THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Marilyn Monroe...hotter than ever...a victim of murder?

 (AP Photo/Courtesy Running Press)
The icon known as Marilyn Monroe was neither dumb nor blond. She allegedly had affairs with countless men including both JFK and RFK as well as major mob big shots.The following story sums up this sexy, troubled and often misunderstood celebrity:

In his new book, Marilyn At Rainbow’s End: Sex, Lies, Murder And The Great Cover-Up, published by Blood Moon, investigative reporter Darwin Porter describes in detail how the "hit" took place. Read this for more:

Mob Speak reveals it's final take on MM's notorious death In a soon-to-appear post. One of Slick Hanner's cronies with inside information insists it was a mob hit. Check out former Mob Speak posts on the topic Aug. 14, 2011 and Oct. 23, 2011.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Occasionally Mob Speak recommends a great read. If you've wondered what it's like to be a blackjack card counter this book is for you. Beyond the famous book Bringing Down the House and movie 21 that exposed blackjack card counting to the public, author Nathaniel Tilton shares secrets of that controversial world never before spelled out. The Blackjack Life is set for release August, 15, 2012.

Amazon has this to say:

The first blackjack book that Huntington Press has been excited by enough to publish in a half-decade, The Blackjack Life really does bring something new, and relevant, to the table.

Author Nathaniel Tilton was just a regular guy with a regular job when he read Bringing Down the House and decided he wanted to do what the players in that book did. A journey through the inner world of card counting, the lessons of teamwork, and the clandestine pursuit of beating the odds, in The Blackjack Life Tilton relates the story of his personal journey through the smoke-filled casinos in which he and his playing partner gambled, to the seedy backrooms that he hoped he would never see. More than just wins and losses, The Blackjack Life is about the growth of a man who discovered himself through the unlikeliest of places – the world of professional blackjack -- and who now shares his informed view of the opportunities that still exist for skilled players and what it’s really like to travel that road today.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Part III: Supreme, Crack, Hip-hop & 50-Cent

Jay-Z & Supreme

Part III of a 3-Part Series
We take up again with Seth Ferranti, author of The Supreme Team: The Birth of Crack and Hip-hop, Prince's Reign of Terror and the Supreme/50-Cent Beef Exposed.

MS: Do you think Supreme and his gang believed they could outsmart the system or just accepted that death or prison was the price one paid?

SF:  I would say a lot of dudes know that death and prison are the eventual outcomes when they get involved in the drug game but to them it seems that is the acceptable eventuality. I am sure they know they will only beat the system for so long but like I mentioned in one of the previous answers when you start beating cases left and right you might get caught up in the God complex and start believing your own press clippings. The ego is a terrible thing in situations like these which leads to blind spots that can keep these guys delusional in a way. But in another way I give them the ultimate respect and props because they remain who they are and they hold true to their ideals and their way of life even in the face of tremendous adversity. So in a weird or twisted kind of way they do have their own unique sense of honor and I would say their own unique sense of fate too. Because they have to know that they are going down but they do it anyway. To live big for that moment and in that minute they will do whatever it takes and pay whatever price. It is the ultimate live fast, die young attitude that these dudes embody. The epitome of who and what they are and the things they will do to maintain their reputation is truly gangster because to me being gangster is about having ideals and morals and sticking to them even if in society's sense they are twisted. That is why I call dudes like Supreme and Prince gangsters. Because they stuck to what they believed in. They lived by a code and never gave in or sold themselves short no matter what the situation. So maybe in all actuality they thought they could beat the system for a while but deep down inside they must have known they were living on borrowed time and in essence they were cool with that.

Al Pacino as Scarface
MS: You state, “Scarface made selling drugs seem cool and lucrative. It romanticized the dope game while glamorizing it and led a whole generation of youth astray. In reality that movie corrupted the whole black community.” As powerful as it was, can one movie really have that much of an impact on a whole generation? Tony Montana wasn’t even black. He was Cuban, a Latino.

SF:  I think so, the impact that movie had on hip-hop and the inner-city is undeniable. Tony Montana wasn't black but the black community identified with him. He was a man that came from nothing and rose to the top of the dope game. Dudes in the inner-city saw that and they thought hey I can do that too. Why not? It’s really not about being black or white or Cuban or whatever, in the end it’s about the haves and the have not's. If 10% of the population in this country have all the money and all the power then in essence we can all be Tony Montanas in a sense. It's like a ghettoized version of the American Dream. Kids in the ghetto don't grow up thinking they can go to Harvard but they do think they can be Tony Montana. Why? Because they see the local drug dealers who have that Scarface aura and get that Scarface respect and to them that is obtainable. All the rest is foreign to them. A lot of kids from the inner-city see the dope game as the way out. It is sad but it is the truth. I believe that movie had a tremendous impact on a whole generation of wanna be hustlers. Tony Montana made the drug game seem cool and glamorous. And the dudes that were running the drug trade in New York were the guys who the rappers emulated and wanted to be with, so it all goes back to hip-hop, which is a microcosm of black culture in a way.

