Seasoned New York mob bosses are reluctant to make made men out of millennials, who they worry lack the street smarts and ruthlessness of their predecessors — and are too obsessed with their cellphones.
The five families fear handing over the reins to the new generation of mafiosi because they’re softer and dumber, having grown up in the suburbs rather than city streets — and are too attached to technology, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
“Everything is on the phones with them,” a former made member of the Colombo family told the paper.
Court records even show one Colombo associate completely eschewing the code of silence while threatening a union official over extortion collections — all in easy-to-prove text messages, the outlet said.
“Hey this is the 2nd text, there isn’t going to be a 3rd,” the associate wrote, according to court records.
“I am sure that is frowned upon in mob circles,” former FBI agent Richard Frankel said of the apparent incriminating texts.
These fears of incompetence have led to elderly big bosses clinging onto power and putting the mobs at risk, former FBI agent Scott Curtis told the WSJ.
Curtis said it was a factor in alleged Colombo boss Andrew “Mush” Russo’s downfall.
The wiseguy — who was arrested last month over accusations of labor racketeering, extortion and money laundering — had been micromanaging the feared family even at the age of 87, according to Curtis, who investigated the family operation for years.
In one FBI recording, Russo had admitted secretly to an associate, “I can’t walk away. I can’t rest.”
Crime family soldiers also appeared aware it created problems, with one alleged member recorded pushing for Russo to be replaced, saying, “The problem is, that old man, he wanted to be boss his whole life.”
It’s so bad, the families’ futures are now more threatened by mismanagement and resistance to replacing the top guys than by gang wars or rats, the WSJ said.
“That’s why you see some of these guys getting arrested repeatedly,” Curtis said of the bosses.
“They have to have their hands on all these minute details of the scheme,” he said, leaving many in prison and the families in crisis.