I am a soon to be retired Duke Medical Center library researcher, who enjoys writing. I have been writing on Wikipedia for years and have begun to write
ebooks. My pastimes include selling books on EBay, genealogical research, baseball (Pittsburgh Pirates), collecting antique furniture and coins, and spending time with Kingsley, my cocker spaniel.
Anthony Spilotro and his brother Michael were victims of Mafia hits in 1986. Their beating deaths occurred soon after they agreed to meet with unidentified parties. Michael ran a restaurant in Oak Park, Illinois. The Spilotro brothers were executed in Bensenville, Illinois and buried in an Enos, Indiana cornfield. Much of my research comes from the investigative reporting of writer Jack Anderson.
Anthony Giacalone may have been part of the reason that the Detroit Tigers lost a close pennant race to the Boston Red Sox in 1967. Sports Illustrated reported that Tigers' star pitcher Denny McLain's toes were dislocated in a bizarre incident near season's end. An organist and bookie in a Flint, Michigan steak house, Denny paid out funds to a disgruntled bettor who'd lost money in a horse race.
A trip to Nevada and Arizona immediately preceded the arrest of Gigi Portella's at Boston's Logan Airport. Peralta had flown west to spend quality time with his son Taken into custody on December 14, 1996, Gigi's Nahant home was quickly served with a warrant. An 87-page indictment and three-month trial soon followed. Portello was accused of killing three men and attempting to murder seven others.
Rockaway Beach, Queens was the scene of an elusive murder that happened in the summer of 1949. Jack Hannon was a longtime bartender at Rockaway's Seaside Bar and Grill. In the months before his murder friends noticed that he was especially apprehensive when cars approached him on the streets. He remarked that one could never be too safe. Hannon was shot three times in the head on St. Marks Avenue.
Domenico Raccuglia was a most wanted fugitive in Italy and Sicily before his November 16, 2009 capture. Considered among the most wanted criminals he was nicknamed the veterinarian for his love of animals. Raccuglia was mentioned as a likely successor to Bernardo Provenzano following his arrest. Raccuglia's third life sentence came in the wake of Giuseppe Di Matteo's abduction and murder.
Dominick Cirillo communicated with other mobsters in ways that didn't promote detection by the FBI and NYPD. For example, he spoke with associates while walking on noisy New York streets. Noise from car engines, etc., discouraged authorities from overhearing what was being said. Cirillo remained a force in the Genovese family well into the turn of the 21st century. He was born in Harlem
Peter Maggio became a caporegime in the Philadelphia crime family of Angelo Bruno. FBI informant Joseph Verica performed surveillance on Maggio and Bruno in 1962.. In '65 one of Verica's memos to J. Edgar Hoover identified Maggio as a Soldato of the Philadelphia family of La Cosa Nostra. In the mid 1960s both Bruno and Maggio purchased homes in the Philadelphia area. The FBI watched them closely.
"Bayonne Joe" Zicarelli was a noteworthy mobster who was a major figure in Bayonne, New Jersey gambling activities. He turned to U.S. Representative Cornelius Gallagher to keep law enforcement off his back. Gallagher contemplated a lawsuit against Life Magazine. An August 1968 story linked the politician and the La Cosa Nostra figure. After his re-election the NJ pol gave up his plan to sue Life.
Joseph Bonanno sent Carmine Galante to Montreal to organize the gambling and vice rackets. By the mid-1950s the syndicate was infested there. A cold-blooded killer, Galante used coercion to bring betting houses in line for the New York mob. Protection payments and extortion insured a steady flow of money from Montreal to Gotham. Then Luciano began the French Connection from exile in Naples.
In late December 1978 the crash of a Piper Navajo plane presented obstacles for rescuers. The plane wasn't found until April 1979, when a group of planes combined on a testing and rescue mission. In the months before the Civil Air Patrol got in hot water after it abruptly suspended its search for the crash site. Circumstances became even more tricky when a victim's family hired F. Lee Bailey
Albert Taylor Bledsoe was a prominent leader in the Southern Confederacy. He helped craft the original constitution of the Confederate States of America. Just before the Civil War began he was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia. After leaving Illinois he held a similar position at the Univ. of Mississippi. During the war he was appointed acting Secretary of War in Richmond.
