From The Sixth Family, according to witness testimony:
BROOKLYN, MAY 5, 1981
"We were in the closet. We all had our weapons loaded. We sat there and waited for the doorbell to ring," said Salvatore Vitale, a slender New York mobster known as Good-Looking Sal. "We left the door open a smidge to look out."
The ringing of the bell at the private social club’s entrance signaled the arrival of the first of the invited guests. Vito Rizzuto crouched low, peeking out from his vantage point. Through the swelling crowd and loud chatter from tough men all accustomed to having their say, Vito kept his eyes on one man, Gerlando Sciascia, a fellow Sicilian who was a long-time Rizzuto family friend.
Breathing deeply beneath his mask, Vito watched for the secret signal that would draw him from the closet, a signal that came when Sciascia slowly ran the fingers of his lean, right hand through the silver hair on the side of his head. That simple act of preening brought mayhem to the social club and radically changed the balance of power.
"Don’t anybody move. This is a holdup," Vito said as he confronted the roomful of powerful mobsters, his words muffled by a woolen ski mask pulled down over his long, thin face. Despite those words, this was not about robbery. Nothing would be taken but three lives and the rights to an underworld throne.
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In a mansion in an exclusive area of Montreal, Canada, lives a clan named Rizzuto. When the Rizzuto patriarch, Nick, arrived in the New World from a remote village in western Sicily, he brought with him his most valued possessions: his young family and the old code of the Mafia. He relied on both–his family and his code–to build a robust criminal organization that flourished in the shadow of the notorious Five Families of New York City.
Decades later, three rebellious captains in the Bonanno crime family were slaughtered inside a Brooklyn social club. For 25 years the details of the crime remained a closely guarded secret while, at the same time, rumors of the bold attack became underworld legend. Now, mob turncoats have come forward, abandoning their oath of omertà , to point their finger at the man they say was the lead triggerman that night–Vito Rizzuto, the son of Nick Rizzuto. The Brooklyn purge protected a hard-won, billion-dollar drug franchise.
In contrast to the deafening crash of gunfire in the narrow confines of that club, this cult-like Mafia family has been nurtured in a culture of silence, secrecy and the strength of relying on family--true family--to link the Mafia strongholds of Brooklyn, Montreal and western Sicily. Vito Rizzuto created a pure, near-perfect Mafia, an organization that seemed bulletproof to its rivals and immune to government prosecution at a time when the American Mafia was slowly being dismantled by the FBI.
The Sixth Family is a chilling modern-day underworld saga, deftly researched and compellingly told. While it contains the expected ingredients—drugs, corruption, treachery and murder—the book is full of surprises. The Sixth Family reveals the hidden history of the rise of the Rizzutos, the alliances forged around the globe and the events that recently led to charges against Vito Rizzuto in both the United States and Italy. The FBI wants him to face racketeering charges after a massive anti-Mafia sweep in New York; Italy’s authorities wish to put him on trial for a conspiracy to infiltrate the nation’s largest public works project. He is fighting all charges in a determined and well-financed campaign.
As police in the United States, Canada and Italy began to piece together the puzzle that is Vito Rizzuto, established notions about the nature of authority within the Mafia have been called into question. Who was this quiet don named Vito Rizzuto—the so-called "John Gotti of Canada"? And how did he come to be one of the biggest names in global crime? This book reveals the surprising answers.About the Author:
Adrian Humphreys covers organized crime for the National Post and is the author of The Enforcer, the best-selling biography of Johnny "Pops" Papalia, one of North America’s longest-reigning Mafia bosses. He was the principal consultant for History Television’s popular series "Mob Stories" and has written on crime for the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain’s Daily Telegraph and Reader’s Digest. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Lee Lamothe is the author of the best-seller Bloodlines: The Rise and Fall of the Mafia’s Royal Family; Global Mafia: The New World Order of Organized Crime; and the recently released Angels, Mobsters & Narco-Terrorists; and The Last Thief, a novel about the Russian Mafia. As a journalist and writer, he has covered organized crime across North America, Europe, South America and Asia.
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