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Legit Feast of San Gennaro almost as greedy as Mafia

By David Amoruso

The Feast of San Gennaro has long been associated with the Italian-American Mafia. Ever since they became powerful enough, mobsters have been extorting the feast for all it was worth. After several successful prosecutions, authorities claimed the feast was free from criminal influence and more money would end up with charity. They were correct, but barely. The organization donated just 2 percent more to charity than the mob did.

Today, the New York Daily News discovered that the group Figli di San Gennaro, the charity organization currently running the Feast, “gave away only a tiny fraction of the more than $4 million it raised from 2007 to 2012. Over those years, [they] took in $4.4 million in gross revenue, but gave up only $210,500 of that to charity. That’s about 4.7 percent — just slightly better than when the Mafia was running the feast.”

The mob – allegedly – gave away only 3 percent of what it took in to charitable causes, the tabloid newspaper reports.

So what happened to the other 95 percent? Some of it goes to insurance, legal fees, the city gets its share, of course. And of $4.4 million made between 2007 and 2012, about $3 million went to “direct expenses.” What does “direct expenses” cover exactly? Only they know, apparently, and the government is content with that.

If only mobsters had been better with words, fuggedaboutit!

The Feast of San Gennaro began in September 1926 when immigrants from Naples congregated along Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy, to continue the tradition they had followed in Italy to celebrate San Gennaro, the Patron Saint of Naples.

Those who participated were asked to pin an offering to the ribbon streamers that are hung from an apron of the statue of San Gennaro. This money was then distributed to the needy poor of the neighborhood and, as more people joined, to charities outside Little Italy.

But where there’s money, there’s the Mafia. Especially in Little Italy, New York.

As we reported before in our piece titled “Genovese mobsters extorting Feast of San Gennaro,” the mob has a longstanding and powerful connection to the Feast. Its influence was undoubtedly negative and the Mafia pocketed most of the cash for itself.

However, with this legitimate charity organization running things only slightly better, one has to wonder how greedy the world has become. When you are being only 2 percent less greedy than the Mafia, you need to worry about whether or not the guy upstairs will let you in.

You might be a few percentage points short of heaven.

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