Author Scott Hoffman takes us inside how well the movies like Casino, Goodfellas, Donnie Brasco, and the TV series The Sopranos portray the Outfit and the Mafia. To hear more Mafia stories, pick up Scott’s book called Inside using the button below.
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Dan LeFebvre: We have a few movies to chat about today. And the first one is the 1995 film directed by Martin Scorsese called Casino. Now, if we were to take a step back and… Look at the movie from an overall perspective to give it a letter grade for how accurately it portrayed the mafia. What would it get?
[00:05:37] Scott Hoffman: I would say probably a C, maybe a C minus
[00:05:40] Dan LeFebvre: C or C minus.
OK. That’s actually that’s not bad. Of course, it’s not a documentary or anything like that. It’s still pure entertainment. It’s not bad.
[00:05:48] Scott Hoffman: I’m getting my break a little bit. Yeah, because there were some things that were close, but there were some things that were not close. Yeah. So I’m being freedom here.
The Martin Scorsese, give him a break.
[00:06:01] Dan LeFebvre: Sure. And again, it’s a movie, so you’re going to have that. Early on in the movie, we do see how the outfit gets paid by the casinos in Vegas. And the way the movie sets it up, we see someone going into the count room in the casino, and they take out some cash in a briefcase.
That briefcase is taken to Kansas City, which the movie says is the closest that the Midwest bosses can go to Vegas without getting arrested. That suitcase is because, at least again, this is the way the movie explains it, the, they control the Teamsters union in Vegas. So that’s where you go to get a loan for a casino.
And that loan only comes if you get a suitcase, like a monthly suitcase of cash in return, basically. And that’s how the movie explains how the outfit got paid by the casinos in Vegas. Does the movie Casino do a pretty good job of explaining how they really made their money in Vegas?
[00:06:51] Scott Hoffman: No, not really. They did not, that, that, it’s in that one area especially not, especially in my book Inside, which my book Inside is while fictional, it’s people and events are composites of real people and real events.
And the uniqueness of the book was seen through the eyes of an eight year old, because I’m going to Las Vegas in 1956 with my father, starting one on May. No, the only thing that they would have got right was the word count rule. Cause what happened basically was that was about it. Okay. Because basically what would happen would be that Usually the pit boss.
Now, whoever was running the casino would have the pit boss go into the count room and I spent a lot of time in accountants and counting. You’d go in about two, three o’clock in the morning, three 30 in the morning. That’s when you’d be going in and all the money would be brought in. And the outfits take at that point was 10 percent every day, 10%.
Okay. And the hotel owners, which had the license. And that’s one thing the movie never explained. They. Obviously just talking about casino, but that’s not really how things ran. And then the money would be, as I talked about inside in my book, I talk about this the money was counted. It was put in an envelope.
The pit boss had assigned the day, the time and his name, and then print his name. Okay. And he, they would do that with several envelopes and then put them in a duffel bag. And then they were put in a van and driven out to a building, which my father had bought and created it to look like was owned by a construction company, Georgia construction company was the name he put on there.
It was known Georgia construction company. But if you drove by, we’d say, Oh, it’s just a construction company. The money was taken in there. There were three guys that were in there. Okay. They were armed with shotguns, 38s, 45s. And they would have to sign that they got the money, they got the envelope, same thing.
They’d have to put the time they got it the day they got it, they’d have to sign for it and then print their name. And there were messengers from the outfit that brought the money back to Chicago. Now what the movie was portraying, maybe that occurred when Alan Dorfman got involved, okay?
And that was the reason he got involved, he was executive director. Of the teamster union was because my father and he would joke about it was, he said it was like General Douglas MacArthur being called back by President Harry Truman from Korea that Tony Ricardo in April of 1966 was removing Sam Giancana from day to day operations.
And Antonio Cardo, one of my father, who my father reported to was also a consigliere for Sam Giancana, was a manager for Paul Rica, also a consigliere for Joey Ayupu, took over in 1973. Antonio Cardo wanted him in Chicago. He said, things are running great in Las Vegas. We’ll let Dorfman handle it from, whatever has to be done, but I need you here in Chicago because things were starting to get wild, very wild.
Between 1966 and 1973. It was remind me like in the early sixties, PK Wrigley, who was the owner of the Cubs decided rather than having a manager for the team, he was going to have revolving coaches. So so many, I like say the hitting coach would be the manager for so many games in the pitching coach.
With the outfit, the problem was whoever was put in to run day to day was under a federal indictment. So they’d last a year. And then you had another guy who’d be under another federal indictment was going on and on. And it was getting wild horse. It was getting wild because day to day operations, you have to remember everything that was brought into the outfit at that time was 200 million.
And a hundred million dollars was coming from Las Vegas. Wow. All right. And normally every map family has a rule, and this is a standard rule that cops and kids are off limits, but because of the money coming from Las Vegas, that ruled in applied to me. It never applied to me. So that’s why when I was eight, nine, 10, 11 years old, I’m seeing not only mob activities, but I’m seeing my first murder at at nine years old, at 11 years old, I’m seeing the guy’s hands cut off because he owed juice money.
I was 12 years old. The same guy who cut the guy’s hands off when I was 11, he decapitated a guy who owed juice money. These guys were still alive and screaming. Yeah, it was something, like I say, the messengers who were chosen were. We’re guys either that had a part of the outfit, they were either members or maybe made guys.
But we also had Chicago police officers who either were fired from the job or had resigned from the job. We have 50 total police officers, Chicago on the payroll and 30 of them were active officers. 20 of them were either, like I say, either have been fired or they quit knowing that we’re going to be fired.
And there was maybe three or four of them that would wind up in the book, okay, in Las Vegas’s Black Book at that time. And that’s, another story what the movie didn’t really come across, about this Black Book, what was going on with that. And so they were basically the ones who’d be bringing the money back, okay, and they’d be bringing them back, money to my father.
For Tony Acardo or someone else who was designated to get the money and then distribute the money. That’s how it was done then, okay? Dorfman, when he took over, who knows what he was doing, but he didn’t listen to my father because my father said to him, Alan, be careful, Alan. And he wasn’t careful.
He was not careful because in 1970, he was convicted. He pled guilty. Got a year for embezzlement along with other guys from the Team Serpentian. So it’s quite a long story about Alan Dorf. We could do a whole show on that. It’ll be a different one. Yeah, that’s how things work. That’s how things.
[00:12:52] Dan LeFebvre: It sounds very different than in the movie.
I, it’s, it just seems, of course, it’s in broad daylight in the movie and it just seems like it’s just go in and out. Nobody pays attention, but it seems like there’s a very a lot more chain of coming in or like who’s, or tracking every, all the money to a lot more organized,
[00:13:09] Scott Hoffman: because first of all, I’ll tell you why the problem with the movie.
Was this Kansas city reported to Chicago. That was one of the families who reported to Chicago. So there was no way that they were going to at least my father, I’ll say him. I won’t say what Dorfman was doing. My father, Tony Acarno, Sam Giancana, there was no way the money was going to go to Kansas city because they weren’t sure they, first of all, they weren’t sure if they could trust Kansas city and how it was going to be tracked or were they going to skim their own money to say we’re charging you for rent, a rent fee, so there was no way it would have went to Kansas city. And like I say, Kansas city reported to Chicago. Okay. So that would not have happened. Okay. Yeah. And they would not, my upstairs would not have been worried about. Getting arrested. I’ll tell you why, because if their name is not in the black book and in that was the Nevada gaming commission and they would put mobsters name in the black.
Okay. And if your name was put in the black book, like Sam Giancana, his name was put in the black, you could not go into a casino because the casino would lose their license. There was no, give him a second chance. Let’s find them. No, the casino’s license would be pulled. And you have to remember the way my father set it up was that he had private investors who got the license.
These were all business people who were able to get the license because the Nevada gaming commission is not going to give gambling license to mobsters. So the deal would be the map, the outfit would run the casino, but the business men would run the hotel. But my father was very clear. I understand very clear that you bring in hotel people to run the hotel operation.
You guys might be good in your own business, but you don’t know a darn thing about the hotel business. And we want people to be happy. The whole thing with Las Vegas was we want people to go back to their towns and tell their family and friends the wonderful time that they had in Las Vegas and that you got to go word of mouth.
My father was very clear with these guys. And because knowing who my father was. They didn’t monkey around and what he would tell him he says i’ll have someone from the casino talk to you every day And if you need their assistance, they will help you in other words if they’re having problems with somebody Like what happened one time with Lee Marvin, the actor at the Fremont, that’s another story.
But yeah. So that’s how it was really run. Okay. But it was not a fear of going to Las Vegas because we have, there were mob guys who came from other cities to see Las Vegas, but their names were not in the book. So they could go into a casino and not have a problem. So this thing about, they were afraid of being arrested.
That didn’t really work because Sheriff Ralph Lamb was a legendary guy. You can look up to LAMB or your listeners can look them up. It was legendary. I’ll never forget. I’m with my father and he says to my father, you guys know how to run the inside. We’re going to run the outside. Don’t worry. Meaning they’ll take care of the street.
You guys take care of the inside and we never had a problem. Okay. So there was never a situation where I say Sammy Gravano would be walking down Las Vegas Boulevard that somebody was going to arrest them. That wouldn’t happen. Okay. Because he wasn’t in the black book, they would have figured he’s a tourist.
I’m using Mr. Gravano as an example. Yeah,
[00:16:34] Dan LeFebvre: yeah, it’s very different than what we see in the movie. When you were talking about the change of command there and something, that reminds me of something that is a key plot point in Casino with Joe Pesci’s character, Nicky. He seems to go rogue and…
Even has a plan to take down the outfit’s boss Rimo Gaggi in the movie is his name and he’s trying to take control for himself. How realistic would it be for that sort of mutiny that we see happening in the movie Casino to actually have happened in the outfit?
[00:17:04] Scott Hoffman: That wouldn’t happen at all because that character was based on Tony Spilaccio, okay?
And Tony Spilaccio was sent out there in 19, let’s see, 1979. No, I’m sorry, around 1969. He was out there 15 years and he was going off the rails a lot of times. It was maybe by 1978, 79. He was put in the black book, so he couldn’t go into a casino. He was put out there as the muscle. He was the second guy.
And the problem basically was his brother. Michael was telling everybody that someday Tony’s going to run day to day operation. Dan, if you’re a boss over a staff, do you want to hear your staff saying, someday you’re going to be running, you’re going to get my job? No, that’s not going to happen.
