Meet the Godfellas.
In previous incarnations, mob rats Joe Campanella and William Cutolo Jr. were entrenched in the Colombo crime family.
Now they want deliverance from evil – as “ministers” in a flock of mob misfits known as Goodfellas4God.
“There are people who want to get out of that life and they talk to me,” said ministry founder Glenn Hovater, a former pest control inspector who runs the operation from donated offices in Painesville, Ohio.
Hovater started the group two years ago; most members are ex-wiseguys from Cleveland and Pennsylvania.
A retired NYPD detective introduced him to Campanella; he and Cutolo Jr. are the only New Yorkers.
Hovater will send Campanella, a former made man, and Cutolo Jr., son of underboss Wild Bill Cutolo, on speaking tours to rail against “the life.”
Neither Mafia rat is in the witness protection program, so special security arrangements will be made to ensure their safety.
Campanella helped convict Colombo boss Alphonse Persico and underboss John DeRoss of ordering Wild Bill’s murder in 2001.
Cutolo Jr., 37, is a marked man for wearing a wire to gather damning evidence against DeRoss after his father vanished. The senior Cutolo, whose remains were found last year in an industrial park on Long Island, came home from prison in 1995 a devout Catholic, his son said.
“It took 10 years to find him and I must say I lost my faith at times,” Cutolo Jr. wrote on the Goodfellas4God Web site. “When they confirmed indeed it was my dad, I found my faith again. Still asking why, but I now realize it is not our job to ask WHY. It’s the Lord’s work. He brought my father home to me.
“When my friend Joe (Campy) Campanella told me about this ministry and minister Glenn, right away I thought of my dad. How proud he would be of me for joining this ministry. I would rather preach goodness than to teach someone how to do something bad.”
Campanella, 50, seems to be having some misgivings about the God thing.
In a message to the Daily News, he said: “As far as the Goodfellas4God and being part of the ministry and all that other B.S., right now, there’s nothing written in stone.”
Still, Campanella is listed as head of the “Out of the Life Ministries” on Hovater’s Web site.
The site asks visitors: “Have you committed adultery, fornicated, lied, stole, lusted etc.? Click here to ‘Get Connected’ and wash away all the sins you have ever committed.”
The New Yorkers easily qualify.
Campanella did a three-year prison stint for racketeering. As a Colombo soldier, he took part in shootings, beatdowns, extortion and an affair with a woman whose father-in-law was a made man in the Gambino family.
Cutolo Jr. was sentenced in 2006 to four years’ probation for extortion, which got him kicked out of witness protection.
DeRoss’ lawyer claimed Cutolo’s newfound faith is a scam. “Cutolo’s son has chosen the ministry for one reason only, to scam unsuspecting members of his new flock as he victimized innocent people when he was a member of organized crime,” lawyer Robert LaRusso said.
Hovater – who grew up around wiseguys in Cleveland – is convinced his newest evangelists aren’t acting.
“I believe in my heart they’re really sincere,” he said. “Maybe other people don’t, but I do.”
“Joey has no money and Cutolo ain’t got no money either,” he said. “I told them there’s no money in this.”
Category: Colombo Family