Dorothy Fiorenza: The Things We Do For Love

The New York Daily News called her a “brainy beautician” when Dorothy Fiorenza took the stand in 1999 as the key witness against her former lover, Colombo family boss Andrew Russo, but the cosmetologist-turned-lawyer-turned-government informant sure didn’t act too smart by getting romantically involved with Russo, angering the boss by marrying a dying Colombo family soldier, and helping to obstruct justice along the way. Fiorenza helped turn a hum-drum mob trial into a soap opera after she agreed to cooperate with the government in order to get a lighter sentence for her husband, Lawrence “Larry Tattoo” Fiorenza, who at the time of the Russo trial was serving a life sentence and was terminally ill with AIDS and cirrhosis of the liver.

Appearing on the witness stand with newly dyed platinum tresses, Fiorenza told the federal court how she had used her lawyer status to pass communiqus between Russo and his son, Joseph “Jo Jo” Russo. It was an alternate juror in Jo Jo’s trial that had been recognized by another Russo mistress. The Colombo family then hired a private investigator to track down the alternate, but Jo Jo ended up taking the fall anyway. The juror reported the attempt to the judge in Jo Jo’s case, who referred it to the Justice Department. The FBI began an investigation and eventually was able to build a case against Russo.

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo

Over three days of testimony, with a different exotic hairstyle each day that garnered as much press as her devastating testimony, Fiorenza recalled how she met Russo while working at a New York barbershop and was invited to the mob boss’s Christmas party in 1995 while her first marriage was collapsing.

The next day, according to court records, Russo’s nephew told Fiorenza his uncle thought she “was the best thing since sliced bread.” The 32-year-old law student and the 60-something mobster hit it off immediately and began an affair.

Russo took Fiorenza to dinner at Elaine’s and to see “Phantom of the Opera.” She told the court how he often complained about the “heat” he was under from police who wanted to see that he was sent back to prison where he had just finished serving an eight-year stretch. Swept up in the romantic notion of being a mafia goumada, or girlfriend, Fiorenza became even more valuable to Russo after she passed the New York State Bar Exam and was able to pass almost unobstructed through security at the�MetropolitanCorrectionsCenter, where Jo Jo was being held.

Speaking with Jo Jo in carefully scripted conversations that prosecutors alleged were filled with secret messages, Dorothy later claimed she had no idea that her discussions were actually bits of coded advice from father to son.

The relationship soured when Dorothy realized that Russo was interested in a monogamous relationship  on her part  while he played the field and remained strangely loyal to his wife. Along the way, Fiorenza met Teresa Castronova, the “other” other woman who had ID’d the alternate juror in Jo Jo’s trial. Teresa was hiding out at an upstate New York horse farm while the FBI tried to find her so she could explain the jury tampering attempt. In the elder Russo’s trial, Fiorenza admitted that she knew she was obstructing justice by not going to authorities with Teresa’s location.

“He wanted to be with me but not exclusively,” a weeping Fiorenza testified. “He was obligated to other people — to his wife as well.”

“And you wanted him exclusively for you?” Russo’s lawyer asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “There were other people around who he was involved with and it was getting crazy.”

The one-way monogamy requirement was troubling to the self-described “mob groupie” who had met Larry Tattoo while visiting Jo Jo in the MCC. When she announced to Andrew Russo that she was ending the relationship to marry Larry, the boss was furious, she testified.

Russo was infuriated that she was involved with a lower-ranking mobster, she testified, adding that a friend of Russo’s told her that many members of the�Colombo family feared both she and Larry Tattoo would “sing and fly.”

In the end, that’s almost what happened. When the appeals she filed on Larry’s behalf went nowhere, afraid for her life and concerned that her new husband was going to die behind bars, Dorothy went to federal prosecutors and spilled her guts.

“We went to the government for assistance, security, for our safety,” she said.

Prior to taking the stand in the elder Russo’s trial, Fiorenza pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for her role in the scheme.

Like so many other women who are suckered by the romance of the mob, Dorothy paid a very high price for her blind love. She lost her license to practice law and was portrayed by the defense in Russo’s case as a mentally unbalanced and “troubled” woman whose life went downhill when she married a convicted murderer.

Shortly after Russo was convicted, Larry Tattoos and Dorothy Fiorenza entered the federal witness relocation program. By 2001, they had separated and Dorothy had applied for reinstatement to the New York Bar, claiming she had been mentally ill with bipolar disorder when she pleaded guilty to obstruction. The court turned down her request.

