Narrator: In the mid-century, the mobsters were as famous as the movie-stars who portrayed them. Men like Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano are not only gangsters, they’re legends. Hollywood turned them into movie-stars. Televisions are bringing them right into our living rooms. That’s the Romance, the Reality is very different. Extortion, Numbers, Murder. Like on the street, it’s still a deadly Business. Drugs will make it a dirty Business. This is the story of the three men who grew up in that life, with old Codes of Honour, of Loyalties, and saw them betrayed.
Montigliano: I was into Sports. That was my whole life, football and baseball. As a matter of fact, in high school I had a college football scholarship offered to me.
I didn’t have, at that time, I didn’t have Aspirations to be anybody big in the Family, because all I wanted to do was to make a lot of Money.
My uncle, Nino [Gaggi], was probably my biggest role model. His one dream in life was to die in the street with a gun in his hand. If that’s not being proud of being a gangster. [omitted] Nino’s kind of a guy that could walk into a restaurant, and everyone will look up and go, Look at the gangster. He did what we used to call “wearing it,” and he wore it 24 hours a day. If you saw him in his bathrobe, he was wearing it. He had the dark glasses on, he had the bathrobe on, it was him, he didn’t change.
Narrator: Dominick Montiglio grew up in the 50’s in Levittown, Long Island. His Godfather, Nino Gaggi, was an up-and-coming soldier in the Gambino Crime family. Uncle Nino became Dom’s surrogate father. Taught him lessons he couldn’t learn in School.
Montigliano: He made me resign as a Classpresident, because a part of your Duties were, when the teachers were out of the room, there’s an assembly and stuff, you had to write who the bad People were, who was talking when the teacher was out of the room, and stuff like that. What you’re telling me is you’re a stool-pigeon, and we can’t have a stool-pigeon in our Family. So go back and tell the teacher tomorrow you can’t be a Classpresident, so I just had to resign.
I felt like I was starting to learn about my Family.
Leonetti: My uncle told me to be a man of Honour and to be a man of Respect. We have to live this life. This is our life, he told me, you know. This is the way we live. We don’t trust the Government. We don’t live by their Laws. We have our own set of Laws we live by.
From when I was a kid, my relationship with my uncle, he told me the Right path to take, which I believed him, and I followed, and I listened to him, and he got me involved with La Cosa Nostra.
Narrator: Phil Leonetti’s uncle, Little Nicky Scarfo, the scariest man in Philadelphia, shot his way through the top of the Bruno Crime family. He left so many bodies behind, the cops lost count. Nicky took Phil the ropes.
Leonetti: He made sure that every Murder we did in Atlantic City took less than one week. He wanted to have that Reputation. He always said, He loved that movie, Scarface with Paul Muni? Paul Muni had the machine gun, he says, You’ve got to keep using it, and you’ve got to keep killing People. You’ve got to use this, he said. You’ve got to keep it, and you’ve got to keep killing. That was his Philosophy. You’ve got to keep killing People. [Ashton Carter. Hillary Clinton. John Brennan.]
He asked me one time. He said, Look, if I told you to shoot Spike, would you shoot him? I looked at him, I said. I knew Spike. I grew up with Spike. He was a funny guy, and he was a good friend. We really liked this Spike, you know. Yeah, I told him, if you told me to do it, I’d do it. He said, Good. Not that there’s any problem with Spike, I just wanted to see what you had to say. This is our life. This is how things are in La Cosa Nostra. It could be our brother, but if he does something Wrong, he has to pay the penalty.
Beattie: My father, he was abusive in the sense that he didn’t sit and read. I mean, he never sat down and read a book to me. What do you mean, you can’t read that? Crack, I was knocked over the table. What do you mean, you can’t get your homework done? Whack. I’ve been knocked out probably only by my father, I’ve ever been knocked out. I’ve been in more fights than you’ve got your toes and your fingers.
Not taking away from my father, he did work hard for a living. [Accurate. Newt Gingrich. Ted Cruz.] But he was a criminal, he was a criminal. He did things under the table that he shouldn’t have done. And I learned all the shortcuts, and I’d rather go a short route than a long route. Anybody can go break a sweat. If I can do it without breaking a sweat, that would give me much more Time to play pool, drink, or do Drugs, or whatever I wish.
Narrator: Billy Beattie grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen on the West Side of the New York. He fell in with the Westies, a small Irish hoodlums who terrorised the City.
