May 21, 2015
This Week in Gang Land
He ran one of the Philadelphia area's biggest and most sophisticated bookmaking operations.
When Joseph Mastronardo was on top of his game, his clients bet tens of thousands of dollars on a single "sporting event" and sometimes ran up six-figure debts before settling up.
Court documents show a money trail of several million dollars through banks in Sweden, Malta, Antiqua and Portugal. And, of course, there was the $1.1 million in cash stuffed in PVC pipes and buried in the backyard of his Italianate mini-mansion in the Meadowbrook section of Huntingdon Valley, an upscale suburb of the City of Brotherly Love.
Onetime mob bookmaker Angelo Lutz has never had a lot of time for pompous law enforcement types. But the rotund gambling guru says disgraced former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik makes sense when he talks about second chances for convicted felons. Lutz, who did nearly eight years on a racketeering/gambling conviction, and Kerik, who did about half of that for tax fraud and other charges tied to his less than truthful story-telling to people in high places (he lied to officials at the White House) are both ex-cons.
Another former Philadelphia wiseguy turned restaurateur is back in business. Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino got an early release last month on a four-month sentence he was serving for a parole violation. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal authorities hadn't properly notified Merlino of his hearing for the violation back in September. The panel vacated the four-month sentence.
Unless you get really lucky, and find a copy squirreled away in the wrong section of your local bookstore, you won't be able to get a first printing of Mob Boss: The Life Of Little Al D'Arco, The Man Who Brought Down The Mafia. But there are still some second print versions of the hardcover available as gifts or for your own reading pleasure.
Because of the heavy demand, Thomas Dunne Books went to the well again for a second printing of Mob Boss, the book that The New York Times called a "gripping, novelistic biography – a bulls-eye."
The mass market, paperback version was published last month, however, and is available online and at your favorite bookstores. You still should be able to pick up a copy of the hard cover at your favorite bookstore, or, as Claude Raines might say to Humphrey Bogart, from any number of the usual online suspects: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and BooksAMillion, as well as an independent book seller near you.
See why Mob Boss has been praised by Pete Hamill, Jimmy Breslin, Nicholas Pileggi, Mister District Attorney Robert Morgenthau – as well as readers everywhere.
Mob Boss is also available in a special BIG PRINT edition. And for those who would rather hear every word of the 406 page book read to them, Mob Boss is also available on an MP3 CD from Tantor Audio.