Part 2:: A Day With A Gangster’s Wife: Brandy Cavalli

Brandy Cavalli is a screenplay writer that is quickly gaining notoriety in the independent film world.

She is sought after to work on various underground projects and she was recently chosen to become a member of the prestigious

Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

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In addition to leading her own marketing company, The Social Mob LLC, Brandy also works on the sets of many media projects.

She is known for her girly looks but kick ass attitude. She credits bad girl screenwriter Mae West as somewhat her muse, and when not writing about the mob, she is married to it.

Below is part 2 of my interview with indie screenwriter and international marketer, Brandy Cavalli.

I know that you have gained much success as an international marketer. How long have you been in the entertainment industry?

I have been exposed to the industry my entire life. My father was a popular college dj and he still works in the industry on an executive level, so I was born into the entertainment industry. I personally took my first job in music at the age of 18 working in the music industry. I still do minor projects and some artist management, mostly with reggae artists.

How long have you been writing?

I have kept a journal since the age of about 8. I used to write everyday as a child, as I got older I realized how easy writing came to me. It wasn’t until the last few years that I decided to use my writing as a talent and not just a hobby.

How did you get into writing films?

Actually kind of my chance, I worked in the music industry for many years and built a large network. After getting bored with music, I went into corporate America for a while but always felt like the entertainment industry was where I belonged. I decided that I would try my hand at television and I had planned to work behind the scenes in production or even advertising.

Writing films came about as I was approached to do a couple of reality shows. I went to LA to meet with an agent and realized that I would much rather be in control of any content pertaining to me. I didn’t like the fact that I would have minimal to no creative control so I decided to go to film school and learn to write/produce my own shows and films.

What genres of film most interest you?

I mostly write crime based material. I do enjoy comedy but so far I have only written crime and “gangster” style movie scripts. I would love to write a movie like Friday, both urban but comedy.

How do your male peers accept you as an up and coming female crime writer?

So far I have gotten a lot of love and support from the guys in the industry. There are very few female writers, especially of crime. I mostly work in the independent sector so I don’t have much competition. I’d say most of the guys are accepting and I’ve been approached by a few different producers to write on upcoming underground projects, which is right up my alley. I don’t plan to hit Hollywood anytime soon, I would like to stay independent and perfect my craft more.

What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished working on the script for a crime based indie film called “Lock and Load”, which is currently in production. I do a lot of work with student films in terms of scripts and production. I am also working on a documentary called “The Last King Of Jamrock” which documents the life of Jamaican crime lord Christopher Coke and co-writing the narrative script for the upcoming movie “The Gangster’s Girl: Last Girl Standing”.

What gives you inspiration as a film writer?

I get my inspiration from actual real life events or stories. I like real life documentary style films. I tend to take an interest in events that are considered sinister or crime based. I really enjoy writing about other people, especially of the underworld. I love to get inside of their world and help paint a picture of their world to the outside world. So I would say my inspiration is actually other people.

I know that you recently started your own film company, Femme Fatale Films, tell me more about that.

Femme Fatale Films is just another extension of my company, The Social Mob, LLC. Femme Fatale is a group of women screenwriters, who like me, prefer to write crime based or real life based scripts. In the future we plan to produce our own documentaries and other media. We are a different breed of screenwriters, mainly because we like to go where no other girls have gone before, we go to the streets.

Why did you choose the name Femme Fatale?

Femme Fatale describes me in a nutshell. I also think of sinister or “devious” when I hear the name Femme Fatale, which are exactly the kinds of movies we write.

Congratulations on your induction into the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. What can we expect?

Thank You! The Women’s Fiction Writers Association is a union of women that write fiction movies and scripts. It’s definitely a different world from what I usually do as most of my upcoming movie scripts are non-fiction, meaning real life based. I am excited to get the chance to work under other women in the industry. Hopefully one day I can write for prime time television (Hollywood). It’s a good opportunity and I am so honored to even be considered a member.

What other plans do you have career wise?

Right now I just want to focus on perfecting my writing skills. I do a lot of freelance writing and I am doing some intern work with a major local news station here in Atlanta, and learning a lot about production. In the future I plan to produce film and videos and other media. My first love is marketing so I plan to write, produce and market my own projects and make all the money. I am always thinking of ways to make all the money, not just some of the money.

I heard through the grapevine that you were recently engaged or married? Congratulations.

Thank you.

Being a gangster film writer seems as it would come easy to you based on your alleged ties to the underworld. How does your partner feel about your line of work?

