An Offer They Can’t Refuse – Michael Franzese (Part 2)
Michael Franzese – “Making Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse” Confessions Of A Former Mob Boss (Part 2)
Michael Franzese – “Making Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse” Confessions Of A Former Mob Boss (Part 2)
In this episode, we are continuing our discussion with someone who has been called the ‘Real Life Michael Corleone.’ For reference and a complete biography, please listen to Part 1 (Make that a link) of our interview with the former mob boss, Michael Franzese. There was so much we couldn’t get to in Part 1, but fortunately for our listeners and subscribers, we’re back to talk about everything we didn’t.
In Part 2, we are continuing to talk about the mob, it’s history, and Michael’s thoughts on some of the most notorious mobsters in American history, along with his personal business and experiences with them. We also discuss some of the most controversial conspiracies, and rumors related to some high-profile events and figures in history. Additionally, we talk about the business applications we can take from his former life, lessons learned, his book, and the advice he has for young entrepreneurs.
If you thought Part 1 was interesting, buckle up! Here’s some of the topics discussed:
Apart from this, you can get world-class support & advice to grow your business or improve your life on LIVE virtual calls by this link – https://join.michaelfranzese.com/inner-circle
If you already have a business but want to take things to a whole new level, check out this link –https://www.michaelfranzese.com/coaching
Moreover, for booking requests or to join Michael’s crew for free (a private online community), go here – https://www.michaelfranzese.com/2
And for *autographed* books/poster personally signed by Michael Franzese, visit – https://store.michaelfranzese.com
Contact David Morrell
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Welcome to the RUN GPG podcast. We are continuing our conversation. With former mob boss, Michael Franzese, and for a detailed bio and background leading into this discussion today, you’re going to want to go back and listen to part one. However, our guest today has been called the real life, Michael Corleone.
And you’ll understand why after listening to this episode of the podcast, Michael, welcome back to me. Did you know you’ve been called Michael Corleone in real life, Michael Corleone? , yeah, throughout the last 20 or 30 years or so. Yeah. They call them. Who knows if that is accurate? Well, you know, I always turn it around.
I always say, look, he was fixing all I was for real. So maybe, you know, I don’t know, but I’ll listen. He played a brilliant role as Michael Corleone, so it’s a nice comparison. Yeah. Okay. So listen, there was so much we didn’t get to in our last interview, but fortunately for our listeners and subscribers, we’re back to talk about everything we weren’t on.
One. So in our last discussion, we did skim the surface of the mob a little bit, you know, the history, how the families were structured, , the different roles, how you became a man. However, I do want to ask you about some of the more famous and notorious mobsters of our generation, your contemporaries, and get your take on, you know, the perception versus the reality of what they were really like, or maybe what they were involved in.
So on the line, Podcast. We did mention that you were in the movie Goodfellas, your character was portrayed in that movie. That’s a fact. Now, what did you think, first of all, the actor they picked to be Michael’s friend Francis, was pretty good. Did you think, oh, I don’t know. Everybody tells me that, you know, it wasn’t that, you know, that greater likeness, but, , you know, I was surprised honestly, when they mentioned me in that film, because.
You know, I knew everybody in that crew, but it was a different crew and I really didn’t do business with them in any way, but I think I had some name value at the time and, you know, I knew Henry pretty well and Jimmy Burke and poli Barrios. So, and the, , the writer, Nick Pileggi was a friend. So I think they just threw me in there and I double checked out with Nick afterwards and he said, yeah, why not get a good name?
So it threw me in there. I thought the likeness wasn’t bad. Like it was close. Right. Like, yeah, it was pretty good. Yeah. Yeah. So speaking of Henry Hill, , you knew Henry Hill personally, right? How accurate was the portrayal of Henry Hill in that movie? No. Look, I always say this and I don’t mean to be offensive at all to Henry because I had, I kind of liked him, you know, he was kind of a poor soul, always, you know, he had some habits that were, you know, overwhelming to him at times, but I always say Henry never looked so good as he did in the movie Goodfellas that’s for sure.
I mean, Ray Liotta did a brilliant job. You know, it was a look. Like I said, he looked really good in that movie. Yeah. And the other guy you get asked about him all the time is Tommy D Simone, right? The character is played by Joe Peshy. I know again, I know you get asked about them a lot, but what do you remember about him?
Was he as crazy as they made them look in that movie? You know, he was, I didn’t know him well, honestly, but he certainly had a reputation in Henry. Talked to me about him a few times. , but, you know, I say this all the time, guys like him and Peshy obviously brilliantly played that Terrick he plays everything brilliantly, no matter what role he’s in, but especially the roles, but, , guys like that don’t last in that light, you know, they’re just kind of loose cannons.
