In her book, the Program Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the Rise and Fall of Nxivm, Toni Natalie writes at length about her third and fourth husbands.
She names them by their actual names – and then goes on to say less than flattering things about them for reasons that are unclear. Perhaps she harbors some grudge against them and used her book to try to embarrass them.
But her first two husbands, she gives them only a single sentence. While writing about husband # 3, Rusty DeCook, she brings up her prior two marriages:
We [Rusty and Toni] got married when I was twenty-nine. I’d walked the aisle twice before— marrying a mobster’s son at seventeen, to prevent a mob war in Rochester; and wedding a kind but troubled boyfriend at twenty, so he could gain custody of his three daughters—and I figured the third time would be the charm.
Let’s take another look at that passage – with our new-found knowledge that Toni has been known, on occasion, to tell little white ones.
She says she married, “a kind but troubled boyfriend at age twenty, so he could gain custody of his three daughters.”
How self-sacrificing. What maternal instincts. She married husband #2 so he could get custody of his daughters – and then divorced him.
Her first marriage was yet another sacrifice, by her “marrying a mobster’s son at seventeen, to prevent a mob war in Rochester.”
Toni stopped a mob war by getting married at age 17? This requires a little more explanation than she provides in her book, don’t you think?
It suggests her family, and the family of her husband were rival mobsters.
Toni describes her father in her book:
My biological father, my namesake, Tony, was a serial philanderer. He had children with five different women, which I’m sure was a small percentage of the many paramours he’d entertained. He fancied himself a gangster, and he dressed the part: fedora, spats, pinstriped suits, pomade in his hair. He left my mother when I was very young; I barely remember a time when we all lived in the same house.
Some who knew Tony Natalie [the father] do not describe him as a well-dressed gangster but rather as a low-level conman and thief – who ran a small bookmaking operation and dressed like a slob.
No one to fear. Just a small time grifter trying to make a buck. A low level Dago in Rochester, New York. What some in the old time mafia might call a “shit bird.”
How did his daughter’s wedding prevent a mob war?
Toni Natalie married Thomas Didio Jr, the son of mobster Thomas Didio Sr.
If Toni was 17 when she married his son – she was born August 12, 1958 – that means she got married between August 12, 1975 and August 11, 1976.
Her father-in-law, Thomas Didio, was murdered on July 6, 1978.
He was reportedly a capo and later, for a brief time, acting boss of the Rochester crime family.
According to https://mafia.wikia.org/wiki/Thomas_Didio: Didio’s “attempt to take over the Rochester mob would eventually lead to a bloody Gang-war and ultimately to the destruction of the crime family.
“Didio was the at one time the bodyguard of Salvatore Gingello and later became a capo.
“When family boss Samuel Russotti and others were convicted of murder in 1977, Didio was appointed as Acting boss of the family. Didio was allegedly the man who had tipped off Russotti, Rene Piccarreto and Gingello of Frank Valenti’s skimming of the family profits which led to the ascension of Russotti as boss and the exile of Valenti.
“Russotti trusted Didio and believed he could be controlled, but Didio soon began to defy Russotti’s orders and reached out to the retired Constenze Valenti and formed an alliance with the imprisoned and deposed Rochester boss Frank Valenti and his loyalists.
“Didio formed what became known as the ‘B Team’ opposing Russotti’s ‘A Team’.
“A gang-war erupted when in 1978, Russotti was released from prison and Didio refused to relinquish control of the local mob. Several gun battles and bombings occurred during this time causing casualties on both sides. The feud culminated with the murder of Salvatore Gingello in April of 1978 and Didio’s demise in July of the same year when he was shot to death in a motel in Victor, New York, ending all hope of Valenti regaining control of the Rochester crime family.”
Based on the above, I’m not sure exactly what mob war Toni’s marriage prevented. Indeed, it seems that shortly after she married, there was a mob war and her father-in-law was murdered.
What did 17 year old Toni have to do with this mob war?
In researching this article, I examined various sites on the history of the Rochester mob and I could not find her father, Tony Natalie, or any one with the last name of Natalie anywhere. Her father, or any of her relatives, seems to have had no role in any mob.
And clearly, Toni did not prevent a mob war. There was a mob war.
I think the truth is that teenage Toni married a gangster’s son. He was a few years older than she.
She [and probably he] had nothing to do with the mob or its warring factions. They were just young people who got married.
No one in the mob knew or cared anything about Toni Natalie – or were willing to stop their war because she married Thomas Didio Jr..
Toni likely took the fact of her marriage to a gangster’s son and embellished it to one where she is a self-sacrificing heroine, marrying a man to prevent a mob war.
It’s a provable lie and, as Toni said about Keith Raniere in her book, “If he was willing to lie about something provable… how could he be trusted with anything else?”
Movie Based on Toni’s Marriage to Mobster?
While she did not put it in her book, Toni told many of her friends that the movie, “Married to the Mob” was based on her marriage to Thomas Didio Jr.. The movie is a 1988 comedy film starring Michelle Pfeiffer [as Toni].
Pfeiffer plays Angela de Marco, the wife of mafia up-and-comer Frank “The Cucumber” de Marco (Alec Baldwin), who is murdered by Mob boss Tony “The Tiger” Russo (Dean Stockwell) when he is discovered in a compromising situation with Russo’s mistress Karen (Nancy Travis).
Angela wants to escape the mafia scene with her son.
Janet Maslin in The New York Times wrote that “Married to the Mob … [is] the story of a woman trying to re-invent her life.”
The Washington Post described the film as “all decked out in Godfather kitsch, but underneath its loud exterior, a complex heroine struggles for freedom.”
Was the movie really based on Toni Natalie and her redemption as a mafia wife?
Or is Toni’s story of her life a copycat version of the movie?
Book Is Enjoying Poor Sales
Toni’s book has been ranking in the past few weeks at between 101,000 and 41,000 among Amazon books. As of press time, her book ranked 68,432.
According to https://www.theresaragan.com/salesrankingchart, Amazon Best Seller Ranks, a ranking of between 50,000 to 100,000 means her book is “selling close to 1 book a day.”
In a month that would mean almost 30 books sold by Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller. In a year almost 365 books!
Of course, she could be making sales in bookstores. But her book does not appear to have made any best sellers’ list.
Already there are many of her used books for sale at discount prices. No one seems to be keeping this book in their library. Used hardcovers of Toni’s book are selling for around $11. New books are selling for even less – being steeply discounted in some bookstores to unload them – for as little as $10. 90.
The book was originally sold at more than $22.
Word in the publishing world is Toni Natalie’s book tanked – failed to come anywhere close to its expectations. Her whistleblower memoir is not selling. The book is a dud.
I suspect more people read stories about her on Frank Report than read her book.
Maybe its karma and maybe the bullshit she spewed in her book did not appeal to readers. Readers of books, buyers of books are discriminating people. I suspect they bought her book and found it to be trash, worthless nonsense, not deep at all, not revealing but childish and immature.
Book sales come not from advertising and not from publicity, although those things can certainly prime the pump. What sells books is content – how good a book is – how truthful, how nuanced – how it appeals to serious readers. And people who buy books today are serious readers.
What sells books is the buzz. People telling other people they read a good book. More perhaps than any other product, what sells a book today is readers telling other readers.
And no one evidently, maybe not one reader has told another person – go get Toni Natalie’s book, it’s a must-read.
No, it’s not. It’s garbage and it’s full of lies – like Toni married a young man and stopped a mob war. Just immature nonsense. Provable lies. And it shows.
Better luck next time, Toni.