Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle

The friend of a conqueror is but the last victim…”

 Isaac Asimov, Foundation and Empire

During the 70s and 80s, Providence experienced the demise of one empire and the rise of a new one. They both bore the outward veneer of honor and respectability. One criminal at its core, the other did a better job of concealing its genuine nature.

In 1970, perhaps the most powerful man in Rhode Island, with influence extending far beyond the borders of the state and even New England, was Raymond L.S. Patriarca. Respected within Organized Crime by more than just those who worked for him, many considered him a man of honor in an organization with a warped sense of the concept.

But he made no bones about what he was. He ran the family with a ruthless intensity masked by neighborhood generosity and concern for his domain, Federal Hill. All knew him as “the old man,” with a smile and a wave for most and a disdainful look for the cops and prosecutors who targeted him and his organization.

But like all things, after attaining the height of control within the organization, he began the inevitable decline until his death in 1984.

While the Patriarca legacy was reaching its zenith, an unknown phenomenon entered the scene. An up-and-coming lawyer—with a penchant for flair, a quick wit, and an uncontainable ego—began his own rise to prominence in Providence.

A man who, in that unique Rhode Island way, as an assistant Attorney General, once prosecuted Raymond Patriarca.

His ability to draw people to him, to gain their loyalty, brought him from the small city of Providence to the national stage of the Republican National convention where Gerald Ford considered him for the position of his Vice-President running mate.

Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci began his rise to legendary status as a prosecutor, then turned his sights on politics. As the “old man” faded, “Buddy” began his rise.

The smallest state in the union offers every Rhode Islander unique access to the inner workings of the state. Almost to a person, the people of Rhode Island knew who “Raymond” and “Buddy” were with no need for a last name.

Many, if not most, had a story of encountering one or both men. Yet few people penetrated the inner circle of both empires.

Except for one man.

Pat Cortellessa—businessman, club-owner, entrepreneur, politician — is one of the few who rubbed shoulders with the wiseguys in joint businesses, worked alongside Buddy for mutual benefit until Buddy decided Pat was no longer useful, opposed Buddy in runs for the office of Mayor, and lived to tell the story.

Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle is the story few have ever heard, taking you inside the backroom deals, shady operations, and blood politics that was the Patriarca and Cianci eras.

Pre-order coming soon. Look for more announcements on sales, books signings, and media appearances.


JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

At War Against the Mob

It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories

Order your copy in today! Available in print or Kindle version

In this remarkable new book, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

“Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow’s new book “ It’s Just the Way It Was ” is a gripping, in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order, decided with the barrel of a gun, will never be told better… “
Joe Pantoliano
Ralphie Cifaretto from 
The Soprano’s. 

“It’s Just the Way it Was tells the inspiring story of a principled young man who resisted the pressure of delinquency, played a crucial role in dismantling the Rhode Island mob, and rose to lead one of the finest state police organizations in the country.”

Col. Rick Fuentes, ret.
NJ State Police
(Served as Superintendent of NJSP for 16 years)

Book signings:
October 11th   Barrington Books Retold, Cranston, RI  6:00 p.m.

October 17th   MCTs Tavern, Cumberland, RI 5:00 p.m.

October 19th   Brewed Awakenings, 60 South County Commons, Wakefield, RI 10:00 a.m.

It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob

Here is why you should buy this book…

“Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow’s new book “ It’s just the way it was “ a gripping in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order were decided with the barrel of a gun,  will never be told better… “

Joe Pantoliano

(Ralphie Cifaretto in The Sopranos)

Here’s where…

Excerpt: UnMade Honor Loyalty Redemption

In the 1970s, Olneyville was a desolate neighborhood of rundown, multiple family homes and small manufacturing shops, which sat in a valley across an overpass that ran above the Route Ten connector to I-95.

It was a short walk from the Italian, Federal Hill section of Providence. No emblems on street signs showing demarcation points, nothing separated one neighborhood from the other, yet it needed none. The intersection of Atwells and Harris Avenue was the boundary. Along Atwells, up on the Hill, sat cafes, restaurants, salumerias, social clubs, laundromats, pastry and veal shops, live poultry markets. All part of the fiefdom, the unofficial headquarters of one of the most feared of all Mafia Don’s, Raymond L. S. Patriarca.

