- Donald kept talking about the owner.
- Window washing out on the island.
- But he'd come in at $775k; the lowest bid.
A quick disclaimer:(names and places have not been changed at all. They’ve been added to an answer sheet at this story’s bottom. So you too can play the ‘How much do I know about Donald Trump’ trivia game.)
When people think of the mob, they often picture blood oaths, double crossings, gratuitous violence, murder, mayhem and more. What isn’t understood is that all they imagine are ‘means’: and the ‘end’ isn’t ‘honor’ or ‘power’, even. It’s ‘money’. That is what’s driven every member of la Cosa Nostra since the beginning of that ‘thing of theirs’. And no doubt, it’s what drove one very real 1) _____ ________ ____________.
Born August 15th, 1911, he was a Harlem product; back when paisons still fleshed out 116th. He had been fortunate. His button got punched by 2) ___________ ______ _________, a very powerful 3) _______ capo. After his capo flew to Florida for good in 59′, the 116th street crew got handed over to him. Each morning, in front the Palma Boys social club, court get held with him and his goons.
Alongside running a numbers racket, he co-partnered with 4) _____ _____ __________, 5) _________ Don at the time, to start a ready mix concrete construction business they called 6) _______.
7) ______ ______ provided the the mobster with an entrance into Donald’s life. He was an infamous, utterly, reprehensible lawyer whose questionable legal services both men employed. He once explained to Donald, ‘Truth is hardly ever an absolute. There are so many elements.’
Something to keep in mind: when pursuing money, mobsters survive on the sure thing. Intimidation, violence and preternatural instinct.
That was the year that marked a near decade since Donald had unspectacularly graduated from 8) _______. Most of his fellow business school grads had probably gotten job offers right before graduation. Donald? At birth. By 78, his principal achievement had been renaming the family business from 9) ______ ________ _______ _____ to the now well known 10) ‘_______ ______ organization’. But 78′ was a special year.
By 78′, his dad, 11)____, was on the government’s radar. ‘Difficult’ is accounting for unexplained windfall profits. Plus the major civil rights discrimination charge he’d had to settle –at least, not admitting guilt– aged his Dad twenty years in about five. Then there were Dad’s own ties to that ‘thing of theirs’. There were issues.
And, to be honest, Donald had been right. With Donald’s help, the dad, a Brooklyn Queens guy, was getting a better sense of the Manhattan market. Donald kept calling it a bonanza. Most of the resounding real estate deals in the city’s history had yet to be consummated. Significant acreage of the surprisingly compact island that is Manhattan was still owned by the city itself. And the city was bankrupt. Perfecto. The crisis presented horrendous deprivations for most New Yorkers, but for son and father? An opportunity. Bound to recover at some future point, the prospect of firesale pricing of once in a lifetime property had to cause eyeballs to bulge.
The first go at it was with a firm hired by a bankrupt 12) ___________ ___________ ________. They managed a huge swath of derelict space then up for sale. In particular was property on the city’s westside; land adjacent to the Hudson river. There were 44 acres of this bankrupt company’s 34th street rail yard, which reached from 30th north to 39th street; and a second 75 acre tract that ran from 59th to 72nd. Combined, the sites overlooked the upper west side and midtown. They offered Donald the largest amount of land left for sale in the whole city. Extraordinary potential, his dad must have figured. Donald imagined a crowning project. He boasted, ‘no less than 20,000 apartments at the 60th street site and 10,000 down on 34th street’.
