La Drama Nostra, by Harper’s Staff

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From a March 3, 1999, FBI recording of alleged New Jersey mafiosi Anthony Rotondo, Joseph (Tin Ear) Sclafani, Billy Lnu, and a cooperating witness. The recording was an exhibit in the indictment of thirty-nine alleged members of the DeCavalcante crime family in Manhattan last December.

anthony rotondo: You heard what he just said now?

sclafani: Who?

anthony rotondo: This guy.

sclafani: He plays, he breaks, he drives me fucking crazy this guy.

anthony rotondo: He says, ah Anthony, he says, you know as well as I do it’s going to be in court for twenty years. We ain’t got twenty years.

sclafani: And what did he say?

anthony rotondo: I don’t wanna do that. Do the math, Frankie. You’ll be the man. I says, I says there’s other people involved. You know, we got Uncle Joe.

sclafani: Right. What he say?

anthony rotondo: He says that’s the only way I know how to meet Jo Jo. How do I know who Jo Jo is?

sclafani: Me?

anthony rotondo: Yeah.

sclafani: They call me Jo Jo now. First I was Little Joey, then Joey Blue Eyes, now Jo Jo. Where the fuck do they get all these fucking names? . . . Hey, what’s this fucking thing Sopranos? What the fuck are they . . . ?

cooperating witness: You ever watch it?

sclafani: Is that supposed to be us?

anthony rotondo: You are in there. They mentioned our name in there.

sclafani: Yeah, what did they say?

billy lnu: Watch out for that guy they said. Watch that guy.

anthony rotondo: Every show you watch, every show you watch more and more you pick up somebody. Every show.

sclafani: Yeah, but it’s not me. I’m not even existing over there.

anthony rotondo: Corky.

sclafani: Yeah.

anthony rotondo: One week it was Corky. One week it was, well from the beginning it was ah, the character was ah, was Albert G.

sclafani: Yeah.

anthony rotondo: The guy that died and had stomach cancer.

sclafani: Yeah, but where do they get this information from?

anthony rotondo: Ah, where?

lnu: Joey, there’s somebody close to you there Joe.

sclafani: Huh?

anthony rotondo: You know where it’s made? It’s made right on Third A venue, in the bookstore.

sclafani: Are they supposed to be us?

lnu: Sacco’s.

sclafani: No, that’s not Sacco’s.

witness: Oh, it’s supposed to be . . .

anthony rotondo: It’s supposed to be Sacco’s.

sclafani: Really?

lnu: I’m telling you. You gotta watch.

sclafani: So what they say?

anthony rotondo: Aren’t they funny? I’m telling ya. You ever watch that, Ralph?

witness: Yeah, I caught it one night.

anthony rotondo: What characters. Great acting.


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