August 27, 2021 – The Dean of American mob writing himself, Jerry Capeci, is at the forefront of a movement to discredit the New York Daily News’ bombshell frontpage story last week declaring deceased Colombo crime family don Carmine (The Snake) Persico a confidential informant for the FBI. The original story cited an FBI document from 1971 in which Persico, among other prominent New York mafia figures, are listed in a column categorized as cooperators.
Some claim reporters and editors at The New York Daily News are misinterpreting the document. Others say even if read correctly, the source for the intelligence included in the document is an unhinged, unreliable and unrepentant mafia enforcer sociopath who’s own cooperation with the government came under great legal and moral scrutiny.
Capeci pens the world-renowned weekly Gangland News column. Gangland News is the publication “of record” for New York mafia activity and history and the gold standard for American mob reporting.
Persico led the Colombo crime family from the mid-1970s until his death in prison of natural causes in 2019 at age 85. He spent the majority of his reign behind bars. The Persico bloodline is the last great mob dynasty existing in the U.S. today.
The New York Daily News obtained the court brief tying Carmine Persico to informant status from attorneys representing Persico’s one-time acting boss turned rival Vittorio (Little Vic) Orena, who is seeking a compassionate release from prison. The document also lists long-dead Big Apple mob powers Paul Castellano and Joseph (Crazy Joe) Gallo in the same cooperator column as Persico.
Castellano was boss of the Gambino crime family until he was assassinated in 1985 on a crowded Manhattan street during rush hour traffic exiting his car in front of Sparks Steakhouse. Crazy Joe Gallo was killed in the spring of 1972 in Little Italy after he dined at Umberto’s Clam House for his role in the first and second Colombo Wars.
The issue critics are taking with the document being waved around by Orena’s attorneys is that the source of the information on the document is named as “NY 3461-C-TE,” better known as infamous informant and mob killer, Greg (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa. When the Persico and Orena factions began shooting it out in the 1990s Colombo War, Scarpa served as the imprisoned Persico’s muscle on the street.
Scarpa, who received a dirty blood transfusion from a heroin-addicted member of his “Wimby Boys” crew, died of AIDS in 1994. Orena, 87, has been locked up since April 1992. Later that year, he was convicted of murder and racketeering.