Going underground can mean two things when you're
in the mob--one involves a shovel and possibly a brief ride in (the
trunk of) a Cadillac; the other involves life on the run from the
FBI. Neither is a great option.
Joey "the Clown" Lombardo
lived the latter. The reputed mob boss pleaded not guilty in Chicago
Tuesday to racketeering conspiracy that includes accusations of
murder. His capture after months on the lam seems to be the final
chapter in one mafia era.
For Georgia Durante, that mafia era
still lives, at least in the pages of her mafia-princess memoirs,
which I recently read. Not only does she claim to have been friends
(and sometimes a lover) with men in the New York outfit, but she
also drove the getaway car on occasion. In her book, "The Company
She Keeps," she claims to have survived an abusive husband and
outwitted a stalker who was ready to shoot her in bed. Then she
became a stunt-driver, (stunt-double for Cindy Crawford) and
survived a spectacular cliffside crash in a Ferrari. Durante is a
survivor. I corresponded with her this week.
Q: Why do you
think people are fascinated with the mob?
A: It's a life
most people never to come close to. It's hard to imagine seeing
these guys in church on Sunday morning and knowing they are capable
of killing on Sunday night.
Q: How much of the mob's
acceptance of you had to do with your beauty?
became involved with the mob at a young age. I was modeling at the
time and was always on TV or in newspaper ads. I'm sure that if I
were a wallflower I would not have gotten their attention. Because I
grew up around them I was street smart. I would see the mob helping
people who couldn't afford food or pay their heat bills. Then I
would see the so-called "good guys" doing shady things like taking
bribes. I had a very distorted view at a young age of who the good
guys were supposed to be.
Q: What if your daughter or son
was venturing down your path in life; what would you do?
A: Tie them to a tree for days.
Q: You decided
to accept a meeting with a mob acquaintance, Salvatore Reale, who
"requested" that you deliver money for him. You did refuse, but I
was surprised you accepted the meeting in the first place. What
motivated you to keep getting closer to danger instead of just
A: I'm a lot smarter today, but then I felt
I was under their control. With Sal ... well, he had done favors for
me. The mob holds you to those favors. You owe them. I went because
I had to, but I was determined to stand my ground even if it meant
that I wouldn't walk out of there alive.
Q: What do you
know now, that you didn't know then?
A: I didn't know
then that men were attracted to my sexuality, which I didn't know
that I had. I thought they just liked me for me. If I had understood
their motivation I would have guarded myself more. Youth really is
wasted on the young.