Okay? So there was no way that was ever going to happen. One of the things when Tony O’Connell took over in 1943, and he called my father and he was very concerned about the Blackhands, which would be the whole story on the Blackhands, that’s something different. Now, Capone was a Blackhand. And he said, I don’t want to be like those animals in New York.
We’re going to have a one man operation. And basically that’s what the outfit was in the outfit today. There’s still four street crews. It’s a one man operation. The crews report basically to one boss. It’s not like New York with five families, five individual bosses. We’re going all over the place.
Sometimes not recognizing territory and things like that. Tony Ocardo never wanted to be like New York. He didn’t care about New York. He told my father in 1943, when he took over after the Hollywood trial, which is another story he said, when I don’t want to be like those animals. And in fact, I will tell you this, when Sam Giancana was removed, he asked Paul Ricca, who actually had brought was a bodyguard for Al Capone, very smart guy and brought Tony Ricardo in as a driver and a bodyguard.
He asked Paul to go under. Mafia commission, okay, which still exists today, but they don’t meet the underbosses and captains of various families will meet. Chicago still is on the commission today and they’re represented by the Genovese family, but he, Tony O’Connell didn’t even want to go on the commission after he pulled Sam Giancana at that point.
And Sam Giancana was the guy, because of what went on between the Kennedys and the outfit, which is another long story, how it actually began. He was the guy who pushed, he was the guy who really pushed the assassination. So that’s another story.
[00:19:41] Dan LeFebvre: Al Capone. What is that phrase that you’re, I’m not familiar with
[00:19:44] Scott Hoffman: that term. Okay. The Blackhands were this, they were all Sicilians. They were all Sicilians who came to America. And as far as they were now, my father played cards with these guys when, in his teenage years, he knew these guys playing cards.
They trusted him. But the Sicilians the Blackhands rather, they were all extortionists. Okay, but as far as they were concerned, if you were not Sicilian from Sicily, you could not be in the mafia or the mob. They would accept Northern Italians, but they would say to them, you will never be in a leadership.
You can be part of the mob, but you can never be leadership. You’re not from Sicily. You’re not Sicilian. And of course, any non Sicilian forget about it. They weren’t even going to look at them, they didn’t want them at all. They accepted my father because he played cards with them. And when my father became a manager, he was in his twenties Paul Rica asked him to be a manager.
He put them over to black hands. And the first thing he said to him, what’s you guys, what’s your beef, what’s your problem. And he said we don’t know what we’re going to get paid, which in mob life is true. Okay. You don’t always know. That’s why guys took no show jobs with the state of Illinois city of Chicago, the County, my father worked regular jobs, legit jobs.
So he could get a W2, which is again, another story. And so he said, look, you guys hit the street and then I’ll talk with Paul and you’re going to have to pay tribute. Paying tribute means you have to kick up a percentage to the boss. And it was 10%. They said they’d be fine with it. So what the Blackhands would do is basically they went into a business and they would say to them, wow, we hear that the neighborhoods, there’s some problems in the neighborhood and that you need protection.
And the owner would say to them, what are you’re crazy. That’s a good name, right? There’s nothing going on here. And how they would start was that night they break the windows. That’d be the beginning. And then after that, they come back to the guy and they said, they would say to the owner, they said, these guys are violent.
We’re concerned about your life. And that was the phrase, your life telling the guy, okay, we. Phase one was break the windows phase two is you and so they pay extortion money and the black hands were all over Chicago They were not they were very uncontrollable and I will tell you this There’s a note of history where Anton mayor Anton Cermak who supposedly took a bullet Franklin Delano Roosevelt like in 1932 33 in Miami and that’s not the real story not even close.
That’s not the real story why Cermak was killed, he was killed by black hands because he was going to clean up Chicago and get the mob out of, get the outfit out of Chicago. Yeah. That’s a whole nother story.
[00:22:30] Dan LeFebvre: A whole other story there. Speaking of another story, if we shift on from the movie casino to another Martin Scorsese movie, 1990s, Goodfellas from an overall perspective for Goodfellas, if you were to give that one a letter grade for how accurately it depicted the mafia, what would you give that one?
That would be
[00:22:49] Scott Hoffman: probably I’d give him a D plus.
[00:22:52] Dan LeFebvre: D plus. So a little bit better than casino, but still, or it’s a little bit worse than casino, but still yeah. There
[00:22:58] Scott Hoffman: were a few things. There was a, because when I went to college, Long Island university, I’d gotten an academic scholarship. After I had gone to a junior college after telling my father, which is a, again, with me, it’s another.
So with me, I can tell you 12 stories of relate to one story. So I apologize to you and your listeners, . I really do. But with me it’s, it rolls on and I’d gone and I had gotten, I’d taken the one creative writing class at junior college, and the teacher thought I was a pretty good professor. And and his college roommate, who was from Brooklyn, they went together to the University of Illinois.
That’s where they both, graduated. The professor is talking to the his roommate and says, this fellow, Scott Hoffman, I want to show you his work. He’s pretty good as a writer. And he started to tell me the fellow started to tell me his aunt worked in the. Admissions office for Long Island university, which I never heard of in Brooklyn, New York.
So he was telling me about it. I figured, okay, I went to my public library, Chicago public library branch in my neighborhood. And I talked to the librarian very nice. And she said, yes, we have a college reference books of listing of all the colleges. Let’s look it up and see. So we looked it up. I got the address.
I wrote them a letter. They said, send me transcripts because they give two out of state scholarships. Okay. Academic. But you’re going to have to be responsible for your own room and board. Now, when I was one, the junior college, I was working part time because the junior college, the first class started eight in the morning and the last was nine at night.
So it was very convenient for night students. If you had to work during the day, it was convenient for night students. So I applied and they accepted me and I went to New York. I’d never been to New York before. And I was looking at some of the jobs posted, i, the admissions office to see what was available.
And most of them were very low pay in those days, our 0. 35 an hour, 1. 50. Cause we’re talking September of 1968. So the jobs weren’t high pay. So I did what I did best. And I was in a classroom with a guy and I’m telling him I need some work to cover my room and board. I had brought money with me, but it was like 600 in those days.
It wasn’t a lot, but still I had to work to come up with the money. And he’s, and I’m telling him, and I thought he’s going to bug out and say, Oh, you’re crazy. And he says, no, I might know somebody. And he did the guy’s name was Charles Scarfa was known as the grim Reaper. He was a Colombo family guy.
He was involved with maybe a hundred murders. He was also used by the FBI when they were looking to try and find out who killed the three civil rights guys in 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner, Michael Goodman, and. I think that Don Chaney, I think that was the other guy’s name, two white guys and a black guy.
So they used him. I don’t know why they used him, but they used him. He was able to help. So I worked, my first MAP social club was, I worked at Colombo. Now at that time in New York, the drinking age was 18 and I was like 19, almost 20. So I could work in it. Later when the federal government. Change the law that everybody, every state had to be 21.
That was different in Illinois. It was 21, but New York, when they told me 18, I was surprised. I didn’t think, I thought it was 21. So I worked there and then someone said to me I think you could earn a little more money. And I know somebody that could help you was Lucchese crime family.
And it was the suite owned by Henry Hill. It was in Queens and Queens Boulevard near Forest Hills. And I went to meet him and he was, to me, he was a twerpy guy, to be honest with you. I know we think a lot of, and he said, no, we can use you. Okay. Fine. And he hired me and that’s where I met and got to know all the real sopranos.
All the real good fellows. And I eventually met all the real sopranos, the Bayardo family. That’s who David Chase used. And the television show, The Sopranos is the Bayardo family, pretty much ran Newark. I later met them, but Goodfellas. Yeah, I knew all of them and things were not quite like what we was making it.
[00:26:49] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. We’ll talk about Sopranos here in a little bit, but before we leave the Goodfellas, since you did meet the real Henry Hill, do you think the movie did a good job portraying him with Ray Leotis playing him?
[00:27:02] Scott Hoffman: No, I met a fat man in 1998. I was in California. And I was invited to a party and who comes with Ray Liotta and a couple, I had two friends.
And he was he goes out to the, like the garden area. He says, I’ll be right back to his friends. I figured, okay, I’m going to go ask him about Henry Hill. And he’s, we had a gold compact and he was a heavy smoker in those days. And I was very sorry to hear when he passed. I don’t know if he still was smoking at that time, but he was a heavy smoker and he was smoking.
And I said, Mr. Liotta, I really enjoy your work and I got to ask you about somebody. He says, sure, go right ahead. And I said what’d you think of Henry? And he says, Henry who? I said the guy you played in Goodfellas, what was his name? Henry Hill. Is that his name? And he says, he was scary to me.
And I’m thinking here’s Ray Liotta, he plays all these tough guys. And he’s telling me he’s scared, and he said, how do you know Henry? And I said I was just in passing. I wasn’t going to tell him how I knew Henry, but I said, just in passing. But to me, Henry Hill was, I always saw him.
He was always afraid. His body language is afraid of Jimmy Burke and Paul Vario. Always really was afraid. And he was one of these guys to me and I’ll use an analogy. This is the same analogy that a kid who lives across the street from a drug dealer and sees all the nice clothes. The guy’s hat guy has and cars and women and jewelry.
And that was pretty much Henry Hill was a mob groupie as a kid. And he was the type of guy, in my opinion, that would do anything to win favor with wise guys, okay? He would do anything. That’s not why they didn’t like Henry. To me, he was not a guy to be afraid of. He wasn’t Sam Giancana, I’ll tell you that.
He wasn’t Tony Accardo, but yet, he did whatever they wanted. And he was, that’s why he was involved. And like I say, all of them were Jimmy Burke Paul Vario, the real Tommy, who was very psychotic, which is another story, Tommy D. Simone, okay. And Angelo Seppi were heavily into cocaine and I knew Pittsburgh guys from the Pittsburgh mob.
One of the guys there was his name was Eugene DeSola called Nicky the Blade. He was a slasher, always using him. And he was the contact, not only on the guns that when they showed in the movie, but the cocaine. He was the contact that brought the cocaine to New York that Henry Hill would buy. But if she got money for and they would be all smoking and then Henry Hill would always say to me let’s why you want something?
And I’d say, no, no, I’m not into drugs on this prescription. I get it. I’m allergic. I told him I’m allergic to cocaine. Okay. And Jimmy Burke says to me, sure. Jimmy Burke wanted me to work at his place. It’s Robert’s lounge, which is located. And South Ozone Park near LaGuardia airport and a kind of a little bit older.
