Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Joe Mastronardo, Grandson of Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner And Mayor Frank Rizzo And Son Of Convicted Gambler Joe Vito Mastronardo, Gets Personal

Veteran organized crime reporter and author George Anastasia offers a piece on Joe Mastronardo for Mastronardo and his father were recently convicted in federal court for their part in a multi-million dollar gambling operation,

Joe Mastronardo said he tried not to take the gambling case that has landed him and his father in jail personal.

But he said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bologna took it there during a sentencing hearing earlier this month.

"He stood up, looked at me and said, 'Don't be like your father,' " said Mastronardo. "I thought that was petty and unprofessional ... If I turn out to be half the man my father is that would mean I'm an exceptional human being."

"My father is the greatest, smartest, toughest guy in the world ... My dad told Nicky Scarfo to go fuck himself? Who does that? My father's got a big set of balls."
Sitting in a coffee shop in Jenkintown over a breakfast of coffee and a six egg-white omelet, Mastronardo, 33, talked at length about the case, about his family and about the criminal justice system.

The son of gentleman gambler Joe Vito Mastronardo, 63, and the only grandchild of the late, legendary Philadelphia top cop and mayor Frank L. Rizzo, Joe Mastronardo said he is prepared for the five-month prison sentence (followed by five months of house arrest) that he received during that hearing in U.S. District Court on March 3. His father, sentenced at an earlier hearing, got 20 months in jail.

Both are scheduled to report to prison next month. In all 15 defendants pleaded out in the case federal authorities built around the high end, multi-million dollar gambling operation that Joe Vito Mastronardo operated. (Joanna Mastronardo, who is Joe's mother, Joe Vito's wife and Rizzo's daughter, was originally charged with a money-laundering infraction, but that charge was dropped as part of the plea negotiations that resolved the case.)

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


  1. I've never understood why Italian-Americans are so commonly linked to organized crime. No, I have not studied the history, but it does seem bizarre that one group has gotten so involved. Yeah, I know, I should read _The Godfather_ or some other eye-opener.

    1. Note: I was once (when young) very close to two families in western Pennsylvania; I was shocked when people started suggesting they must have been involved in crime because they were living far too well considering their simple careers (one man -- Tony P. -- did flooring, and another man - Amuel R. -- was on disability from the coal mines).

  2. R.T.,

    I'm not sure what to make of your comment "why Italian-Americans are so commonly linked to organized crime."

    I'm half-Italian and grew up in a mostly Italian neighborhood in South Philadelphia, the hub of Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia. As a writer, I've covered organized crime for a good number of years

    Yes, there are Italian-American criminals, but the pecentage is very, very small. Most Italian-Americans are law abiding and many of them, like Rudy Giuliani, serve or served in law enforcement and/or the military.

    The small percentage of Italian-Americans involved in crime are sometimes larger than life and make interesting reading and film and TV viewing, but don't make the mistake of thinking they truly represent Italian-Americans.

    And of course, there are black, Asian, Russian, Hispanic and other groups of people who are criminals, but like the Italians, they are not truly representive of their people.


  3. I certainly meant no offense. The Mafia has a reputation, but so do other crime organizations. Again, I apologize. Sometimes my keyboard moves more quickly than my common sense.

  4. R.T.,


    Yes, read "The Godfather" and watch the first two Godfather films. Good stuff.

    You might also want to read George Anastasia's "Blood and Honor," a true crime book about South Philly's mob.

    But again, remember criminals are a minority. Think about the Italian-Americans who have made positive contributions to American culture and the culture of the world.

    Few people would read a book about a law-abiding, hard-working Italian-American, but many would, and do, enjoy reading about mob guys.