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Niagara Falls Council Member Selling Controversial Mob Merchandise

3:03 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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NIAGARA FALLS, NY - The store is called Falls Street Emporium in downtown Niagara Falls.

It's leased and operated by Sam Fruscione, a city council member, who also says he operates the property with this brother.

Inside is merchandise of Stefan Magaddino - a deceased Buffalo mafia boss. The merchandise, which includes T-shirts and DVDs of Magaddino are up for sale. There's also a very prominent drawing of Magaddino that's not for sale.

According to the website: Buffalo Police Then and Now, Magaddino was involved in extortion, hijacking and drug trafficking.

He was powerful from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Some groups representing the Italian-American community are opposed to Fruscione selling the items, such as the Federation of Italian-American Societies of Western New York and the Cristoforo Colombo Society.

They say that although Magaddino was respected, he did some very bad things.

"No one should be proud of it. Nobody should be capitalizing on it, I don't agree with it and I'm speaking on behalf of our members," said Ernie Lucantonio, president of the Cristoforo Colombo Society.

Fruscione wasn't available for an on camera interview Monday, because he says he was in the Adirondacks on vacation. But, 2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval spoke to him by phone.

Fruscione was angry that 2 On Your Side was trying to get answers about the merchandise and said "you are wasting my time."

He says that people should make up their own minds about whether to buy the items.

Fruscione also said that the items represent the good work of law enforcement taking down the crime boss.

But, Lucantonio says he doesn't think showing Magaddino's face does any good, no matter how it's displayed.

"It's done, it's over. Why, do something like that? We want to move forward, we have plenty of Italian-Americans in this city proud," said Lucantonio.

Fruscione says he doesn't make much money off the items and that they're not that expensive. For example, the shirts cost about $5. Fruscione says he's also sold mob merchandise through street vendors.

We questioned Mayor Paul Dyster about whether the city has any role on the issue, because Fruscione is a city employee.

"Usually, when there's a situation like this, usually [the organizations] take a position and I would probably leave it up to them to make their views known on this," said Dyster.

According to Lucantonio, Fruscione is part of the Cristoforo Colombo Society.

Lucantonio says he's "disgusted with [the merchandise], that's not something we want to portray."

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