Bookstores across the U.S. are reporting heavy demand for The Quiet Don.
Major chains such as BooksAmillion sold out their inventory within two weeks, prompting Penguing to quickly order a second printing. Stores in and around Philadelphia are telling customers to expect a backlog of two weeks while in other cities the wait could be longer. One chain, Barnes & Noble, appears to have supply to meet their demand though some stores are running low on copies. One store in Wilkes Barre has sold over 1,500 copies in just three weeks.
Ten people were selected as winners of the Goodreads.com "The Quiet Don" giveaway from more than 1,000 entries.
Each winner, listed below, will receive a copy of the book. The contest ran from Sept. 23 to Oct. 23.
Linda Johns Fellsmere, Fla
Allison Ross Olive Branch, Ms
Ginny Nilson Milford, Ne
Sabrina Heinz Shorewood, Ill
Barbara Titus Dayton, Pa
Lynn Hobbs Karnack, Tx
David Patterson Hoover, Al
Mark Dodds Salt Lake City, Ut
Olga Cabral Vineland, NJ
Gabriel Peizner Sammamish, Wa
This was published on www.pennlive.com on Oct. 22
Chief Justice Castille still has some explaining
to do: Matt Birkbeck
On Oct. 9, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a rare statement calling into question claims made in my book, The Quiet Don.
Released by Penguin on Oct. 1, the book reported, among other things, that the court intentionally interfered in the prosecution of businessman Louis DeNaples and his priest, Rev. Joseph Sica, for lying to a grand jury about their alleged ties to Mafia leader Russell Bufalino.
The grand jury had been impaneled to determine if DeNaples lied to the state gaming board about his alleged mob ties to obtain a gaming license for his Mount Airy Casino.
The court’s interference, which delayed the prosecution for a year, frustrated law enforcement officials to the point where Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico finally agreed to drop the charges in return for Mr. DeNaples giving up ownership of the casino.
Chief Justice Ronald Castille took issue with that narrative, saying the book contained a “misleading and incomplete portrayal” of the courts actions.
“The book in question provides a well-known account of a northeast Pennsylvania crime syndicate, but also attempts to weave assertions of impropriety on the part of this court that are not remotely supported by facts,” Chief Justice Castille said. “There is no doubt that Mr. Birkbeck failed to fully research and understand the legal process about which he writes. Consequently, his narrative falls so far short of a complete story as to merit comment.”
But Castille did comment further, writing that the court intervened on behalf of DeNaples to address accusations by DeNaples’ attorneys of so-called “grand jury leaks” to the press that covered the prosecution.
“There was nothing extraordinary in the Supreme Court’s actions in agreeing to consider the petition,” wrote Castille. “Staying a lower court’s orders is a normal procedure when the Court considers a petition and the Court has exclusive direct review responsibility over Grand Jury issues.”
What Castille failed to say is that the court rarely ever intervenes in a grand jury investigation. In the DeNaples case, his court intervened not once, but twice. And that intervention had a profound effect on the DeNaples’ prosecution, freezing the investigation for over a year. And for good reason: Mr. Marsico planned to have William D’Elia testify at DeNaples’ preliminary hearing.
As I report in the book, D’Elia assumed the leadership of the Bufalino crime family after Bufalino died in 1994 and had agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors after he was charged in 2006 with conspiring to kill a witness and launder drug money.
D’Elia subsequently testified before the state grand jury investigating DeNaples and he told me later, through his attorney, what he told the grand jury: That he had a 30-year business and personal relationship with Mr. DeNaples.
D’Elia was prepared to testify to that relationship in open court, testimony that would have been devastating to Mr. DeNaples and to his many supporters, which included several state legislators and former Gov. Ed Rendell. (“I happen to know Mr. DeNaples, and know him well,” said Rendell after the charges against DeNaples were dropped).
Perhaps most interesting, Castille’s narrow explanation didn’t in any way refute the thrust of the narrative, which had been culled from interviews with, among others, senior law enforcement officials involved in the DeNaples prosecution: The Supreme Court participated in a conspiracy with Rendell, several state legislators and the state gaming board to get DeNaples’ his gaming license.
Castille ended his letter, which is posted on the courts website, by writing that, “Facts matter and misinterpretation of facts can be damaging to the trust that is necessary to sustain our court system. As the response details, this court’s handling of cases in question was nothing but straight forward.”
I would suggest that the court’s actions in DeNaples case and the entire gaming fiasco was anything but “straight forward,” and that Justice Castille has a lot more explaining to do to earn the trust that he correctly says is necessary to sustain our court system.
Matt Birkbeck is an author and journalist.
Near the end of The Quiet Don I relay a story about my secret meeting with a businessman in 2010. The story details how the meeting was facilitated by another individual, who forwarded the request to meet with me to discuss Bufalino, DeNaples and D'Elia. We had the meeting, I met the businessman (this was the fellow who told me about the "sleepers"), and we spoke a couple of times after that.
This past summer I was invited by Bill Kelly, who recently stepped down as CEO of PBS station WVIA, to appear live on WVIA to discuss the book. Bill and I exchanged several emails in which Bill was eager to have me on as a guest, or so he said, after which I received a subsequent email from a producer there (see below) confirming my Oct. 3 appearance. Following that Sept. 10 email, WVIA (specifically Kelly) received a copy the book, after which i my appearance was cancelled, no reason given.
Going back to that "secret" meeting I had in 2010? It was at WVIA. The person who invited me was then-CEO Bill Kelly. I won't disclose who I met with other than he is someone with ties to the station.
I relayed that story during a radio interview with Corbet on WILK, after which WVIA's current CEO, Tom Curra, went on the air to dispute my account. Listen to my interview with Corbet, then Corbet's interview with Curra, and then read the email below. Also take a look at a recent photo with Kelly pictured with some local people of interest, including Pat Solano and Dominick DeNaples. You can make up your own mind as to what happened with WVIA.
Matt's interview with Corbet:
Tom Curra's interview with Corbet:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kathryn Davies" <KathrynDavies@wvia.org> To: <mbirkbeck@.........net
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:07 PM
Subject: Your Interview on WVIA
Hi Mr. Birkbeck,
> I am the Senior Producer here at WVIA and the one that will be setting up
> your show on October 3rd.
> If you would, please supply me with Jessica's email address. Once I have
> it I will send you both an email requesting your bio and information on
> your book. If possible, I would also like to have a copy of it here at the
> studios so we can take a shot of the front cover, etc. to be used during
> the show.
> My information is below and if you would like our FedEx number to get the
> book here, I can give that to you.
> Thank you, and I am looking forward to meeting you. K
> Kathryn K. Davies, Senior Producer
> 100 WVIA Way
> Pittston PA 18640-6197
> WVIA: 570-602-1150
> Cell: 570-905-4984
> Fax: 570-655-1180
> Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille issued a statement on Oct. 9 attempting to explain the court's involvement in the Louis DeNaples prosecution as described in The Quiet Don.
The release doesn't dispute the allegations in the book that the court conspired with former Gov. Rendell and others to get Mr. DeNaples a gaming license, instead it's posted as an attempt to...I'm not really sure. But here it is in case you missed it. (click on headline)
Chief justice clarifies incomplete and misleading account of Supreme Court actions in book The Quiet Don
Matt Birkbeck's Blogspot