Pistol Whipping Pizzeria Owner Was Ex-Mobster In Witness Protection Program

Well, this explains that Goombah Pizzeria owner’s apparent anger management issues: he was a former hit-man who’d served prison time in 2004 after pleading guilty to 2 murders.

Gothamist writes that “Joey Calco, the man who made a name for himself when he turned on the Bonanno crime family and ratted out consigliere Anthony Spero in 2001, has been living in Florida and running a pizza place under the name Joseph Milano.” We wonder if competing pizza joints in the area will start placing signs in their windows that read, “NOT affiliated with the mob!”—or if that would just invite more pistol whippings.

“Mob Turncoat’s Identity Outed After a Fight Over a Calzone” [Gothamist] (Thanks to Alexa!)


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  1. hewhoroams says:

    So doesn’t that defeat the point of being protected when your real name is in the papers?

    • EllenRose says:

      @hewhoroams: I believe one of the rules in the witness protection plan is that you not start building up a new rap sheet. This loose torpedo obviously yearns for his old life – and now, it may come to visit him. Karma.

    • legwork says:

      @hewhoroams: Anger issues.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @hewhoroams: That’s what makes this guy such an idiot. He goes and gets himself arrested even though there’s a decent chance it might also get him killed. He could have just as easily kicked the customer out of his store instead of throwing a temper tantrum.

    • Rhayader says:

      @hewhoroams: Yeah it seems like it. I mean, the guy obviously did something stupid, but that doesn’t mean he should just be strung up and laid out for his former employers to come gut him.

      He’s an idiot, but there is something unscrupulous about a media culture that will print this guy’s name and show his face without a second thought.

      • Jabberkaty says:

        @Rhayader: Yeah, working in the news industry I’d say this blurs the ethical line.

        However, it would have come up when he was arrested making it public info, and considering the Mob has more connections than any newsie I’m aware of, this guy probably screwed himself before ink hit paper.

      • tptcat says:

        @Rhayader: Ummmm….he beat a TWO customers WITH A GUN. Oh – he was also previously convicted (only two years) FOR MURDER. DO you seriously feel sorry for him because his identity came out after he, a convicted felon mind you, commited another felony?

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Rhayader: So, on the off-chance that any subject of any story is under Witness Protection, papers shouldn’t list ANY names or pictures?
        If not, by the time that the follow-up article came up, Gumba’s face was widely distributed across the continent, so including it didn’t imperil him much further. And, how else could they cover the follow-up without mentioning the original crime, and then the Gumba’s identity?

        I think the lesson here is, if you’re under Witness Protection and blow your cover by pistol-whipping people, don’t expect good things to result. Imagine that.

        • Rhayader says:

          @Trai_Dep,tptcat: Woah there folks, take a look at what I said. I realize this guy was an idiot and put himself in this situation.

          My only point is that I wouldn’t want to be in the business of revealing protected witnesses to their former employers. Sheesh, I know the guy is an idiot, lay off.

          • c_c says:

            Looks like he can be reinstated in the program as a prisoner. Interestingly, the victims of his crime are eligible for compensation from the Victims Compensation Fund:


          • tptcat says:

            @Rhayader: I think your point was lost in the parts of your statement that defended the dude’s privacy of identity.

          • halloweenjack says:

            @Rhayader: I really don’t think that the media is “in the business of revealing protected witnesses to their former employers.” They’re in the business of reporting news, and someone who pistol-whips his customers makes news. I don’t think that the local paper or TV station or whomever is ethically bound to protect the identity of someone who is hellbent on eliminating themselves from the gene pool, especially when they have already killed people.

  2. yajjo says:

    I wonder if he knows Crabman?

  3. Darrone says:

    Great, a hitman does a few years, and now he’s totally not a danger to society…

    • RazFandango says:

      @Darrone: Pleading guilty to two murders, and in under 5 years he’s already out and running a pizza shop?

      Only in America.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @Darrone: Just don’t ask for no pepperonis and he won’t have to wack ya.

    • kaycee says:

      I read a really interesting book a few years ago: _WITSEC: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program_ by Pete Earley and Gerald Shur. The second author was one of the founders of the Witness Protection program in the 1960’s, and was considering writing his memoirs when he learned that Pete Earley had been researching WITSEC for a book. They collaborated and no doubt it’s a better book than either could have written alone. There’s some political history, some government and FBI history, and some mafia history. They do a good job of explaining why the program was begun, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.

      Some of the brutal parts were difficult to read – I don’t like stuff like that. I was glad I read the book, though – interesting.

  4. chargernj says:

    So if someone in the program commits a crime, do they lose the protection?

