FEDERICO "FRITZY" GIOVANELLI: Born in March 1932, Giovanelli is the prototype of an old-time New York gangster, a low-key hoodlum whose criminal resume includes organized crime staples like loansharking, bookmaking, and illegal gambling (and whose most recent arrest came May 17, 2001 for extortion). Giovanelli is a soldier in the Genovese crime family, the country's most powerful Mafia group, and has long been closely aligned with the gang's top leaders, including boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante. Following a 1989 racketeering conviction, Giovanelli spent seven years in federal prison. In May 1998, he returned for another nine months in the can after violating terms of his parole (Fritzy was running a Queens gambling ring that prosecutors said took in more than $50 million a year). Giovanelli was charged with the January 1986 killing of Anthony Venditti, an undercover NYPD detective, but he was eventually acquitted of murder--after two prior trials ended with deadlocked juries--in October 1994. Venditti, the father of four young girls, was killed during a shootout in front of a Queens diner (at the time, Venditti was a member of an FBI-NYPD task force investigating Giovanelli and other Genovese gangsters). Giovanelli and his crew have operated from a series of nondescript storefronts near the Queens-Brooklyn border, just a short drive from his modest home on 75th Street in Middle Village, where he raised three children (Freddy, Marriane, and Carolann) and still lives with his wife of 40 years, Carol. Like many wiseguys, Giovanelli also had some girlfriends -- or "goumadas" -- on the side. During the course of this FBI wiretap, Fritzy's paramour was Gail, a Queens woman 22 years his junior.
FRANK "FRANKIE CALIFORNIA" CONDO: A longtime Greenwich Village resident whose nickname remains a mystery, Condo was a staple at Sullivan Street's Triangle Social Club, the de facto headquarters of the Genovese crime family. Born in August 1927, Condo, a Genovese soldier, worked in the gang's gambling and loansharking operations and, unlike Giovanelli, never did more than brief prison stretches. While in close proximity to Gigante, Condo's role with "Chin" was more protector, lookout, and security blanket than adviser. Condo would report nightly to the Triangle, where Gigante sat in his bathrobe playing cards. Condo joked that the club was the "Last Chance Saloon," since guests regularly found themselves roped into games of Continental, rigged affairs that always ended with Gigante pocketing a pile of cash. As the tapes show, Condo often disparaged Gigante during his talks with Giovanelli -- an affront that might have cost Condo his life had it ever become known. At a time when he was preoccupied with his exercise regimen, diet, and vitamin intake, Condo railed about Gigante's late-night antics ("Chin" liked to wander the streets at 4 AM) and his evenings in the filthy, cold Triangle. In one memorable rant, Condo told Giovanelli that a selfish Gigante "takes the calcium from your bones." Before his death a few years ago, Condo split time at his West Houston Street apartment and the Tribeca home of his girlfriend Helen, a woman 20 years his junior. As with most Triangle wiseguys, Frank was laid out at Perazzo's funeral home on Bleecker Street, a block from the social club. As Condo was waked, detectives with the NYPD's organized crime division watched from across the street as various Mafia dignitaries paid their respects.
VINCENT "CHIN" GIGANTE: Dubbed the "Oddfather," the bizarre Genovese family boss is either mentally ill, as his family claims, or putting on an act, as government investigators assert. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Gigante liked strolling about Greenwich Village in his pajamas and a robe and was known to urinate in the street. He also happened to run the country's most powerful mob outfit and kept himself out of prison for almost 40 years (until a 1997 racketeering conviction sent him away for 12 years; he'll be out in 2007). The most secretive of gangsters, Gigante barely used the telephone and wouldn't even let fellow hoodlums speak his name -- a stroke of the chin was the preferred way of referring to the Genovese boss. Frank and Fritzy were a bit more inventive, referring to Gigante as their "aunt," or even "Aunt Julia." Of course, there would be pronoun slippage. During one chat with a Genovese associate, Fritzy noted that, "Ah, Aunt Julia said he wanted to help me out, too." Gigante was a protégé of Vito Genovese and succeeded Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno as the gang's boss.