Lucchese guy said to me, Scott, let’s go outside. I want to tell you something. He says, look, you can do what you want. Jimmy Burke. Okay. He’ll pay you more money. I’m going to tell you right now, they bury guys in the bar. So if you want to be around that’s on you. That’s up to you. So I go back and I say to Jimmy Burke my class schedules.
Thanks, Jimmy, a lot. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. But just because of my class schedules, I just don’t think I could swing it. And this time here at with Henry at the suite is it works a little more, but thank you so much. Thanks a lot for thinking of me. So that’s great. Thanks. So I got along Tommy D Simone.
I got along with, because in 1957 Los Angeles became one of mob families who reported to Chicago. And two of his uncles were part of the LA mob. And when we first met he, I’ve been told that this happened a few days before we even met. It was this gentleman walking down the street. It was a middle aged gentleman by the name of Howard Goldstein.
Just walking down the street, just like if you or I would be walking down the street. And Tommy called him a bad name and put three in the hat. And three and a half means put three in the back of the head. And then you put two in the chest. So the next day when I’m seeing Tommy, I’m saying that happened about a week before I met Tommy.
I’m saying, I said, why’d you shoot Howard? This Howard Goldstein. He says to me, Scott, I had a new gun. I had to try it out. Wow. So Tommy B Simone was the type of guy. My father would say, he’s never going to live to 30. And Tommy DeSimone was killed when he was 28. Wow. But he was a very psychotic guy. And his sister, who was 16 years old, was having an affair with 42 year old Jimmy Burke.
So yeah, that was a good fellows. Wow. Wow.
[00:31:37] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. Going back to something that you talked about with Henry Hill, the real Henry Hill, when he, you were saying that he was Trying to gain favor with wise guys and make them happy. And that’s similar to something that we saw in the movie. I think Ray Liotta’s version of Henry Hill mentioned something like, as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.
And it tells the story from his perspective and growing up in Brooklyn neighborhood around gangsters. And he seems to idolize them. Of course, everybody’s situation is different, but you had a similar sort of decision to make about whether or not you would follow in your father’s footsteps. Was there a lot of pressure to stay in the life like Henry Hill did in the movie?
[00:32:15] Scott Hoffman: No, it was completely the opposite. In fact, my father, when it all started eight years old he said to me, he said at that age, he said, Scott, look, it’s going to be your decision. What you want to do. But I want your eyes open. You’re going to see everything. It’s going to be rough. It’s going to be hard, but you’re going to see everything, all facets, everything in mob life.
And then you’re going to make the decision. He says, I’m not going to make it for you. You’re going to make the decision because other hosts have said, what was he grooming you? No. And that was really very, an exception. Cause in my families, the father will really want his son, do things to show his son that it’s a good life or the uncle will show the nephew.
Yeah. You can make more money, which is why I really never dated the little Madonna’s mob daughters or mob nieces, because what they would do, say, we’ll use you as an example, Dan. And they would, and yeah, they would say to you, Dan, come down the basement. I want to just talk for a little bit. And you’d say, great.
You was getting a little more serious. With Angela or Maria, and they would say, yeah, Dan, how much money do you earn on these podcasts? Say how much you earn. Yeah, it’s, and a wise guy would say the father of the uncle would say, that’s nice, my niece or my daughter, she’s used to the better things, Dan, the better things.
So I don’t really know if you can afford on that salary, but I can make you a great offer if you come with me, if you come with me, Dan, you’ll be making a lot more money. And you got to remember that the daughters or the nieces, why I call them little Madonnas, cause they were spoiled when they were 16, they had the Corvettes when they were 17, they had the tennis bracelets.
Oh yeah. They would be shopping at Lauren Taylor, Neiman Marcus. So they were used to that life and they wanted a guy who could provide for that life. So that’s what they would do. So at that point, Dan would have to make a decision. Do I end this relationship? Or do I decide to go into the life as mob life is calm and I never wanted that.
Yeah. Don’t blame me,
[00:34:20] Dan LeFebvre: but it makes sense then hearing that how someone like Henry Hill and how we see it portrayed in the movie, at least that they would have, there would be, tantalizing, to make more money. And it seems like it’s better than it is. It sounds like your experience there, as you mentioned, it’s a little.
Little different in that you saw a lot and you were more aware rather than just, I’m going to make a lot of money and have
[00:34:46] Scott Hoffman: two good things. The difference with me was by seeing it young and it was very hard. And I didn’t think about it till I was in my twenties by seeing it so young, by the time I was say 16, which most guys, if they went to high school, they dropped out, but they had no idea what they were getting in.
Dan, I was a hardened seasoned veteran. When you talk about a hardened seasoned veteran, you’re looking right at them. Okay. I knew all facets of the life. I knew what was going on. I knew a lot of things about a lot of people. I wasn’t, I didn’t have any expectations where when guys go at the life, 16, 17 years old.
They’ve got these expectations. Like I say, it’s like the kid who lives across the street from the drug dealer. He doesn’t think about what the legal consequences are going to be. That doesn’t enter into his mind. All he sees is, Hey, this guy got more money. Why should I work at McDonald’s? Look at all the money he’s got.
Look at what he’s making. See, and it was like that with Henry Hill. When I say a mob groupie, he’s seeing all this money flashing. Cause a lot of guys will flash that money and he’s thinking to himself. Wait a minute. This is a lot more money than I could ever make on a straight job, but he found out down the road what things were all about.
And he was eventually kicked out of the WPP program. That’s a witness, program, for witness protection program. He was kicked out of that when they had to move him so many times to Seattle. And that’s why in 1989 his wife, Left Karen left him at that time. Okay, but neither him or Karen were faith Karen was having an affair with Paul Barrio Okay, when Henry was in jail and Henry was running around with women and her so it wasn’t like a happy marriage But she just wasn’t she was going back to New York and the FBI handler says don’t go back to New York This guy’s gonna be looking for Henry So they want, they’ll grab you and they’re going to force you to tell him, where’s Henry?
She said, I don’t care. I don’t want this life because wherever they put Henry, because they put you West of the Mississippi and the WPP program with this protection plant program, they put you West of the Mississippi. They don’t put you East. So he was constantly being moved because what he was doing was going back to criminal life, selling drugs.
He was going right back to it. So eventually when he got to Seattle, they just got tired of it. They kicked him out of the program. They kicked him out of the program.
[00:37:16] Dan LeFebvre: Wow. Wow. One thing I wanted to ask about with in, in Goodfellas, as I was watching that again to prepare for our chat, something that stood out to me was something that’s throughout the entire movie.
And there’s just this level of paranoia that we have. It’s constant paranoia that law enforcement’s going to find them. There is a scene with, in Goodfellas with Ray Liotta’s character, Henry Hill, we’ve been talking about, he’s looking up nervously at, a helicopter about flying over. He thinks the helicopter is looking for him.
But then to contrast that, there’s times in the movie where we see guys, just jumping to violence so quickly without really seeming to care who sees it. So you have some scenes where Henry or people are just extremely paranoid, and then you have scenes of wise guys doing brutal beatings in broad daylight in front of who knows how many witnesses.
Did the guys in the mafia really live in this constant state of paranoia while also maybe not really caring who sees their crimes?
[00:38:12] Scott Hoffman: No, it wasn’t, they were always concerned. They were always concerned because they knew, what the consequences would be, especially when the Rico act came in April of 1970.
That changed. I’ll never forget when I come home in March of 1970 on a spring break from college, I read about it in the New York times. And I said to my father, the RICO act was racketeering influence, corruption organization act. That’s what it was called. It was written actually by Robert Blakely, who was the law professor at Notre Dame for Congress.
I don’t know why they picked him, but they picked him. And I asked my father this isn’t going to really bother the outfit or anything. He says to me, Scott. In years to come, not today, not tomorrow, the rats are going to be jumping off the ship. And that’s because the law was, you’d have to do at least 85 percent of the time, unless this is another thing that the public doesn’t know.
They have a lot of programs in prison. Okay. Like alcohol programs and drug programs. If you qualify, that’ll cut some of your time. All right, that’ll cut some of your time. So you’re not always doing straight 85%. Because of that, the 60 year old guys, the guys in their fifties, they were concerned about that, but guys were never paranoid.
They were concerned obviously because it was always a case of where the law enforcement, the G the FBI, that was their job. Okay. So they’re trying to make cases against you all the time. So they were concerned about it, but it wasn’t a paranoia like that. And as far as the other. No, you would never be, you’d never be doing that in public to anybody.
In fact, I’ll tell you this, when my father got the order on someone, and now in the movies, they always, our television will say whack somebody, but there’s another terminology and the other term is give him his receipt. So Dan, if you’re in a store or your listeners are in a store. And the clerk says Mr.
Lefevre, would you like your receipt? You have those feet pointed at the door and you run out as fast as you can. Going giving a receipt means kill him. So when my father would go, and another thing the public doesn’t know is that if you put a contract out on someone, that was considered their job.
Unless you put money on the contract, then it became different. That was rare. But that was your job, okay? If you were the muscle and the order was given on somebody, you didn’t get paid extra for it. Where they got paid extra and again, the public and probably yourself, you’re not aware is when they go out as juice collectors, okay.
Or street enforcers and juice collector will be collecting either gambling money or loan sharking money, interest juice on it. That’s what they refer to. And the street enforcers were collecting street tax on businesses. Now the juice collectors would get ham. So that’s why they were so aggressive because they’re getting 50 percent of what they bring in.
Be right. He then would get 10 percent commission besides straight salary. Okay. And so that’s why they were aggressive. And so those are two things, just as example, the public doesn’t know. And of course, movies aren’t going to really tell you that they’re just going to show you a guy with a baseball bat.
And that wasn’t even always the case. I saw a lot of different beatings with a lot of different things. All right. But as far as that when my father would get the order and he would talk with, cause they pretty much left it up to him, who we want to use if, when the order was given on someone. The guy would always say to my father, do you want him to make his confessional or do you want him to make his confirmation?
And the confessional meant, did you want him, did you want the body to be found? And the confirmation was you didn’t want the body to be found. And that was always came up. As far as any beatings no, never. That would never happen that, out in public like that. Because again, like you say, somebody could see it.
Now, guys did some crazy, stupid things, and people saw it, sure, and they got caught, but nobody would be out there. If anything, if they go real early in the morning, see basically what they would do, they tail a guy for a period of time and see what time he went to work, what time he came home.
