News Column

Ex-Mobster to Bulger: Just Say Sorry

June 17, 2013

The "best thing" James "Whitey" Bulger can do to redeem his reputation as the FBI's pet rat and a butcher of women, another ex-mobster told the Herald yesterday, is the last thing the Southie ganglord will ever do: Apologize.

Former Mafia henchman Salvatore "Crazy Sal" Polisi said yesterday Bulger doesn't understand the remorseless world he left behind when he went on the lam in 1995 is gone.

"He wants to hang on to who he was before. He'll call all those witnesses liars. He'll look in the faces of those 19 victims' families and tell them, 'I didn't do it.' He'll never admit he killed anybody. All he can do is try and save his persona as the greatest Irish gangster of our time," said Polisi, 68, who was a convicted bank robber and drug merchant with New York's Gambino crime family who later testified against mafia don John Gotti.

Polisi's advice to Whitey? "Get a life, pal. Apologize. And I mean (that) in a sincere way. You're not going to beat anything."

Yet within the twisted underworld, Polisi said Bulger, even though he has been branded as a long-term secret informant for the FBI, is regarded as more honorable than that people like Polisi himself, and John Martorano, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi and Kevin Weeks -- the former Winter Hill Gang crew who will testify against Bulger as cooperating witnesses.

"The honorable thing to do is deny it until you die," Polisi said. "If a guy gives information, that's bad. But if he testifies, he's a dirty, yellow rat stool pigeon. From a criminal point of view, the worst thing you can do is get up in court and testify."

Polisi, author of "The Sinatra Club: My Life Inside the New York Mafia," spent more than a decade in the federal witness protection program after, he says, his love for his two sons persuaded him to flip in 1984 and testify against Gotti in Gotti's 1986 federal racketeering trial. Gotti, appropriately nicknamed "The Teflon Don," was acquitted.

"I outlived everyone," Polisi said of his decision to emerge from the shadows in the mid-'90s. "I just wanted to work on a better message that people can change."



Source: (c)2013 the Boston Herald Distributed by MCT Information Services


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