A former mobster, a professional MMA fighter, and a writer-director have joined forces to bring the public much laughter with a brand-new YouTube Channel and podcast. The move away from the Mafia underworld was the best decision they ever made. “We just want to enjoy life and have a laugh.”
They make an unlikely trio. Chris Kasparoza, also a crime novelist, Damien “The Omen” Trites, a pro MMA fighter, and alleged former Genovese family associate David “Chicky” Cecchetelli not only look entirely different, they, at first glance, seem to come from different backgrounds as well. But one should never judge a book by its cover. This proves very true when Gangsters Inc. sits down with them to discuss their work.
Before the first question is asked, the three men are already busting each other’s balls. Would Damien and Chicky be good cellmates? “I’d rather be in the SHU (Separate Housing Unit) alone than sharing a cell with you, jerkoff,” Chicky responds.
Damien is quick to respond, telling Gangsters Inc.: “If you need a Chicky translator just ask.”
Hanging with the Genovese family’s Springfield crew
But don’t let the jokes fool you. They have been through plenty of shit in their days on the street. “People always told me I was the biggest ball buster around,” Chicky tells Gangsters Inc. “I was just being me. I think the stress got so bad sometimes I masked it with breaking balls about the subject.”
“Chicky” Cecchetelli felt a lot of stress during his days as a bookmaker and, allegedly, as an associate of the Genovese crime family’s Springfield crew. According to prosecutors, he had been very close to capo Adolfo Bruno (right), who was whacked by his own underlings in a volatile power grab in 2003, and remained active in the years following the gangland slaying.
The killing of Bruno brought down much heat from law enforcement and the intense scrutiny caused plenty of legal troubles for the Genovese’s Springfield faction, which, according to the government, included Chicky. In 2006 he was sentenced to 8 months in prison for running an illegal gambling ring.
Fighting to get away from the streets
Damien Trites faced similar problems growing up as a kid. “I did 18 months of time as a juvenile with all of the worst kids of New York,” he says. “There were 70 kids on my unit. They called it gladiator school because kids don’t give a fuck. I was 16 years old and fought every day. I was one of two white kids on my unit, so that should tell you how my time went.”
Known as a tough guy, Trites took to the streets and quickly got in with the wrong crowd. “The streets were always there for me,” he says. “I loved the action, the money, the girls, the ups and downs. But when I woke up and said to myself: If I catch a pinch, I will be solid. But who around me will be solid like me? If I have to question that then I have to walk away.”
He always found a welcome home in gyms around the country where he trained in boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and made himself into a professional mixed martial arts fighter. He fought for well-known organizations like CES MMA and Bellator and compiled a record with 7 wins and 6 losses.
“Being a professional fighter was a wild ride and a lot of fun,” he tells us. “But it got to a point where I didn’t enjoy the training camps and injuries. People only see the cage fights with the bright lights and cute ring girls. They don’t see the gym wars we have to get ready for a fight.”
Trites and Cecchetelli go back many years and consider each other family. “We hung in the same circles,” Chicky explains. “We clicked right away. I always respected him because of his career in MMA.”
Honor and loyalty
Both men also realized around the same time that “the life” was a dead-end street. “There is no life in the streets anymore,” Trites says. “Instead you got rats calling other people rats. Loyalty is dead and gone. It’s disgusting.”
What they once viewed as a family, an honorable brotherhood, now seemed empty. A lifestyle going nowhere. And Trites and Cecchetelli have had enough experiences to determine the pros and cons and compare stories.
- READ: Genovese mob family turncoat returns to Springfield despite possible threats on life
Cecchetelli served in the United States Navy and was stationed at the USS Cimmaron in Pearl Harbor. There, he was surrounded by like-minded men and women, giving their best years to their country. Though his life took a different turn in the decades that followed, he never forgot that mindset. He also saw the different way of thinking and levels of honor within the Springfield underworld.
He was around to witness the sudden downfall of his mob mentor Al Bruno and was himself betrayed by Anthony Arillotta, who became a government witness and gave up information on his former crew.
Doing time with mob bosses Vinny Basciano and Alex Rudaj
But while doing time in prison, Chicky also witnessed the code he and other, alleged, mobsters continued to live by. At one point he was locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while Bonanno crime family boss Vincent Basciano (left) was there. Basciano had been ratted out by Joseph Massino, his own mentor and Mafia leader.
Rather than follow in Massino’s footsteps, Basciano took a life sentence. Kasparoza: “I went to Basciano’s sentencing where the judge gave him life. He was even smiling in the courtroom when they were sending him away for forever and a day. That’s a real tough guy right there. No fraud. That’s a guy they couldn’t break, and they tried. I mean, this guy spent over a decade in solitary confinement with his alleged superiors, protégé, and peers all ratting on and lying about him, and he still wouldn’t break like them. That’s a real tough guy. That’s a man. Knowing so many of your alleged former friends are walking free while they’re shipping you out to a supermax, and smiling anyway.”
Though behind bars, Chicky and Basciano continued life just as they did on the outside. “Vinny smiled every minute of every day. God bless him and his family, all those sons. When I was leaving Manhattan to go to Canaan prison in Pennsylvania, Vinny walked me out along with Alex Rudaj, who the Feds said was the boss of the Albanian mob. Vinny said: ‘Chicky, I wish I knew you on the streets. We could’ve had a lot of laughs.’ I replied, ‘Vinny all due respect, but you’re fighting two death penalty cases, I’m glad I did not know you on the streets.’ And Vinny said: ‘You’re right!’ And all of us began laughing as they took me out of the block.”