He is ok with it. As you have stated, it is something that I am familiar with and it comes naturally. He is very supportive of my career and he gives me a lot of inspiration and push. He’s a hustler so he’s good with whatever I decide as long as I am happy and it makes me money.

There were rumors in the indie world that you were looking to write and produce a “Goodfellas” style movie about the Black Mafia Family (BMF) crime organization, is that still a possibility?

Yeah, it’s a possibility. I spoke to my hubby about it but we haven’t made any definitive plans. I feel like it would be a great movie and I would love to write one and I am sure he would be down for it. Maybe one day in the future we will put something together. There is and will never be another organization like BMF so it would seem like a no brainer to make a movie about them. – A real movie, no Hollywood bullshit.

In addition to co-writing on the film, do you plan to share your story on the Gangster Girls documentary?

As of now I am not sure. My other half is in full support of me being on the film but I don’t know if I will yet. I prefer to work behind the scenes, so you gotta stay tuned for that, it would be a crazy story. I would probably cry the whole time during filming, Lol. So far they are building a great cast of girls that have compelling stories and I am so excited about working with them. I enjoy helping others paint their picture. We will see if I decide to step in or not, it’s a strong possible though.

I also read on twitter that you may be the next cast member on the upcoming reality show entitled, BMF Wives? Is that true?

No. I am not sure how that rumor started but I am not going to appear on BMF wives. I love the concept of the project though. I would love to work on it from a creative standpoint, but I am not signed on to appear on the show.

What other projects are you working on outside of film writing?

I am writing my first mini series called “From a Socialite to the Mob” which is a memoir style series that documents a young girl’s life from wholesome beginnings to becoming the wife of an alleged mobster. In addition to that, I am working on a comic book series with CV Comics in which I will write the dialogue for a female vixen character. I am also doing some freelance writing for lifestyle and entertainment based magazines. All in all just perfecting my craft and staying busy.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception about female crime writers?

The biggest misconception is that we as women don’t have the experience to write gangster based flicks, which is 100% not true. When you have lived in the underworld it exposes you to a lot and you learn the ropes, the lingo and the way things work in that world. As a writer I feel that I am more qualified then a lot of male writers who have never touched that world. It’s still hard for society to accept a woman talking about guns and violence, but truth is there are some women that are just as vicious as the men. I can probably write a gangster tale with my eyes closed.

 Check Out PART 1 of this Interview

Follow Brandy Cavalli

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Femme Fatale Films

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Part 1: A Day With A Gangster’s Wife: Brandy Cavalli

Gangster Girls Blogger Brian Perry of CNN sat down with the film industry’s newest gangster writer Brandy Coke for a one on one to discuss her business and film career.

Brandy is an international marketer, entrepreneur and writer who is now using her skills to launch a new screenwriting career.

Her career began at an early age in the music industry and she has since worked with many artists, most of which whom now have achieved both national and international fame.

Most would describe Brandy as beautiful, cool, and extremely down to earth with a no non-sense demeanor.

She is currently involved in various independent film ventures and also lends her talents to various lifestyle publications.

She is the owner of The Social Mob LLC, a marketing and networking company based out of Atlanta. She is also the lead screenwriter for Femme Fatale Films, an all female screenwriting team.

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All in all, Brandy Cavalli Coke is a young power player in business and she is quickly positioning herself to become a sought after writer in the independent film world.

Tell me a little bit about your organization The Social Mob LLC.

The Social Mob LLC is “my baby”. I started the group as a fun way to socialize with like-minded associates on Facebook. The purpose of the group was to encourage one another to “get money”. I wanted to start a group that we could “mob” together and have a place to share our thoughts with others of the same mentality. It became a “business” kind of by default.

Why did you choose the name “The Social Mob”?

The name came from the group, and I didn’t want to change from a branding aspect, it’s really a unique organization. “Mob” actually means “Money, Opportunities, Business”. Its kind of ‘underground’, not your typical organization.

What is the company’s mission of The Social Mob LLC?

The mission of “The Mob” is provide a networking canvas for young entrepreneurs that also encourages community involvement among young people. We partner with the Young Entrepreneurs Network to mentor college students looking to become entrepreneurs. The ‘moneyops’ team which is an outside marketing team, headed by myself, that provides marketing support for various products, organizations, and companies. In all, The Social Mob is a cluster of all things business and entertainment. We now have about 20-25 affiliates and outside marketing/sales associates. We recently launched FEMME Fatale Films. Its a lot of fun. It’s truly my passion. Lots of fun projects in store!

