Monday, August 26, 2013

Here Is How A Pair of Politicos From Tuscaloosa Have Ties To Gambino and Genovese Crime Families

The late Mafia kingpin
John Gotti, of the
Gambino family
The Alabama political scene seems an unlikely place for the names of two famed Mafia families to surface. Anyone who has seen The Godfather, Goodfellas, or other Mob movies is likely to associate the Gambino and Genovese crime families with New York City. But we have seen recent signs that organized crime can reach into the Heart of Dixie.

Certain urban areas in the Deep South, especially Atlanta and Miami, are known to host crime-family operations. But a possible Mafia influence in the relatively sedate college town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama? Most Americans probably would not expect to see that. But two political figures--both conservatives, with deep roots in The Machine culture surrounding the University of Alabama--have a business relationship with a man who, according to law-enforcement officials, has ties to the Mob.

Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison and her former husband, Tuscaloosa city councilman Lee Garrison, are partners with a man named Erik Davis Harp in a real-estate venture called Margaritaville, LLC.  The company was formed in 2004, with a registered office address of 1201 Greensboro, Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. 

Harp's business pursuits, however, appear to go well beyond real estate. He was one of 30 people indicted in October 2009 in connection with what one press outlet called "a gambling ring with ties to organized crime." Harp was 36 years old at the time of the indictment, and his address was listed as Las Vegas, Nevada. But his roots are in Tuscaloosa, and he apparently met the Garrisons while all three attended the University of Alabama.

Should the public be concerned about this? Well, the Garrisons are significant political players in our state. Jessica Garrison served as campaign manager for Luther Strange's successful 2010 campaign for attorney general and now works for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and the Balch Bingham law firm. Lee Garrison has served on the Tuscaloosa City Council since 1997 and currently is running for chair of the Tuscaloosa City School Board, with that spot to be determined in municipal elections tomorrow.

For good measure, the Garrisons are no strangers to controversy. Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange have engaged in a long-running extramarital affair, and she recently hired attorney Bill Baxley to threaten me with a lawsuit for reporting on the matter. Meanwhile, a photograph surfaced last week of Lee Garrison wearing a "penis nose" costume at a Halloween party in 2003.  

What does all of this say about the Garrison's judgment? Perhaps that question is best left to voters and the general public. But the Garrisons' ties to Erik Davis Harp might be hard to sweep away.

After all, it's not as if Harp was indicted in a small-time gambling operation; law-enforcement officials say the international sports-betting ring, with servers in Panama, generated more than $20 million a month. Also, Harp was not a peripheral figure; authorities say he and a Farmington, New York, man named Joseph J. Fafone oversaw the entire operation.

A 38-month investigation, called Operation Betting It All, produced evidence that Harp has connections to hard-core criminals. From a press release, quoting Queens, New York, district attorney Richard A. Brown:

“The defendants are accused of operating an incredibly lucrative gambling operation – taking in more than $20 million a month, on average. Such unlawfully earned profits are often – and easily – diverted to more insidious criminal enterprises. In fact, the investigation uncovered evidence that the enterprise had links to both the Gambino and Genovese crime families.”

A report at identifies  Fafone as an associate of the Gambino family and describes him delivering more than a half million dollars in winnings to one gambler. Fafone's No. 1 associate in the enterprise, it appears, was Erik Davis Harp . . . originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama:

Some of the suspects allegedly belonged to the Gambino crime family, including Joseph Fafone, seen above, who was arrested yesterday at an airport in Rochester, N.Y. while boarding a plane to Panama with $23,000 in cash on his person.
The alleged gambling ring made about $23 million a month on websites including, and While the ring was run in the city, the websites' computer servers were based in Panama.
After conducting more than two years of investigation, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that all but three of the suspects were arrested.
"The principal in this case, Gambino associate Joseph J. Fafone, personally delivered $553,000 in winnings to one of the gamblers," said Kelly. "Most proceeds were seized soon thereafter [in Long Island] when the [gambler] was stopped by the police for driving while using a cell phone."

