Armando Rea’s extended-stay Las Vegas vacation had the makings of real fun in the sun. You know how we take pride in catering to visitors, and with the real estate slump, home prices are a bargain.
Instead, Rea’s journey to Southern Nevada ended with a visit from the FBI, which quietly gave him a return trip to Brooklyn, where the Bonanno crime family soldier finds himself named in a three-decade-old murder case.
Like elephants, these feds never forget. Arrested last month, Rea is charged in a federal racketeering indictment with the July 10, 1980, killing of Genovese family member Gerard Pappa, who was shotgunned as he attempted to catch a late breakfast at a Borough Park café.
Authorities allege Pappa received eggs and lead from Rea and an accomplice.
Rea, who is also charged with gambling crimes and extorting members of Teamsters Local 807 of Long Island, left Brooklyn years ago and, not surprisingly, turned up in Las Vegas. This is the flame to many mob moths.
It’s not speculating much to presume his vanishing act might have been linked to the fact the feds have been working to clear up cold case murders, Pappa’s death among them.
Pappa was a mentor for a number of hoodlums who grew up to make big headlines in New York, Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano among them. The Pappa hit was likely ordered by Genovese crime boss Vincent Gigante, who was said to be angered after his underling pulled an unapproved homicide. Known for wearing bathrobes in public and faking crazy, the late Gigante eventually was acquitted of murder conspiracy charges in the case.
The most intriguing question is this: Why would the feds keep so quiet about the arrest and what might Rea know about some semi-retired characters in Las Vegas?
Nabbing a mob guy in glitzy Las Vegas would have made a good story and a great photo opportunity.
Could it be that Mr. Rea is in the process of being debriefed about what he might know about other murders?
LIGHTS ON: Rural Nevadans didn’t vote much for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the recent election, but they’ll benefit from the 500-megawatt solar-thermal plant scheduled for construction in California and Amargosa Valley. The U.S. Interior Department recently approved the plant, part of a $3 billion development by Solar Trust of America in cooperation with two other companies.
With 1,300 construction jobs and 180 permanent jobs once the plant is open, the Amargosa Farm Road Solar Project promises to pay dividends for Nevadans for years to come.
GOOD GOLF: The name is as long as a par 5. It’s called the 23rd Annual Candlelighters Golf Classic & Muterspaw Memorial Liberty Mutual Invitational.
Proceeds benefit Candlelighters of Southern Nevada. The tournament takes place on Nov. 29 at the TPC Summerlin, and I can’t think of a better way to walk off that Thanksgiving weekend calorie splurge. For entry information, go to candlelightersnv.org.
ON THE BOULEVARD: You’ve probably spotted Jan Hogan’s byline in the R-J’s View newspapers, but the talented reporter also writes fiction. Hogan recently won an award from Writer’s Digest for her short story, “Coffee, Tea or Murder.” It was recognized from among more than 13,000 entrants. Las Vegas police vice Detective Christopher Baughman has just finished his first book, “Anomaly: One Detective’s Quest for Justice.”
BOULEVARD II: Pediatric oncologist Dr. Jonathan Bernstein gathered with well-wishers Thursday night at McMullan’s Irish Pub to celebrate him being named the 2010 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
BOULEVARD III: Don’t forget to wish Terry the Chimp a happy birthday on Saturday at the Las Vegas Zoo. Terry turns 31, and zoo director Pat Dingle tells me festivities are planned, although, at 31, Terry is getting a little old for the local club scene.
Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at