And if he went to work early in the morning, they would be in the driveway with the guy and get out and put a gun in his ribs and say, get in the trunk. So unless somebody is out walking their dog at six in the morning. That was as far as it went, they weren’t gonna stand there and beat anybody with people walking down the street.
That was never gonna happen because obviously if someone sees, it’s like someone sees, give an example. In 2014, there were 14 Colombo guys who were arrested and the guys who weren’t arrested, the old timers went crazy and the reason they went crazy, there was about maybe four guys, five guys under the age of 40, who they texted a guy saying, if you don’t pay, we’re gonna break your legs.
Why would you text anybody? Okay, because now the guy has a text and he’s showing it to the FBI. Okay, so the old guys went crazy. They said, we got to do something with these guys. I hear that, through the mob grapevine, we got to do something. And I tell the guys, look, the younger generation is used to using cell phones.
They’re used to texting and they don’t always think, but you’re not going to text somebody that you’re going to do something physically because that’s evidence. Okay. And the one thing you learn about, and I spent a lot of time in courtrooms, an awful lot of time, is that one of the things that counts in trying to convict someone, you have to show intent.
Okay. You have to show intent because intent is mental state. That’s basically, we’ll just skip around here for just a second. That’s basically what the special prosecutor is doing with Donald Trump. By tapes, emails, whatever he’s trying to show intent. You have to show intent. So if you’re going to charge a guy with a solve And you have a text message that’s intent because you’re telling the guy, I’m going to break your legs if you don’t pay.
So does that make any sense to you?
[00:44:13] Dan LeFebvre: It does. It does. Is that why you’re talking about using a term of you want the confessional and things like that and using terms like that. Is that part of the reason why too? Because then if somebody does overhear it, then it doesn’t seem as straight out as what they’re actually going to be doing.
They’re using code words almost. They
[00:44:28] Scott Hoffman: don’t know what you’re talking about. Yeah. It’d be like, that was one thing I always. Not always but it was difficult for me when I was young and even as I got older was mop speak, okay To try and keep mob speak straight from when I would be in school with my classmates.
And that became very difficult. Okay, I’ll give you an example of that. I’m in fourth grade and they’re teaching multiplication tables, right? That was in fourth grade. The teacher writes down six times five on the board. And I’m looking and I’m looking around the room and the teacher sees that obviously.
He says, Scott, how much is six times five? And I said, Oh, that’s a 30. That’s correct. And the reason I’m looking around, because in loan sharking six, it means that if you’re coming in, if I’m going to borrow 500 from you, Dan, you would say to me, Scott, you can buy. I’ll give you the 500, but it’s 600 interest.
You’re going to have to pay. So if I don’t have the 500 this week, where am I going to come up with 1, 100 the next week? So when I saw this six times five, what do you think I’m thinking? I’m only thinking about loan sharks. Okay. That’s it.
[00:45:38] Dan LeFebvre: I could see how that would be really confusing.
[00:45:43] Scott Hoffman: I had to keep things trying and the thing, I’ll never forget. We’re in Lexington, Kentucky. This was 1977. I was 29 years old at that age with my father. We’re visiting someone in Lexington, Kentucky. Okay. We had to see. And the guy, the wise guy says to my father, you took care of the thing, right? My father said, yes, I took care of the thing.
It’s going to, it’s almost done, but I’ve pretty much taken care of it. Don’t worry. The thing is taken care of. So in the car, and I said to my father, what was the thing? He said, Scott, the thing will be taken care of later. It’s the thing that has to be taken care of. I said, you mean capital T H E capital T H I N G.
Yes, that thing. So again, I had, again, that mop speak was hard for me because I had to try and learn stuff and keep it separate from my classmates and everyone I’d see.
[00:46:31] Dan LeFebvre: It was difficult. Was there any times where communication broke down because of that? If any, if you’re trying to figure, I understand as a child, perhaps a little bit different than, somebody who’s been in it for years and years, who was actually carrying out those orders.
But if you haven’t used all these different code words and you’re working with from Chicago to Vegas to, I’m just thinking of even just accents and. Terms that people use across different geographical regions. I could see how it gets so confusing. Yeah.
[00:47:01] Scott Hoffman: Yeah, it would happen. Cause sometimes somebody would say something to my father, the thing, and I’ll say what’s the thing about my father says I’m not really sure I got to check it out.
He would tell me and he, cause he would always tell me what wise guys, you always got to remember this guy. He said, I always remember this 90%, what they tell you is lies. 10 percent is BS. Just think of it in this vein. If mom says she loves you, check it out. So what I do in person presentations, I tell people, I’m sure you have a lovely mother, but if she says she loves you, check it out.
Okay. Don’t accept mom as the final word, and that’s what it would be a lot of times guys. Weren’t always sure when we went to see Joey in MCC after his trial. Which was pretty much the beginning of the end of the outfit in Las Vegas. That’s another story, obviously. And he says to my father, this was after we saw Alan Dorfman and the deal with Dorfman was after he was convicted, he was out on bond.
And he was the only guy was a 5 million bond and put up so much of his insurance company. And he told the feds the G I have something big for you. I have something big. When you’re convicted, I will tell you this from experience, the G wants something big. If you’re not convicted and they’re just charging you, then that’s a different story, but you’ve got to have something really big.
For them to wanna work with you at that point? . So we had won to see Dorfman and my father says to Alan, look, you’ll get a $12,000 a month pension. Okay, your health insurance for you and your wife will be taken care of for life. Just accept what’s gonna happen. Possibly. ’cause his lawyer was telling him, he thought he’d get maybe 15 years and Dorfman had been in jail, like I say, 1971 for nine months.
He said, I’m not going back. He kept saying, I’m not going back, I’m not going back. So we go to see Joey Ayupa, and this is what Joey Ayupa said, how did the Cubs do today? And my father said the Cubs lost. So Joey Ayupa says I think it’s time to make a lineup change. And that was the order on Elendorf.
[00:49:12] Dan LeFebvre: Wow. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. I could see how there would be some. Confusion there for sure. It could be confusion
[00:49:19] Scott Hoffman: for sure. Oh yeah. If you’re right, you had a problem.
[00:49:24] Dan LeFebvre: Another movie that I wanted to touch on briefly is the 1997 movie from called Donnie Brasco longtime listeners. I’ve listened to base on a true story.
I actually talked with Joe Pistone, the real Donnie Brasco back on episode number one 73, who I believe that you’ve met as well. Do you think the movie Donnie Brasco did a good job showing how the mafia
[00:49:42] Scott Hoffman: works? I would say this, that he did an excellent job and he deserves all the accolades and all the praise for the work that he did as six years undercover, which is unheard of.
Normally three is the max. You don’t keep a guy under for six years. He did an excellent job. However, and I will use baseball terminology. He really was one for two. And what I say that is a lot of people when they see the movie. All their hearing, and most of the convictions were true, were Bonanno family, crime family men.
But the Milwaukee crime family, who actually reported to Chicago, had Bonanno crime family ties. And he worked undercover, as part of his undercover work, he had set up a vending machine company, and he had been introduced to Frank Ballesteri, who was head of the mob family in Milwaukee. They had about 50, 60 guys.
Ballesteri never wanted to expand the family, he always wanted money. And so he worked with them and was eventually able to get them to say things on the wire and convict the Milwaukee family now, along with the bananas that he convicted at that time. But what happened was, and the case was 41 years ago, what happened was, sure, the Bonanno’s were kicked out of, off the mob commission, but they eventually got back on.
The lower level guys, the underboss, the captains, they probably were sitting in a place saying, thank you to Joe Pistone, because that now opened it up for them. He was able to convict the guys at that time. So the Bonanno family. Those guys moved up and eventually cases were made against them and then guys replaced them.
And today the Bonanno family is flourishing just Joe Peston did nothing. And it’s not any knock against Joe Peston because he put away the guys at that time. Now Milwaukee family was different when Frank Ballesteri went away and his sons Joe Ball and John Ball, who were both lawyers, and Steve DeSalvo, who was his underboss, went away.
Milwaukee family pretty much dissolved. They didn’t work stink quite yet, but all their operations in Wisconsin was taken over by the outfit. So there wasn’t much of a mock family left in Milwaukee. And really today there might be a couple of 80 year old guys, sitting around and talking, but there’s really no action.
So that’s why I say one for two. He put one family basically out of business, but the other family, the banana family, they’re flourishing today, just like all the other four families in New York. Just like nothing ever happened. And I, again, it’s nothing against him because his work was excellent and he put away those guys, but he never made a dent in the family.
He just got rid of the guys at that time. And like my father would say, he would say about, politicians as well as in mob life. The faces change, but the nonsense remains the same. So that’s, whoever you put in, they’re going to still follow the same nonsense. And the Bonanno family is just as active today as they were 41 years ago.
[00:52:49] Dan LeFebvre: Wow. This kind of goes back to what you were talking about earlier with having to show intent and having to have all of this evidence. There’s so much work that has to go into it. So you can get it against these specific people like Pistone did against some specific people, but then there’s, yeah, there’s going to be people to
[00:53:05] Scott Hoffman: replace them.
That’s the thing. Sure he can sit back and Joe Pistone is 85 years old. He can sit back and say, I did a great thing. I can be very proud and all the awards he’s gotten and all the shows he’s been gone. He deserves it. He deserves it because of the work he did. But when you look at the reality and I’m a guy who looks at the reality, the Bonanno family was not extinct.
They came back just as strong, just as hard. You’re doing the same things they did 41 years ago. And even if you put guys away, in fact, now the guy who is the leader of them, but not a family, he violated his parole. He’s going away for 11 months and they’ve already got a replacement for him for 11 months lined up.
So like I say, now some families, smaller families like Milwaukee, he was, he made a dent and he was able to do a lot of damage to them and just about make them extinct. So that’s what I mean, one for two, because he could never do anything with the Bonanno family. And if he was sitting there, I would tell you the same thing.
And I believe he would agree with me that he did a great job at the guys at that time, 41 years ago.
[00:54:17] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah, no, that, that makes
[00:54:18] Scott Hoffman: them handled them wrong.
[00:54:22] Dan LeFebvre: You talked a little bit earlier about the Sopranos and we’ve talked about movies so far, but I want to shift to talk about the Sopranos a little bit. As we’ve done with some of the others, if you were to take a step back and give the Sopranos a letter grade for how well it shows the life, what would you give it?