Judah P. Benjamin was the son of Orthodox Jewish parents. He was raised primarily in South Carolina before moving on the North Carolina, where he attended Fayetteville Academy. Reviewers of lengthy bios of Benjamin have surmised that he is a dull subject. One of the principal biographers was criticized for missing many pivotal issues in Benjamin's life. Judah lived in England after the Civil War.
Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, was a sickly man from childhood. He was short and weighed very little. At the time of Viriginia's secession from the U.S., in 1861, the capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond, Virginia. Alexander remained behind at his Crawfordville, Georgia home instead. Some writers have criticized this.
Copernicus was a multifaceted man of great talent in many disciplines. Aside from his great contribution to astronomical theory, he also devised the mathematical system of trigonometry. A humanitarian, Copernicus used rooms in his home to treat the sick and wounded. He bandaged their arms and administered medicine to them. After study in Bologna, he was also involved in the Polish-Teutonic War.
It is intriguing that Tamerlane focused his military campaigns on Asia rather than Europe. Had the reverse been true, Europe would presently exude a much more oriental flavor. Historians tell us that Tamerlane surpassed Genghis Khan as a leader because the latter had the advantage of an organized Mongol force. This contingent helped him from the very outset. Tamerlane had to be more resourceful.
In my second e-book on Dutch prostitution I consider the plight of a Romanian transplant, prostitute Astrid. Unlike Bridget she entered the call girl life as a runaway. She tells me she had no recourse. She had to leave her homeland. Truth or Dare is a popular game in Romania. Astrid vividly describes a game of Truth or Dare that went on in her high school. There is no way to refuse a dare!
Originally from a small town in the Czech Republic, the call girl I interviewed over a week's time is 21 years old. An only child, her parents are unaware of how she earns her money. Melanie’s mom teaches swimming to youths in Melnik, Czech Republic. Her father works in an office there. She provides me with many facts about her life as an elite call girl in Amsterdam, the Netherlands's capitol.
The August 1943 crash of a C46 transport plane near a mountain in the jungles of Burma made headlines worldwide. Reporter Eric Sevareid worked tirelessly to ensure that the accident reached United Press headquarters in New York .He commended the medics and others who saved him and his companions. He wrote later that they deserved citations for their bravery and selflessness. 20 persons survived.
On March 6, 1986 two Brown University students were arrested along with a Providence, RI insurance executive. Despite having promptly notified authorities about the matter, the Ivy League school couldn't avoid unwanted negative publicity. Two female students were arrested by a Providence police inspector who posed as an out of town businessman searching for entertainment. More arrests followed.
Formed in The Hague in 1967 Shocking Blue was one of 3 bands from Holland to score success in the United States. My ebook looks at how the groups were discovered and how they gained massive audience reception here. Shocking Blue was fronted by beauteous lead singer Mariska Veres. She replaced the band's original lead vocalist early on. With large Kohl-lined eyes her voice was strong, otherworldly.
My e-book looks at the pizza industry in several northeastern states as front for big time heroin smuggling. The Gambino families of New York and New Jersey were caught up in this as well as the remnants of the Bonanno family crime network. The Bonannos had a history of pushing the Gambinos around. Heroin was smuggled into the U.S. in wine bottles and distributed in pizzerias in the northeast U.S.
Gaspare Magaddino was a cousin of Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno as well as a distant relative of the Magaddino dons of upstate New York. By 1965 Gaspare was wanted for a number of bombings carried out in Sicily. Years earlier was part of a meeting in Palermo, Sicily that was attended by drug dealers from Sicily and the U.S. The intense pursuit of Magaddino ended with his 1970 murder in Brooklyn.
Joseph Luparelli was among a group of hoodlums who surprised Crazy Joe Gallo near the end of a night of birthday celebration. With a retinue of friends he exited the Copacabana nightclub after it closed around 4 a.m. It was the spring of 1972. Gallo was shot multiple times inside Umberto's, a Manhattan restaurant. The perpetrators had first planned to lure him to Nyack and kill him there.
In August 1985, a full thirty years after her untimely death at 46, Carmen Miranda was remembered by 18 fan clubs in her native Brazil. Her post-death popularity was also impressive in Europe and the United States. My e-book looks at her entire career. By 1939 she was a feature performer at the Waldorf Astoria's Sert Room in New York. Miranda sang, danced and acted in Hollywood films and on TV.
June Wilkinson was a big bust model who came to the US in the early 1960s. A British import from East Bourne, she was coveted by Playboy Magazine, which featured her in six different layouts. As an actress June performed in comedies. "Pajama Tops" played on Broadway .In some respects Wilkinson realized her goal of being taken seriously as an actress. She wed NFL quarterback Dan Pastorini.