When gang-banging, street criminals thought about edging out of their Olneyville neighborhood, and moving toward the Hill, the thought was a fleeting one. Patriarca deplored all street crime, unless, of course, he ordered it. Bad for business, it brought unwanted attention from the police. Olneyville gangsters stayed in Olneyville; it was safer.

One day, a blond-headed, blue-eyed scary guy, who scared very scary guys, crossed that bridge. Back then, Bobby Walason understood it would be suicidal to challenge the supreme power, it was far more sensible to join it.
This story casts a light onto the ebb and flow of a dark side of American society, a look at the forces that play havoc with lives that go adrift on the streets of all our cities.

As a child, Bobby held out against cruelty no boy should ever endure. Thrown from his own house at the age of twelve, he lived in a cardboard box and survived. Though the word survived is a stretch.

As an adolescent, there were turnstiles of reform schools, escapes, and then, even though he was underage, the adult correctional institution, known as the ACI. A prison for adult criminals where he was misdiagnosed, beaten by guards, and fought extraordinary battles holding his own against overwhelming numbers. Finally, they wrapped him in canvas and chains and shot him full of Thorazine—a drug he was allergic to.

As a young adult, there was little thought of a future, he lived hour to hour. Adrift in a world where no one would notice if he lived or died, he found a harbor of refuge in an even darker place.

A career path tailor-made for Bobby Walason as custom fitting as the expensive clothes he would soon come to wear. He became an enforcer in a Mafia crew. A manic-depressive Bipolar Type I enforcer for the mob.

A very scary guy who scared very scary guys.

Pre-order today Click Here

Choices: You Make ’em You Own ’em

A story forty years in the making is about to be told. Writing this book with Jerry Tillinghast was an unexpected journey into the murky myth of organized crime. It is a story that will anger some, sadden others, but enlighten most about a long-held misconception of  La Cosa Nostra, “this thing of ours.”

CHOICES_3D_1080-150Click here to order your copy today.

From the back cover:

In a remarkably personal and intimate story, Jerry Tillinghast talks about his life and the choices he made.
Battling alongside his brothers on the streets of Providence. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, fighting in Vietnam, and becoming a victim of the politics of that war. Returning to Providence as an angry young man and his choice to hang with the wise guys.
The cost of his reputation as a “feared mob enforcer” and the effect on his family. Meeting Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the notorious head of New England Organized Crime family, and how he came to embrace him as a father figure.
He reveals the inside story of the two of the most infamous cases in Rhode Island history; BondedVault and the George Basmajian Homicide.
Jerry was found not guilty after the Bonded Vault trial, but his luck ran out with the Basmajian murder. Convicted with Jerry was his brother, Harold Tillinghast. Since the moment of their arrest, Jerry has said just one thing.
Harold wasn’t in the car.
Jerry Tillinghast, a featured character on the Crimetown podcast, one of the most downloaded podcasts in the world, tells his life story with honesty and emotion. Setting the record straight after forty years of silence.
Silent no more…

Excerpt from Choices: You Make ’em You Own ’em

Release Date: November 1, 2018.

The wait is almost over. The long-anticipated story, told by Jerry Tillinghast about his life, choices, and living with the consequences of those decisions, is soon to be released. Jerry reveals the truth behind the myth of organized crime and the highs and lows of the life as only someone who lived it can.

CHOICES_3D_1080-150An excerpt from the opening pages;

The stolen car made its way along the side streets of Cranston, Rhode Island onto Interstate 95 south. Cloudy and drizzly, the winds of November cast a pall over the night. Three men, two in the front seat one in the back, came together for a single purpose that evening.

One knew it was a deadly deception.

As the car sped up, other vehicles followed behind. Three undercover police units, two driven by detectives from the Rhode Island State Police and one by an FBI agent.

The stolen car took the Airport Connector exit in Warwick towards T.F. Green Airport. The police surveillance team followed behind. As the stolen car negotiated the corner, the cops lost sight of the car. The snow fence along the roadside momentarily blocked the view. Different today than it was in 1978, the curving off-ramp put cars right onto Post Road. The police regained sight of the of the vehicle as it waited at the red light.

Just two men, both in the front seat, were now visible in the car. Uncertain if the third man had been dropped off, and concerned they may have been spotted, the police watched the vehicle turn onto Post Road and then down a side street into an industrial area. They backed off and waited.

After several minutes, the cops moved into the area to locate the car.

It didn’t take long.

Two investigators approached the car, noticing the windows were steaming up. As they peered inside, they saw George Basmajian, the primary object of their surveillance, lying on the back seat, dead or dying from bullet wounds to the head and chest. The medical examiner would later count nine bullet wounds, several of which were likely fatal.