And after a while, you know, the hierarchy, they get fed up with him and nasty end to that, you know, and it’s, it’s sad, but it’s true. And it’s, you know, there’s a lot of Tommy D Simone types. Similar metrics, similar fates in the end. Yeah. Interesting. So the bar, , beat down with, , who was it? What was the name of the guy in the batch?
Yeah. Bats. Did that happen? It did happen. Yeah. That’s a, it didn’t happen the way it happened in the movie. Like, it didn’t happen immediately. Like it happened in the movie, but obviously. They take some dramatic Liberty with the timeline, but yeah, that, that definitely happened. And, , you know, he paid the price.
The Simone did later on you don’t mess with a made guy to catch up with you. Yeah, absolutely. And , now the next name I want to ask you about is Mr. John, God. I have a personal connection with John Gotti. It’s distant. Here it is. , when John Gotti was going through his trial, I think it was in the early nineties.
Right. Early nineties, 90, 91 92. I can’t remember exactly when I was actually in Brooklyn and I was in Cadman Plaza. I don’t know if you know where cabin Plaza is. Unfortunately. I know it very well. Yeah. That’s the, yeah. That’s the courthouse then. Yeah. That’s where the courthouse is. Yeah, so I was in Cadman Plaza.
I was at the park Plaza diner and he was sitting next to me. Right lunch. Absolutely. That’s my only connection to John Gotti, but I feel like it’s a small world. That’s my connection to shotgun. Yeah, the weird one. It’s a seating place there. No doubt. Yeah. Great food. Now he was maybe the most notorious mobster of our generation, like notorious in that everybody knew who he was.
Right. The Teflon, Don. What were your thoughts on John gaudy? And did you have any personal dealings with them? Yeah, you know, John and I had. Actually two personal dealings and one was over a flea market in Brooklyn that we had a little dispute over. In other words, over the gas business, a little bit, we got involved with each other, like I had to do what everybody else, you know, I always say this John was difficult to deal with in a business sense.
We did have a pretty big ego. I’m not saying anything out of school. Everybody knew that. And he was tough to deal with in that. Socially. It was great. You know, we met up in bars every once in awhile. We’d, you know, have a couple of drinks together. He was great in that regard. So you, you know, look, I had a, , I had a respect for John because he never, you know, this is who he was, he was a mob guy all the way.
He didn’t make any bones about it. That’s who he was. He lived on a diet. So you have to respect somebody like that. You know, as far as, as boss, was he good for the family, anybody that gets that high profile? You know, it’s just, it’s frowned upon. Let’s put it that way. But, , you know, I knew him. I liked him.
I liked his family very much, you know, I think they’re all really nice people. I don’t know John Jr very well, but I did get involved with him slightly during one of his trials and offered to help him out. If he knew. But that’s about it. Yeah, but he wasn’t liked as a whole by the mafia world because he was so high profile.
Is that correct? I mean, you know, there was a lot of negative talk about John as a result of that, that he was just too high profile. He threw his chest out too much and, and, , you know, he didn’t, he didn’t get a lot of fans as a result of that. Now, your dad, Sonny Francis, he was a famous enforcer for Columbia.
Crime family. And he was considered the John Gotti of his day. Is that correct? Very high profile, big media store. The same thing. He was always in front of the media. He was the John Gotti of his day in terms of notoriety. No doubt about it, but you know, my father didn’t look for that. I can tell you that firsthand.
I don’t know why, you know, They came on him as hard as they did for as long as they did, but, you know, he fit the part and I mean, he had the look, he had the charisma, he was the guy and, , they came all over it. No doubt. Yeah. Super interesting. , family legacy. Now the next name I’m going to ask you about is Paul Castellano because when you talk about John Gotti, the name Paul Castellano comes up, obviously because it was Gotti that ordered the hit on Paul Castellano that made him the head of the Gambino family, correct?
Yes. Is there anything about. Hit that we don’t know about. Is there anything that’s not reported on? Well, I think, you know, Sammy Gravano, you know, testified in that case and, , he was, you know, Sammy was part of that. So I think he told the story the way it was, you know, from his mouth, he was involved in it.
, so I don’t think there’s anything that we don’t know at this point, you know, I had. I had met Paul at one time, you know, before I even was made, I got into a dispute with him. , he didn’t like me very much back then because, , I called out one of his relatives and we had a big sit-down over it. And, , you know, at the end of the day it came out.