- READ: Exclusive interview: Former mob boss John Gotti Jr. sits down with Gangsters Inc.
Rats continued to pop up and loyalty within the underworld was nonexistent. “So me and Chicky took a page out of [DA: former Gambino crime family boss] John Gotti Junior’s book and walked away,” Trites says.
Like Basciano, the Gotti name stands for omerta, the Mafia’s code of silence, and standing up to do your time, but unlike his father the son knew when to walk away from the life. Gotti Jr. wasn’t someone they just read about or saw on television, mind you. Trites’ uncle Brian Hoyle, who is very close to Chicky as well, did 5 years in Raybrook prison with Gotti Jr. And being a pro MMA fighter Trites also became close to Gotti’s son John Gotti III, who is currently a rising star in CES MMA.
- READ: Mob boss John Gotti’s grandson is introducing the world of Mixed Martial Arts to the family’s fighting spirit
Writer-director Chris Kasparoza was already close to the Gotti family and involved in several projects with John Gotti Jr. “I had met Damien briefly at one of John Gotti III’s MMA fights, last May,” Kasparoza says. Right around that time he was receiving threats due to his work on the docu-series he’s producing with Gotti Jr. titled Witsec Mafia.
“Mob rat John Alite was trying to silence me, and us, from revealing Alite’s despicable activity in Witsec Mafia by having people threaten my family. One of these individuals he had try to scare me, it turned out, after I did an investigation, was apparently, allegedly, a pedophile,” Kasparoza explains.
“Yet Alite was still posting that he had been good friends with this scumbag for decades and that he wanted him to go into schools and talk to kids with him. Even though he had recently been arrested on charges alleging that he uploaded child porn to the internet, had previously been arrested on charges alleging that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old, and that he even pleaded guilty to sending naked pictures of a teacher to the school where she worked,” Kasparoza says with disgust.
“It’s a long story, but at one point this guy tried to scare me by implying that he was going to get wiseguys from Philadelphia to come after me in addition to another group accused by the government of being a criminal organization, saying he could start ‘World War 3.’ Which was how I got to know Damien. Someone told me Damien had ties to this other group, so, even though I highly doubted that any respectable group of criminals would back a mob rat and an alleged crackhead pedophile, I still reached out to him about it, and we became friends as a result. I met Chicky through him shortly after.”
As for the guy who threatened him and his family: “Again, it’s a long story, but when I was ready, I called his bluff,” Kasparoza says. “Then he folded like the punk fraud he really is. I mean, it was so disturbing it was almost funny. When I reached out to people in Philadelphia to ask about him, they already knew all about him. It wasn’t the first time he had dropped names or had his bluff called. But it is pretty disgusting that Alite’s handlers know he’s associating with pedophiles and they’re still allowing him to masquerade as a motivational speaker for at risk children.”
Taking the world of YouTube & podcasts by storm
And the three men never looked back. “Damien started me in the crazy world of social media,” Chicky tells us. “Chris was a great meet through Damien and the Gottis and we all clicked straight away, we were a great fit.”
Trites and Cecchetelli were already making funny videos and trying out some stuff online. “When Chris came on board, we were full circle,” Trites adds.
“Sometime last summer or fall we started talking about working on a documentary together,” Kasparoza says. “We also spoke about at some point I would come up to Springfield and shoot some YouTube stuff. I had been wanting to grab a piece of that YouTube dollar for some time now and figured I’d just go up there and shoot some stuff for my own channel. As we got closer to me going up there from New York we had been speaking and I said I’d help him and Chicky set up their own channel also. We’d fuck around and shoot video for a few days.”
Kasparoza: “Then on a whim as we’re at my hotel, Damien says he wants to do an acting scene. He goes outside and walks back in and does improv with Chicky, playing gangsters. In a matter of seconds, literally, I could see how there was a whole other side to this. How talented these guys are. As soon as they finished the scene, I put my coat on and said let’s go outside and shoot more. Towards the end of my stay, they asked me to be a partner with them in the channel and I happily agreed.”
That channel is www.damienandchicky.com and it’s a place where you’ll find all kinds of videos featuring the MMA fighter and former mobster doing improv acting scenes, busting balls, interviews, pranks, tours through strange neighborhoods, even book reviews and questionable cooking lessons.
“We’re just looking to create great content, which includes a Damien and Chicky Podcast, and some other endeavors,” Kasparoza says. “They’re set to appear in another project John Gotti is producing, but we can’t talk about that right now. However, on the podcast, which I am really excited about, they’ll cover MMA fights, doing so from both a fighter’s perspective as well as that of a bookmaker’s.”
Their new business suits them. “I go to work and don’t have to look over my shoulder and you know what? I don’t have the money anymore, but I’m happier” Trites admits. “With the right people around me I will get rich legitimately so fuck that, I’m on a new vibe for 2019. We want to make people smile and leave our mark and give back. We want to help motivate people and inspire them to change.”
“We just want to enjoy life and laugh,” Chicky adds. “I hope our YouTube channel will show that.”
For more on Damien & Chicky visit their YouTube channel at www.damienandchicky.com or follow them on Instagram.com/DamienandChicky. To learn more about Chris Kasparoza go to Kasparoza.com, and to stay up to date about the docu-series he is producing with John A. Gotti visit WitsecMafia.com.
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