November 18, 2021
This Week In Gang Land
No Adverse Consequences? The Feds Wrongly Kept a Key Defense Witness From Testifying About A Mob Rubout Attempt In Coney Island. An Appeals Court Shrugged.
Back in 2004, the feds made sure that Wilson Afanador, a 37-year-old ex-burglar and drug dealer made it safely to Brooklyn Federal Court. They needed him to testify he had seen a mob hit team in a green minivan outside his Coney Island home around 9:30 AM on a sunny summer day in 2001. Crucially, he'd be able to tell the jury he saw a gunman who later shot and wounded a rival mobster leaving the beach. His testimony helped send two Colombo gangsters to prison.
But two years later, when the government was trying to convict mob associate Michael (Mikey Spat) Spataro for an alleged role in the shooting that July day, the feds worked hard to keep Afanador off the witness stand. How come?
One reason might well be that Afanador's testimony contradicted the feds' timeline of the crime. Prosecutors claimed that Spataro drove the gunman from Bay Ridge to Bensonhurst between 9:30 and 10:30 that morning. Since the laws of physics don't allow people to be in two places at the same time, Mikey Spat could not have been driving the gunman around other Brooklyn neighborhoods while the shooter was in a green minivan in Coney Island at 9:30 that morning, and a jury might well have decided to acquit Spataro. Records show the feds pulled out all the stops to make sure the jury never heard Afanador's account.
The feds dropped a 1997 murder charge against Genovese wiseguy John (Johnny T) Tortora last year when he copped a plea deal to unrelated charges. But they still think he ordered the killing of a police informer outside a Yonkers bar and prosecutors are planning to prove it at his upcoming sentencing, Gang Land has learned.
In a bit of a surprise, mob associate-turned-snitch-turned-podcaster Gene Borrello has pleaded guilty to violating two conditions of supervised release. The violations stem from the lone wolf podcast he did from his home this summer. Borrello apparently thought the podcasts would be okay, even though he was openly talking about the mob and violating a plea deal he got for his prior arrest for violating his release terms.
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 in 2015. It is available online and at your favorite bookstores for about eight bucks. 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.