Meet the Oldfathers: How 30 years after Goodfellas heist, veteran Mafia men struggled to use modern cell phones and got bartered down to $3,000 in a shakedown
- Testimony in trial of Vincent Asaro, 80, who is accused of receiving money from notorious heist, revealed reality of modern Mafia life
- His cousin Gaspare ‘Handsome’ Valenti, 68, who is a turncoat, revealed how Asaro hated ‘tiny keys’ of his mobile phone
- Valenti told of meeting in Starbucks where he couldn’t drink the coffee because it would make him ‘wired’
- They demanded payment of $5,000 debt from family member but he talked it down to $3,000
- Prosecution say Asaro was ‘made member of Bonnano family’ and involved in raid at New York‘s JFK airport which inspired Goodfellas
Three decades after allegedly pulling off one of the cash biggest robberies in American history, the men accused of stealing more than $6m in the Lufthansa heist were reduced to shaking down relatives for a few thousand dollars, according to secret recordings.
Vincent Asaro, 80, denies multiples charges of extortion, murder and violence that prosecutors believe spanned four decades as a key figure in Bonanno crime family.
The case against him is built on recordings made by his alleged associate Gaspare ‘Handsome’ Valenti, who wore an FBI wire for five years.
While the early evidence was a reminder of the power once wielded by New York’s five crime families, the later recordings show how the world of the mafia hood has changed.
Aging associates struggle to deal with mobile phones and meetings are held at Starbucks, rather than the social clubs favored during the 1970s and 1980s – and one could not even drink the coffee, saying it would leave him ‘wired’.
On the second day of the trial in Brooklyn, Valenti, 68, testified in minute detail how he had taken part in the Lufthansa raid – a robbery later dramatised in the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas – with Asaro.
But on Wednesday, he described a modest endeavor 32 years later: helping Asaro obtain money from a cousin, Carmine ‘Skippy’ Muscarello, who had inherited a house.
The episode began with Valenti, now 68, telephoning Asaro on his mobile phone in October 2010, to discover he was shopping in a local market for the ingredients for soup.
Ansaro answered: ‘I’m in Waldbaum’s. I’m shopping, I’m going to make lentil soup. I just bought lentils and some orzo and s***.’
They discussed the deal in a series of phonecalls, some apparently ending abruptly with dropped signals. Asaro said Skippy had promised him an ‘end’ – or a share – amounting to $5000 when he sold the house in Brooklyn.
Valenti agreed to visit Asaro at his office in Long Island City where he was a manager for an electrical contractor. Perhaps he would wear a suit, he said.
‘Just be a gentleman,’ he added, ‘but do you want me to… you don’t want to get… uh?
‘No, no, no,’ answered Ansaro. ‘But let him understand that we want our money. I mean it Gar, I mean really he promised it to us. If you have to, then do it, that’s all.’
Valenti wore a wire to the meeting.
After waiting as Skippy orders parts on the telephone, he said: ‘Vinny wants this money. He felt he had the money coming to him.
‘Look, we did a lot of things for you… your brother, when Johnny was in trouble… ‘That’s not my debt,’ said Skippy. ‘That’s the only one that…
‘May your brother rest… ‘That’s my brother’s debt.’ ‘Wait. May your brother rest in peace…’
Valenti persuaded Skippy to speak with Asaro on his new mobile phone, but struggles to get through.
‘They made these numbers any smaller… it’s for Braille,’ Asaro can be heard saying.
Later he added: ‘I just got this phone the other day. It’s driving me crazy.’
Eventually Skippy spoke to Asaro and then said he was ready to write a check for $3000.
‘I’m gonna settle up with him but I don’t wanna here from you ever again, you understand? All right? All right?
They arranged to meet the following day, at a Starbucks on Cross Bay Boulevard, Queens.
‘You ever have any problems, you know exactly what you gotta do. You call me, Vinny or Jerry, and they’ll be there for you.’
They meet the next day at Starbucks, where Skippy produced the check.
Valenti has to apologise for leaving his coffee, which he explained would make him ‘wired’.
For Full Article – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3283389/Meet-Oldfathers-30-years-Goodfellas-heist-Mafia-men-struggled-use-modern-cell-phones-moaned-Starbucks-coffee-got-bartered-3-000-shakedown.html