The name Sonny Franzese was much better known on the street to those who were in the life, than the name John Gotti. Sonny was very respected and feared by everyone, including the government. This distinction has caused him many years of grief.
Sonny has now earned the title of the oldest inmate in the federal prison system, and, if he lives to his release date, he will be released just after his 100th birthday in 2017. Sonny has spent the last 40 years in and out of prison, much of the time a result of his bank robbery conviction in 1970 for which he was given 50 years. The case was a obviously a set up by the prosecutors because they had Sonny working with a crew of junkie bank robbers who didn't even know him.
Sonny has been released many times by the parole board, only to be violated for associating with known felons. He would be out for enough time to be given his position of capo in the Colombo family back, and then he would be sent back.
When Colombo family underboss Jackie Deross went away for life, the family upped Sonny to underboss. The position was short lived because the government already had its sources in place. Sonny finally caught a new case after a guy wearing a wire caught him on tape. The case was backed up by his son John Franzese. Sonny was sentenced to 8 years in 2011 for the new case, and that should by all means be the end of his story.
The government is now going after the wheelchair-bound incarcerated man's prison commissary account. It would be funny if it were not true.
The same government who let the wife of con man Bernie Madoff keep $2.5 million of their stolen cash. Unlike Ruth’s stolen loot, the money in Sonny’s account was given to him by relatives for his use to live.
They want to seize his $10,089 in the account that he uses to buy cup-o-noodles and hygiene items like soap, shampoo and shower shoes. He buys ice cream every once in awhile and the rest he uses for phone calls. The US wants to seize the cash to pay on his judgement that was part of his sentencing. They claim that neither Sonny nor his co defendant Joseph DiGorga have paid a dime of what they owe. I would like to point out that Sonny is locked up in federal prison, so it would be pretty hard for him to earn money to pay anything and this is why inmates have accounts. They want to take his money and leave him with $250 to last the next two years. Joseph DiGorga was release in 2014 and I am sure he is on parole. He would have to pay back something every month even if it was 25 dollars a month.
How is it that the federal government has the resources and time to go after Sonny, when our southern border is open with millions of people crossing illegally every year. It is a federal crime to come into the United States without going through immigration. Everyone of these people costs us far more every year than a Sonny Franzese.
When I was still on the street, Teddy Persico Jr. had a guy in his crew that worked at the Hustler Club in Manhattan that Sonny was convicted of shaking down. Teddy had to go to a couple of sitdowns over two brothers that others wanted to kill because of the club. The brothers were sons of Gambino family guy who was in Las Vegas for many years. The brothers lived but the Feds never did much about that whole deal.
If they just released Sonny now, what harm would it do? He can’t walk. he can't see well and he cannot hear. The glory days are behind him. They should let him go home for his final days to die.
A note on last week's story. Mr New Orleans:
The traditional Second Line parade in celebration of Frenchy Brouillette's life will take place beginning at 4PM on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13th in the French Quarter outside of Felix's Oyster Bar off Bourbon and Iberville. Attendees are invited to start collecting around 3:50.
Led by MR. NEW ORLEANS author Matthew Randazzo, the parade will be joined by the Storyville Stompers brass band and Pastor Ray Cannata, who will say a benediction as we begin. The parade will travel to some historic places in Frenchy's life before ending with a memorial toast at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. In addition to Frenchy's friends and fans, all Mardi Gras Indians, baby dolls, Saints fans in full costume, rolling Elvi, and other manifestations of New Orleans are invited to come out and honor Mr. New Orleans with the wildest, most flamboyant second line in French Quarter memory.
It sounds like a great send off!