Okay. Okay. Obviously, but it was tough to deal with too. I mean, you know, I don’t really know how well, like Paul was too, because you know, when you’re in life, you hear the scuttlebutt about different people and. I heard a lot of negative things about him also. What was the dispute about yet? The difference, you know, very long story short is I wrote about this in my book.
, I had a big market at one time. You know, I was a recruit and you know, in my early twenties I had a market out in Long island. We were buying chickens off of Polly’s company because he was the chicken guy who was involved with Frank Perdue. Well, long story short, they gave me a load of, , bad chickens.
They would be. And, , I had sold them to somebody on a big labor day weekend, and they came back and brought them back because they were all bad. And so I called the guy that worked for Paul and I said, look, I want my money back. I’m not paying for these. And we had a big dispute and Pulley got involved in it.
Believe it or not over, you know, a thousand dollars worth of chickens or whatever it was at the time. And I had to have a big sit-down. Because this guy on the phone and started cussing me out saying, oh, you’re going to pay. And I said, no, I’m not going to pay. And he started cursing me. I started cursing him.
The next thing you know, I get a call from my boss in Brooklyn, and this is a whole big sit-down situation. And Paul himself actually came and he was pretty upset with. But, , my guys defended me and you know, at the end of the day, I should, I’m not, not only am I not paying for these chickens, I’m never buying another chicken off of you.
So the way it happened is I didn’t have to pay for the chickens, but I had to continue buying them. So that’s how it ended up. Good compromise.
, at the time who was Mo ? There were five crime families at the time, right? In New York. Yes. In New York, in the Gambino crime family, , you know, it was pretty notorious where they, the most powerful is that a question you get asked, you know, they will, one of the biggest by numbers. Actual numbers for the family.
, the Gambinos in the Genovese were pretty much the same. They had about 250 guys each somewhere around there, 2 25 to 50. So in terms of numbers, they were the largest. And, , you know, I don’t know if that translates to the most powerful and not, not really my boss at the time person Phil used to say, cause we had about 115 guys made guys, guys that actually took the oath.
And , you know, I said, junior, how come we’re smaller than these? He said, well, we go after quality, not. I don’t know what that means, but, but anyway, , so yeah, I mean, there were big families, they were wealthy crew. There’s no doubt about it. They had some good businessmen involved in that during the Castillano rain, you know, I don’t know so much what happened when Gotti took over, but when Paula was, was, , he, he liked businesses.
And he elevated. Interesting. Okay. Now a name that always comes up when you talk about the history of the mob in America is Jimmy Hoffa, Jimmy Hoffa. I mean, you hear this all the time. Do you have any knowledge of Jimmy Hoffa’s involvement with the mafia? I’m sure you do, or what he was up to. I mean, that’s the name you always hear where’s Jimmy Hoffie, you know, was he murdered?
You know, how did he die? Where he. Any thoughts on Jimmy Hoffa? Yeah. There’s no question that he was involved with the mob early on, you know, before he went into prison and the other guy took over. So you understand something, you know, labor unions were born in America through the assistance, strongest resistance of the mop.
You know, we helped it grow and we had tremendous influence and labor, you know, Right through the mid eighties, when Giuliani started to break that relationship up with the racketeering laws and so on and so forth. So Jimmy Hoffa was very much involved and, you know, he did get killed. He was murdered, obviously.
That’s, that’s a fact. And I’d mentioned this on another show again, briefly, a very dear friend of mine who was, , came home from prison. And he was with another guy that I believe to be one of the shooters in the Hoffa. And he came home and he said to me, Michael, this person who respects you a lot, he’s been, it’ll never get out of jail.
And if there’s a movie or anything done in his life, he wants you to handle it. And he gave me information with respect to how awful it was really murdered. And I told the guy, I said, look, I want you to put it on tape. I said, and the reason I did that is because the guy that brought me the message, he was sickly.
I didn’t think he was going to let me. And he didn’t, he actually passed away a couple years ago when he put the whole story on tape. And I have, now people have said to me, Mike, why don’t you release it? It’s very simple. Why? Because as you know, you know, so many people have claimed to know where Jimmy Hoffa was buried.
They claimed to have killed him. The Irishman was the movie based upon. Totally false, by the way, it felt that it said he killed him, did not. And that’s a fact and that’s been debunked, but, you know, I don’t know where the body is. I can only tell you this. I believe it’s wet and, you know, defined, it would be very difficult.