[00:54:40] Scott Hoffman: Probably less than a D okay. You wouldn’t have to go to summer school, but it was like, and I’ll tell you why right off the bat, right off the bat, there is no way Dan, there is no way. That a mob family, Copperjimmy, Hoppo, could ever go to a psychiatrist, and I will tell you why. And I talk about this in Insight, with the fictional character, maybe you’ve read him, Eric Leto, who was gay.
And that’s based on someone who was gay, and he was a boss of a street crew. And I’ll never forget how mad Sam Giancana was, because he was one of his 42’s. And the 42’s was a gang… That’s that Sam Jean Conn had when he was a teenager, they went to a restaurant on Taylor street called 42nd street, which I think was a play on 42nd street in New York.
So everyone always referred to them as the 42s and they were doing stick ups and they got noticed by the older guys. And the guy was, so what had happened was in mob life. And this also happened with the decal Cavati family who was still functioning by Yardo family. It was really not functioning anymore.
Who were the real Sopranos that David Chasings. In a mob family, okay, if a boss is gay, we’ll use that as an example, like I did in my book, the order is given on him, right away, the order is given on him, he’s gotta go, okay, there’s no calling him in, let’s talk about it, no sit down, he can be a made guy, doesn’t matter, he’s gonna go.
Now, if you’re a street crew member and you’re a good earner, because again, as I said earlier, the first conversation of the day is about money, the last conversation of the day is about money. If you’re a good earner, they’re not going to like it. They’re going to say to you, keep it off the street, keep it off the street.
In other words, don’t kiss a guy on the corner. Okay. Don’t hold hands with a guy coming out of a gay bar. Keep it off the street because the guy’s a good earner, a boss, no, a boss is going to go. Okay. Just like in my, like an insight, I talk about the difference between a gangster and a racketeer. And there’s a big difference between the two, basically with the outfit.
We didn’t have any racketeers and the difference is a gangster will give an order right away. Let’s do it. Let’s go right now. We’re racketeer. We want to have a sit down, not that they won’t give the order. Okay. They’ll give the order, but let’s have a sit down because when a guy is made, especially when a guy is made, that’s what you’re supposed to do on a guy, have a sit down, a gangster.
No, he’s not going to forget about it. I want that guy gone. He’s going to be gone. I’m giving you the order. Give him his receipt. Go. Okay. And if a street crew picks up that you’re a racketeer, they start functioning a little different because they don’t have the confidence. It’s and if you have a boss, who’s wishy washy or your listeners, God bless them, have a boss that’s wishy washy.
You’re going to sit there at your desk, looking at your computer screen. I don’t know if I should tell this guy anything because he’s not going to do anything. He’s wishy washy, but if the boss is a strong leader, you’ll feel confident. You’ll go in and say, boss, look, I think we can do this better. This is my opinion, but boss, I want to bring this to you.
And the boss will say, okay, Dan, that sounds good. Let me just look into it, but let me see what happens. And maybe six months, a year from now, that’ll happen. Whatever you suggest will happen as far as policy in the company. That’s a gangster. The racketeer will be wishy washy. Dan, I’ll get back to you, maybe by the time you retire, he’s still getting back to you.
And a mate crew doesn’t like that. They want a guy who’s strong. You have to remember in mob life, everything is macho. Now, one time I asked my father, Dan, and I said to him, I said, dad, I got to ask you a question. I was joking with you, just like I’m joking a little bit with you and your listeners.
Of course. I said, do you ever think a woman could run the outfit day to day operation? And I expected him to say, Scott, this is a guy’s world, it could never happen. He says to me, Scott, let me ask you this. There are women in prison who have shot and killed their husband, shot and killed their boyfriend, maybe shot and killed their uncle.
They’ve used a gun. Haven’t they? And I said, yeah, there are women in prison who have done it. I’m sure you’ve done in stories about women who have used guns. And he says if a woman can shoot a gun, she can give an order, right? She’s not afraid of giving an order on somebody. And I’d say, no, she wouldn’t be afraid because she pulls the trigger.
She wouldn’t be afraid of pulling the trigger on somebody. He said, therefore, he said, a woman could run the outfit. He says, however, guys wouldn’t respect her until she gave that order. Once she gave that order, then it would be a different story. So we never had a woman. I’ve never known a mob family that’s had a woman, but it’s the kind of surprised me what he told me, but it made a lot of sense because if she has can pull a trigger, she’s not afraid of shooting a gun.
She’s not afraid of giving the order. Because she’s already physically able to pull a gun, pull the trigger, and she doesn’t care about human life. It’s not let’s go for counts. Okay. And that’s not going to happen. Yeah.
[00:59:53] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. That’s not the answer that I would’ve expected from that either, but that’s huh.
[01:00:00] Scott Hoffman: And when you think about it, it does make sense.
[01:00:03] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. No, it does make sense. It does make sense. It’s the men, the mentality that’s required to to be the boss.
[01:00:08] Scott Hoffman: Absolutely. When I was 14 years old, when I was 14 years old, my father waited till I was 14. I was a little more mature. And he explained to me what a sociopath.
Behavior was what a psychotic behavior was. I always knew these guys were crazy. I always knew that there was something wrong with them, but I never knew the medical terms that would apply to their behaviors. And after that, then I knew what I was dealing with. Like I say, yeah, if you have that mentality, and if a woman has that sociopath or psychotic mentality, she could do it.
[01:00:41] Dan LeFebvre: it. But they could never go to the, to a psychiatrist like we see in the, in Sopranos,
[01:00:46] Scott Hoffman: huh? Oh, no. Oh, no. No. Mr. Galdifani, who was a very good actor, would never saw a sunshine the next day. No, he would have been gone right away. As soon as they found out, he would have been gone. Right away, Sam Giancana, or Joey Ayupa, or Tony Ocardo would have called my father.
I want to see you tonight. And if my father could arrange it at four in the morning after, yeah, I would be arranged. Say, okay, I need 24 hours. You got 24, I know you’ll do it. Get it done. He’s gone. This is who’s going to take over. And that street crew didn’t always know, but they would eventually find out they would find out.
And it happens. And this, and like I say, in my book, Eric Leto is based on true guy, a real guy who they kept my father, convinced Sam Giancana, look, he’s bringing in money. Let’s have a little talk with them, but he’s bringing in a lot of money. And he was a very good earner. He was also part of the 40 twos.
And that’s what through Sam Giancana, he says he used to hang out with us. He’s, never showed any feminine sides to him. And we didn’t know. And it was hard,
[01:01:53] Dan LeFebvre: something we see throughout the Sopranos, we see a lot of the character’s families and their home life. We see for example, in Tony Soprano in the beginning of the series talks about how he’s in waste management and the kids think that’s what their dad does for a living.
But as the series continues. The kids in particular, the Soprano family kids, the two kids Meadow and AJ are the two kids. They start putting together two and two and they start to realize that their dad is in the mafia and some of their neighbors start to realize as well. Does the Sopranos do a good job of showing what it’s like for the family and friends of someone in the mafia?
[01:02:30] Scott Hoffman: No, they didn’t. And the thing is when a guy goes away to prison, the kids are told either. Dad is going to college or dad has an out of town job. Okay. That’s what the kids are told because generally And it happens where normally it’s a bureau of prisons bop. They make the decision where somebody’s going to be sent It’s not a judge.
A lot of people will think the judge makes the decision the circuit court judge who’s handling the case. No, he’ll tell a defense lawyer, put it in writing, send it to BOP and they’ll make the decision. And they make, they try and put you within 500 miles of your home. That’s what they try and do.
Some guys, it doesn’t work that way. John Gotti was put in Marion, a level six prison, and that’s more than 500 miles from New York and Southern Illinois. And so they would try and do that. But normally what normally happens is guys don’t talk at home. They, kids don’t really know what their father is doing.
They don’t talk about, say I’m in waste management. No, they were, they just went, they wouldn’t say anything. And the wife would divert the conversation to something else. And the kids would just accept it. Okay. And if dad was away, they were told that dad’s going to college. So he did a lot of, some guys did a lot of postgraduate work.
Okay. They were away a lot and other times it’d be told, okay you dad’s got an out of town job while dad’s away for 20 years. He’s got an out of town job. Now there were some times some women would take the kids to a prison. If it was in, the 500 mile area, they would drive. And that’s where it got rough.
That’s where the kids would start to figure it out. Why is dad locked up? What’s happening? Why does this happen? Of most women. And that would be, it happened, but it was a little more rare, but most women know they wouldn’t say anything at all. Nothing. They would just go along. Like my mother told my father, she knew he told her before they got married and she said, just keep it out of the house, keep it out of the house.
And he never met with anybody else. He would talk with me, he’d go to churches, he’d go to bowling alleys, go to cemeteries. But he didn’t meet with anybody. He kept it out of the house.
[01:04:41] Dan LeFebvre: Interesting. Interesting. There is an interesting contrast that we see in the Soprano specifically when talking about, the kids seem to figure it out that their dad is in the mafia, but then they also haven’t seen any violence and it sounds similar to what you’re talking about, keeping it out of the house.
But there is, I think specifically a scene, I think it’s in a season five, episode nine, Meadow is. Telling her boyfriend that she never saw any violence growing up. Do you think it’s realistic to, for children to never see any of that violence? Yes,
[01:05:12] Scott Hoffman: yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. I saw it because I saw it with me.
It was, I was a different circumstance. I didn’t fit into that category, but no, they wouldn’t because they wouldn’t know because they wouldn’t, if anything, a mom would say if someone got older, they’re seeing their teens and say, what does dad do? He works for the state of Illinois. He works for the city of Chicago, and that’s as much as they would say.
They wouldn’t see anything, but you had guys. And maybe this goes back to Tony Ricardo. I call him New York animals. There were two guys Charles Scarfo, who I first worked for. He would talk about his murders in front of the kids at home. Okay. And Vincent Giganti was known as the odd father because he would dress like it was mentally incompetent to stay out of things.
He would talk about his beatings in front of his daughter, what he did, his violence. And Giagatti was actually the number one hammer, the number one shooter for Vito Genovese. And eventually he became boss of the Genovese crime family, but he would talk about it at home. So you did have guys that maybe would talk about it, but that was rare.
Like I say, because. Guys don’t like, like my father would always say to me, Scott, you never want to be a radio. You’d never want to broadcast. So guys never wanted anybody to know because if say soprano kids tell somebody and say that kid’s uncle is a cop and the, that guy said, boy, these soprano kids, Uncle Al boy, I could tell you some stuff about them.
