Longtime Bonanno crime family mobster Anthony “T.G.” Graziano passed away on Friday, his daughter Renee reported. He was 78. Graziano was a powerhouse in the Bonanno family and a trusted consigliere of boss Joseph Massino. Unlike his leader, however, Graziano stood tall and remained loyal to omerta.
“I can’t believe you’re gone,” his daughter Renee Graziano wrote on her Instagram. “Life will never be the same without you, my hero, my protector, my rock, my dad, and the best man in the world. Thank you for loving me the way I am and for helping guide my son. We are sure gonna miss you. Rest in peace, daddy.”
Renee Graziano got her father in a bit of trouble with his Mafia colleagues when she starred in the reality series Mob Wives, which followed several daughters and wives of gangsters and mobsters. Jennifer Graziano, another daughter of Anthony, had created the series.
Luckily for him – and them – he had enough clout within the New York Mafia to keep the television dollars flowing. Though he didn’t speak to his daughters for several years as a result, they eventually set aside their differences.
Friends in high places
Graziano had quite the reputation within the underworld. Known as a moneymaker capable of deadly violence, he became a capo in the Bonanno family in the 1980s, authorities listed him as one in 1990.
His close friendship with boss Joseph Massino enabled him to rise even higher up the ladder. He became a consigliere to Massino as the 1990s progressed. But his rank did not keep him safe from the law. He served several years for tax evasion in the early 1990s and pleaded guilty to loansharking, cocaine distribution and a murder conspiracy in 2002 for which he went back inside prison walls for 9 years.
Around that same time, he was hit with other charges in South Florida. This time for his role in illegal gambling, loan-sharking and boiler room operations. The boiler room operation was a phony tele-marketing scheme that swindled $11.7 million from investors. Graziano pleaded guilty again and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
“Man and a half”
At one of his trials an associate of Graziano was asked by a reporter whether Graziano would cooperate with authorities. He responded: “Are you nuts? That man is a man and a half.”
He was right. Graziano was as stand up as they come. He was released from prison in 2013 and came out to a new world. One in which his daughters had become rich off a show discussing and honoring the life he went to prison for. He needed some time, but he adjusted. He lived by a code based on family first. He just had to find a way to accept the way his daughters had done things.
“T.G.” Graziano was a stone-cold gangster who did the crime and served his time. He loved his family and was loyal to the very end. To both his blood family and the one he pledged his blood to. These types of qualities are rare nowadays.
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