How much dirty money was circulating through the betting ring? The New York Times helps provide the answer:

Thirty people and a corporation were indicted in Queens in connection with an offshore sports betting operation with links to organized crime that took in a “staggering” half-billion dollars in wagers, New York authorities said on Wednesday.

One can easily understand why authorities described the money involved as "staggering."

That the whole sordid enterprise has roundabout connections to Tuscaloosa--and Jessica and Lee Garrison--might also be considered "staggering."


Anonymous said...

This is sweet. Luther Strange's campaign manager has ties to the Mafia? Gotta love it!

Anonymous said...

This headline made my day, my week, my month . . .

Anonymous said...

Still can't believe this sports-betting ring was generating $20 million a month. That boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

This will cause Bill Baxley serious displeasure, maybe even indigestion.

Anonymous said...

Here is a campaign slogan for Lee Garrison:

"If you don't vote for Lee as school board chair, we will make you an offer you can't refuse."

Anonymous said...

"Judges are but men, and are swayed by vehement prejudices. This is called corruption in reality, give it whatever other name you please."
David Dudley Field.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing now that Jimmy Hoffa's body is buried in parking lot at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Anonymous said...

If you connect the dots on this, I'm pretty sure they will lead to Paul Bryant Jr.

Anonymous said...

Another campaign slogan for Lee Garrison:

"You vote-a for Lee or we break-a your legs."

legalschnauzer said...

Interesting that you mention Bryant Jr., @12:50. Before going off to work briefly for Luther Strange, Jessica Garrison worked at Phelps Fowler, Bryant's law firm of choice in T-town.

Anonymous said...

When Electronic Bingo is God of Alabama, er, the Southerners now go to the church of B-I-N-G-O secret meet up to pray for free riches, then the time has arrived for a new way to feed and raise our families.

The Central Banks have taken over the western world and want to take over all the eastern globe too.

Southern USA is doomed as long as the 'money' has a root in the Central Bank and / or the shadow steal all the poor people's superstition through the sickening gambling 'politically correct' BINGO. Good grief, as though our real chance at 'life' can be bought and sold in the slum of electronic digital transference of wealth.

Legal Schnauzer, great reporting like you do makes me really wake up to the vomit about to drown US in our own.

thanks, i think

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Nick Saban is "the Godfather of Tuscaloosa"?

Anonymous said...

Is this what they mean by the "Dixie Mafia"?

Anonymous said...

I hear La Cosa Nostra means "Crimson Tide" in Sicilian.

Anonymous said...

Michael Corleone Hubbard . . . Luther "Luca Brasi" Strange . . .Rob "Fredo" Riley . . .the Mob of Alabama

Anonymous said...

What did Erik Davis Harp do for a living before he went into business with the Garrisons and became a bookie in a massive illegal gambling ring?

legalschnauzer said...

You ask an important question, @1:15. Erik Davis Harp either is 40 years old or getting real close to it. He should have a fairly substantial employment history behind him.

Anonymous said...

Another campaign slogan for Lee Garrison:

"Vote for Lee, or you will wake up one day with a horse head in your bed."

Anonymous said...

Isn't a member of the Gambino family a lawyer in Alabama?

legalschnauzer said...

Lucas B. Gambino is a lawyer at Maynard Cooper & Gale. Is he connected to THE Gambino family? If so, that might cause the plot to thicken. Here is Mr. Gambino's bio from MCG Web site:

Anonymous said...

Looks like Lucas Gambino went to University of Alabama law school. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

. . .at the same time as Jessica Medeiros Garrison and Lee Garrison . . .

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, he graduated from UA law school in '99, which would have put him there at same time as Garrisons. Curious that his undergrad degree is from UAB ('95). Also curious that Mr. Gambino practices in real-estate law, given the nature of Margaritaville, LLC.

Anonymous said...

Big questions--does Lucas Gambino know Erik Davis Harp?

Anonymous said...

From somewhere...
"During the 1940s and '50s, Phenix City, located in Alabama just across the state ... Columbus, Georgia, was considered to be "the most corrupt city in America."

Now (60 or so years later) does that honor go to Tuscaloosa or Montgomery or...?

Phenix City

legalschnauzer said...


