Jimmy Fratianno – The Weasel: Exclusive 1981 Interview

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno – Interview (1981)’ by MOBFAX

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Written by: Recapz Bot

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A mobster turned informant exposes organized crime’s influence in America.

Key Insights

  • Joe Valachi testified before the McClellan committee in 1963, giving Congress insight into organized crime.
  • Aladino Fratiano, known as Jimmy the Weasel, was a mobster and enforcer for La Cosa Nostra.
  • Fratiano turned on his family and entered the Federal Witness Protection Program, resulting in 20 convictions and damaging blows to organized crime.
  • Fratiano described the ritual of joining the mob, involving bloodshed and introductions to members.
  • Frank Tieri, the reputed boss of New York's Genovese family, was considered the most powerful mafioso at the time.
  • Fratiano confessed to killing multiple people, including Frank and Nicole, by strangulation with a rope.
  • Fratiano became a target of the mob, leading him to turn informant out of bitterness and fear for his life.
  • Fratiano exposes the presence of the Mafia in legitimate businesses, organized labor, entertainment, government, and gambling.
  • Some notable names dropped by Fratiano include Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hoffa, Sidney Korshak, and Frank Fitzsimmons.
  • Fratiano claims the mafia killed Hoffa, favoring Fitzsimmons as a more suitable leader for the Teamsters.
  • Fratiano alleges mafia control in Las Vegas casinos, mentioning Al Sacks and Frank Sinatra's connections to the mob.
  • Fratiano dismisses the notion of the mafia attempting to murder Fidel Castro, stating it was a sham.
  • Fratiano will be given a new identity and aims to hide from his former associates for the rest of his life.
  • Fratiano's story sheds light on the extent of organized crime infiltration in various aspects of American life.

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This man, Joe Valachi, turned and testified before the McClellan committee in 1963 and gave Congress its most intimate look into the workings of organized crime until now. Men like Valachi and Fratiano are key to the federal drive on organized crime.

In part one of his special assignment report, national correspondent James Wooten details the life and times of Jimmy the Weasel Fratiano. This is Aladino Fratiano talking about his career. You just get a lot of respect and you make money. That’s the main thing. You get in it to make money. Aladino Fratiano, 67 years old, husband, father, retired trucking executive, the son of hard-working immigrant parents. A Cleveland boy who grew up to become Jimmy the Weasel, mobster, murderer, mafioso, and admitted enforcer for La Cosa Nostra.

Listen, as the Los Angeles police did, to Mr. Fratiano discussing business. And I’m going to tell you one thing that I don’t give a f**k about this. Coppers or no coppers, I’ll blow your mother’s f**king head off. I’m going to tell you right now, you ain’t f**king with no kids.

A tough-talking guy, but he does his talking now in the Federal Witness Protection Program, testifying against his La Cosa Nostra family. So far, 20 convictions. When one of its trusted members who has inside information, who has traveled their walks of life and committed crimes with them conspiratorially for years, comes forward and offers testimony, it has been a damaging blow to organized crime.

Fratiano spoke to ABC in a secret location arranged by his federal protectors, and he recalled the ritual of joining the mob. They have on one end of the table is all the officials, like the boss, the underboss, the consigliere, and the capos. And around the table are all the soldiers, members of the family. They have a gun and a sword crossing one another on the table. And they take the sword and they prick your finger till it draws blood. And they take you around and you introduce to each member, and you kiss them on the cheek, and now you’re a member of the family. You come in alive and you go out dead. They tell you that, yeah.

Fratiano says the bosses of the six major families, five in New York and another in Chicago, loosely govern the other 20 or so mafia clans across the country. Who would you say is the most powerful mafioso living today? Well, I’d say Frank Tieri. I would say he’s more or less a senior member. It’s generally the oldest one, although he doesn’t carry any more weight than any other boss. Frank Tieri, funsy to his friends, the reputed boss of New York’s Genovese family, and one of the men recently convicted on Fratiano’s courtroom testimony.