Donald wrote one letter after another to the firm that was handling the sale of the property. Each missive went unanswered until late in 73. Likely, in a state of boredom, one of the firm’s young execs, 13) ________ ___________, perused a letter. Curious, the author received a call. Donald suggested meeting at his Dad’s office in Brooklyn. ‘What’s there to lose?’ was probably the thought. At the meeting, Donald presented a glowing, energetic, ambitious self; bestowed with more charm than the devil had ever given any other lackey. Bursting with confidence, a young Donald intimated he had ins with it all. Name an official. Up came the name of the City’s just newly elected mayor, 14) ______ _______. Then a surprise dare. They should all meet with the new mayor at city hall the next day. Some favors had to be called in for that. But just as promised, a limo picked up the exec, and with a proud dad in tow, Donald won that day. The mayor, all five foot two of him, first gave dad then son a massive hug, before turning to the exec and swearing, ‘If my friends want something in this town, they get it.’ He lied. They didn’t. Competent bureaucrats, promises Donald made with obviously no intention of keeping, they all got in the way. Not so good things, as Donald might put it later, had happened.
But then the Hyatt. A friend, 15) _______ ______ counseled, ‘Donald buy the Commodore and convert it into a Hyatt’. At first, Donald balked. Inspected, he found the brick facade absolutely filthy. The lobby was so dingy it looked like a welfare hotel. Bums were passed out near doorways. The ground floor? Boarded up storefronts. Still, it was something. It stood just mere feet from the Grand Central. In Donald’s words, “Unless the city died, millions of affluent people would keep passing by this location daily. It was the hotel. Not the neighborhood.’ The asking price was going to be abatements and waivers. What got wrangled out was a 41 year tax holiday. All told, that spared him $111 million that would have been used for public benefit.
What a sweetheart deal, his father must have thought, brimming with pride. At least Donald wouldn’t prove to be worthless like his namesake. Even better was the 5th ave property, since the above deal was a Hyatt partnership. That one, they’d name brand. Currently, The 16) ___ ____, it stood on 56th and 5th ave. It was a storied location and zip. Just a block away used to stand a 137 room mansion built by the Vanderbilts. The boyhood home of a predecessor president, 17) _______ ________, was just a stone’s throw away. Nearby, the Rockefellers, themselves, even owned property. The plan was to build a co-op building amongst the mansions. In co-ops, governing bodies could establish virtually any admissions standards they liked. That meant no lawsuits. Dad must have loved that. It would be the most exclusive. Clubbiest. Extreme wealth. That would be synonymous with their name brand.
Now picture a quite dreary Manhattan. If you’ve ever experienced temperatures so numbingly cold, your fingertips have been something you’ve damned, recall that. Then throw in a mix of crowds, traffic and what would seem like mean spirited red lights that keep causing bodies to move in sporadic spurts; all in an effort to traverse short, filthy streets; with thawing fists shoved deep inside of pockets. And yet to one side, a very odd sight. It might have caused halts; at the least, pauses. A construction crew. The men –white men– and hundreds of them– were in all states of dress. Some with coats. Some not. As if to say in the foreign tongue they blared, ‘What is this thing called “Cold”? Why do you fear it so much so?’. And none wore hard hats. Plumes of hot vodka scented breath crystallized air before them and served as one of their few heat sources. They raised and slammed sledge hammers bare handed.
The site: a future 18)_____ Tower.
The first meeting at the lawyer’s office probably wasn’t weird for anyone. While Donald went on explaining the circumstances behind the demolition crew, our mobster didn’t bat an eye.The hilarity of it all was gonna have the fellas back on a 116th pissin in their fuckin pants. But inside, he seethed. Bafangool. Ugats a tan cul. Still, he sat, stone faced, stogie secured firmly in left jowl, tongue jutting out every so often, if just to keep the unlit stoge moist. In height, his body was compact at only five foot four, but he was obscenely fat at around 300 or so pounds; the consequence of literally gouging nightly on flesh after gouging daily on society figuratively. He breathed heavily too by then. He was 69 or so at the time. When he sat, he sort of plumped. Topped by his black fedora, 100 dollar cuban dotting his fat faced mouth, he looked the character. Only this character was thrown a twist. Genuinely, he was horrified by what he was hearing. Plus how nonchalant the stugotz in front him related it. The stugotz who would go on to become the 45th freakin president of the United States. He listened mute to the talk about the firm on Long Island, 19) ________ _________ _____ ____.
