California

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
4
The key organized crime figure involved in production and distribution of pornography in California, and possibly the entire nation, is thought to be Michael Zaffarano, capo in the Galante LCN Family. He is regarded as that family's West Coast representative, although he is known to have dealings with all of the organized crime families involved in the California operations. Zaffarano and his partners, Stewart Charles Segall and Tommy Sinopoli, operate Miracle Film Releasing Corporation in Hollywood. This company produces and distributes 16mm and 35mm feature films. There are indications that Sinopoli is associated with the LCN DeCavalcante in New Jersey. Zaffarano is also the president of Stu Segall Associates which distributes pornographic films and has offices at 1600 Broadway, Manhattan, and 8564 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California. Zaffarano and Stu Segall are the directors of a nationwide organization of "Pussycat" theaters which has theaters in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

With Stu Segall and Norman Arno, Zaffarano is involved in the D.C. Playhouse Ltd. in Washington, D.C. He is the owner and is listed in the corporate records as the President, Treasurer, and Director of the Corporation. Arno and Segall are also listed as Directors of the Corporation. The corporation was formed in 1974 and Zaffarano then subleased the theater to Robert Gage, who operates it with Saul Heller. The pornographic films shown at the D.C. Playhouse are supplied by Zaffarano from New York and Los Angeles, primarily from Stu Segall Associates. Norman Arno also does business in Los Angeles as S & L Distributors, dealing in 8mm films and magazines. Arno has arrests for both local misdemeanor and Federal felony obscenity charges.

Zaffarano has also been largely associated with Noel Bloom and Theodore Gaswirth. Noel Bloom, doing business as California International Distributors and Cinema Classics, is a major Los Angeles based distributor of 8mm films. He has been arrested several times on local misdemeanor obscenity charges and has one Federal arrest for Interstate Transportation of obscene matter (ITOM) charges which resulted only in a guilty plea by the corporation. Theodore Gastwirth, doing business as T.C. Associates, is also a major Los Angeles based distributor of 8mm films. He, too, has several local misdemeanor obscenity arrests.

Each of the other main organized crime families in the east has a full time representative on the West Coast. Robert DiBernardo is the representative for the DeCavalcante Family, Thomas Ricciardi for the Colombo Family, and William Haimowitz for the Gambino Family. These representatives give every indication that they are working together in the pornography operations. They are each associated with numerous pornographic businesses. Thomas Ricciardi has been linked to William Noel Fine who has been active in Los Angeles area pornography. He has operated Fine Films and Billy Fine Productions. William Haimowitz was raised by LCN Gambino member Ettore Zappi and has made statements that Zappi had sent him to California to control or corner the pornography market for that family. DiBernardo is a partner in a pornography operation with Theodore Rothstein. Intelligence indicates that the LCN DeCavalcante furnishes funds to member Frank Cocchiaro who in turn provides financing to DiBernardo and Rothstein.

LCN Los Angeles underboss, Aladena Fratianno, is allegedly directing the shakedown of pornography dealers in the Los Angeles area in an attempt to control pornography in Southern California. A Federal grand jury is now investigating the extortion of money from an undercover FBI pornographic company. The alleged extorters were Michael RizzitellO (LCN Bonanno member; considered Fratianno's right-hand man), Jack Locicero (LCN Los Angeles member), and Thomas Ricciardi, who was mentioned above as the LCN Colombo's West Coast representative.

LCN member Pasquale John Antonelli moved to California from New Jersey in 1965 and has prospered from operating massage parlors, pornographic bookstores and movies. Because of his financial success, he is becoming the nucleus of a small band of hoodlums of Italian ancestry who have moved to the area from the Northeast coastal region. Antonelli is known to be involved in pornography in the downtown section of San Diego. It is believed that Tom and Mike Aquilante (who have direct ties with the LCN in Newark and Bridgeport, Connecticut) and Tom and Vincent Campisi all have a common interest in the pornography field. Antonelli is reportedly the major figure of the group and there are numerous fronts for his operations. These individuals are the owners of a concentrated number of store front operations in a four square downtown block of San Diego featuring adult bookstores, peep shows, massage parlors, and hard-core movies. John Aquilante is presently on three years probation for pornography violations.

Reuben Sturman of Cleveland, Ohio, though not directly connected to the LCN, is a key figure in the pornography industry and seems to be well-established in California. His operation will be discussed at length in the section on Ohio. The following is a list of known West Coast operations which are controlled by Sturman, showing the principals and the type of materials produced and/or distributed.

Parliament News, Los Angeles
Milton Luros
Soft and Hard-Core Magazines

Pacific News, Los Angeles
Milton Luros
Soft and Hard-Core Magazines

Lyndon Distributors, Los Angeles
Ted Gaswirth
8mm Hard-Core Films

Now News, Los Angeles
Mike Colella
Hard-Core Magazines

Ewap Inc., Los Angeles
Fred Alfuno
Soft-Core Magazines

Cinema Classics, Los Angeles
Noel Bloom
8mm Hard-Core Films

Cline Labs, Los Angeles
Richard Sherwin
Films and magazines published for Sturman

KNS Publishing, Los Angeles
Richard Sherwin -- emerging as main printer/distributor for Sturman

NFM Corporation, Los Angeles
Mike Colella
Films

Mike Colella, operator of Now News and NFM Corporation in Los Angeles allegedly works directly for Sturman and has assisted in his efforts to infiltrate the southern California area.

Milton Luros of Parliament News is a major publisher and distributor of magazines in Los Angeles. He has previously been convicted of misdemeanor obscenity charges. He and Paul Wisner reportedly control a retail bookstore in Sacramento. Luros at one time controlled most of the distribution of books and magazines in the Los Angeles area. His control has dwindled to about 5%. Luros, his corporate officers, and five of his corporations were indicted in the Central District of California for mailing obscene material. The corporations, which are London press, Inc., Jaybird Enterprises; Parliament News, Inc, Seven Towers, Inc., and American Art Enterprises, Inc. were found guilty. The corporate officers Milton Luros, Beatrice Luros, Robert Accietta, Paul Wisner, and Robert Reitman are awaiting trial.

The firms that seem to control the production and distribution of 8mm films in the Los Angeles area are Cinema Classics with Noel Bloom (mentioned earlier as being involved with Michael Zaffarano), and Lyndon Inc. with Theodore Gaswirth.

Of particular note in San Francisco pornography is the operation of Artie Jay Mitchell and James Lloyd Mitchell called Mitchell Brothers Film Group, Inc. The Mitchells had always claimed to be free of any organized crime connections, however, in 1974 they were visited by organized crime associates James Bochis and Robert DeSalvo who requested exclusive distribution rights to several of their movies. The brothers were told that unless they agreed, DeSalvo and Bochis would distribute pirated copies of one of the films all over the country, costing the Mitchells thousands of dollars in revenue. The Mitchells did not agree to this proposal and purchased the pirated copy of the fil, in question from Bochis and DeSalvo. The Mitchells lost thousands on their subsequent production of "Sodom and Gomorrah", which was very expensive to make and turned out to be a failure. Because of this loss of money, the Mitchell brothers entered into contract with Michael Zaffarano in regard to the distribution of their latest film "Autobiography of a Flea".