And all of a sudden Uncle Al is going to his boss and says, I might have a contact. What the Sopranos are doing, see, and it might just be very minutia, but it’s still right away. You’re going to hear about it from your father. Why are you talking to this guy? Why are you saying that? That’s what my father would always say.
Keep every conversation vanilla. Okay. Keep it vanilla. I said, what about chocolate? He said, no, keep it vanilla. He said, just, you talk about sports. How’s your family, the weather, nothing that’s ever going to hurt you. Nothing that’s ever going to come back and bite you. Never give up anything to anybody.
[01:07:23] Dan LeFebvre: Wow. Yeah that’s, that is very different than what we see in the Sopranos is specifically, of course, we but it makes sense, to, cause you, you never know, like it might be something small, but it might not, you don’t know.
[01:07:35] Scott Hoffman: Sometimes the smallest thing, it’s like an onion.
My father always, he always remember the more you peel back the onion, the smell gets worse. The smell gets worse. And a little thing can lead to something bigger. Okay, you can lead to something bigger. It might be very small in the beginning, but it can open the door for something else. And if nobody knows what you do, I’ve had guys in the neighborhood.
That got copies of my book. I’m talking about someone who became a CPA or a lawyer, people like yourself, normal, regular people. I hope you’re normal, regular, we’ll find out. And cause we have big Louie and Guido, they make house calls. So we’ll find out if there’s a problem with you.
I’m kidding you. I’m kidding. I, when they bought my book, they said, your dad was such a nice guy. When we’d see him on out there, we’d say, hi, Mr. Hoffman. He was very nice. And when I was a kid, there was this company called Good Humor and they would come with the ice cream at night through the neighborhood.
And he said he’d buy us an ice cream from Good Humor truck. Can’t believe that this was your father. And I said that’s what he wanted you to think. Because if everyone thinks he’s a nice guy and he’s this and he’s that, no one’s ever going to think that there’s another side. Like my father would say, I always remember every life story is like a pancake.
It has two sides. But if you stay on the top of it and don’t flip the pancake over, you’re never going to know what’s underneath. And that was a real problem with a lot of guys who could not separate women from the business. Oh, that was bad. That was, that’s what killed Bugsy Siegel, Virginia Hill set him up.
Okay. That’s what it was all about. So guys didn’t do it. They didn’t always do it.
[01:09:14] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah, no, it makes sense. It’s hard. Basically living a double life and not everybody can do that.
[01:09:21] Scott Hoffman: No, it was hard. It was hard for me as a kid, in the sense because I had to fit in with my classmates. I had to fit in with kids in the neighborhood.
I had to fit in. So I would have to take different postures on different things and just try and fit in with them and be like them. Yeah. But it was hard because again, I never had a birthdays, I never had bicycle, my father never had a game of catch with me, it was a wise guy that took me to my first baseball game at Wrigley Field to see the Cubs, so we never did, or bowling, or things that maybe your dad would do with you, as a child, as a son, especially, but that never happened.
None of that stuff ever happened. And I was an adult when I was a kid, but I still had a kid’s brain. So it was very, it was not easy to try and decipher because I was a very shy, very quiet child. That’s why my father, when he’d send me out with juice collectors, street enforcers, the muscle, he’d say, don’t worry, Scott, we’ll never say anything.
Don’t worry. And it was the truth. It was very much the truth. I was that quiet of a kid, that shy of a kid. My mother would have to come in the room if I was reading a library book. Just to see what was going on because there was no noise coming from the room, nothing was happening. Like I say, I was that type of child, so I was trusted.
I was always trusted. When I graduated college in 1971, Tony Ricardo says, I’d like to talk to you. And I said, okay, sure. So I went to his house in the forest suburb, and he says, Scott, I know you… You told your dad you’re not interested in being active. And I told my father at that point, I will not, was going to be, I wasn’t going to be active, but I’d still be an observer.
And sometimes when I do the in person presentation, someone says, what’s the difference? I said the difference is when you’re active, they can charge you. When you’re an observer, you’re not involved. So how are they going to charge you? What are they going to charge you with? Where’s the evidence? You observe, you walk away.
Got to remember, you’re not doing the criminal acts as an active person. And so he said to me, Scott, have you thought about it? And I says Tony, I says, it’s just not for me. And I think what I’m doing with my life is going to be the best for me. He says, you’re good at it. And I says, yeah, I says, I’m good at it, but it’s still not for me.
And the reason Dan, I always tell people is what I saw, but that was never the reason. That was never, ever the reason. The reason was I could never be my father. Okay. My father was in the life over 55 years, never went to jail, but he was good at what he did. He was good at what he did. And I, one time I asked him, cause my father in high school got friendly with the assistant principal.
Cause my father worked at a cafeteria to get a free lunch. And the assistant principal says, you’re a smart guy. Let me check your grades. And he saw him and my father was a good student and he said what do you want to, do you want to go on to college? And those days, kids didn’t go on to college, of course.
My father says, you know what, I’d like to be a surgeon. Why don’t I be a medical doc? And the principal says, wow, let me see what I can do. And he had a friend at the university of Chicago. He showed him a copy of my father’s grades. And they were willing to offer him an academic scholarship because the university of Chicago was a pre med student, much like Michael Franzese.
Okay. He was a pre med major at Hofstra, a guy with a lot of talent, but he went the other way, but a guy was very smart, a lot of talent. So the vice principal tells my father, I can get you into the university of Chicago, you could be a pre med major. And my father was very excited, of course, and this was going into a senior year.
And he goes home and tells my grandmother and she says, Oh, that’s well and good, but you have to get a job. And that was the end of the college career. Now, my father was very handy. He could do electrical work. He could do carpentry. He did. He could do plumbing. He didn’t like it, but the plumber talked to him.
They always thought he was a plumber. He could read a poster furniture. He could read blueprints. He worked on cars. So he could have been a building superintendent. So he had options. Dan, he had options. So one time I said to him later in life. I was maybe in my forties and dad was near the end of his life because he died of bladder cancer.
And I said to him, dad, why did you go into the light? Why did you go into the light? And he looks at me, says, Scott, everybody needs a hobby. And I said you could have picked a different hobby. You didn’t have to go into the light for a hobby. That was his answer. He got in, he got, he needed a job.
Giancana. And everything started from there. Everything started. Sam Giancana introduced him to Paul Rico because Sam Giancana was a protege of Paul Rico. He introduced him to Paul Rico after interviewing him. He says, yeah, I’d like you to come and work with me. That’s how it all started.
[01:13:51] Dan LeFebvre: Wow. Something that I found interesting in The Sopranos, if we go back to that, is how it references some of the movies that we’ve even talked about today, like Goodfellas and Casino.
There’s even one scene where one of Tony’s neighbors asks Tony how realistic The Godfather was. Granted, a lot of movies depict things that have happened decades before they were made, but since this podcast is about how realistic movies are, I have to ask. What do you think the Mafia’s perspective was on movies about the Mafia?
[01:14:24] Scott Hoffman: I’ll tell you after the Godfather came out. Now normally, the guy who’s in charge, let’s say Sam Giancana running day to day operations, or you could say Tony Cardo, who’s the equivalent of the CEO, okay? And Sam Giancana would have been, say, the vice president, or the president of the company, not the CEO, of course.
And what the, after the movie, the Godfather came out now, the real term that you call someone is a Don and that goes back to Sicilian mob in Sicily. You call the guy a Don, that’s what you’ll come after the movie came out. Then even wise guys are saying, Oh, the Godfather and calling everybody, the Godfather, they use the terminology.
Everyone was the Godfather all of a sudden, that, and that most in a perspective was. It’s entertainment, and that’s about it. But the movie The Godfather kind of struck a chord, as far as the terminology. And I know it struck a chord with Frank Sinatra, and that’s another story about his lawsuit, okay?
And I know why, and I remember him telling me why he called Mario Puzo, told him to choke on it. Yeah, I know about that. The author of… The book, the Godfather. Yeah. Joe Colombo also had a lawsuit going a lot of defamation to Italians. Yeah. He originally had the Italian anti defamation league and it became the Italian civil rights league.
Frank’s lawsuit was basically the same, but that wasn’t the reason. That’s a whole long other story or what the real reason he told Mario Puzo to choke on it. Okay. And they met each other and Jason’s restaurant in Los Angeles, which a very famous restaurant, I think on Hollywood Boulevard. Maybe it was on the strip.
It was really known for its, it’s trying to think of the word here, chili. They were really known for that really good chili, but it was a place. If you wanted to people watch, you had all the celebrities come in there. So you grab a table and, Oh, there’s Kirk Douglas. And there’s, so it’s, and he saw him there and he had to be restrained.
He was funny after Mario Puzo, in the restaurant. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I remember why he, when he said that he told Puzo to choke on it. Yeah. Yeah. Because Francis Ford Coppola had sent him the script for Johnny Fontaine and he took his red pen. He told me, he took his red pen and he crossed stuff out and take this out, take that out and Coppola wasn’t going to do it.
So Coppola then called Vic Damone, now Vic Damone was a good friend of Frank’s. He called Frank, he says, Francis Ford Coppola has come to me about playing Johnny Fontaine. Yeah. Yeah. And he says, Frank says, don’t take it, don’t take it. You understand? Don’t take it. Picked the loan, turned it down. They find, then they got Al Martino who had gone to England because Martino had problems with the Philadelphia mob in Philly.
So he had to leave the country. And that’s where he made, I think, Spanish eyes, his big song, Spanish eyes. I think it was in England that he made it. And that’s when they contacted Al Martino and Martino took the part. But in the movie, the part was very short. If you remember, it was very short, just at a wedding scene.
That’s all it was very short, but yeah, Frank was hot. Even 10 years later, when I saw Frank in Las Vegas, he said, I’ll cook dinner for you. Frank used to like to cook dinner. That was his way of relax. So we’re sitting in, and this is after he married Barbara Marx and she wasn’t there. One of the Marx brothers, Zepeto Marx, he started dating her and she divorced Zepeto, okay.
And so he was starting all of a sudden, he starts referring to the Godfather. He says, I got that part legit. I got that part legit. I said, Frank, I don’t, of course you got it legit. I don’t know any other reason that you didn’t get it legit. And that’s where it’s a bigger story about really why he was mad at Puzo.
