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Anthony Weiner running for New York mayor and the Italian mob and Irish Americans strong ties

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Anthony Weiner (Richard Drew/AP)
Anthony Weiner (Richard Drew/AP)
The recent movie The Irishman told the story of colorful -- some might say deranged -- Irish American gangster Danny Greene, who saw himself as a glorious figure in a long line of Irish rebels.
Greene famously taunted the powerful Italian American mobsters who ran his native Cleveland.

The Irishman in this week’s story, however, seemed very much to enjoy his role within the Genovese crime family hierarchy.

It got him sent to prison.  And, perhaps even worse, it got him linked to Anthony Weiner.

Weiner, the disgraced former member of the House of Representatives who is still apparently mulling a run for New York City mayor, has had to endure a lot of shots from late night comics and many not-so-subtle penis jokes in tabloid headlines.  Weiner, after all, was busted for tweeting photos of his anatomy out into cyberspace.

Did we mention his name is Weiner?

Anyway, the New York Post reported on some non-anatomical news involving Weiner this week.

“Hedge-fund brothers David and Eugene Grin helped Weiner with consulting work after he resigned from Congress following his sexting scandal,” the Post reported.

“The Grins also assisted his mayoral and congressional races, raising nearly $50,000 for Weiner, who is now considering a mayoral run. Through two hedge funds, the Grins control Parabel, a company that claims to harvest an algae-like crop.”

The Post continues, “Weiner touted Parabel as one of his clients in a recent news article outlining his success as a business consultant ... What Weiner failed to mention was that on January 13, Parabel transferred nearly all of its assets to a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands -- on the same day a United Arab Emirates firm pumped $15 million into Parabel, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document.”

Weiner told the Post he knew nothing about Parabel’s offshore move.

The Brothers Grin “have also been associated with shady characters,” the Post adds.

That’s where Francis O’Donnell comes in.  O’Donnell once received a $6 million loan from the Grin brothers.  O’Donnell ran a limousine manufacturing business called Coach Industries, based in Florida.

But that’s not the only business O’Donnell was part of.  In 2007, O’Donnell, who received an MBA degree from New York’s Columbia University, pleaded guilty to numerous charges, with prosecutors labeling him an associate of the Genovese crime family.

As a 2007 Forbes magazine article about O’Donnell and his mob ties put it, “On January 5 [2007] O'Donnell pleaded guilty to being an associate of the Genovese crime family. The indictment also claimed that an FBI agent posing as a drug dealer was asked to launder proceeds through Coach in exchange for a fee. In addition O'Donnell is accused of luring a victim to his office, where Clement (Clemmie) Santoro allegedly held a gun to his head and demanded a $1.5 million payment.”

A prosecutor in the case against O’Donnell added that he “enjoyed the power that came from his association with organized crime and twice lured individuals to his office who were then assaulted by other defendants,” according to a Sun Sentinel newspaper article. 

The paper added, “During the first alleged assault in June 2003, O'Donnell remained outside the office when the beating took place. In October 2003, O'Donnell witnessed the assault, Kaplan said.”
O'Donnell’s attorney claimed his client tried to stop that attack. In May 2007, O’Donnell was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Either way, in recent years, much has been said about the decline of the Mafia in American life.  But not only does it stubbornly manage to stick around, its ties to Irish America remain strong as well.

Back in January an Irish American with ties to the infamous Westies gang was hit with numerous charges, including ties to Gambino crime family associates.  Anthony “Tony O” O’Donnell, also with Gambino ties, faced new charges earlier this year as well. A few years back, Gambino associate Joseph O’Kane was killed in prison. 

On a brighter note, Long Island-born Michael Finnerty convinced a judge he’d changed since his days as an enforcer for John “Junior” Gotti and managed to avoid prison.

Now he’s just got to make sure he steers clear of Anthony Weiner.

(Contact “Sidewalks” at tdeignan.blogspot.com)

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