They’d never done demolition before. You think… you stunard! Donald kept talking about the owner. Window washing out on the island.. But he’d come in at $775k; the lowest bid. That got him a nod. Comfort the jerkoff. Donald kept talking. There were about 200 undocumented immigrants. The Chin called the bums the Polish brigade. Apparently, the window washer’s cunt wife recruited the schmos straight from Poland. Placed a paper ad. Now in the states, they scurried into the site at night like mice, breaking the upper floors apart, excavating old asbestos covered piping and walls, even as electricity flowed through live wires. Seven days a week, they worked up to 18 hours a day, underpaid at $4 an hour. Sometimes in vodka. Most slept at the site. Deportation was often threatened at hints of dissension.
Fuckin moron, this fuckin cocksucka!
Our mobster eyed Donald still stone faced. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The Chin had guys from Local 95, the House Wreckers union, supervising. So a lot of what was getting heard, he knew already. Couldn’t believe. But knew. Typically, with something like this, and mind you, typically nothing like this ever happened, since most developers weren’t this stupid, a decision would get made to end it by having massive goons pile up in scores of cars, then exit them, leaving them rocking, as they advanced, a small army, with bats in hands; one making his way to whatever pollack seemed like the alpha and shoving a 22 into his hole. But our mobster knew guys that knew Donald’s dad really well. Napoli, Depaolo, plus Tomasello in Red Hook freakin loved da guy. There were those men he had to keep in mind. Still, no hard hats, Cheap booze. Live wire. Sheesh.
Once the demolition was done –if this jerk off didn’t ruin da freakin thing– they could get 20 ) ____ to start pouring the concrete. That’s when the moolah would start raining. Ready mix dried fast. Not leaving a lot of stomach for strikes. Pay top dollar, moron. Get peace of mind. No strikes the whole project.
And true to his word: zero strikes occured. Even when there was a citywide strike. It was like all the concrete in the city went to Donald. Most the project, there really wasn’t any trouble at all. Except this one time. The time the gc, 21)____ ________ tried to act like the Queen of England and got all cheeky about a no show job. Cocksucka came back from lunch that day and found that things had gotten ratcheted up. That’s when he found his switchboard operator curled up. She was like a human ball, head in lap, cradling herself. The office was trashed. Through sobs, she eventually got it out. About the knife. She didn’t really have to. The spot on her larynx where the goon kept it jabbed wasn’t bleeding profusely, but would leave a permanent mark on her lily white neck. The lawyer got on the phone with the gc later that day. After threatening lawsuits and hurling a litany of curses, the message got across really clear.
Picture inside of a federal courtroom in Manhattan. The press: they called it the commission trial. Supposedly, it featured all the Dons. Only one thing. The mobster. The one meeting with Donald. He was figurehead. Chin, he was the real thing. The last decade, that’s how they’d played the feds. And it fuckin worked. Fuckin feds wouldn’t figure Chin out another whole 10 years. Meanwhile, the mobster from 116th got charged and sentenced to a century and then some. It fuckin hurt bad. There’d been a 7 bedroom mansion in Miami beach, a 6 bedroom penthouse in Grammercy and a 13 bedroom horse farm in Rhinebeck. There’d been scungilli, filet mignon, trips to Tahiti, where the sauce they made the chicken with was so tangy, the taste would explode in your mouth. He’d lived a life most rock stars and movie celebs would envy. Now it was all getting exchanged for a freakin concrete box. All because the feds managed to wire his spot, then all the low life, piece ah shit, rat muthafuckas tattled. He’d been warned. But still, that shit hurt. Everything did.
