Saying Tony “Nap” Napoli has had an interesting life is like saying water is sometimes wet.
In his autobiography “My Father, My Don” co-written by Charles Messina, Tony Nap opens the book with a lurid tale starting with, “It was a cold November afternoon, in 1993 when, in a feverish burst of fury, I pulled the young punks pants down to his ankles and cut his testicles off with a switchblade that he had stupidly pulled on me.”
The young punk he disfigured had tried to molest Tony Nap’s daughter in her high school in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. But this incident became a watershed in Tony Nap’s life, because he knew his rage had been fueled by severe alcohol abuse that had consumed his entire life up to that point. It also was the beginning of the end of his alcoholism. At his trial, he was “not Napoli guilty” on five counts and found “guilty” of a single count of misdemeanor assault. This was as a result of a shrewd defense by his lawyer Barry Slotnik, who had convinced the jury Tony Nap was an service veteran who had been “damaged psychologically from the stress and agony of combat training.”
Tony Nap was sentenced to 39 months in a VA hospital for psychiatric treatment and alcohol detox. Tony Nap said, ” It was just what I needed and a long time coming. I would enter that hospital a free man. I would leave a new man.”
Tony Nap was the son of Jimmy “Nap” Napoli a legendary Mafia boss, who was the mob’s main conduit to the cash cow of Las Vegas. Jimmy Nap went so far back in the mob he associated with the legendary Frankie Yale from Brooklyn and even Al “Scarface” Capone. Jimmy Nap’s base of operations was a social club in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and also at a table in the legendary Crisci’s Restaurant, which Jimmy Nap frequented almost every day.
Try as he could, Jimmy Nap could never control his wild and alcohol-fueled son Tony, and Tony went from one predicament to another, culminating in his assault of a Police Captain, who had tried to shake down Tony’s nightclub in Union City, New Jersey. Tony Nap was facing big time in prison and although his father had huge connections, he feared his son would do serious time in jail.
Jimmy Nap banished Tony Nap from New York, telling him, “All I want you to do is get on the next bus out of New York. Go somewhere. Anywhere. Far Away. And don’t come back until I tell you too. Don’t call. Don’t send no letters. Just go away. Disappear. When the time is right, you’ll hear from me.”
The next thing Tony Nap knew, he was holed up in the dirt-road town of Tucumcari, New Mexico, Population 3500, light years away from the bright lights of New York City. He worked as a boxer for a Carnival, bartender and any other job where he could make a buck. He spent time in prison there for beating up three men who had raped a girlfriend of his, and for unwittingly being involved in a gas station robbery with two local hicks who had less teeth than brains and they didn’t have much of either.
He spent three long years in New Mexico, before he disobeyed his father and called home. His Aunt Rae answered the phone and told him in his absence, his beloved mother had passed away and that his father had been looking for him to tell him the news, but could not locate him.
Tony Nap returned home to find his father now married to a woman 27 years younger than his father. This did not sit well with Tony Nap. But what could he do? His father was his father, but he was also his boss – his Don.