonanno, Bill was a "made" member of the Mafia by the time he was in his early twenties. He was rumored to be the model for The Godfather's Michael Corleone and was the subject of Gay Talese's best-selling Honor Thy Father.

Now retired, Bill is finally ready to give an eyewitness account of his life as a high-ranking captain in the Bonanno crime family, one of America's most powerful Mafia syndicates. He takes you inside the mob at its peak, when New York's Five Families-Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, Lucchese, and Genovese-not only dominated local businesses, but also controlled national politics. For the first time, Bill Bonanno discloses the machinations behind his marriage to Rosalie Profaci (niece of the powerful don Joe Profaci), and even that cemented the alliance between the two Families with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding. From the truth about the mysterious disappearance of his father to a startling disclosure about he mob's participation in the Kennedy assassination, Bill Bonanno lays bare the inner workings of his chaotic, violent, and surprisingly human world with unparalleled detail and insight.

Bound By Honor not only recounts Bill Bonanno's tumultuous life, but also is an engrossing chronicle of organized crime. Bonanno's story provides a remarkable glimpse into all of the intriguing personalities of the underworld of yesterday to today, from Bugsy Siegel to John Gotti.

This book is a must for readers of Mario Puzo, Gay Talese, Nicholas Pileggi, and others who have written abut the Mafia, but who have never been in the eye of the storm in quite the same way as Bill Bonanno in Bound By Honor.

Winner, ISHS Best of Illinois History Award, 2019

In this riveting true story of coming of age in the Chicago Mob, Charles “Charley” Hager is plucked from his rural West Virginia home by an uncle in the 1960s and thrown into an underworld of money, cars, crime, and murder on the streets of Chicago Heights.

Street-smart and good with his hands, Hager is accepted into the working life of a chauffeur and “street tax” collector, earning the moniker “Little Joe College” by notorious mob boss Albert Tocco. But when his childhood friend is gunned down by a hit man, Hager finds himself a bit player in the events surrounding the mysterious, and yet unsolved, murder of mafia chief Sam Giancana.

Chicago Heights is part rags-to-riches story, part murder mystery, and part redemption tale. Hager, with author David T. Miller, juxtaposes his early years in West Virginia with his life in crime, intricately weaving his own experiences into the fabric of mob life, its many characters, and the murder of Giancana.

Fueled by vivid recollections of turf wars and chop shops, of fix-ridden harness racing and the turbulent politics of the 1960s, Chicago Heights reveals similarities between high-level organized crime in the city and the corrupt lawlessness of Appalachia. Hager candidly reveals how he got caught up in a criminal life, what it cost him, and how he rebuilt his life back in West Virginia with a prison record.

Based on interviews with Hager and supplemented by additional interviews and extensive research by Miller, the book also adds Hager’s unique voice to the volumes of speculation about Giancana’s murder, offering a plausible theory of what happened on that June night in 1975.
The Mob was the biggest, richest business in America—too dangerous and too deadly to fail. Until it was destroyed from within by drugs, greed, and the decline of its traditional crime Family values.

And by guys like Sal Polisi.

He was born in Brooklyn—the same place that spawned Murder, Inc., Al Capone, and John Gotti, the future Mob godfather who became his friend. Polisi was raised on a family legacy that led him into the life he loved as a member of the Colombos, one of the New York Mob’s feared Five Families, and came of age when the Mafia was at the height of its vast wealth and power.

Known by his Mob name, Sally Ubatz (“Crazy Sally”), he ran an illegal after-hours gambling den, The Sinatra Club, that was a magic kingdom of crime and a hangout for up-and-coming mobsters like Gotti and the three wiseguys immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas—Henry Hill, Jimmy Burke, and Tommy DeSimone. For Polisi, the nonstop thrills of glory days spent robbing banks, hijacking trucks, pulling daring heists—and getting away with it all, thanks to cops and public servants corrupted by Mob money—were fleeting. When he was busted for drug trafficking, and already sickened by the bloodbath that engulfed the Mob as it teetered toward extinction, he flipped and became one of a breed he had loathed all his life—a rat.

In this riveting, pulse-pounding, and, at times, darkly hilarious first-person chronicle of his brazen crimes, wild sexual escapades, and personal tragedies, Polisi tells his story of life inside the New York Mob in a voice straight from the streets. With shocking candor, he draws on a hard-won knowledge of Mob history to paint a neverbefore- seen picture of the inner workings of the Mob and the larger-than-life characters who populated a once extensive and secret underworld that, thanks to guys like him, no longer exists.

***

I was always a street guy. I was into robbing and stealing and gambling and loan sharking. I wasn’t involved in the bigmoney sit-downs, the labor racketeering and construction company shakedowns, the Garment District and garbage and cement company kickbacks. . . . For guys like me and Fox, my blood brother and crime partner, the thing we loved about being in that life was the action, the excitement. . . .We were in it for the money, sure. But it was the danger, the thrills that made the life of crime something special.

A guy like John Gotti was different. He was far more ambitious than me and Fox. He wasn’t just in it for the rush and the riches. He wanted the power and the glory.

John Gotti’s tragedy, if you can call it that, was that he was born too late for the old-school gangster crown that he craved. He began his rise as the Mob was beginning to crumble; by the time he got to the top, the bottom had dropped out.

From the beginning, John was charismatic and smart. He just wasn’t cut out to be godfather. Once he became boss, he drove the bus right off the bridge. Or maybe it was the bus that drove him. Either way, I watched him go.

Here’s how it all happened.
Reminiscent of Wiseguy, Mob Boss is a compelling biography from two prominent mob experts recounting the life and times of the first acting boss of an American Mafia family to turn government witness

Alfonso "Little Al" D'Arco, the former acting boss of the Luchese organized crime family, was the highest-ranking mobster to ever turn government witness when he flipped in 1991. His decision to flip prompted many others to make the same choice, including John Gotti's top aide, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, and his testimony sent more than fifty mobsters to prison.

In Mob Boss, award-winning news reporters Jerry Capeci and Tom Robbins team up for this unparalleled account of D'Arco's life and the New York mob scene that he embraced for four decades.

Until the day he switched sides, D'Arco lived and breathed the old-school gangster lessons he learned growing up in Brooklyn and fine-tuned on the mean streets of Little Italy. But when he learned he was marked to be whacked, D'Arco quit the mob. His defection decimated his crime family and opened a window on mob secrets going back a hundred years.

After speaking with D'Arco, the authors reveal unprecedented insights, exposing shocking secrets and troublesome truths about a city where a famous pizza parlor doubled as a Mafia center for multi-million-dollar heroin deals, where hit men carried out murders dressed as women, and where kidnapping a celebrity newsman's son was deemed appropriate revenge for the father's satirical novel.

Capeci and Robbins spent hundreds of hours in conversation with D'Arco, and exhausted many hours more fleshing out his stories in this riveting narrative that takes readers behind the famous witness testimony for a comprehensive look at the Mafia in New York City.

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