Cause he’s Puzo knew something that wasn’t true. And Puzo really didn’t, and Puzo’s defense, he really didn’t know. But as far as Frank was concerned, yeah, he knew some, told him to choke on it. And I said, then he’s calling Russell Bufalino. Okay. Russell Bufalino was one of the characters in the Irishman.
Okay. I know Bufalino. He’s calling, about maybe breaking Puzo’s legs, but Buffalo, didn’t follow through. He let it go. He let it go. Cause Frank, sometimes his temper, the Jack Daniels, he was a good guy. He was a very good guy. I remember when he got Joe Lewis, the job Joe Lewis was out of money because all these women he was dating were taking them just for the greeter at Caesar’s palace.
Frank was a good guy in that way. He would help people. But you call Bufalino and Bufalino basically said, I’ll get back to you. Bufalino was hardcore in La Cosa Nostra, hardcore. He was the type of guy he was a slow anger guy. He wasn’t like Anthony Provenzano, who was also in the Irish. That’s another story is that move.
But Bufalino was the type of guy, if he had to do something and for La Cosa Nostra, I remember when his wife was pregnant, okay. And her bag broke and she said, I got to go, the bag broke. And he says, I got to go to a meeting, tell the neighbor. Okay, and he walks out the door, and she went and got the neighbor and drove her to the hospital.
But this was, Bufalino, Bufalino let this one go. He let this, because sometimes they get mad at Frank, because sometimes he’d say to someone if he got mad, you want your legs broken? And there’s another story with him and J. Edgar Hoover. That’s another story.
[01:19:38] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. It sounds like we have quite a few other stories to cover perhaps in the future.
But for someone who has a listener who’s listening to this and they’ve only seen mafia movies, they haven’t really dug in to any of the true stories. What do you think they would be surprised to learn about the real mafia that they just don’t show in the movies?
I would say
[01:20:00] Scott Hoffman: probably the violence that they will commit to get money that they don’t care. Like in my book, Inside, in the part where I’m talking about a juice collector goes looking for a guy and his wife is very pregnant. She must have been at least seven, eight months pregnant, at least. And what really happened, I had to water it down, what really happened.
So with them, it was always the ends justify the means. And if it was about money, we don’t care, but with them also, you have to remember that they still had a family. So there were a lot of guys that when they would go home, they flipped the switch or try and be a father or try and be a husband and there were guys that were okay until you put a gun in their hand and then they flipped the switch the other way and became very violent.
As long as you weren’t in their business. Because I’ve had people tell me so and so lived on my block. He said, hello to me. And I’d say, you weren’t in his business. When you’re in the business, then everything changes. But if Dan, you were in the business and someone says, what’s Dan LaFever, what’s it, he’s a nice guy.
He says, hello to me, wishes me Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. Very nice, very pleasant, but the real dental fever that’s in the business, in the life, that’s not how you’re going to work. So if you’re in the life, like my father used to say in the life, always remember, Scott, we know. People that are coming to us, we don’t go door to solicit, which is true.
They weren’t on the street corner, handing out cards for business. People were coming to them for gambling money, for gambling, extortion, money laundering, all these things that I saw adult pornography, child pornography, labor racketeering, okay. Everything that I saw that included mopped life, all the schemes, the scams.
Yeah. Yeah. He’d always say that to me. Always remember, we don’t go, we’re not selling encyclopedias door to door. Okay. People are coming to us. That’s why people would say to me, didn’t he care? Because my father was involved as far as the organization part. Once he got the order, there’s been over 1, 200.
Murders in the history of the outfit. They’ve been around for 120 years, and he’s been involved with close to 300 as far as organizing. Did it ever bother him? Not once at all.
[01:22:18] Dan LeFebvre: So what was Marilyn Monroe doing in Chicago at that time?
[01:22:23] Scott Hoffman: At that time, Marilyn Monroe, she had finished her last movie called The Misfits, and a few months after the movie, Clark Gable was in the movie, and both of them, not together but separately, were supposed to do promotions.
For the movie, and he died a few months after the filming of a heart attack. So he was never able to go on any promotions. And she had gone to New York for the premiere in February of 1961. And she had gone with, at that time, he was already her ex husband, Arthur Miller, who in January, my father told me in January 25th, I think of 1961, they went to Juarez, Mexico and got a quickie divorce.
Then they actually were divorced, but. See, he was a screenwriter, and everyone always knew Arthur Miller as this brilliant playwright, okay? Because that’s basically what he was known for, was his playwriting ability on Broadway. But he was the screenwriter for the movie, and John Huston was the director.
So she was coming to Chicago to do a promotion. Sam Giancana said to my father, How would Scott like to meet Marilyn Monroe? Now, Marilyn Monroe, Was it, which is a long story and another long story. She was there right from the beginning with the Kennedys and the outfit when everything started, that’s another story.
And of course my father says, I’m sure anyone, I was 12 and a half years old at that time, he says, anyone 12 and a half and up, any male would want to meet Marilyn Monroe. So he told me, he says, great. So she had come in and was staying at the Blackstone hotel, which is still in business, but the Blackstone hotel on Saturday night was my prostitution there.
It was one of the places that just on Saturday night, so I’m sure the current owners would be very happy to know that their place, their hotel was used for my prostitution on Saturday night. That was the only night they were not a seven day a week place like some other hotels in downtown Chicago. And so she, she came and we started talking and.
She told me, she said that, that was a movie. And right away I said to her, I said my grandfather. And she says how do I know your grandfather? I said, cause my grandfather was the photographer that shot you for the ninth, July, 1953, first edition of Playboy magazine, the cover.
And if you go and you look on the line, you’ll see the cover. And I’ll tell you why this way. And she says, Oh, yeah, I remember your grandfather. I remember your grandfather. And he says, yeah, he was good, but I remember your grandfather. And I’ll tell you in a second, why would that, so why did that happen?
Now, Hugh Hefner had heard about my grandfather being a very good portrait photographer. There was a specific reason why he wanted my grandfather to shoot the cover. And the reason was in those days they didn’t have airbrushes. So my grandfather by hand would put in all the skin tones on the face, the arms, even at the part of the breast that’s showing.
That she’s showing on the cover, everything was put in by hand. So when the pictures were developed, everything looks natural. If you were to look or your listeners were to look at that July, 1953 edition, first one, it would look all normal to them. Just like you look normal to me. And I probably look normal to you, your skin tones.
And Hugh Hefner told my father, I’ll pay you 50. When 1953, that was a lot of money. 50 was a lot of money. Cause you have to remember in those days, the newspaper was maybe 5 cents, 6 cents. The CTA, Chicago Transit Authority, take a bus was 10 cents. Gas was maybe 15 cents a gallon, maybe. The rent was maybe 40 a month, 45.
So 50 was a lot of money, you could buy a lot of food. And Hafner didn’t have the money, but his father, Glenn, who gave him the money to start the magazine, gave him the 50. His father was an accountant, Glenn was an accountant. So my grandfather, and then he talked to my grandfather about shooting the centerfold part.
My grandfather said, no, I don’t do that. And cause my grandfather liked to shoot weddings and people that were going to get married, family stuff. He didn’t really go for that. And he really wasn’t too hip on even doing the magazine, but the 50 enticed him. He says when do you want Marilyn Monroe there?
And my father says, okay, she in town. He says, yeah, she’s in town at that time. And okay. I wired there seven 30 in the morning. Cause my grandfather always said you have to do someone early, especially celebrity, those types of people. We have to do them early in the morning before they start getting busy.
And then they might get tired, not follow instructions later on in the day. So Hefner said, fine. Okay. 730 is fine. So 730 comes, 730 goes, 830, 930, She walks in with some. Now, my grandfather had a young couple who was getting married, but wanted to take some pre wedding photos. My grandfather, again, by hand, we’re putting the skin tones and everything.
And they had a one o’clock appointment. So she comes in at 1230 and says to my grandfather, I’m Marilyn Monroe. He said, I know who you are. You were supposed to be here at 730 and you didn’t show up. I’ve got someone scheduled at one. And she said, and he said, I’m not doing you. He says, you can walk out the door right now.
And my grandfather had come from Poland at the age of 13, and he was already a photographer at that point. So he had been in the business a long time. And for the people that you’re listeners that are Polish to understand what I say, the Polish temper. We sometimes could get a little sharp. And so she says I’m here.
And he says, I don’t care who you are, what you’re here. I have somebody at one o’clock and just like your appointment was at seven 30. I wouldn’t have taken anybody ahead of you. You might as well leave right now. Go. So she left and later that afternoon, he gets a call from Hugh Hefner and Hugh Hefner says can I get her in tomorrow?
Can she come tomorrow? My father, my grandfather says, okay, I’ll give her one more chance. And that’s it. Otherwise you get somebody else to do the shooting that you have here at 7 30. And then I will do the shooting of her. And he said, yes, she’ll be there. And the next day she was there at 7 30. It took about two and a half hours.
He spent a lot of time, a lot of different angles, taking different pictures. And of course, later on with the negatives, he put everything in by hand. So she’s telling me, she says, your grandfather was very good, but he was tough. And he said, she said, I guess I pushed the envelope a little too much. I said, yeah.
I said, you got to remember, I said, my grandfather, I was the only grandchild that he would let turn on the television. He didn’t even like the other grandkids. Okay. So he was, he had his favorite. I was the one, he liked me. I was quiet, shy kid. And we’d come over and watch wrestling on television or something.
He took more than me. So we’re talking and she’s telling me about her life. She had a very hard life. Her mother was a schizophrenic in and out of asylums. And when she was born, she was put right away into a foster home, right away, right from birth, and she was in 12 consecutive foster homes and eventually an orphanage, and eventually she was able to track down her biological father.
And I said what did he say? And you met, and she says, I told him I’m Marilyn Monroe. And he said, yeah, I can see your Marilyn Monroe. She said, I’m your daughter. And he said, I’m married now, I have my own family, call my lawyer. And he walked away from her and never made any contact with her at all.
Never wanted to make any contact. And this bothered her head started to drop a little bit. You can see when someone’s hurt and their head drops a little bit, you can see in their eyes, you look at the body language, see, and I could see right away, so I, I stopped the subject. I said look, you’ve been very successful in life.
And it was his loss, not your game. Okay. And then she says to me how old are you? And I said I’m 12 and a half years old. Kids at a certain age, they always throw in that half year. Yeah. You did it when you were a kid. Oh, yeah. And she says, yeah, 12 and a half going out 40, 12 and a half going out 40.
