By Rick Gordon - Enigmose Political
Most prominent Italian Americans at one time or another are accused of being 'connected' at one level or another. 'Connected' being a euphemism for being a mafia stooge at the very least or at most a mafia mogul . Mario Cuomo, who once stated "the mafia doesn't exist" is certainly no exception.
Wading through scores of old news stories and columns I was amazed at how diligently the liberal press of his day endeavored to depict him as a choir boy who ascended to Sainthood. That alone aroused my suspicion, if the liberal press is promoting somebody or something - then yes, he/she/it is connected. If not connected to the classical Italian mob, then that other great organized crime cabal - The Democratic Party. Now none will deny Saint Mario's connections to the Democrats he was one of the dirt-bags, but his connections to the Mafia itself is a tad more suspect, it is largely based on guilt by association.
Mario Cuomo's obscure mafia ties are believed the reason he declined to seek his parties Presidential nomination.
"Cuomo knew well that a presidential campaign could focus mercilessly on it, and subject his family to extreme intrusion. At the time a Democratic political consultant fantasized with me over the type of television spot he’d run against Cuomo: A grainy shot of slain mobster Paul Castellano’s body, followed by one of Cuomo, and the tagline - 'Mario Cuomo: Didn’t he once say the Mafia doesn’t exist? " James Ledbetter - quartz.com
It had been common knowledge that the Gambino family actively funnelled money to Cuomo. Anthony Scotto, a NY Gambino mobster and labor union racketeer had used union connections to illegally divert $50,000 to Cuomo's 1977 mayoral campaign, he got caught which was rare. So why would the Gambinos be interested in having Mario Cuomo serve as Mayor ? Scotto is known to have had strong influence over several Democratic mayors and a governor before the long arm of the law caught up with him . As I stroke this keyboard he is still alive and in Prison, Scotto that is - Saint Mario is most likely skewered on a demons pitchfork because he sure as hell ain't playing a harp on cloud 9. On January 17, 1979, Scotto was indicted on 33 federal bribery and racketeering charges, On November 16, 1979, he was convicted on all charges.
Scotto testified that he had funnelled an additional $75,000 extorted from waterfront businessmen and gave the money to the political campaigns of Governor Carey and then Lt. Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. $75,000 Cash Was Given to Help Carey and Cuomo, Scotto Testifies - NY Times.
Saint Mario Cuomos mentor was a man named Meade Esposito. Esposito was the Brooklyn Democratic political boss, heir to the throne of Tammany hall from days gone by. He served as leader of the Kings County Democratic Committee from 1969 to 1984. He was a political fixer, a king maker and Democratic royalty in his own right - he was the wizard behind the curtain.
He brokered gratuity exchanges that funded many criminal dynasties and nurtured others. One up and coming dynasty was the Cuomo Klan via their patrarch, Saint Mario. Mario Cuomo was a political protegé of Meade Esposito. The elder Cuomo lent his, at the time untarnished name, to his mentor and associates in several schemes, some of which led to indictments and convictions, others that were swept under the carpet of convenience.
One such instance was a Pittsburgh Airport debacle. A construction company known as the Mattone Group, Ltd bid on a multimillion-dollar project at the Allegheny County, PA. airport and Commissioners gave them the contract, not because they were the low bidder - but largely based on referrals from Saint Mario. Shortly thereafter they promptly cancelled the contract after discovering that the Mattone Group was mobbed up.
The Mattone Group owner, Joe Mattone was a top fund raiser for several of Cuomo's campaigns. A leading Cuomo fundraiser and childhood friend of Mario's. Another member of the Mattone Group was Nicky Sands. Sands was a business partner of Meade Esposito in multiple ventures and a key fund raiser for many Democrats in particular Cuomo protege Geraldine Ferraro. Ferraro, a failed candidate for Vice President in 1984 was financed in largely by Nicky Sands durring most of her congressional career.
The Pittsburgh project would not only have been lucrative as a fairly short term project it was a foot in the door for a more rewarding long term cash cow for the NY 'family'.
A key feature of the Pittsburgh plan was to establish a customs clearing house at the airport. At the time any imported material destined for Pittsburgh had to be flown into either Cleveland or JFK and trucked to Steel City.
Sands owned multiple trucking companies at the Queens NY Airport. The majority of airborne freight coming into the US arrives via Kennedy Airport. An extremely large percentage of illegal narcotics came into the country via JFK and was distributed with the freight that Sands companies hauled. His ties to the Pittsburgh Project would have given the Pittsburgh mob a piece of the pie.
Sterling National Bank, which was involved in the financing further connects the dots in that it tied the Jewish and Italian mobs together. Sterling National was infamous for its ties and services to mafia king pins such as Meyer Lansky.
Members of Cuomos staff have also been found "Guilty by Association" in the realm of public opinion regarding mafia ties. Steve Villano served on Cuomo's staff when he was NYs Governor. His brother was a bag man for John Gotti Sr. who shook down union officials for payoffs.
So far as the Cuomo Dynasty ... Andrew and Chris. Chris in my opinion, is simply too lacking in intellectual prowess to cavort with this level of devious folk - they'd simply chew him up and spit him out. He was rewarded for his pedigree with a high exalted position with another group of criminals - the main stream media.
Big brother Andrew on the other hand, Mario's crown prince, fits right in and seems to have taken up the torch for his father Saint Mario.