I was locked up in Otisville Prison with a guy who called himself “Neighborhood Mitch.” The Feds alleged that he was “a bookie of a large-scale, sports bookmaking organization run by Dean DePreta and Richard Uva, two longtime organized crime associates based in Stamford who spearheaded the lucrative illegal activities of the Gambino Family of La Cosa Nostra in southern Connecticut.”
The Feds alleged that “DePreta and Uva operated a Gambino controlled card gambling club at 2965 State Street in Hamden, CT, known as ‘The Spot.'” The Spot is also the name of the pizza joint in the parking lot of the famous Pepe’s Pizza on Wooster Street. People who don’t want to wait in line for Pepe’s go to the Spot. It’s the same pizza. I wonder if DePreta and Uva named their operation after the Spot on Wooster Street.
The Feds alleged that there was a “violent confrontation” at the Spot when members of the rival Genovese crime family showed up at the Spot “in a box truck, banged on the door, threw rocks and yelled through the intercom to open the door.” The Genovese were angry that the Gambinos stole some of the their gambling business.
The Feds recorded a conversation where the Gambinos discussed what happened: “they were banging on the door, George was shitting his pants and all the guys up there, we had a full table of card gamblers, we had a couple of 50 year old business men and stuff like that, a couple of the guys were real nervous, they thought that the rocks were gun shots. George said one gambler almost called the cops, the dealer had to yell at the guy to tell him to put his f-ing phone away and don’t call the cops, George obviously handled the situation like a pussy and people are calling our bluff, they’re saying that you’re not with the Gambinos…”
The Feds called this a violent confrontation. A few miles away on Dixwell Avenue you have guys in drug gangs threatening each other with submachine guns. The Feds won’t venture on Dixwell Ave. Too dangerous.
Neighborhood Mitch spent many years in jail prior to joining me in Otisville prison in upstate New York. While his bookmaking charge was pending he got busted for dealing 1,000 kilograms of pot. He ended up getting about 10 years total. He had already spent a good 20 years in jail.
The Feds argued to the court that the illegal activities of the Gambino Family were “lucrative.” Yet the DePreta and Uva gambling operation was in the hole in the amount of $155K. La Cosa Nostra was having a financial crisis. Jewish bookie and drug dealer Neighborhood Mitch had a solution for La Cosa Nostra. The Feds recorded Mitch saying to associates of La Cosa Nostra, “Yeah, all right, so, don’t you got a shylock you could get money from for a week or two at a point?”
A shylock? When was the last time you heard someone use the word “shylock” outside of a stand up comedian? Neighborhood Mitch was no stand up comedian, but in prison he was entertaining. He played the gangster role perfectly. Neighborhood Mitch never took an acting class.
Most guys were taking bets as to how long Neighborhood Mitch would last in the low security prison camp. Mitch used to complain that the white collar guys were not real criminals. He expected everyone to treat him like he ran the joint. He used to get angry and yell at guys for no reason. But he liked the camp. He used to say he wouldn’t mind living in the camp permanently as long as he had the weekends off.
I heard that recently Mitch was thrown into the SHU (Special Housing Unit), also known as solitary confinement. There is nothing “special” about the SHU, and it isn’t much of a “housing unit.” It is a cage the size of a closet, with a steel bed and a steel toilet.
I am not sure why Mitch got thrown in the SHU, but it doesn’t take much to piss off an officer and get thrown into the dungeon. The Federal prisoner website says that Mitch got a few months added to his sentence. Whats a few months when you still have another 6 years?
Mitch will probably end up getting shipped out to a higher security prison. Even though the camp was low security, the officers were on you like a glove. In the camp there were a handful of officers in charge of only a hundred guys. In most prisons a handful of officers would be in charge of 500 guys. At higher security prisons the inmates smuggle in cell phones, alcohol and drugs. You can’t get away with in a camp. Too many guards. And too many RATS!