Beattie: My father is a Scotch Protestant. My mother is an Irish Catholic. How they got together is unbeknownst to me. These People were fighting each other over 800 years. But they did, and we were rasied Catholics, and my father told me before I left home when I was 14, You’re old enough to figure out what you want to do with yourself. But I was an altar boy. I can get into reciting Catholic **, Latin, I was that good at it, I got into it. But I learned real quick to work the weddings, because if you hustle the weddings, you’ve got the groom. They don’t want to jinx his wedding, they tip you well. So we got into the hustling that pretty good. I worked mostly weddings.
My mother thought I had a calling to be a priest. She didn’t know it was a busy signal. She sent me to one of these monasteries. I said, Ma, I can’t deal with this. Everybody’s up there playing pocketpool. I’ve got to get out of here.
Montiglio: The Bunker was the term for the house we lived in. There were bars on all the windows, and just the brick, I guess.
It was normal on the outside, I guess. Inside, the house was a lot different. When you had the FBI breaking in at three o’clock in the morning, and chasing my uncle all over the house, and not being able to go out of the house, because there was a War going on outside. But other than that, it was normal.
Leonetti: About eight or nine years old, what happened was, My uncle came from Atlantic City, and he told me, I want you to take a ride with me. I said, All right. We’re going to go to Philadelphia. I said, Okay. So he walks me around, he had a pick-up truck hidden somewhere in the Neighbourhood. He said, I need you to come with me, because it doesn’t look as suspicious with me and a young boy with me. Just in case I get stopped by Police force. It looks like nothing could be going Wrong here. As we were driving on our way to Philadelphia, he told me what happened about this fella who just killed. They used this pick-up truck to dump his off the hole to bury the guy. Now, we’ve got to bring this pick-up truck back to Philadelphia so somebody could go and chop it up so there’s no evidence. I said, All right, that’s really Good. I’ve seen everybody working together as a Family to commit, to kill this person who was Bad, who disrespected the Family. I thought that was Great.
You know what I felt like, that girl Marilyn in the Monsters. She’s normal, and she lives with the monsters, and all that. But she doesn’t think anything’s Wrong with them. That’s how I thought. There’s nothing Wrong with them. There’s nothing Wrong. I know what they are, but what’s Wrong? And we go on with everyday life, until I got involved, you know. They needed me, and I got involved. I would never let my Family down.
Beattie: We stayed mostly to our own. We trusted nobody, and very few of our own whom we really trusted. The inner circle People whom we really trusted, because they did the Right thing by us People. The guys that are now called criminals or murderers were paying a lot of rents in our Neighbourhood. [Accurate.] They were Good guys. We had a problem, we went to them. We didn’t go to the Police department, you were a stool-pigeon. We went to the tough guys in the Neighbourhood, they straightened it out.
Leonetti: Like we’re not crazed killers or anything. I didn’t think we were at that time. We didn’t go out and kill little kids or things like that. We would kill People that disrespected our Family and disrespected the members of our Family. And I thought that was good. I thought, Yeah, that’s good. There’s nothing Wrong in that. We’re respectable People. We help other Italian People, if we could.
Beattie: I became a criminal, and probably by choice. I’d like to say I was a product of what I was born into, but I really don’t believe that. People that come out of my Neighbourhood, some of them really did good for themselves. I could have [taken] that path. I know now, and I didn’t. I took the easy way.
Leonetti: I always told my uncle, The only reason I’m involved in this is because of you. And if you weren’t around, I’m not looking to be no boss, I’m not looking to take over. He said, No, you’ve got to keep this Thing going. If I die, you’ve got to keep this thing going with La Cosa Nostra, he was into it. That’s him. That’s his life. [Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates.]
Montiglioni: I saw the gradual ascent, or descent, however you want to look at it, of my uncle, because every time we’d go to my uncle in Brooklyn, there’d be another new car, maybe more new clothes. We’d go once a week. And he’d always give me a hundred at the door when I was ready to go back out to go home. So I knew he was doing Good. But I never paid much attention to that life at that time.
I think the first time I noticed was when I was ten, and Family realignment, so to speak, was happening. Frank Scalise was murdered. Joe Scalise was murdered. Albert Anastasia was murdered. All in a fairly short period of Time.
Narrator: These Murders were the first shots fired in a War for Control of the two of the most powerful Crime Families in New York. A War that would change the Mob forever. Uncle Nino would be a soldier in this battle. Dom’s Fortunes would rise and fall with his uncle’s. It begins in the Fall of 1957, the land in 1953 the biggest Betrayl in Mob’s History.