April 23, 2015
This Week in Gang Land
Frankie Steel: A BIG-Time Bookie Hits The Small Screen
Frank (Frankie Steel) Pontillo has always dreamed big – and in technicolor. Years back, while doing a 13-year prison stretch for murder conspiracy charges stemming from his role in the bloody Colombo civil war, he wrote a screenplay called Price of Blood. It wasn't bad, even caught the eye of a few Hollywood movie types before it ended up on the tall pile with all the other screenplays that never got made. He caught the movie bug when he landed a bit part in a 1991 Steven Seagal shoot-em-up. For a few years, he also was half of a two-man rap group dubbed, appropriately, The Mob.
But last week Pontillo finally got some true camera time, in a role in which his full name was not used. The star of a CNBC-TV show billed as a real look at illegal gambling in New York City, Frankie Steel played the role to the hilt.
"I'm a bookmaker and I take sports action," says Pontillo who presents himself as a larger-than-life character who calls himself "Frank Steele" – a mature version of that silly mob diminutive. In the show, Pontillo – whose last name is never mentioned – matter-of-factly explains that it takes him a week to earn what other folks make in a year as the CEO of his own gambling operation. And that is only a "little piece" of a "three to five hundred billion dollar a year business," the narrator explains.
Her lawyers say she is a loving, caring grandma who should be released on bail to help care for twin seven-month old grandchildren whose father is also behind bars. But a federal judge ripped her as a violence-prone drug-dealer who's a danger to the community and should remain behind bars while she awaits trial on drug charges.
A wiseguy who ran the Genovese crime family's waterfront rackets was sentenced to prison last week as the feds, the state of New Jersey, and the Waterfront Commission closed the books on a 30-year long shakedown scheme in which mobsters extorted Christmastime "tribute" payments from year-end bonus checks received by dockworkers.
Unless you get really lucky, and find a copy squirreled away in the wrong section of your local bookstore, you won't be able to get a first printing of Mob Boss: The Life Of Little Al D'Arco, The Man Who Brought Down The Mafia. But there are still some second print versions of the hardcover available as gifts or for your own reading pleasure.
Because of the heavy demand, Thomas Dunne Books went to the well again for a second printing of Mob Boss, the book that The New York Times called a "gripping, novelistic biography – a bulls-eye."
The mass market, paperback version was published last month, however, and is available online and at your favorite bookstores. You still should be able to pick up a copy of the hard cover at your favorite bookstore, or, as Claude Raines might say to Humphrey Bogart, from any number of the usual online suspects: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and BooksAMillion, as well as an independent book seller near you.
See why Mob Boss has been praised by Pete Hamill, Jimmy Breslin, Nicholas Pileggi, Mister District Attorney Robert Morgenthau – as well as readers everywhere.
Mob Boss is also available in a special BIG PRINT edition. And for those who would rather hear every word of the 406 page book read to them, Mob Boss is also available on an MP3 CD from Tantor Audio.