Was that the real Mob that infiltrated Phenix City? I've heard that it was, but I need to bone up on my AL history.

Anonymous said...

Phenix City? I grew up there. Under marshall law, after Albert Patterson murdered in alley next to Elite Café, staggered as far back to sidewalk before falling and died; blood stained sidewalk for several days. Later would become named All American City after cleaning up government and locking up or running out of state corruptors and crooks. It was the soldiers from Ft. Benning who were mostly taken the worst advantage of, who knows how many went from backroom gambling out backdoor porch overlook into Chattahoochee River. Of course Ma Beachers didn't have any slot machines to destroy and burn by the Nat'l Guard, her business was love. Arch Farrell, Si Garrett, Albert Fuller, and so on were often associated with Patterson's murder.
Phenix City was a heavy handed locally controlled syndicate. Patterson having been elected Attorney General became Phenix City's crooks worst nightmare. During all the investigations and trials there never was any mob related prosecutions.
For more detailed understanding go to your library and check out book "Tragedy and Triumph, the Phenix City Story"

Anonymous said...

It is said that for the size Dothan is, the reason there are so unusually many banks almost on every corner is there was a need for more space for the money laundering. Dothan has a lot of monies invested in Montgomery politics, just ask [R] State Senator Harri Ann Smith. She was a defendant in the Gilley trial. If the factual truths having been cloaked from tax payers ever made public would cause probably such a hue and cry that would equal that of John Patterson calling the Governor on the night his father was murdered and letting him hear the outpouring demanding action.

Anonymous said...

New Orleans - where Luther Strange matriculated in college and law school and where his wife's grandfather ran the allegedly mob-affiliated Whitney Bank for 43 years as President or Chairman of the Board (Melissa Strange is heiress to a huge fortune- perhaps ill - gotten in part) - was the home of Whitney Bank customer Carlos Marcello, head of New Orleans Mafia and a noted ally . . .of the Gambino crime family of New York. Their chief illegal business? Gambling.

legalschnauzer said...

Your comment is filled with intriguing information, @8:38. Thanks for sharing. For what it's worth, U.S. Judge Bill Pryor also has powerful ties to Louisiana. He got his undergrad degree at Northeast Louisiana University (now U of Louisiana Monroe) and went to law school at Tulane. Pryor, as attorney general of Alabama, started an investigation of Don Siegelman that turned into a federal matter. As AG, Pryor ordered that ballots from the 2002 governor's be sealed and not recounted, ensuring that Bob Riley would "beat" Siegelman when votes for the incumbent disappeared overnight. And on the 11th Circuit, Pryor has been part of a court that time and again has ruled contrary to controlling law in upholding the convictions against Siegelman and Richard Scrushy. From Jeff Sessions to Bill Pryor to Luther Strange, the Alabama AG's office has been a cesspool for years. Those three actually make Troy King look good.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone investigated Bill Canary's possible ties to the Mob? He came South from New York--Long Island, I believe--and worked with American Trucking Association before becoming head of Business Council of Alabama. The mob's ties to trucking industry are well established . . .

Anonymous said...

Phenix City history, wild west worse than the wild west was.

Got to use the soldiers for the capital to build the sin city.


.. The City of Girard - 1890 - Sometime prior to 1820, Girard was established as a trading post in the Creek Indian Territory of Alabama on the West bank of the Chattahoochee River opposite a white settlement which later named Columbus, Georgia. The North boundary of Girard being the North boundary of Russell County, is presently known as Fifteenth Street North. The Capital of the Creek Nation at this time was situated about eight miles South of Girard in Alabama and was called Coweta ...

.. The City was named for a young Philadelphia Philanthropist and slave dealer, Stephen Girard, who early acquired much of the land in this area.

General Patton wanted to 'raze' Phenix City, for the soldiers that were nothing but a useful commodity to get the money spent on drink, women, gambling, into the growing of corruption that made many a 'man' rich immediately - no working in any mill or other dirt wage job for 25 years or more.

FAST 'MONEY' that was no more money then than it is now!

