News & Politics

New York Mob Boss Becomes First to Tell All at Murder Trial


Joseph C. Massino said that his responsibilities as a boss in the Bonanno crime family included, “Murders, responsibility for the family, made captains, break captains,” and just like that, he became “the only official boss of a New York crime family ever to cooperate with federal authorities,” a dubious and dangerous distinction, to say the least. On Tuesday Massino testified for five hours against Vincent Basciano, who Massino said ordered the murder of the Bonanno family’s own Randolph Pizzolo. Exciting screenwriters everywhere, Massino spoke often in “culinary metaphors and references,” comparing setting up a mob hit to making a nice sauce. Massino seems to trust his protection in jail a mighty lot — otherwise, he may yet end up dessert.

The New York Times reports:

“If you need somebody to kill somebody, you need workers — it takes all kinds of meat to make a good sauce,” said the onetime restaurateur, catering consultant and coffee truck owner, referring to what he said were Mr. Basciano’s skills both as a killer and as an earner for the crime family.

His own biography is fascinating, but you have to fast-forward to 2004 to know why Massino would cooperate with “the feds.” He has already been convicted of seven murders, pleading guilty to an eighth in 2005. Now he’s hoping for sentence reduction, though he claims one has not been promised.

For amateur mafia buffs, the testimony is a treasure trove, including details about crooked cops and discussing “work” in a walk-in refrigerator to avoid government wiretaps.

“You never talk in a club, you never talk in a car, you never talk on a cellphone, you never talk on a phone, you never talk in your house,” Massino testified. He doesn’t seem to have mentioned anything about talking in court.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 13, 2011


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