The Good Old Days

Formerly Casalla's Restaurant at First and Jackson

A reader sent me a fascinating article from a blog called MafiaNJ.com, titled Casella's Restaurant, posted on April 26, 2010.

According to the piece, Casella's was  to the Genovese crime family what the Ravenite Social Club was to the Gambinos.  The quintessential mob hangout and place to do business.   

And it was right here in Hoboken. 

The owner of Casella's,  Martin Casella, since deceased, was a longtime associate of Louis "Bobby" Manna, 3rd-ranking member (Consigliere) of the Genovese crime family.  Both me were convicted together for racketeering and sent off to federal prison.
In testimony at the public hearing, FBI Special Agent Robert Lenehan described Casella’s as “a safe haven, a secure stronghold where (Manna) could meet his criminal associates and direct his criminal operations on behalf of the Genovese family.

Agent Lenehan further described Casella’s as a secure, virtually impregnable stronghold …. Nothing happened in Casella’s Restaurant without Marty’s knowledge; there were lookouts on the street and watchful eyes at the bar. Even certain bathrooms were off limits to patrons because they were used as secure meeting rooms for Bobby, Marty and their close associates. For years, Casella’s control and influence in the blocks surrounding Casella’s led FBI agents to conclude that the restaurant was virtually immune to electronic surveillance, our most valued investigative and prosecutive technique.
Fascinating.  A Mafia fortress in the heart of Hoboken, impenetrable to FBI surveillance. Unlike (as rumored) the  Russo Civic Association.
What about Hoboken authorities and their relationship to Casella's?
Manna and Casella were arrested in 1988 on the federal charges. While they were on trial in 1989, the restaurant was operated by Casella’s wife Shirley under the name of Pascale’s, with a full-time manager who had invested personal funds in the operation. Mrs. Casella and Martin’s brother Frank, a 10-per cent stockholder, failed to notify the Hoboken ABC board of the name change, of the absentee ownership or of the new investment by the manager. And Hoboken did not act on its own to take any administrative action against the license.

Casella, Manna and their co-defendants were convicted on June 26, 1989; four days later, Hoboken renewed the liquor license with Casella still listed as a 90 per cent stockholder. Casella was sentenced to 80 years in prison in September, 1989, but the following June, the license was renewed yet again. It was not until the property was sold at a sheriff’s sale on October 24, 1990, that the license finally changed hands.

In private testimony before the Commission, Leonard Serrano, Secretary of the Hoboken ABC Board, was questioned by Counsel Saros about Casella’s:
Leo Serrano, the ├╝ber-Beth Mason supporter?  

Yes, that's the one.

His testimony, reprinted on the blog, ends like this:

Testifying before the Commission about another bar, Good & Plenti, Charles Santorella of Secaucus said this about Serrano and Hoboken:

Just to give you guys a good picture of what goes on in the town of Hoboken, Leo [Leonard] Serrano was a former police officer. He was — I don’t know if he was fired or whatever, but he had some legal trouble and was no longer a police officer, and he got a job upstairs in the court — in the City Clerk’s office as the Hoboken ABC secretary. The town of Hoboken is a very close-knit family that goes back a long way in the town and everyone seems to do each other favors and turn their heads when they have to turn their heads.
 Ah, those were the good old days.

And why the forces against Reform are so base and vicious; using dancing thugs, First Amendment bullying, a compliant local media, and the most heinous abuse of the public trust.

To bring back the good old days.

(Update, 9:00 am)
Wow! Already got an update from a reader who sent me this:
Leo is a huge Mason supporter who was the man behind putting together Beth's ticket.

It was at a meeting at his home along with Addeo, Morales, Ricky and Pasquale
Ricky.

What a surprise.

(Update, 9:30 am)
You people are up early.  Another reader update just came in:
That place is also where (name redacted) was caught on FBI surveillance too.

(name redacted) selected Mason for the timely created award to Beth for her pay err service to Hoboken

He's totally corrupt and was the main antagonist in the arrest of Ian Sacs.

Comments

  1. I knew a former state trooper who was part of an organized crime task force. He and a bunch of other troopers came to Hoboken to make arrests at a Monroe Street social club. They were met by a contingent of Hoboken cops who, with guns drawn (!), denied them entrance to the club. The HPD eventually stood down, but Hoboken cops were known back then to be in cahoots the Hoboken/Jersey mob. There's are reason they still comport themselves like thugs. Check out the cigars. Think Tony Soprano.

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  2. Fascinating story, Eric.

    As for my own 'experience', I have nothing to say publicly at this point.

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  3. You do realize that Leo gave Dawn her campaign headquarters for all of her city council races?

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  4. night crew was hell back then in the 80s...hoboken was just hell back then if your were on the other side of the fence....I think of strip search complaints....... and regards to the restaurant...one of two good Italian restaurants back then...the other Micheal's.....best smoked mutz. And then that club was on 4th and Jefferson. I heard a rummer the club was robbed and someone painted pigs blood all over.... don't know if that's true tho.......i guess a lot of bad blood back then.....who knows. Im just so glad is nice to walk around hoboken now:)

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  5. oh and your right .....most people turn their heads as written above when they have to turn their heads,,,, then go to church on Sunday.....Its amazing.

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  6. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/21/nyregion/new-jersey-officials-say-mafia-infiltrated-health-care-industry.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    thats the place pictured that eric mentioned...
    well did they infiltrate the health care system? Thats a horrible thought ...... especially after this hospital fight to sell...goodness

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  7. Ditto here, the comment MBB posted on the Mail Fraud thread. All part of the same warped weft.

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