Why do they call you the IL Capitana?

IL Capitana is a name the was given to me by my Italian cousins. (Brandy’s great grandfather was an Italian wine maker and entrepreneur).

IL CAPO means “the boss or captain” in Italian so IL Capitana means “the female captain”.

I’ve noticed that you also have a charity called The Prettie Committee? Tell me a little bit about that organization.

Yes! My charity provides clothing and accessories for displaced women and young girls. We partner with many local shelters to raise donations and awareness in the community. We try to focus on women that were displaced due to “the lifestyle” and provide resources for the mothers to escape the streets and become productive members of society. We collect trendy clothing that the women can wear to job interviews, church, and other important functions. Appearance can really do alot to raise a woman’s self-esteem and we want to provide the best wardrobes possible to encourage self motivation and esteem.

What made you decide to get into charity work?

Philanthropy is something that is very dear to me. My mother is a lifelong philanthropist and humanitarian and its something that she instilled in me as a young child. I also wanted to give to the community because I feel that I am extremely blessed and feel it is necessary to spread your blessings around to others in a less fortunate position. In all, I just wanted to find a way to giveback to causes that relate to me.

I know that you come from a certain “lifestyle”, tell me a little about your past life.

Well, actually I came from a good home, my mother is a strong, powerful and educated woman. I ended up involved in the street lifestyle due to my choices in men. Personally, I have always been a feisty go-getter and fiercely independent, for that reason I’ve always attracted the bad boys. I started my career in marketing at age 17, even though I’ve always dated a certain kind of guy, I’ve always maintained my OWN identity and career goals. It was somewhat a double life. At work I was a professional and outside of work I dwelled in the underbelly, it was very much a contrast of two worlds.

So you would say you were inducted into the lifestyle, rather than born into it?

I wouldn’t say inducted because I come from a large family of hustlers and gangsters. My uncles and cousins are all street guys so honestly, it was a natural transition for me. I was always a rebel child so it was very easy to fall into the lifestyle but I did not see crime in my household growing up. My first REAL boyfriend was in the ‘streetlife’ and he was alot older than me, so he taught me alot and I took it from there. I jumped headfirst into the life once I left my mother’s house at age 17. At the time I really had no idea what I was getting into, it was a world-wind and I was the ultimate party girl, looking for fun.

Do you have any regrets?

Not really “regrets”, just lessons learned. I would have made some different choices but ultimately my choices are what makes me who I am. What I have been through has made me the strong person I am so I could not say “regret” I would say I would choose different for my children (when I have them). That’s why I try to talk to these young girls and guide them into another direction. I was lucky (BLESSED) to make it out and I want to save as many young women as I can. If I had not experienced the things I did, then I would have no story to tell them.

I know that you spent many years trapped in the lifestyle. How easy or hard was it to transition out of the lifestlye?

It was an easy transition in and a VERY difficult transition out of the lifestyle. You become accustomed to the money, the trips, the diamonds, the cars, the houses, the condos, the power and before you know it, you have spent years trapped in the circle.

Again, I always seem to attract this same kind of guy. After going through questioning, (Story Here) I decided enough was ENOUGH and if I wanted to save my life I would have to make drastic changes. I threw myself into my business and school and that was what helped me to get my mind in another direction, as well as ALOT of prayer and counseling.

Do you have any advice to women still in the lifestyle?

My advice is to position and transition out. It’s not going to be an easy process but it is worth it. I almost found myself in federal prison due to the lifestyle and that forced me to make a choice. There are many community outreach programs and churches that will provide resources, but my advice is to save yourself because no one else will. Once the man is gone, be it to jail or (God forbid) worse, us women are always forced to take care of ourselves and families.. and they will be able to do so.

Part 2 of this interview will be on From A Socialite To The Mob

Brandy Cavalli Coke – Jamaican Shower Posse

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Brandy “Bee” Cavalli Coke:::: Alias::: IL Capitana Affiliation:: Presidential Click of West Kingston, Jamaica – Leader Christopher Dudus Coke

Brandy Cavalli Coke is best known and described as a “hustler” in her own right. Beginning a career in the music industry at age 18, she was always accustomed to the fast party girl lifestyle that came with the entertainment world. She eventually found herself in the arms of some of “the baddest” bad boys and like many other women before her, found herself having to take care of herself once the “bomb dropped”. She is a very smart and well spoken young lady and has proven to be very capable of taking care of herself and others by leading a 20 man team, ironically called “The Mob”.

