The Impact of the American Mafia Today

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Selwyn Raab, Investigative Journalist and Author of “Five Families,” to talk about the role of the American Mafia today and how it is portrayed in the media.

1/14/2020 #2271






"Selwyn Raab, is the author of Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires, a New York Times Best Seller. Good to see you. I've been fascinated by you for years. For good reason. Yeah. I love your modesty too. Here's my question. Why do you think we - so many of us, are fascinated by the mob? Well one reason is the aura of glamor, especially, it was Hollywood, it's also helped produce and generate about the mob. And it's a vicarious kick. You look at these people, they don't really work hard. Some of them make a lot of money. They have plenty of women. It's a great life to a lot of people. And it's also the idea that it's consistency. It's been with us so long. At least 50 to 60 years. And it's become part of the fabric of our life. So we're in New York. We're taping in New York. The, quote unquote, "Five Families" back in the day in the 70s and 80s when they were really powerful... where are they today? Well they're wounded. They're severely wounded. But they're not mortally wounded. And they have... one thing you have to remember about why the Mafia continues to exist so long, is that it's a mirror image of American capitalism. They latch on to whatever is working. Like today it's internet gambling. And it's actually made them more money than the old-fashioned way where they had, you had a gambling parlor or a pool room. Right. It's more modern. And the bread and butter of the American Mafia has always been gambling and loan-sharking. They're symbiotic. A lot of people who gamble with them then need a loan shark. So it works terrific. And they... The rates are still the same? Well yes. And it's been... all they do is modernize. You know, years ago when you needed a telephone, and you needed a teletype, they did that. Today, they don't need that. They can go on the Internet. And it's even better. All the bets are made out of the country. South America and elsewhere. And there's no way the IRS or anybody can even check on them. So they're thriving more than ever on gambling. Remind people, as we are, in fact, here in the heart of Manhattan, the impact... particularly in the 70s and 80s that the Mafia had on, and continues to have on... because the impact remains, on building costs, on garbage... Well construction. Just break that down for people, so they understand. Well... As opposed to, "Hey listen, they're not hurting anybody?" You know? "They don't hurt civilians." That is a crock? Well we didn't realize that for over 60 years, mainly due to J. Edgar Hoover's inactivity, and he didn't want..."