"Sangu sciura sangu. Blood cries for blood. This has been the downfall of our tradition in Sicily. An endless spiral of vendettas has left our friends their less powerful than any time in a century. Yet here in America we are flourishing as never before. There is enough money, enough power, for everyone."
―Vincent Forlenza[src]

Vincent "The Jew" Forlenza was the Don of the Forlenza syndicate in Cleveland and the oldest member of the original Commission.


A Sicilian immigrant, Forlenza moved to America sometime before the 1920s. The Forlenza family was made up almost of all family members, Jews, city patrons and politicians, which was how he managed to stay under the Fed's radar. His organization was the most powerful of strictly gambling in the United States. Forlenza immigrated to America from Sicily in the early 1900s, and later made his rep running the gambling rackets for big players. He was a friend of Emilio Barzini and assisted him during the Olive Oil War between Vito Corleone and Barzini's boss, Giuseppe Mariposa.

The Jewish mob

Vincent Forlenza was, by the late 1940s, a force to be reckoned with. At around this time he employed Fausto Geraci and became godfather to his only son, Nick Geraci.[1] He was quietly expanding his empire without challenge. During the Five Families War, he was known for his connections with the Barzini family, yet he did not act for any particular side, although Forlenza was known to resent the hypocrisy of the Corleone family shortly afterwards, when, after causing a war due to their refusal to go into the narcotics business, the family did so under Vito Corleone's son Michael, albeit secretly.

By the 1950s, he ran an extremely efficient organization. He ruled his organization with an iron velvet political glove from his stronghold on Lake Michigan's south shores, located on the uncharted Rattlesnake Island, which he claimed was impregnable.[1]

Plot against the Corleones

By 1957, he had conspired with Nick Geraci to kill Michael Corleone, who had been plotting with Salvatore Narducci, Forlenza's consigliere, who helped to arrange a plane crash which killed Frank Falcone and Anthony Molinari, as well as ruining Forlenza's reputation with the New York families.[1]

The two men also planned to weaken the gambling Cuba, make the Cleveland mob stronger, and wipe out Fredo Corleone and Hyman Roth. By 1960, Fredo and Roth were killed, Michael lost millions in Cuba, Narducci was executed by a soldato loyal to Cesare Indelicato of Sicily, and the Cleveland mob seemed to be growing stronger under Forlenza.[1]

By 1961, Michael had figured this out and devised a plan to kill Forlenza and members of his family. As part of a sweeping revenge, when Forlenza had a heart attack, Michael sent a dummy ambulance to get him. The ambulance picked him up, and drove him to the docks where they dragged him to a boat. They chained him to the bottom and had the boat sink in Lake Michigan while he was still alive. After this incident, the Cleveland family lost their seat at the Commission due to them becoming too weak compared to other criminal organizations.[1]

Personality and traits

Vincent Forlenza was a man with sensitive features and snow white hair.[2] He was shrewd and very calculating. His management style was defined as iron hand in velvet glove. Forlenza was very respectful of Jewish people, employing many Jews in his syndicate working with many Jewish associates, giving him his nickname. Rumor was that Forlenza planned to appoint a Jewish person as his consigliere but did not dare to due to the Mafia's rules. In the Godfather Returns,he mentions at a meeting of the commision that he had sent Jewish mobsters to Las Vegas for entering the casino business[2] Forlenza had a knack of having five reasons for everything. He always explained everything in five points with five fingers. Forlenza had almost locked up the family. The Forlenza Family was known to be very tight knit. It was defined as an organization with no place for new ideas or new people. It had been twenty years since the family had inducted any new member.[1]

In the book The Godfather Returns, he is shown to be very cautious. He stops eating anything that is not being prepared as he watches and is also confined to a wheelchair. He has two men who always search a vehicle or house thoroughly before he gets in it and they dislike each other so much that they are always eager to catch their Don being betrayed by the either person. During a Commission meeting, Forlenza sat in the adjoining room because of an unknown affliction.[1]

Forlenza was very protective of his godson Nick Geraci and was the only one apart from Michael Corleone who called him by his given name Fausto. After Nick survived an assassination attempt by Michael, Forlenza and Nick hatched a plan to kill Michael, which failed. He suffered a heart attack and was rushed to an ambulance which was then drowned and he was killed. Forlenza was least alarmed by his heart attack, as he was almost used to them.[1]

Forlenza is most likely based on John T Scalish,Cleveland Crime Family boss from 1944 to 1976. Much like Forlenza's personality in the sequel novels,Scalish was the longest reigning mob boss of Cleveland who was involved in casino skimming in Las Vegas and gambling enterprises. Scalish had also much like Forlenza's depiction,stopped inducting new members.

Notes and references

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