CNN entertainment journalist, Brian Perry, had the chance to visit Ms Coke while filming for her new DVD series, Married Gully and spend some time with the lady of “The Mob” known as “IL Capitana”. They discussed everything from business to fashion to the lifestyle that has put most of her men in prison as well as took the life of her first beloved fiance. She is a strong lady that does not let her past define her. She has somewhat of an “old” wise soul with a young cool swagger, she is a woman of power and virtue who has become successful by her own sheer will and determination.

Now married to “Big Dave” of the Black Mafia Family, Brandy is busy in her new role as a wife and she plans to launch a few business endeavors with her husband. The two are planning to produce a line of top shelf VODKA in which he plans to name after her.

She is a woman of determination and resillience that seems to always land on her feet. When she is not writing movies about the mob, she is married to the mob, but she is no typical mobwife. She is an entrepreneur and woman of her own intelligence and drive. She defines herself before she allows anyone else to define her. She is soft and powerful, sassy yet very sweet.

“A Day With Brandy Cavalli Coke” Interview Coming Soon!

Black Gangster’s Wives: Mayme Hatcher Johnson

Mayme Hatcher was born in North Carolina in 1914. At the age of 24, she moved to NYC and got a job as a waitress. Ten years after her arrival in the city, she met and married Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson. As the wife of one of Harlem’s most infamous gangster’s, Mayme was treated with the utmost respect anywhere she went. Her husband spoiled her with the finest things that money could by. However, there was a downside. There were women all over the city who wanted Bumpy for them self, she was constantly accosted by them.

Mayme never took part in any of her husband’s criminal activities. By all reports, she was as classy as they came. She carried herself with respect and never let her husband’s life interfere with hers. However, she stood by him; even when his criminal life had him arrested over 40 times and sentenced to 10 years in Alcatraz.

Mayme Thatcher Johnson passed away in 2009, at the age of 94. Just a year prior to her death, she finished the biography about her husband that she had wanted to put out for most of her life. She refused to leave the world without people knowing who her husband truly was.

Mafia Wives: Victoria Gotti

This blond beauty is a double edged sword. She was born and married to the mob; as the daughter of John Gotti and wife of Carmine Agnello. Carmine was a member of the Gambino crime family and he ran a scrap metal business. The two lovebirds first got together in the 1970’s.

The Gotti name is infamous and her father was one of the most feared mob bosses in the country. Her husband wasn’t a slouch in the world of tough guys either. However, Victoria raised some eyebrows after the death of her 12 year old son, Frank. In the spring of 1980, Frank Gotti was struck by a car and killed while he was riding a mini-bike, not too far away from his home. Unfortunately, the driver of the car was back fence neighbor, John Favara.

The grief stricken mother asked for an eye for an eye and the local police were warned that he was to be “terminated”. After seeking advice from a mob friend, Favara was told he should unload his house and leave town. That summer, Victoria and her father went to Florida on vacation. During their absence, John Favara had disappeared. He was eventually declared legally dead.

Mafia Wives: Andrea Giovino

This mother of 4 would not even give thought to the idea of going into Witness Protection, even though she knew there was a contract on her life. In 1992, Andrea Giovino was indicted along with her “husband” and brother on drug charges. As a favor, in return for her co-defendant’s co-operation, she was simply relocated.

Andrea became romantically involved with Frank Lino but the two were never legally married. She lived a wonderful life with him and he was a great father to her children; they had none together. When Lino was incarcerated, Andrea claims that she had to take the reigns and become a mobster herself. Many people question some of her stories and she is often referred to as a mob groupie. This is mostly because she was an attorney, who knew nothing about mob life until her divorced lover taught her.

Tonesha Welch presents BMF Wives

Rumor has it, Terry Flenory’s, the drug king pin and leader of the BMF (Black Mafia Family), wife has turned into a Shaunie O’Neal sort of and is now producing a show called, “B.M.F. Wives.” While Terry’s brother, Demetrius Flenory aka “Big Meech” is the more popular of the two. Terry was said to be the Boss. Terry’s wife along with four other wives of BMF affiliates have started filming and plan on telling their side of the story. We hear the show is in negotiations with various networks. We are not much into reality tv, but must admit that we WILL be tuned into watch these ladies set the record straight and show their progression.

Check the BMF wives out below:

From Far Right: Terry’s Wife Tonesha Welch, Gricelda Chavez, Lisa Buford and Tiffany Gloster
***UPDATE***
Since the initial release of this press on the BMF Wives last year, they may have added and replaced some of the original cast members.
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