MS: A few pages later you say that Preme was successful in merging blacks and Latinos, something that had been unheard of before. Why hadn’t it happened before, especially considering that the two groups had much in common?

SF: I think it goes back to the old saying of separate but equal. The way our country is structured society keeps the different groups of people separated. Divide and conquer is the oldest maxim in the book. Our country has a history of pitting ethnic groups against each other. It is a kind of survival of the fittest. That is how the cream rises to the top. And in truth a lot of people are ignorant of so many things. Supreme wasn't, he saw the big picture. He had a vision and he did what he had to do to bring his vision to reality. It’s really a shame he chose the options he did, he could have been a great and charismatic leader for his people and for America. But he chose the path he did and he has become a legend in the process. I didn't make Supreme a legend, his actions and his own environment did. I just carried on the tradition of the storyteller and brought his legacy to the masses in my book. This is not something that hasn't been done before with countless other criminals and outlaw heroes. The line stretches all the way back to Robin Hood and Billy the Kid and all the way up to John Gotti and Pablo Escobar and Supreme and other black inner-city gangsters.

MS: Rookie police officer Byrne’s murder while sitting in a patrol car became a symbol of the nation’s failure in its war on crime, a killing not even perpetrated by the Supreme Team. Yet they were blamed for it. Was that due to the fact that crack was involved and the Supreme Team was synonymous with crack?

SF: The Queens drug dealers had a kind of brotherhood. They called it the roundtable. All the dealers- Fat Cat, Pappy Mason, Wall Corley, Cornbread, Supreme, Prince, Tommy Mickens, Pretty Tony and all their respective crews- put aside any beefs in the name of business. Due to this association all of the dealers from Queens have been blamed and associated for the tragic murder of Edward Byrne. Even though four Bebos are doing time for the murder, all the dealers from that era are associated with it in news reports. The Bebos were Pappy Mason’s crew and Pappy Mason was Fat Cat's enforcer. If you check out photos from the era all of the above dealers are seen partying together at the hip-hop hotspots like Disco Fever. When the murder happened the feds and cops went all out on all the dealers from Queens. They didn't differentiate. The authorities were out for blood and they went after all the Queens drug lords. But without crack none of that happens. In a way crack really destroyed everything for the drug lords, yeah, they made money but the collateral damage was tremendous and they all ended up paying an extremely high cost although not as high a cost as Edward Byrne paid. Before crack a lot of dudes I have spoken to call it the wonder years, but after crack it was all murder, murder and more murder.

SF: Once Supreme was in prison, you say that the Supreme Team under Prince’s management engaged in senseless violence, open-ended free-for-alls ending in murder to a degree that made New York the “murder capital of the world.” How much of a role, if any, did Preme play in all this?

SF: Preme was in prison, so I am sure he did not play a role in all the senseless murders and free for alls. He would have tried to be more diplomatic and stop a lot of that but with the dawning of the crack era maybe even he would have been unable to stem the tide. Crack is a vicious drug and when you mix crack, money and power it is a volatile brew and then add people’s egos to that mix and you get the picture. Some of the dudes in the streets at that time really thought they were Scarface. They were going out with guns blazing. They did not give a fuck. And a lot of these types of dudes were on the team. So who knows if Supeme would have been able to curb the murderous and destructive behavior that a lot of these dudes engaged in? Crack really changed things. So it was not just Supreme not being out there it was a combination of that, Prince's more ruthless style and the cutthroat world that emerged as crack took hold of Queens and the inner cities across the nation. I would say crack made New York the murder capital of the world and it brought the violence to the degree that it got to.

MS: A Supreme Team member said, “If not for the fed case, we would have retired. We would have flipped that illegal money, opened up stuff that could help our people in the neighborhood.” How likely was that to happen do you think? Can leopards change their spots?

SFWithout all the violence and murders I believe it could have happened. The crack era made a lot of things change. Even the big dealers like Fat Cat, who made millions before crack, would have been ok without the violence. But the power started to go to these dudes’ heads and I think the ego maniac aspect of the Scarface movie did too. They saw Scarface and they wanted to be that. They wanted to have that power and with that ego maniacness a kind of craziness came into it. And then you put crack in that mix it was like pouring napalm on an already raging fire. Things exploded and got real chaotic. So without all that they might have been able to go legit. It’s been done before; the Kennedys are a good example of that. This is America so I am sure things like that have happened all the time in our history and in the black community. Most of the dudes on the team were hustlers first and foremost all the other stuff came into play because dudes got sheisty and they had to show that they weren't going for it. If you are righteous and treating people right, in the drug world that is, and dudes get it twisted and come at you wrong, how are you supposed to act? The streets dictate that you fight fire with fire. So that is how sometimes good people do bad things and make bad decisions.

