Goodfellas in Phoenix

It is not very often, at least any more, that I find reporting in our local paper captivating.  But this story about a New York mobster dropped into the witness protection program in Phoenix is fascinating.   I learned a couple of things.  First, the Feds seem to place a disproportionate number of their high-profile mafia turncoats into the Phoenix area.  And second, the portrayal of mobsters in Goodfellas or the Sopranos as people who simply cannot stop scamming seems spot on.  In this case, this particular mobster-in-hiding created an entire restaurant chain (Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill) and used it as a vehicle for scamming tens of millions of dollars out of mall developers, who would pay him millions in up-front build-out money in exchange for signing long term leases he never meant to honor.


  1. Michael Stack:

    Captivating, but not very impressive (emphasis mine):

    "Kelley, who would not speak about Gioia’s case specifically, said it is *impossible to underestimate the benefits* of the program and its impact on law enforcement. He said the program has given prosecutors an invaluable tool."

    Guessing that's not what Kelley actually meant.

  2. morganovich:

    sounds more like "my blue heaven".

    did he have change collection for little league?

  3. kidmugsy:

    I could care less, irregardless.

  4. Craig:

    Enjoyed the read, but it could have been half as long without all the repetitions in each part.

  5. Dan Wendlick:

    This was pretty much the plot of the Steve Martin/Rick Moranis film "My Blue Heaven", only the Disney ending was that the hood scamming money in the name of youth baseball actually went straight and founded the league.

  6. PA32R:

    How much less could you care?