.. The City of Phenix City has been governed at various times by a Board of Aldermen and a five-man and a three-man Board of Commissioners. Dr. Ashby Floyd was appointed Mayor with Homer D. Cobb, Sr., Isaac I. Moses, Clyde M. Knowles, Sr. and Claude B. Gullatt, Sr., serving as commissioners immediately after the consolidation. The five-man Board of Commissioners was decreed unconstitutional, and a Board of Aldermen governed the city from December 1923 until September 1928.


Note the name, ISAAC I. MOSES, one of the original families of the Federal Reserve System [Fed] and to this very day the MOB, er, the Fed's Global Pedophile Cult owns the 'money' that gets sold to the Americans with usury interest never able to be repaid - the MOB?

Organized Crime?

The old families of Europe that own the organized crime of selling 'money' that isn't other than whatever these 'Commissioners' decide and presto there are towns just like what happened in China at the same exact time table of NATIVE AMERICAN GENOCIDE.

The agenda now was also the agenda then, the so called 'lenders' of money enslave the uninformed and the too beaten down as slaves for centuries to 'understand' true power is knowledge: corruption by the gambling, drugging whether by way of drink or other, and of course the worst most base of human nature is 'cultivated' for the obvious.

Crime pays in USA Ghetto Hell.

We need to get educated about the 'money' that was exactly the same agenda way back then, too.

Great work LS, thanks for getting the South to look at the South.

Unknown said...


I'd say the middle of the road, you're not left or right, you're proof when the USA is middle of the road then the balance is the entrepreneur gets to continue proving genius can always take the leadership role.

It is natural.

The problem in the USA, is, however, the chickens have indeed come home to roost.

Entrepreneurial has to get that there has to be a 'reckoning'.

Example is, at NAKED CAPITALISM there is also reporting about how what happens in the south is the long model over years of perfecting the fraud of 'money'.

Humans have been made brain dead, after a fashion, and it is money worshiped as though a more powerful commodity than imagination.

... The combination of new market rules and new technology was turning the stock market into, in effect, a war of robots. The robots were absurdly fast: they could execute tens of thousands of stock-market transactions in the time it took a human trader to blink his eye. The games they played were often complicated, but one aspect of them was simple and clear: the faster the robot, the more likely it was to make money at the expense of the relative sloth of others in the market.


In the place where the beauty of nature was staggering, a ghetto town was set-up by old money from 'Europe', Rothschilds, Lazards, Kuhns-Loebs, Israel-Moses-Seifs, Warburgs, Lehmans, Goldmans, Rockefellers, AGENTS for the USA court system retirement of gambling global is GOLDMAN SACHS, and this is how organized crime gets to be the GOD of 'Earth'.

Gambling BINGO and whatever 'money' can buy to make 'life' feel there is purpose.

LS you lost a comfortable position at the place where education is supposedly top level and Mrs. LS lost a position of employment that was also comfortable.

GS is considered top employer certainly in the USA system of courts because GS manages the employees' retirement of 'Government' and thus, why called 'Government Sachs'.

Perhaps Mrs. and You can get a PR blog going for GS and the gang that own the Fed, because IT as the global organized crime mafia of pedophiles is our real problem and was the problem of the "Indians'" still to this day, too.

The institutionalized fraud has gotten to the point of so utterly outrageous that critical mass can't handle the explosion.

Coweta was about water, and how this element has to be where humans gather.

The families that destroyed Europe, as the Indians such as Hiawatha said, came to America to get fresh water again since the 'Anglo-Saxon' can only figure out it seems, how to destroy 'life' by pretending to 'invest' in the elements of our earth.

Congratulations on your recognition as a stellar information portal in our now and seeing the future's potential via the brutal honesty of our 'past'.

Hollywood can't compete with the Legal Schnauzer, no the Schnauz nose is perfect balance in the middle of real and then some.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Tying together Phenix City and the present story, I believe Leura Canary is related to Si Garrett.

Anonymous said...

Alabama's most notorious Attorney General

Yep, he was her uncle Si, time Magazine 2007.

Patterson, at his age, w/walking handicap from WWI injury didn't want to run for Attorney General, but after going to see uncle SI, and him never acting, things getting worst ran....... Arch Fuller went to prison for killing him; along w/Arch Farrell, others