Nine shots were a guarantee of fatality.

No one else was around the area. The other men vanished into the night. The cops knew who they needed to look for and headed out to find them.

And this is where the story diverges. But to understand the differences and perspective, we must return to the beginning. To go back to the routes of involvement of those connected to this case through their early choices and associations with organized crime…

Order the ebook for Kindle today before the price goes up on release date. Click to order here and sign up here for notifications of book signings and the book release party.



Choices: You Make’em You Own ’em

Choices: You Make’em You Own ’em

The Jerry Tillinghast Story


Now available at the pre-release price of $2.99 for Kindle, the long-awaited story of Jerry Tillinghast as only he could tell it. Click here for the Amazon link. Order it before the price jumps on release date and stay tuned for more formats and deals as they become available. Sign up for my email list and win one of five signed first edition print copies and the ebook version. Click here for the signup form.

CHOICES_Cover_Jerry_Tillinghast_Story-2018.07.27 (002)

Jerry Tillinghast talks about his life and the choices he made.
Battling alongside his brothers on the streets of Providence.
Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, fighting in Vietnam, and becoming a victim of the politics of that war.
His return to Providence an angry young man and his choice to hang with the wiseguys.
His reputation as a “feared mob enforcer” and the effect on his family.
Meeting Raymond L.S. Patriarca and how he came to embrace him as a father figure.
His brushes with the law and the two most infamous cases he is
forever linked to;



Bonded Vault and the George Basmajian Homicide

Silent no more…

Check out my website for my other books and exciting news on book signings and upcoming appearances.



Crimetown: Villains with (Questionable) Virtues

The series, Crimetown (https://gimletmedia.com/crimetown/), is a well-made production telling the story of organized crime and its effect on Rhode Island. While much of the story centers on Providence, the series illustrates the state and national implications of organized crime.

The producers, Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier, did a masterful job of telling the story.

My issue with the series is with what followed.

Post-production images on social media of former investigators sipping cocktails with aging mobsters give the impression these were former opponents in the Super Bowl. Not opposing forces engaged in a fight against criminality.

These investigations of organized crime carried much higher implications to society. Law enforcement had its successes, but largely fought a battle it could not win.

The show, to some extent, perpetuated the many myths of the mob.

PatriarcaThat “old school” mobsters didn’t deal drugs. That the streets of Federal Hill were safer when the mob ruled the neighborhoods.

All myths and fallacies whitewashing the truth.

If the mob could make money off cancer, it would.

If the mob didn’t deal drugs, they extracted a street tax from those who did.  But the truth is it did more.

All one must do is read the story of The French Connection to see the mob’s early involvement in heroin. The latest revelations out of the Whitey Bulger case adds to the growing evidence of mob involvement in drugs.

The negative effect on society continues to this day, despite the ravages of time on ‘La Cosa Nostra.’ In Rhode Island, the legend of Patriarca lives on. The “I know a guy” wink and nod of doing business.

The once multi-tentacle reach of the mob into state government, the judiciary, and law enforcement may have faded, but the damage to confidence in government remains.

A former Major on the Rhode Island State Police, Lionel Benjamin, once compared the respect people had for (RISP) Colonel Walter Stone to the respect shown Raymond L.S. Patriarca by his men.

Really? That’s a standard we embrace in Rhode Island? This underscores my point.

To this day, if one mentions the name, Raymond, almost everyone in Rhode Island would know who that was. Not the same for Walter, which should make one wonder about such things.

Time has changed the mob. The ravages of age, nepotism, and cultural blending took their toll. They are a more nostalgic memory of “better” days than a powerful force. The state figured out a way to control gambling with the lottery and death, rather than indictments, silenced the once powerful men who ruled the Patriarca family.

Which brings me back to the point.

All those resources we sent after the mob, all those bookie wiretaps draining the lifeblood of organized crime, all those RICO indictments in Rhode Island and what do we have to show for it?

Images of once feared, amoral, and brutal men sipping cocktails with retired cops once tasked with arresting them. Talking about the old days like it was a football game.

It gives me pause.

Crimetown did a service by telling the story of what happened. Let’s make sure we don’t forget the ugly truth by continuing to embrace the myth of the mob. I’m willing to bet Raymond wouldn’t have had a Facebook page. He’d know better than to give people a peek into his reality.