Like when the prosecutors would have him –at 76– rousted from his box, and plump him in a chair. Now they were bringing up Catherine’s plight. How at 70, she was now residing in her own box; inside the Bronx home of the sister she couldn’t even stand; all of the possessions left from the mansions and penthouses stuffed neatly inside of cardboard boxes. Each month now, Catherine forked over to her sister his social security check, which came courtesy his no show gigs. And now these assholes that were in front him were threatening to bring that to an end. Cooperation was the word they liked to bandy about. Pitch like a lifeline. There were moments…. Sheesh. Only he could rationalize why he turned em down. See, the moolah had gotten to Catherine too. She’d enjoyed the trips to Tahiti and the chicken with the amazing sauce just as much as him. So now, all they either deserved was shame.
What killed was he’d only been figure-head. A pawn really. But it had paid him well. He’d probly been raking in more than Chin. When they let him out into population, that’s how he would tell it to the boys. Men in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It was a federal max. So sometimes there were surprises. Like when he came across Nino ‘The Barbarian’ Ricci. A legend from 136th and Lenox. One of our mobster’s boyhood idols. ‘The Barbarian’ couldn’t be under a century, he surmised. His prime had been around Teranova’s reign. Probably clipped guys from horses, the old geezer. Rumor had it, In his younger days, ‘The Barbarian’ liked to dig holes to stuff the vics he didn’t particularly like. He’d make sure they were still slightly breathing before he’d start to shovel in dirt. After matting the grave down, he would sometimes marvel at how he could still hear murmurs before exiting.
The psychopathic killer could now be found most days stranded inside a wheelchair. He was now a twig of a man, with his prison blues looking like they were bundled up on top of his old, withered rank skin. His shell was crowned by a dull, bald head now, and the half crazed eyes they housed always appeared stuck in a far away glance. ‘The Barbarian’ was catatonic practically. Worse. He would piss himself. That was the fate that our mobster feared. The catatonic look and the urine. His boyhood idol. The only thing he might have feared more were the rats. The real ones. All night, their gnawing troubled his eardrums. At their sight, scurrying alongside concrete walls, their enormity paralzed, the square grey noses, the pointy whiskers, beady eyes, sharp teeth, the fear of attack. There were stories. Some of them verified. It was these fears that kept him up most nights. The uncontrollable fits of coughing didn’t help at all. But now having to gouge on the gaseous release from either his bunkmate, or himself, which yearlong scented their box was also a punishment. Then back in population. Around the boys, he’d remember he was a gangster.
He could be freakin hilarious. But mean sometimes too. For example, there were the stories about the degenerates who would gamble away their last dime; how he had a particular way to get them to pay involving prongs he’d heat up, while somebody else got the vic properly clothed — as in nude. And the developers! Especially, the boys loved the stories about Donald.
A cheap cigar now clinched, he’d always start, ‘I wanted to murder this fuckin guy.’
The boys would riot with howling laughter.
He’d sneer for drama.
In his mind’s eye, he could still picture the dumb pollacks with live wire in one hand. Some times a cup of booze in the other. He even recalled which goon, Cheeky ‘Crackedpot’ Fama, that he’d sent to stick the blade against the switchboard operator’s throat. Cheeky had laughed maniacally while recounting it all. His only regret about that was that it hadn’t been Donald. But there had been the Dad to consider. Then our mobster would start to think about all the cash that had ran through that gig. He’d heard recently the stugotz was worth maybe billions.
‘Cocksucka got da concrete tho,’ sometimes he’d snort.
Answer sheet: 1) ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, 2)’Trigger Mike’ Coppola, 3) Luciano, 4) ‘Big Paul’ Castellano, 5) Gambino, 6) S&A, 7) Roy Cohn, 8) Wharton, 9) Elizabeth Trump and Son, 10) Trump, 11) Fred), 12) Penn Central Railroad, 13) Edward Eichler, 14) Abe Beame, 15) Victor Palmieri, 16) Bon Wit, 17)Theodore Roosevelt, 18) Trump, 19) Kaszynski and Sons Contractors, 20) Biff, 21) Irving Fischer.