In this case, it was about discussions between Tieri, fat Tony Salerno, the family’s consigliere, and Vincent Giganti, a strong-armed family soldier. The topic? A contract murder. Fratiano says he was there. Well, usually if they’re going to come to another town to kill somebody, they have to notify the boss of the family. So as I was the acting boss with Louis Dragna, it was appropriate for him to take me in there when they were discussing this guy in from California. So I just listened there, and they voted on him to kill him. So Giganti voted hit. Tieri says I vote hit. Tony Salerno was standing up. He says I vote hit. Three West Coast mobsters, Dominic Brooklier, Mike Rizzatello, and Louis Tom Dragna were also convicted of racketeering on the basis of Fratiano’s testimony.

When was the first time you ever killed anyone? I think it was in 1949 or early 50s, Frank and Nicole. How’d you kill them? We strangled them. With your hands? No, with a rope. And he killed others too over the years, but not long ago, he became the target. Mob jealousy and suspicion that he might be an informant produced a contract on his life, and he ran to the FBI, turned on La Cosa Nostra. I’m just bitter of them trying to kill me for nothing, you know. And that’s the reason I turned, on account of the contract out on my life. Aladino Fratiano, the biggest mobster ever to turn, telling what he knows about his former family, the Mafia, telling a not-so-pretty story of La Cosa Nostra’s presence in America’s most respected neighborhoods, in its politics, in organized labor, in business, in the very fabric of American life. Jimmy the Weasel naming names. Tomorrow, some of those names. James Wooten, ABC News, New York.

James Fratiano is a career criminal who claims he’s personally killed 11 people. Fratiano was a former Mafia enforcer turned informant when he learned a contract was out on his life. He’s the subject of a book and stands to make a lot of money by describing his firsthand accounts of organized crime. And tonight, in part two of his special assignment series, national correspondent James Wooten reports on some big names dropped by the gangster turned informant.

Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hoffa, Sidney Korshak, Frank Fitzsimmons. What do all these fellows have in common? This fellow says he knew them during his 30 years inside the Mafia. Knew them and worked with some of them. His name is Aladino Fratiano, and he says the Mafia has found a home beyond the underworld, in legitimate business, in organized labor, in entertainment, in legalized gambling, and even in government.

Sure, there’s quite a few that are not in the family, that they run them. They do what they tell them. They have a piece of them, you know. They have a percentage of what they do. Where you have, in various walks of life, people content with their own associates. Fratiano was the type of person that had associates not only in California, both North and South, but in other states, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City.

With 20 convictions based on his testimony so far, federal prosecutors take him seriously when he talks about his past associations with leaders of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa’s old union. For instance, when he wanted a friend to rise within the Teamsters, Fratiano says he went straight to the top. He was… had problems with the Teamsters, the International. And… I spent quite a bit of money getting them straightened out, so I could make some money. And… I arranged a meeting with him and… Fitzsimmons, Jackie Presser. Frank Fitzsimmons is president of the Teamsters. He was unavailable for an interview, but a spokesman said Fitzsimmons does not know Fratiano. Jackie Presser is a union vice president, Fitzsimmons heir apparent, and now serves on the transition team of president-elect Ronald Reagan. He too says he has nothing to do with the mob. And Fratiano says he also enlisted the help of Sidney Korshak in behalf of his union friend. Korshak, a noted labor and entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, was unavailable for comment, but has in the past said he has no links with the mafia. Fratiano says they met twice on this bench outside a Beverly Hills restaurant. We know he met Sidney Korshak. Where? In Los Angeles on several occasions. We know that because of… surveillance, not only by us, but by the Los Angeles Police Department.

And what about Fratiano’s old friend, Jimmy Hoffa? He says the mafia killed him. Why? They had a man that they were happy with. Who’s that? Frank Fitzsimmons. You mean La Cosa Nostra has a view of Frank Fitzsimmons? Its view is that they like Fitzsimmons? They were happy with him, yeah. And they thought Hoffa would bring them too much heat. The mafia inside the Teamsters? Absolutely, says Fratiano. And in many Las Vegas casinos too. For instance, he says Al Sachs, recently given a license to operate some Las Vegas casinos, is controlled by the Chicago mafia. Mr. Sachs says that isn’t true. Fratiano says it is. The Chicago family has Al Sachs. Al Sachs… is controlled by the Chicago family? Absolutely. The mobs want casinos… because of all of the cash. And sure, you skim. You can steal the money. Ain’t nothing to skim a million a month out of them joints, today. And skimming is harder today.

Fratiano says a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra, is an old friend of his, and certainly no stranger to the mob.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno – Interview (1981)’ by MOBFAX