Joe Silvestri was a tough kid from the mean streets of New York. He went from street brawler to wearing a tux at the glamorous Copacabana. He eventually provided “muscle” for the Mob, a highly respected and feared fixer—the guy you went to if you had a problem that needed to be resolved. He followed Mob protocol when having a sit down with an adversary: You never break bread with the enemy.
Award-winning Mob author Dennis Griffin joins forces with Joey “the Fixer” Silvestri to tell a tale of a bygone era when organized crime dominated New York City. It was a time when neighborhood bosses controlled their turf and some cops would look the other way for the right price. Your best friend one day might want you dead the next. It was a violent life in which only the strong survived.
From the book:
On occasion I took Jimmy up on his offer, and stopped at the dealership to make a phone call.
One day Jimmy said to me, “Joe, could I see you?”
We went into his office and he asked, “Do you know a bookie named Richie?”
I knew of him. He was a decent enough guy, but he was a nobody.
I said, “Yeah, I know him. Why?”
“He’s been a customer of mine for years. He brought in a friend of his named Marvin who was looking to buy a car. He said, ‘Sell him a car today and he’ll bring you the cash in two weeks. I’ll stand behind it.’ That was over two months ago and I still haven’t been paid.
“Marvin owes me eight thousand dollars. Can you help me get it?”
Jimmy gave me Richie’s address and the next day I went to his house. He wasn’t there, so I left a message with his wife. I told her my name and that I was from the dealership. I asked her to tell her husband I needed to see him and I’d be at the dealership until 9:00 that night.
Around 8:30 I was sitting in my old office when Richie and Marvin showed up. This Marvin was built like a refrigerator—he blocked the whole doorway. I’d seen Arnold Schwarzenegger once and he was a big man. Marvin was bigger.
Richie said, “Hi, Joe. What are you doing here?”
“I’m here because this is my joint.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that.”
“You know it now. Is this Marvin?”
“The fridge answered. “Yeah, I’m Marvin.”
“You owe me eight thousand dollars. You came in here and bought a car and were supposed to bring the money in two weeks. You didn’t bring the fucking money and now it’s been two months.”
Richie jumped out of his chair and said to Marvin, “Have you got the money for this man? Get him the money!”
As big as he was, Marvin looked scared.
He said, “Can I bring a check?”
I didn’t even look at Marvin. I said to Richie, “Will his check be good?”
Marvin answered. “It’s going to be a check from my wife. It’ll be good, I promise.”
I said, “Okay, bring it here tomorrow and give it to Jimmy. Make sure you give it to him and nobody else. Okay?”
I stopped in later to make sure Marvin had delivered the check. He had and Jimmy was ecstatic. He thanked me and said if I ever needed anything all I had to do was ask.
I said, “Well, I could use a car. The engine in mine blew up so right now I’m borrowing wheels and bumming rides to get around.” Starting that day and for the next twenty years, Jimmy provided me with a new car every nine months, including my gas and insurance.