"Distortions", a classic volume of nude photos of women, presents naked images as distorted through the glass of a fun house. Aside from his unclad photos Andre Kertesz depicted unposed subjects who were reading, sleeping and otherwise behaving spontaneously. The photographer's American period began in 1936 when he was offered work. He had a one-man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
Hope Hicks was among the first people to believe in the candidacy of Donald Trump. She worked for him diligently as a spokesperson, p.r. person and later as White House Communications Director. On February 28th Hicks abruptly resigned her position as a senior staff member. My e-book looks at her rise to prominence, her background and specific talents as a political insider in the Trump Presidency.
The January 1945 murder of Michigan State Senator Warren Hooper made national headlines in the US. The politician was en route to his home in Albion, when he was ambushed after leaving the state legislature in Lansing. Shot multiple times he was left in his burning vehicle to die. The Purple Gang and Fleischer were involved in extortion, bootlegging, kidnapping, and various other illicit deeds.
Barbara McNair wed her manager Rick Manzie in a quiet ceremony at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. Several years later, on December 15, 1976, Manzie's body was found dead in the basement of McNair's 20-room Las Vegas mansion. My e-book examines several theories about Manzie's demise. Barbara's career was badly damaged after she signed for a package containing heroin, that was intended for Manzie.
The January 1973 Playboy Playmate dined at the Nixon White House. She accompanied an ex-POW whose wife divorced him while he was a captive in a Vietnamese prison. Two twin Playmates were tried in a Wisconsin courtroom, charged with tax evasion. Their individual trials involved distinctions between prostitutes and mistresses. The women were sex partners with Wisconsin businessman David Kritzik.
Three thugs murdered Samuel Chioccoli on the night of November 30, 1939. They left his body on a roadside near Port Washington. It was quickly discovered by three fishermen. In the meantime they disfigured the corpse to make it appear as if the body had been run over. Chioccoli was a devoted family man by day and a hoodlum in the evening hours. His refusal to fence stolen jewelry led to his death.
"Big Bob" McCullough was questioned by Senate investigator George B. White at his plush Cedar Lake, Indiana residence. McCullough had admitted threatening crime expose' reporter William Drury. However he only went so far as admitting that someone had beaten him to killing Drury. McCullough lived a long life. He died in a Florida nursing home when he was 97. My book examines his criminal career.
The testimony of NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Kelly was important in unraveling an illegal liquor distillery in Jamaica, Queens. The operation was based in a former piano factory building that its operators and a rogue police inspector had agreed on. Things were going smoothly until Thanksgiving Day 1931. NYPD patrolmen were alerted when the lid on the still popped open, sounding an alarm.
The success of Playboy Magazine breathed life into Playboy offshoots like the Playboy Clubs. These nightclubs opened nationwide in the 1960s and 1970s. My e-book looks at Playboy Bunnies who earned good money without being paid a salary. Their incomes came from tips offered by VIPs and celebrities. In 1973 three ex-Bunnies sued Playboy for age discrimination after they were fired from the NY Club.
Joseph Bonanno and his bodyguard, Peter Notari, were tried for extorting a Diners' Club card from a Queens County realtor named Donald Torrillo. Bonanno was charged with using the credit card to buy meals for himself and friends, charge motel stays, etc. My e-book looks at the Bonannos as a crime family in transition, trying desperately to hold on to control of multiple illegal businesses.
In 1947 Samuel Valente was an ex-con who was about to be deported to Italy. Valente's son Rocco testified that Rensselaer County Judge Hamm had asked that his father's deportation be curtailed. Justice Hamm traveled to Washington to deny signing a document attributed to him. Calling it a forgery he also denied that a Troy Police Chief and Chief of Detectives had written letters of recommendation.
Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman crowned as Miss America. She lost the title later when graphic photos taken by photographer Tom Chiapel were published by Penthouse Magazine in September 1984. Philadelphia cracked down on newsstands that sold nude images of Jayne Mansfield in magazines like 21 and Adam. Church groups initiated the anti-obscenity campaign in the 1950s.
On June 21, 1945 Carl Carramusa's 16-year-old daughter watched in agony as her father's head was blown off outside his North Side Chicago home. Carramusa had moved his family to Chicago in the wake of his appearance as a federal informant in a Kansas City drug trial. His relocation worked for several years before the KC mob put a hit on him while he awaited his family in a Chicago driveway.
