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The Mafia With Trevor McDonald – #1/2

17/11/2019

 

From The Guardian – The Mafia with Trevor McDonald review – there’s little glamour in being an ex-mobster

In The Mafia with Trevor McDonald (ITV), our impassive and scrupulously courteous reporter pitched his questions to some very frank retired mobsters: between them they’d done a lot of bad things, and they were happy to admit it. Occasionally, one even offered up something in the way of remorse.

“I don’t sleep,” said Michael “Mikey Scars” DiLeonardo in Miami. “My conscience bothers me.” It soon became clear that he feels more guilty about betraying his friends than all those crimes he committed. It turned out these guys are used to talking: each of them ratted out their bosses and associates in exchange for lenient sentences. As a government informant, mob-enforcer John Alite was sentenced to just 10 years for, among other things, two murders.

You could tell he missed the life – he once owned 10 homes, including the country “estate” he showed Trevor round. The rather spare decor is down to the tastes of the current owners. “At the time there was a sunken Jacuzzi tub here,” said Alite, pointing to a corner of the bedroom. He also showed Trevor where he kept all his guns, for those times when rival mobsters came to kill him. But what he really thinks about when he sees the house isn’t the shoot-outs in the driveway; it’s his granny coming out of the kitchen door to greet him: “Those memories, they’re embreaded [sic] in your mind.”

When Michael Franzese met his future wife, he forgot to mention that he was a capo in the Colombo crime family. “He told me he was a businessman,” she said, which was sort of true. He was posing as a producer of terrible films while hauling in millions of dollars a week in criminal proceeds. According to his Wikipedia page, it was his wife who convinced him to leave the Mafia. His wife, and a 14-count indictment for racketeering, extortion and counterfeiting. Hilariously, he is now a motivational speaker (even more hilariously, John Alite is now an anti-bullying campaigner).

If nothing else, these interviews (this was the first of two parts) served to de-glamorise mob life, in particular the post-jail, post-betrayal side of it. These guys were all sad, friendless, fearful and, I think, terrifically bored. I keep thinking about Mikey Scars driving round Little Italy hiding his face from people he recognised. Those are the things that stay embreaded in your mind.

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