MS: To continue along the previous line, Supreme did his utmost to go legit with his movie, Crime Partners, whose production and distribution were apparently financed legally. He stated, “I just wanted to be a regular person.” Is that to say he was on the straight and narrow? That once back on the streets he had nothing to do with drug dealing?

SFI would say that Supreme was on the straight and narrow but it goes back to the hood and in reality, as outsiders, there are a lot of things we don't understand about the hood. Ok, Preme was going legit but he still had this reputation as a big gangster and ghetto star. He still loved his hood and his people. He still represented for them. So the problem exists because you got all these suckers that are hating on Preme because of his success. They are trying him, disrespecting him, trying to get their own reputation at his expense. So what is the man supposed to do? I mean he is Supreme, he is the gangster legend. So does he revert to form or try to ignore it? That is why when a lot of people make it from the hood they move out of the hood because they are not with all the bullshit. But Preme tried to keep it real, in fact he did keep it real. Too real and now he is paying the price for what he did. But he stood on what he did, he didn't involve anyone else. He took it and kept it moving. That is why he is so revered and why his legacy should be honored. Not because he was a big drug lord or had power or this or that but because he stood on his ideals and didn't cave in the face of adversity. That is what makes him special. I can't say if he never sold drugs again. Who knows? But I do know he was making legitimate strides in a legal venture and due to his status and who he was the feds put a spotlight on him because they felt like he was the one that got away.

MS: Can you give us a short version of the beef between rapper 50 Cent and Supreme? How did it affect Supreme in the long run?

SF50 Cent was a nobody from the South Jamaica, the hood where Supreme is from. Supreme was riding what at the time was the winning horse, Irv Gotti and Ja Rule's Murder Inc. They were the stars, they were on top of the world. 50 Cent was trying to make a name for himself by disrespecting Irv Gotti and Ja Rule. So Preme stepped in, 50 Cent lied to Preme and kept it going and 50 Cent got blasted because of that. In the streets if a man comes to you and says check it out you need to stop doing this I am with these guys so leave them alone and you agree and then go back to doing the same thing the next eventuality due to you breaking your word is that you get fucked up, plain and simple. So 50 Cent broke his word to Preme and he got handled accordingly. Then after that 50 Cent goes on to become the biggest rapper in the world and he puts a lot of stuff in his songs and tells the feds to read my lyrics and he says a lot of stuff in interviews and then Supreme and Murder Inc. end up getting federally indicted and the indictment reads like everything 50 Cent was talking about in interviews and in his songs. So I would say the beef affected Supreme severely. But at the time he had no idea that this dude would blow up like he did. If he would have known he might have handled things differently but hindsight is 20/20.

MS: You state that “Supreme was targeted from the word go…” by overzealous prosecutors. And one of Supreme’s associates observed, “…with the feds it’s like once a drug dealer always a drug dealer.” The question still remains: Was Supreme innocent of the murders they charged him with?

SF:  I believe he is innocent. It just seems kind of far-fetched. He is convicted of murder for hire but there is no evidence, no physical evidence at all. Just the dudes who committed the murders saying Preme paid them $50 grand to do it. But $50 grand for a hit is a lot of money in South Jamaica, Queens. And the dudes who got killed were known thugs and gunslingers who were armed when they were killed. So who is to say that the shooters didn't kill these guys of their own accord and then look to connect Supreme to it when they didn't want to face the consequences of their actions? All this Supreme/50 Cent stuff is big news anyhow and the feds are trying to connect Preme to anything at all resembling a crime. Remember the whole Murder Inc. case started because the feds said Preme gave Irv Gotti the seed money to start Murder Inc., but then several years later when Supreme finally went to trial it changed into a murder for hire case. It just doesn't make sense. It’s like the feds designated a target in Supreme and then put the case together as they went with no real evidence just the dudes who did the shooting saying that Supreme paid them to do it and there was no evidence of that occurring either, just these dudes’ words. And it turns out one of the dudes was a frequent flyer informant. This was the second time he had got busted for something and cooperated with the feds. So it is a kind of far-fetched and crazy situation. I believe he is innocent of the murders they charged him with.


Seth, thanks for your candid, well-researched thoughts. Your book The Supreme Team seems certain to go down as the new standard for all exposes on legendary gangsters.

Author Seth Ferranti with wife Diane


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