Quickly the Colombos despatched John to a personal membership that was virtually empty. John was about to be “taken for a trip,” he says, when certainly one of his cousins occurred to stroll in. The cousin steered him out of the membership—with agency directions. “There’s nothing your father’s going to have the ability to do for you,” he mentioned. “It’s over. Keep away from us.”
Thus started a yearslong spiral of homelessness, depravity, and delusion. Years of capturing cocaine and sharing needles had taken a toll. His arms turned streaked with rainbow-colored bruises, and he’d contracted HIV. Sporting rubbish baggage as sneakers, he wandered alongside Queens Boulevard and stared at telephone cubicles, which he seen as “portals” that linked him to household and mates. He pulled stickups, smoked discarded cigarettes, and turned methods—something to finance one other $12 vial of bazooka crack.
In 1995, John was arrested for carrying an unlicensed gun. He spent about 9 months drying out in jail. Shortly after he returned residence, he picked up a message on his answering machine. The caller was Rob Lewicki, an FBI agent assigned to New York’s organized crime unit. “Hey, Johnny Boy,” Lewicki mentioned. “Give me a name.”
All of the Franzeses knew Lewicki, an affable Lengthy Islander who’d for years been brazenly investigating Sonny. He’d even arrested him a pair occasions for parole violations. It was a relationship performed with levels of mutual professionalism. When Lewicki occurred into a neighborhood bakery, Sonny supplied him bread and truffles. “We’re hoodlums, they’re cops,” Sonny advised John. “In the event that they catch you, that’s on you.”
Lewicki periodically known as members of the Franzese ecosystem. The purpose was to construct a rapport and fish for informants. The Franzeses, together with John, would supply a well mannered “no” and grasp up. They have been fiercely loyal to Sonny, who by now was the Colombos’ underboss. Formally, this meant he was second in cost; unofficially, he ran the present. The highest spot had been a revolving door because the Nineties, when an intrafamily energy battle often called the Third Colombo Battle wrought havoc. A number of Colombo relations died, quite a few have been arrested, and even civilians bought caught within the cross fireplace.
If Lewicki was a bit extra persistent with John, he had his causes. John was a determined mope with no allies and nothing to lose. He and John have been each North Shore guys. Born a 12 months aside, they’d grown up in the identical space on the similar time; they’d chased the identical ladies and cheered for the Jets. “John, hear,” Lewicki mentioned. “I believe it’d be good so that you can hear what I’ve to say. Let’s decide a spot.”
They met on a secluded park bench in Roslyn. Lewicki was sporting a wire transmitting their dialog to undercover brokers stationed close by. After exchanging pleasantries, they bought right down to it. John’s life was a multitude. He wanted to make a transfer. “John, it pays to have a pal within the FBI,” Lewicki started. “I’ll be capable of offer you some cash each month.”
John was good with that. However he says the primary promoting level got here when Lewicki steered that John’s cooperation may take authorized warmth off his mother and father. Sonny was often jailed for parole violations; Tina was suspected of bank card fraud. Lewicki believes John’s motives have been blended. John says they have been pure, however his emotions have been blended.
“Is there any means you’ll be able to assure that my dad gained’t return to jail?” John requested.
“Your dad must cooperate,” Lewicki replied.
”You possibly can overlook that.”
“Your dad’s not the goal,” Lewicki mentioned. “The goal is the Colombos. I’ll attempt to keep away from asking you direct questions on your father. Whenever you hear issues that your dad tells you, I have to know that stuff. However I’ll defend you.”
“All proper,” John mentioned. “Let’s do it.”
John detailed the household’s interior workings and its numerous scams. His persona was so relatable, and his intel was so good, that the 2 males fashioned a form of friendship. However it was conditional. “If at any time we discover out you’re utilizing medicine,” Lewicki mentioned, “this stops instantly.”
Months later, John was again to his previous methods. He was so determined that he’d taken to guzzling bottles of Tabasco for any barfly keen to pay $100 for the present.
“We’re executed,” Lewicki mentioned.
John spent about three years stealing his household’s jewellery, ingesting cologne, and bouncing out and in of rehabs and detox cells. He despatched Sonny into states of despair and rage. “This fucking man,” he’d bellow. “He’s killing himself one hour at a time.” As soon as, after John stole $11,000 from a safety-deposit field, he turned to search out Sonny watching him.
“Please don’t run,” Sonny mentioned. “I don’t care concerning the cash.”
By 2001, he was shuddering on his mom’s sofa and sure his pneumonia was AIDS-related—it wasn’t—when he regarded as much as see a well-known face. “Whenever you get higher,” Michael mentioned, “I need you to come back go to me.”
John was searching for a excessive when he arrived on the palatial home in Los Angeles that Michael shared along with his spouse and youngsters. And Jesus. By the mid ’90s, Michael had discovered God and turned his again on the Mafia. How a capo did this with out getting whacked remained an open query. Most individuals assumed he’d purchased his means out, in a seven-figure means—a cost Michael denied. Michael thinks that his spouse, religion, and refusal to testify in opposition to former associates has safeguarded him. Regardless, now he was a motivational speaker and writer (Quitting the Mob).