Author and former newsman George Harrell spoke about Mafia history, as well as his research into a secretive high level mob boss, known as Paulie Lefty or “The Judge.” Also participating in the discussion were TV host and columnist A.J. Benza, and Jerry Vairo, the grand-nephew of Paulie Lefty. Paulie earned the nickname of The Judge, by allowing gamblers who were in over their heads to loan sharks to consolidate their debts (rather than just killing them as had been done previously), Vairo explained. Harrell eventually learned from the FBI that the late Paulie Lefty was known to be “the Consigliere for all five families.”
The code of the Mafia has changed over the years, with the newer generation not always hanging on to old grudges, said Benza. Vairo suggested that the Mob still retains a lot of its power, but is more under the radar now, branching out into legit businesses.
Harrell outlined how Cuba at one time had become a focus of Mafia investments, with bosses like Meyer Lansky heavily funding a casino there, thinking it was going to be the next Las Vegas. But JFK never put together a covert team to remove Castro and reinstate the casinos, and this angered the Mob, and may have been a factor in the President’s assassination. According to accounts told to Vario, Jimmy Hoffa was taken out by the Mafia, and disposed of by leaving him in a car that was demolished and scrapped for metal.
Author and former newsman, George Harrell was an executive for a newspaper group in Glasgow, Scotland when he was recruited by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Since then, George has worked for the New York Daily News, a cable advertising company and has written several movie scripts. George has now written his first published book, For Members Only, The Story of the Mob’s Secret Judge.