And then she says to me, you’ve lived what? A thousand lives. I said, maybe a thousand one. She started laughing for what she didn’t know that I knew the 1959 movie. Let, something like a hat with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon, I knew how she got the role. She was not the original one who was supposed to get the role.
Jack Lemon wanted Shirley McClain. He had done summer stock with Shirley McClain. He wanted Shirley McClain. He had won the Academy award for the movie. Mr. Roberts is a best supporting act. So he thought he had all the juice to get her in and Billy Wilder had agreed. There was an investor with a lot of money.
Into this movie. Okay. As an investor and he had outfit ties and Sam Jean called my father and says we got to get Marilyn Monroe to part hip Sidney Koroshek, Mr. Koroshek, lawyer, Sidney Koroshek call the studio and Sidney Koroshek called the studio and Marilyn Monroe was called in for a screen test.
But it was already rigged. She was going to get the part. And they went through the motion and made it look like, Oh, this is official. Okay. This is like when we used to go fix cases with circuit court judges. They sit there. Yeah. Okay. You didn’t get due process. The case was fixed to begin with. And she got the part was very successful, was a very successful movie about gangsters in Chicago dressing up as women.
And but she didn’t know I knew that. Okay. She didn’t know I knew that. So I said, I really enjoyed Some Like it Hot. I said, Ms. Monroe, you were really good. So you can call me Marilyn. I said, okay, thank you. And in my book Insight, I talk about my father always telling me with. Wise guys, you call him by Mr.
So and and if he’s with a woman, if it’s his wife, you call her Miss So and or if it’s his side girl, it’s Miss, never until he tells you, you respect them, never until he tells you, which was I had, it was a long time before I’d call Sam Giancana, Sam or Tony Occardo, Tony, until they gave me the go ahead and said, Scott, why don’t you call us, by our first name?
And I’d say my father wants me to respect you. He said, I know your father, you’d call us. And we continued talking and we must have talked for a good hour and 45 minutes, just to go back with Joe DiMaggio. He says, you remember Joe DiMaggio? I said, Joe D had 361 home runs, played 15 years with the Yankees.
She says, maybe you should be dating because they had been divorced. I think they were married a year. It was real short. They were married a year. And they got back together the second time, but of course it didn’t work out. And years later, I would see, I saw Joe DiMaggio at a baseball show in Las Vegas, many years later after Marilyn Monroe died.
And he always said the Kennedys killed her, the Kennedys killed her, it really was hot. Because every year on her birthday, we go to Forest Lawn, I think she’s buried in Forest Lawn in Los Angeles, and he’d bring flowers every year. He loved her very much, but he was old school Italian, and she wasn’t.
That type of woman, she wasn’t going to put up with, he wanted her to be like his mother. Basically. That’s her. That’s really what it was about. That’s what she told me. I said, good luck with Mr. DiMaggio. And then we left. So now she was about, with the Kennedys, like I say, and going back with the outfit from the beginning.
And I always remember I was with my father when he gave the order on Marilyn Monroe. Okay. And he gave the order on Marilyn Monroe to my father and told him the two mobsters he wanted to be sent to Los Angeles to carry out the order. And my father always told me from the beginning, you have to carry out the order, no matter what it is, you must carry it out.
Otherwise, next time you’re going to be the next order, so you’ve got to carry it out. So we leave and we’re in the car and I’m looking at his face, I said you’re going to carry it out. He says, yeah we’ll take care of it. I’ll get back to him. We’ll take care of it. And he sat on it and he sat on it and he sat on it and he kept telling Sam G and kind of yeah I’m working on it.
It’s okay. Cause Sam G and kind of always trust him cause they knew each other. At that point, almost 40 years, okay? He said, okay, I know, Dave, you got to take care of it, yeah. He sat on it, and finally, he told Sam Giancarlo, they’re going out tomorrow. That was the day when they found Marilyn Monroe’s body.
And that’s another story, because I met Thomas Noguchi, the coroner, in 1975. And they said, why didn’t you do a toxicology report? Because on her death certificate, it says, probable suicide. It does not say suicide. Probable suicide. Probable leaves the door open because it’s not saying suicide. It’s saying problem could be something else.
I said to him you’ve seen the photos and he started to get a little antsy with what photos. I said, the ones that were taken by the coroner’s office, which I’d seen through somebody else, through a friend, everyone in the mob life was a friend. It showed him, showed me the pictures. She had bruises on her body.
So that means she was fighting back. Okay. She was fighting back. And he says, I don’t know anything. Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. I don’t know. And we didn’t do the toxicology report and that was it. And he’s walking away. So I got some opinions on really what happened, with her there.
And I’m not saying it was the way that. The story came out like a lot of things are not always the way the story comes out.
[01:35:28] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah, there’s a, there’s what the public hears. And then there’s the way that things actually happen. They don’t always align. That’s for sure.
[01:35:37] Scott Hoffman: That would be like in Las Vegas.
You’d see, I’d see entertainers and you’d see him on television, but then I’d see their, what they were like in their private, what the private face was. My father always called the private face. And you’d see that with the entertainers. And you’d see them on television and you were thinking, Oh they’re this way, they’re that way.
And that wasn’t always the case. That was not always the case at all. Some were very bad, some are very good. And the ones that were good often surprised you. The ones that were bad, they would surprise you too. I guess you,
[01:36:10] Dan LeFebvre: you never know. You never
[01:36:12] Scott Hoffman: know. No, you didn’t know because you didn’t know them.
You only saw them on television. Yeah. It’s like people watching mob movies. They only see what they see.
[01:36:22] Dan LeFebvre: You only know what’s in front, what has been scripted out in front of you.
[01:36:27] Scott Hoffman: That’s it. They read my book inside then they’ll see. Yeah. But they all see what they see and they think that’s how it is.
And they think, oh, the life is glamorous and all, and it’s really not. It’s a lot of pressure. My father used to always say, Dan, being in the life was a two shoulder operation. He says, over the left shoulder, you’re looking to see who’s trying to kill you. The right shoulder, you’re looking to see the G trying to make cases and put you away for a lifetime.
So it was a lot of pressure, but for him, it never bothered him. The pressure just didn’t bother him. But for someone like Carl Rica, he used to cook a lot. That was his way of releasing the pressure. Sam Giancana was sex. It’s always women’s sex. Tony Icardo had wood in his backyard. He chopped the wood to release the tension.
But with my father no, maybe that’s why he called it a hobby, but he was able he was able to, he never had something that he had to release maybe because he understood what had to be done and he treated it that way. And it was a business. Him, I think was always a business. Yeah.
[01:37:33] Dan LeFebvre: Yeah. That makes, that makes sense that, everybody’s different and what they can handle and what they can’t and, if they need that release versus some people don’t.
[01:37:41] Scott Hoffman: Yeah. Just like sometimes you’ll see in a family there’s always one kid who’s going to take care of mom and dad and the other five are going to say you’re going to tell you, take mom to the doctor, you take the adder and you say, wait a minute, you’ve got five other brothers and sisters.
Why can’t you divide up the time? Why is all the pressure have to be on the one kid on their shoulders that you see that. Yeah. And that’s how it was a lot of times in mob life. I hear stuff through the mob grapevine, but cause I know how the G works. I know what they’re doing, the cases they’re trying to make.
So I’ll hear stuff through the grapevine and guys want to talk to me because there’s certain things that I know that go beyond statute of limitations. So that tells you what it could be, but I don’t rat anybody out just like I don’t give up anybody who’s in the WPP, the witness protection plan. I program, I don’t give up anybody.
I really don’t. The only time I would tell somebody as far as like an Irish name, because he took himself out after a year with Sammy Gravato. He didn’t want the restrictions. He took himself out after a year because he was in Phoenix. He’s still in Phoenix living and his name was Joey O’Brien. That was the name they gave Sammy, Joey O’Brien.
But that’s because he took himself out of the program. But otherwise, I don’t give up any, but I don’t read anybody else. Thank you so
[01:38:55] Dan LeFebvre: much for coming on to chat about the mafia and the movies. I know you talked about your book inside there. Can you give an overview of your book and where listeners can pick up their own copy?
[01:39:06] Scott Hoffman: Sure. Basically, my my book is, it’s individual stories while it’s fictional. It’s composites of real people and real events. And I’ve not had anybody tell me they disliked the book. Okay. And some people said to me, maybe they’re afraid to tell you they dislike. I said, no, I said, I’ll give you a fast example.
I was at a restaurant where I older couple had bought the book. And I said, cause I always tell people, if you buy the book and you see me catch me, I’ll sign it when I saw he signed the book and this guy is standing next to me and we’re talking, I’m talking with the husband and wife. He says, boy, this sounds really interesting.
And I said, I’ll give you the information. He says, I haven’t read a book in 38 years. He said, when I graduated high school, that was last time I read a book. I have not read a book. So I said to him, sir, I said, look, I’ll give you the information, how to get it. I’ll tell that in a second. And if you read it and you don’t like it, I will reimburse you because I used to see him in the restaurant where I went for dinner.
I will reimburse you the cost. It won’t cost you a darn thing. He says, that’s fair enough. I gave him the information. And he got the book on a Friday. I saw him like the next Tuesday, Wednesday, he said to me, Mr. Hoffman, I got the book on a Friday. I couldn’t stop reading it. I read the whole weekend.
So that’s all I’m doing. So to find, to get my book, if you go on Amazon and put in Scott, S C O T middle initial M last name, Hoffman, H O F M a N. And the word inside, you will see the book and the book is sold as a paperback also sold as Kindle. And I’ve had some people buy it as Kindle because they like to read it on the train or or on a commuter bus or something.
They do that. But again, I haven’t had anybody that said they didn’t like it, but then again, maybe the guy is right. Maybe they’re afraid to come. No, I wouldn’t do anything. Nothing’s going to happen. I said, just, I’ll kid with people. I’ll say big Louie and Guido, they make house calls and people get shake yet.
I’m just kidding you. I’m just kidding. Just kidding.
[01:41:00] Dan LeFebvre: Thank you again so much for your time, Scott. Again, I will include a link to your book inside and the show notes for this so people can pick up a copy and learn what it’s really like.
[01:41:07] Scott Hoffman: Yeah, like I say, though, while the book is fictional, but they’ll be able to pick up on stuff because it’s not written in chapters. It’s one story after another, as you’ve seen. As you’ve seen. So thank you, Dan, very much. And again, thank your listeners very much for having patience with me.