A Tale of Taking Incredible and Mindless Risk

A tale of taking incredible & mindless risk. As part of an effort started by Cyrus Vance, the former Manhattan District Actorney and continued by newly elected Alvin Bragg, billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt has returned 180 illegally, acquired artifacts valued at $70million to the countries where they originated and were hijacked from, by antiquities traffickers. 

Over the years these items were acquired by Mr. Steinhardt. It is notable that his attorney was quoted as saying, “His client was pleased that the DA’s years-long Investigation has concluded without any charges filed.” 

“Pleased” indeed! For such a high-profile and wealthy individual, the $70million he’d spent was a pittance compared to the public humiliation and added legal expense of a trial and possible conviction at 81 years of age!

Did Mr. Steinhardt know and understand the possible repercussions of engaging in making these illegal acquisitions or think he was protected by his stature as a billionaire or some other percieved protection? It is hard to imagine he would do so otherwise! I’d guess he’s most likely taken at least a few sighs of relief that his only loss in this matter is the money he spent and no additional fine, or trial, or god-forbid the humiliation of a jail sentence! 

What a colossal risk to take! Michael, please be more mindful. Don’t do stuff like that and if there are other examples out there, please unwind them immediately! Yes, agreed! We do a bad job of teaching it properly and effectively to our children, but the words of the title are true! They are a law of nature and physics. They were for Madoff, they were for Spitzer, they were for Armstrong and they are for all of us! By the way, there’s a great book where you can learn more about it.

Manhattan Prosecutors Return Two Artifacts to Iraq. The repatriations are among the first under Alvin Bragg, the new Manhattan district attorney, who is continuing the work of a dedicated antiquities trafficking unit created by his predecessor.



Manhattan Prosecutors Return Two Artifacts to Iraq

The repatriations are among the first under Alvin Bragg, the new Manhattan district attorney, who is continuing the work of a dedicated antiquities trafficking unit created by his predecessor.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has returned to Iraq two objects that they seized from the billionaire financier Michael H. Steinhardt and which the officials said were looted during periods of war and unrest there.

Last month, Mr. Steinhardt, an 81-year-old Brooklyn native and philanthropist, struck an agreement with prosecutors who said he had acquired the relics and numerous others from known antiquities traffickers without regard to proper documentation beginning as far back as 1987.

He surrendered a total of 180 items, valued at $70 million, and agreed to be barred for life from acquiring additional antiquities.

The items returned on Tuesday — a golden bowl and an ivory plaque — were the fifth and sixth illicit artifacts to be returned under the new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, signaling a readiness to continue the work of an antiquities trafficking unit founded by his predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr. Though federal authorities have devoted resources specifically to curb antiquities smuggling, the district attorney’s office is the lone law enforcement agency with a squad dedicated to investigating such crimes.

“These illegally trafficked relics shouldn’t be kept in the mansion of a billionaire, thousands of miles away from their homeland,” Mr. Bragg said in a statement. “They should be on display in a museum or university in their country of origin, where the people of that nation can view and appreciate the glimpse into the lives of their ancestors.”

In statement in December, Mr. Steinhardt’s lawyer said his client was “pleased that the District Attorney’s yearslong investigation has concluded without any charges, and that items wrongfully taken by others will be returned to their native countries.” He added that Mr. Steinhardt “has reserved his rights to seek recompense from the dealers involved.”

According to court documents, the golden bowl, purchased by Mr. Steinhadt in 2020 for $150,000, had been looted from Nimrud, Iraq, an area where the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, had sought to raise revenue by trafficking in ancient objects made of gold and other precious metals. The court papers did not link the bowl directly to ISIS, though.

Investigators said Mr. Steinhardt bought the ivory plaque, which depicts a human-headed winged sphinx, in September 2010 for $400,000. They said the plaque dates from the era of King Sargon I of Assyria (721-725 B.C.E.) and may have been looted from Northern Iraq during the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

Last week, the office said it returned to Libya a marble sculpture of a woman’s head that had been bought by Mr. Steinhardt for $1.2 million in 2000.

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

A Tale of Taking Incredible and Mindless Risk

A Tale of Taking Incredible and Mindless Risk

So, Chapter Two of the Jeffrey Epstein saga comes almost to a close. Almost, because we won’t know the final ending until we hear the sentencing, which is likely to be a doozie!

Sure, there will be an appeal and there have been shockers in the past, think R. Kelly in 2008. But this is not likely to be one of those.

So Ghislaine, was it worth it? The ride you had with your buddy Jeff, that is? Did the two of you simply mock the concept of Karma, Cause & Effect, What Goes Around Comes Around, different ways to say the same thing? Did you just buy his line that you were  “Teflon Twins” and they’d never get you. What?

Please tell us, explain so there’s some way to think something good and worthwhile about at least you, cause its sure hard to find in this wreckage!

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward


For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.