A FORMER mob boss has opened up about his life at the top, from making $8 million a week to sitting in a jail cell in “someone else’s underwear”.
Michael Franzese, 71, grew up in the Colombo crime family in New York from 1971 due to his father Sonny’s involvement as an underboss in the group.
Michael rose through the ranks, operating more than 350 gas stations in New York and New Jersey while the mafia cheated the government out of millions of dollars by not paying taxes on millions of gallons of gasoline.
In 1985 he was finally sentenced to ten years in prison for his involvement in it and decided to turn his back on the mafia. Approved by his own father, the mafia immediately ordered a hit on Michael.
He moved to California and became the first high-level mobster to break away from the Mafia without police protection and survive.
Michael told The Argus: “I was at the top, the operation I was running was bringing in between 8 million and 10 million a week at its peak. I had my own jet plane, a helicopter, and houses in three different states.
“I had 300 guys under me, so I hit a pretty high plateau in this lifetime. Then I lived in someone else’s underwear in a cell for eight years, so I experienced everything, the ups and the downs.
“It taught me one thing, we don’t know from one day to the next when we’re overwhelmed by ourselves, it gave me a good perspective on life.
“People are very interested in both sides, how to deal with situations like this.”
Michael opened up about the moment his father went along with a swipe at him after deciding to quit mafia life after being released from prison.
“According to the FBI, my father took part in the beating on me. When I walked out of this life, which you can’t do, my boss at the time put me under a contract and my father went along with it. He did not place the original order.
“I’m 71 years old, I’m not worried about being killed now. I live every day of my life one day at a time. My fear came during this life when you are in this life. There is a difference between being anxious and being scared.
“When you’re scared, you turn around and run away, when you’re scared, you’re aware that something could happen to you at any moment that you’re trying to protect yourself from.
“I know that because I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. It’s a rough part of life.
“When I came out of life, it wasn’t about being scared. I was gone. I was a lot less scared of getting out of life than I was when I was alive.”
Michael is speaking at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on Kings Road tonight.
Tickets can be bought on his website: Michaelfranzesetour.com
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20280287.ex-mafia-boss-michael-franzese-life-ahead-brighton-talk/?ref=rss Ex-mafia boss Michael Franzese on his life before Brighton