  5. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    Perhaps it was a typo on the court papers and he got put in the Witness Publicity Program?

  6. ludwigk says:

    Joey Calco >> Joseph Milano? Is that the best that witness protection could do?

    Also, pistol whipping a college student for complaining about your food? Way to keep a low profile, Joey!

    Also, also, Ex-mob hitman Joe Milano running a pizzeria? Too many italian-american stereotypes rolled into one! o.O

  7. youbastid says:

    Wow, pleaded guilty to 2 murders in 2004, and out of prison with enough time to start up a pizza company by 2009? Not really a fan of how our criminal justice system is based on informational bribes.

  8. JGKojak says:

    Remember the end of Goodfellas… the credits said he was indicted on charges while in protection, his wife divorced him eventually, etc.

    Also– I know one mobster type said Sopranos was pretty close to reality- I guess it is!

  9. buckfutt says:

    [southpark] Dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb! [/southpark]

  10. I_have_something_to_say says:

    They should have changed his name to Stanley because he’s a huge tool. I’d like to see him beat with his own sign for naming the place ‘Goombah’. What a fucktard.

  11. EBounding says:

    This wouldn’t have happened at the Olive Garden.

  12. semanticantics says:

    It’s not like mobsters generally kill innocents, they kill other mobsters.

    Also, anyone who has seen “My Blue Heaven” would have a healthy understanding of the Witness Protection program works.

  13. ApologeticBale_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Where’s Steve Martin and Rick Moranis when you really need them?

  14. winstonthorne says:

    That’s the worst hiding job since Obi-Wan Kenobi became “Old Ben Kenobi” and hid cleverly on his arch-nemesis’ home planet.

  15. JeannieGrrl says:

    This is cheesy enough to have been a feature film. Joe Pesci’s career is NOT over after all!!!

  16. Sohrab Simani says:

    You can’t make this stuff up folks.

  17. Shaftoe says:

    Hey It s Crab Man

  18. KhaiJB says:

    aha! so he’s in the Witless Protection Program?

  19. akronharry says:

    If he disappears, I think I will hold off on any “pepperoni” or “Italian sausage” for a while.

  20. Canino says:

    Agent: Tell you what, sir. From now on, you’ll be, uh, Homer Thompson at Terror Lake. Let’s just practise a bit, hmm? When I say, “Hello, Mr. Thompson,” you’ll say, “Hi.”
    Homer: Check.
    Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
    Homer: [stares blankly]
    Agent: Remember now, your name is Homer Thompson.
    Homer: I gotcha.
    Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
    Homer: [stares blankly]
    [A long time later]
    Agent: [sighs in frustration] Now, when I say, “Hello, Mr. Thompson,” and press down on your foot, you smile and nod.
    Homer: No problem.
    Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson! [stomps on Homer’s foot a few times]
    Homer: [stares blankly]
    [to other agent] I think he’s talking to _you_.

  21. ElijahDProphet says:

    Anyone who has ever been to Palm Coast should not be surprised at all. That place is 70% retired 30% witness protection.

  22. rpm773 says:

    Witness protection? Was he a needle hiding in a haystack, or a needle hiding in a box of needles?

  23. ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

    A former mobster, in witness protection, opens up a pizzeria named “Goombah’s”…

  24. Steve Walker says:

    So your saying Goombah pizza isn’t just a clever name?

  25. Hyre says:

    …Is it just me, or does the mob family name sound suspiciously like “Banana”? I knew Carmen Miranda had to be hiding something in her hat!

  26. Parapraxis says:

    Finally, a pizzeria that won’t kidnap and kill you!

    oh wait…

  27. Cattivella says:

    This guy’s skills at hiding remind me of a friend’s experience …

    He was in a very tiny bar way out in the sticks of his western state. There were two guys in track suits, gold chains and slicked back hair hanging out and my friend made some comment about “What, are you in the witness protection program or something?” They shot him dirty looks then approached him later when he was outside telling him to keep that kind of talk down because they actually were.

    He advised them to attempt to blend in a bit more.

  28. Quilt says:

    So he was a hitman. Killed some people. Ratted out his old pals. And they gave him a pizza place?

    Are there application forms for the mob? Do they do that?

  29. ageshin says:

    I think that his years in prison really reformed the guy. After all he did only pistol whipped the person, and did not kill him outright. True reformation.

  30. starrion says:

    I am trying to be conerned about his safety, given that he has been outed by the news media……

    Nope. Not concerned.

    let’s see if he makes a guest appearance on “Shark Week”.

  31. baristabrawl says:

    Wow. Cute, but no brains. If I were in Witness Protection, I’d most likely not own my own business at all. I’d just want to work at an insurance company and STFU a lot.