LOUIS ANTHONY "BOBBY" MANNA: No, we're not sure why he's called Bobby. Until a racketeering conviction sent him to federal prison until February 2056, Manna was Genovese consigliere, the family's number three position. An unassuming hood, Manna graduated from a New Jersey-based crew to become one of Gigante's closest advisers. He kept a small apartment two blocks from the Triangle Social Club and dated a woman named Ida who, according to Frank and Fritzy, always seemed to be sick. "He really bought a barrel of trouble," Fritzy said of Manna's ailing paramour. "He bought a hospital bill," Frank added.
DOMINICK "BALDY DOM" CANTERINO: A Genovese captain who ran the family's Greenwich Village-based crew. Indicted with Gigante for racketeering, Canterino beat the case, as it were, by croaking before he could be tried. A Bensonhurst resident, Canterino once told the FBI that he worked as a dockworker, foreman, and once "did time as a thief." An FBI report also notes, "Canterino discussed the problems of being married and having a girlfriend on the side, which included having to split time between the two on holidays." Poor baby.
DOMINICK "QUIET DOM" CIRILLO: Also known as QD, Cirillo became acting boss of the Genovese family following Gigante's legal problems. Previously, he served as the boss's "messagario," or messenger, serving to insulate Gigante from other hoods (and possible informants). No fashion plate, Cirillo's attire was the subject of ridicule from Frank and Fritzy, who laughed that his clothing was reminiscent of Emmett Kelly's clown outfits. "And if he has a few Scotches," Fritzy noted, "his nose gets red. He don't have to put the rouge on!"
DOMINICK "FAT DOM" ALONGI: A New Orleans native, Alongi once ran the Greenwich Village crew centered at the Triangle Social Club. Due to illness, he "retired" to Florida, where Frank would occasionally care for him, even clipping the sick gangster's toenails.
JOSEPH "JOE CARPETS" GIOVINCO: A Giovanelli associate who owns a Queens auto body shop (Fritzy claims to have a piece of the company). We're not sure how he got the "Carpets" nickname, but we'd bet Joe tells his buddies it had something to do with him "always getting laid."
MEADE ESPOSITO: The former Brooklyn Democratic boss, Esposito was an old friend of Fritzy whom the hood referred to as "my goombah Meade." As a result of the wiretap on Fritzy's phone, Meade was eventually convicted of federal charges, but died before he could land in the can. Esposito, who owned an insurance brokerage and a printing firm, is now reportedly serving as district leader in Hell's Fourth Ward. Caused Fritzy much domestic grief when he phoned one Thanksgiving morning and made the mistake of calling Fritzy's wife "Gail," the name of her husband's goumada. Fritzy's son Freddy once worked in Esposito's insurance company.
HARRY DICKRAN: A partner of Esposito's in a Long Island printing shop, Dickran would speak with Fritzy and swap tales of domestic woe. Jammed up with Esposito, Dickran spent 18 months in a federal pen for a couple of felony raps.
ANGELO D'ACUNTO: Genovese associate who grew up near Gigante family in Greenwich Village. Controlled a large Brooklyn firm that bought and sold New York City taxi medallions. Did a stretch in the can for a 1989 federal conviction for defrauding a New York credit union.
VINCENT D'ACUNTO: Angelo's younger brother, is referred to affectionately by Fritzy as "baby brother." A Genovese associate who works in the liquor industry, D'Acunto (and his brother) were regularly spotted by the FBI in "Chin" Gigante's company, usually in the boss's townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
MORRIS LEVY: A longtime Genovese associate, Levy was a legend in the music industry. He ran Roulette Records and probably rooked more recording artists than any other businessman (if you believed Morris, he co-wrote "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" with Frankie Lymon). Another convicted felon who died before he could be outfitted for a prison jumpsuit, Levy is clearly the inspiration for the Hesh Rabkin character on "The Sopranos."
JOSEPH "JOE YAC" YACOVELLI: Genovese soldier.
DOMINICK "DOM THE SAILOR" DIQUARTO: Genovese soldier who operated from a social club three blocks south of the Triangle.
CIRO PERROTTA: Genovese soldier, Triangle Social Club habitué.