In 1963 FBI offices traced collusion between a NYPD patrolman and garage owner/mafioso Michael Scandifia. The mobster was linked to the Gambino crime family through evidence presented before a NY State Investigative Committee. Scandifia and Patrolman Grossman were charged with conspiracy to kill informants. Trial for the accused was delayed until 1968. Dumdum bullets were part of the planned hits.
Near the end of his life former Teamsters boss Roy Lee Williams confessed to being controlled by Kansas City mobster Nick Civella. Williams was targeted by a U.S. Senate Subcommittee and was also indicted by a federal grand jury for attempting to bribe a U.S. Senator. Mobsters sought control of the Teamsters rich Central States Pension Fund. Money from it was used by criminals to enter Las Vegas.
Frank Bompensiero's murder occurred on February 10, 1977. A mob turncoat the former Mafia hit man shielded himself from a mob hit for some time. He stayed in Pacific Beach. Seldom venturing out, he sometimes went for a walk or made calls in a phone booth. The L.A. mob had been in flux since the death of boss Jack Dragna in 1956. In the early 1970s Louis Tom Dragna replaced Frank DeSimone as chief.
Bennie Lazarra was a genial wholesale grocer in Tampa, Florida. Shortly after midnight he arrived home with his wife, who was a sister of a prominent Florida judge. Just as she was opening her car door Lazzara's wife watched as her husband was gunned down by an assassin who waited in ambush. Friends and relatives of Lazzara pooled their money in order to solve his murder. He had no known enemies.
The attempted assassination of Joseph Colombo Sr. and the murder of Joey Gallo are important in the fallout amongst Mafia organizations. In 1971 Colombo was gravely wounded at an Italian Unity Day celebration held in Manhattan. On April 7, 1972 Gallo was shot and killed by a gunman who entered a restaurant clandestinely. The murders triggered a wave of violence among Gambino and Colombo partisans.
Braniff Airways, based in Oklahoma, sued engine maker Curtiss-Wright in the aftermath of a March 25, 1958 DC-7C crash at Miami International Airport. Individual passenger lawsuits were filed as late as 1963 and 1964. The suits weren't decided until 1969. Most were filed in Federal Court in New York City. The litigation pertained to Curtiss-Wright's knowledge that their engines were defective.
Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 705 crashed on a day when tornado warnings were issued in southeast and central Florida. It was only the second crash ever at Miami International Airport. The Boeing 720B lost contact with the radio tower at MIA only seven minutes after takeoff. The pilot, Roy Almquist of Rosemont, Minnesota, was cleared to ascend to FL250. He turned the plane left 30 degrees.
In 1969 Rice University coed Marilyn Penelope Johnson was photographed nude for the student yearbook. Brashly the young coed bragged that she had posed for the university. "I did it for Rice", were her exact words. Administrators were caught between advocating the free press and shock. Young women took off their clothes freely but were troubled by the prospect that their parents might find out.
My e-book looks at the violent death of Philip "Little" Farvel Cohen whose body was dumped near Valley Stream, NY in September 1949. Cohen was tied to the 1936 murder for hire killing of Brooklyn candy store operator Joseph Rosen. When prosecutors failed to assemble sufficient evidence to convict him for this crime, Little Farvel was jailed on a federal narcotics rap. He was paroled in March 1949.
Frank Cammarata was an instrumental figure as a Mafia enforcer and a mob connection to the lucrative record and jukebox industry. Summoned before the U.S. Senate Racketeering Committee in 1958, Cammarata took the 5th Amendment rather than incriminate himself. A shady figure among gangsters he moved throughout the U.S. freely until immigration officials discovered his illegal reentry to America.
Following her arrest on a prostitution charge recent Playboy Playmate Joey Gibson went into hiding. The specifics of her arrest weren't publicized in detail. However, her co-defendant, Marcia Lynn Goldman, was approximately six years older than Gibson. Both women were from the Los Angeles area originally. My ebook also includes a firsthand description of life at the Chicago Playboy Club circa 1969
The Red Grove Social Club is infamous in the annals of Yonkers, New York business history. Closed within weeks of its 1969 opening, the establishment nevertheless had reverberations over time. The management of the Red Grove appealed in court and went so far as to set a portion of its interior afire. Red Grove President John Tortora was convicted on 16 counts of loan sharking.