A new guy arrived in Otisville by the name of Barbarino. He is in his early 60s, dark skin, white hair and sunglasses. He looks like a cast member from the Godfather. The newspapers reported that he was associated with the Bonanno crime family, along with another guy named Anthony Guarino. Guarnino was a made Bonnano guy who ran a boiler room operation in the garment district of Manhattan. The newspapers reported that they were members of the Bonnano organized crime family. They sold stock in a company called “Realcast.”
Barbarino was a lower level guy who made cold calls. Barbarino was caught on tape saying, “My mother will come out of the grave before Realcast makes any money.” Barbarino’s mother was Jewish. Being Jewish prevented Barbarinio from becoming a made guy in the mob. Plus he wouldn’t kill anyone. He wasn’t the violent type. He played the guitar at the camp. He went to Woodstock in the 60s. He sometimes played at a jazz bar in Manhattan. Barbarino’s father was a cop. I don’t think Barbarino was ever a member of the mob, but the New York rags needed to sell papers. In prison, just as on the outside, the truth doesn’t really matter. It’s all about perception. And even though the New York Post reported that Barbarino was a member of the Bonnano crime family, the inmates didn’t seem to care. They gave him no respect. They wouldn’t even offer him a seat in the dining hall.
The dining hall has about 65 seats for 118 inmates. Each inmate owns his own seat. If you want a seat you have to wait until your friend leaves prison and gives you his seat. I liked to hang out with Barbarino. We had the same taste in music. He had a hard time getting a guitar from the blueboyz. The blueboyz had one prison issued guitar. If you want to bring in your own guitar… Fuhgetaboutit. Your request will get lost in red tape. The guitar the blueboyz gave Barbarino wasn’t the best, but it worked.
I tried to help out Barbarino and get him a seat in the dining hall. I was impressed that the New York Post thought he was a member of the Bonnano crime family. Barbarino was new in the prison and didn’t know anyone. I introduced Barbarinio to the Italian guys and told them that Barbarino was a made member of the Bonnano crime family. Barbarino laughed and denied that he was a mobster. I told the Italians that Barberino was just being modest, he was a humble gangster.
Big Joe Benedetto wasn’t impressed with Barbarino. Big Joe acted like he was the Godfather. Big Joe was a bus driver who got busted for fraud. What kind of a Godfather drives around in a Greyhound? Big Joe was not impressed with anyone. He didn’t have any friends. He weighed in at 400 pounds and sat outside in the gazebo and cursed out everyone, after they walked past him and were out of earshot. He particularly hated a mortgage fraud attorney from New Haven, Connecticut named David Kinney. Ironically Big Joe had a prior bust for impersonating an attorney. When attorney Dave Kinney first turned himself into prison he went around telling everyone that he was Italian. I guess Dave thought that posing as an Italian in prison gets you respect. Big Joe posing as an attorney while Attorney Kinney posing as an Italian. You can’t make this stuff up!
After awhile Big Joe figured out that David wasn’t Italian. Dave couldn’t tell the difference between a meatball and a matzahball. Dave was Irish, of all things. Or he was half Italian or a quarter Italian. Either way, Big Joe didn’t like Dave. Big Joe told Dave that he better grow eyes in the back of his head when he got out of prison because he was coming after him. At 400 pounds Big Joe was in no condition to chase after anyone.
I never found a seat in the cafeteria for Barbarino. I never found a seat for myself in the cafeteria in the 18 months that I was locked up. I either ate in my cubicle or ate outside on a picnic table if the weather was nice. Or I ate in the warehouse where I worked.
Barbarino got hammered with a 96 month prison sentence. The ring leader of the conspiracy, ie., a real Bonnano mobster named Anthony Guarino, only got 46 months with three prior felonies on his record. Barbarino went to trial and got convicted. Everyone else in his conspiracy pleaded out and got about two years. This is what happens when you assert your Constitutional right to a trial by jury. The judge hangs you for wasting the government’s precious resources.
Because Barbarino was half Jewish he had rights to eat special Jew food in the Jewish chapel. But the Jews didn’t like him any more than Big Joe. Too many Jews eating in the shul meant that there would be less food to go around. When I tried to get Barbarino a seat in the shul I was reprimanded by the Hasidim. Why are you bringing this guy into the shul? Let him eat with the Italians.
Poor Barbarino. He ended up spending most of his free time outside strumming the guitar. He also played bocce ball with a few guys. Yes, there was a bocce ball court in the prison. It wasn’t much. Every time it rained the court got flooded. One guy acted as the caretaker of the bocce ball court. A guy from Connecticut named Bob Ponte. Ponte got busted for working for a company called, “Pay No Bills.” Customers gave all their money to “Pay No Bills.” “Pay No Bills” was supposed to invest the money in the exchange market, earn high return, and pay off all their bills. At the end of a year you would have no more bills. Some customers were dissatisfied. They complained to the Feds that they lost all their money and didn’t get their bills paid. Ponte got a long sentence, about ten years, which was only about two years less than the brains behind the operation, a guy by the name of River-nider.
Ponte had a zamboni that he made out of scrap prison wood which he used to keep the bocce court flat. Ponte was unbeatable at bocci. Sometimes he played for a can of tuna to make things interesting. Ponte also gave yoga classes in the summer. I took a few of his classes, but Ponte kicked me out after the inmates found out that I was having my prison blogs published on the New Haven Independent’s web site. Ponte told everyone that I was a “terrorist.” Eventually we made up and became friends again, although I still didn’t go to his yoga class because there was a guy named Marc Kirshner who went to the class.
Kirshner didn’t like me. Kirshner was a chiropractor from Stamford, Connecticut. He was involved with an ambulance chasing attorney from Bridgeport, Connecticut named Joseph Haddad. I blogged about how Marc’s wife and girlfriend came to visit him at the prison, on separate days. Marc was addicted to pain meds. He smuggled in pills which he hid in his bunkies stuff. His bunkie was a guy by the name of George Motz, a former Army lieutenant from Vietnam and former mayor of a town in the Hamptons. George was a decent guy. George almost got in trouble when the blueboyz found Kirshners’ pills in George’s stuff. The blueboyz drug tested both George and Marc. George was exonerated. Marc was busted. After that nobody in the camp would talk to Marc.
Marc eventually got thrown in the SHU (solitary confinement) and transferred to a stricter prison. Smuggling illegal drugs into prison is a serious charge, even if they are “just pain killers.” Marc also was kicked out of the exclusive Jewish Country club in which he was a long time member. The Rockrimmon Countryclub is located on the Westchester / Stamford border. Marc’s high priced attorney Ed Gavin pleaded with the sentencing judge that Marc’s social circle ostracized Marc and his family. They kicked him out of the country club after he got indicted. The judge had no sympathy and slammed Mark with a 27 month sentence, even though Marc cooperated with prosecutors in their case against attorney Haddad.