Review: Mob Boss

I just finished reading Mike Hudson’s “Mob Boss: A biography in blood” regarding the career of Stefano Maggadino, the capo of the western NY region.

To hoist Hudson on his own petard, he briefly reviews in his book one of his source, the book written by FBI agent Joe Griffin, saying that it is “littered with factual errors. The names of popular NF nightspots, streets and even his physical description of Stefano Maggadino are simply wrong in many cases.”

“But Griffin … seemingly relied on his memory which can be a treacherous thing for a nonfiction writer.”

In Hudson’s account of the “Barbecue” a national confab at Joseph Barbera’s Appalachin ranch in downstate NY, November 1957 — which was a very very funny bust — Hudson doesn’t know the backstory — there’d been a national confab in 1956 there in Appalachin, which went very well, but the Kefauver Commision on Organized Crime was in the news which alerted the local gendarmes who, having become somewhat alienated from Barbera in the course of the year, were somewhat alarmed when a cohort of cadillacs & pinkie rings reappeared in his small downstate NY farm — and raided the joint. Gendarmes insufficiently prepared for such a haul, had to let everyone go, and no one was booked. I was in Mr. O’Connor’s 10th Grade English class at North Junior High School in 1957, being tall I sat in the back row where all other tall people, mostly guys, were muttering and giggling how everyone’s uncle had been busted.

Hudson also claims that when Marilyn Monroe made Niagara in the region, she came with Joe DiMaggio — not so. In fact, apparently she married a Robert someone or another who wrote a book on their brief alliance — and studio arranged a quickie divorce.

I think this was the 2nd time Marilyn was in Niagara Falls. I believe the first time was the week of her 21st birthday, June 1947 when she gave hypothetically gave birth to my first best jew bastard double cross cousin, my adoptive relative, Cousin It. I imagine when MM was making her breakout movie Niagara she took some time off to watch five & six year old children playing at recess in school, like that wistful picture of her in a babushka, hoping to get a glimpse of her daughter, and wondering if she would recognize her.

Counting back 9 months from her birthday, Cousin It had been conceived the weekend of JPK’s 59th birthday in September 1946 — he was (hypothertically) in Hollywood for that weekend, partying with his friends (Joe Schenk was a friend) raising money for his son’s first hurrah — JFK’s initial run for congress. MM jumped out of the cake and sang Happy Birthday to a Mr. Kennedy for the first time in her altogether.

This hypothesis makes my family go ballistic — but as far as they are concerned I consider my godfather to be Tommy Cottonaro, Mayor of the Munchkins (seriously, “Tommy Cotton” was in the movie Wizard of OZ, and afterward falsely claimed to be the Munchkin’s Mayor)

Hudson has no account whatsoever on the relationship between the Don and Joseph P Kennedy, Sr. — partners in the hooch business, importing Canadian hooch during Prohibition. In fact, during JFK’s 1960 campaign the motorcade drove past my high school homeroom (Mr. Rainville’s #156) — I think it was in May — perhaps even on JFK’s 43rd birthday. This was down Pine Avenue. I learned later organized grace a Don Stefano who had entertained JPK a Sunday or so prior when the Bostonian was lining up support for his son — like he did with Sam Giancana here in Chicaago.

That’s the reason why the FBI in 1963 pulled its punches vis a vis the NF (& Chicago) mobs — protection from the Kennedies who expected to need Father Joe’s business friends again for the 1964 election — Jimmy Hoffa & his Detroit connexions had no such protection.

There’s more. But all in all, amidst Hudson’s factual errors (why didn’t he name the Ray Ott, which was in the early ’50’s a pretty fancy downtown place to party?) it’s a pretty good read. I never knew the Purple Gang was Jewish nor had I heard of the Little Jewish Navy which imported hooch for a Maggadino ally.

I was conceived in the early hours of January 1, 1943 in the red sauce wards (I think it was the 3rd ward) just north of the Walnut Avenue on 18th Street.

About 10 years ago I visited the Falls on a sentimental journey or one sort or another — my friend Kathy K drove me: the empty field the big boys played in when I was 2 next to the house still there, and the chain link fence with its Y shaped sharpened upper rail still marked by a Y that had been hammered down by Ray, who was punishing the fence (bad fence, bad fence) for tearing into the flesh of my left hand right below my saturn finger which to this day has a Y shaped scar as a memento — I was following the big boys who had climbed the fence over the closed gate that had no such treacherous upper rail.

As I was lost in a trance of reminiscence a woman w/her young son walked by — she stopped and I said this is the house my mother lived in when I was born on Rosh Hashoneh, 1943. The landlady kept a goat in the back yard. She said yeah, I know who you’re talking about. I asked the name of the landlady. The woman shut up immediately with a sudden attack of omerta.

That’s what I mean, red sauce.

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Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Nice review. His book has even more factual errors than Griffin’s. He even spells Magaddino’s son-in-law and Magaddino’s wife’s names wrong! The book is a good read but almost entirely wrong.


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