So what’s the sense and Tay telling another story where you can’t find it. It doesn’t make sense. You know, I had a production company that said, Mike, we’ll spend a million dollars looking for it. I said, well, you know, that itself is a show, but if you don’t find a body, you still don’t find the body. So what’s the difference, you know, I just don’t want to be one of those guys that’s, you know, chasing this story again, if there’s no ups, you know, so, but anyway, I thought that might be interesting to you and your listeners.
It’s incredibly interesting. , Michael, , you know, where Jimmy Hoff is, but from the sounds of it, You’ll never find the body. I don’t believe so. And even though I was told, you know, the general location, I think it still would be very difficult and very costly to try to find it. But I will tell you this, the, the person that, has admitted to this, at least to me, very credible in my view, I know him a long time.
He’s a tough guy, no doubt about it. And, it fits in with what I know. Because of this, the order was given from New York. No doubt about it. And I know who gave the order, so it’ll fit, but again, it’s not accomplishing anything and I’m not in it just to do a show of, you know, do something like that, that got it.
Okay. Thanks for sharing that. The story. I want to ask you about J Edgar Hoover. He said there’s no such thing as the mafia. What’s your theory or the info you might have on why he actually said that? Well, I love J. Edgar Hoover would never admit to the existence of the mafia. And the reason for that is.
We had dirt on him. He was a cross dresser at the time. He was a homosexual and you know, back then it wasn’t accepted, you know, that, so it was a different era back then. And they actually had some tape on him. He used to be in the store club. Everybody used to go to the historic club way back when, whether you’re a mob guy, a politician, a judge, a lawyer was the place for celebrity hangouts.
And I’m the guy that owned the store called. Had the place wired in books, mainly because he wanted to get dirt on celebrities that were coming in there so he could keep them coming in. It was good business and he had some real dirt on J Edgar Hoover in the men’s room. That’s all I can tell you. And , Frank Costello, you know, he was, he was a boss, a family.
He had an interest in the store club. So as a result of that, Hoover would never admit to the existence of the model. Until he was forced to, when Joe Valachi started to testify and came out with the whole story, then he had to, and I think, , Bobby Kennedy put pressure on him to, to go after mob guys.
And that’s when he did it before that he would never even talk about the existence of it. He denied it, man. That’s that’s really, , you know, I’ve heard you talk about that before, but it’s, it’s, , it’s fascinating to hear why he actually said that makes sense. They may ask about JFK, you believe the mafia putting it on JFK.
Is that true? Yeah, there’s no, no doubt. In my mind, you know, there is classified information about that. I don’t think it would be made public. And the reason for that is the government would never want to admit that the mob was able to get to a sitting president. I mean, there would not be a good reflection on our government and so on and so forth.
So I don’t think I’d love to hear that, but look, I’ve heard that, you know, throughout my life, And, , from very credible sources that that was absolutely, you know, mob related, no doubt. And come on all the, all the pieces fit, just that nobody wants to admit it. , again, just to reiterate you think the Italian mafia put a hit on GFK, do it, what’s the reason for that?
Like why? Yeah. There’s no doubt in my mind that that was mob related. And the reason being is there was a deal with, , Joe Kennedy and we were supposed to have friends in the white house after we helped Kennedy win the election and there was no doubt that we did and you know, how tight that election was.
And it was the mob that helped push it over the line for him. And, , they did a complete. Bobby Kennedy went after the mob with a vengeance when after Hoffa went after my father, you know, he went after it with a vengeance. I actually really was excited to ask about Frank Sinatra. So did you actually meet Frank Sinatra?
Michael? I met Frank several times. , earliest time I met him was when. , going with my dad to the Copacabana in New York, where everybody played at that point in time, Frank played there a number of times, and I met him as a kid. He knew my dad and I was very respectful to him. I met him again, , the Italian American civil rights league.
And when Joe Colombo had him there on a few events, And, , I’ll tell you a quick story. His son, Frank, Jr, was going to play in a club out in Long Island, called the San Suzanne. My father had a piece of that club and, , we got a. That Frank Jr was coming in and he wasn’t a big draw at that time.
And so they said, Mike, we need a favor. We need that place filled up. And for three or four nights, we had to play sold out. Frank senior was a, I don’t want to say indebted, but he was very thankful at that. Because we did a good job for. So, I mean, yeah, I liked him a lot and he was a good guy. He was a good dude.
Yeah. Your impressions of them. Just a friendly guy. Yeah. And you know, and they say, oh, he was all mobbed up in this. Look, he wasn’t controlled by the mob or any of that. I mean, he was friends, you know, but people get this impression, same thing with Donald Trump, you know, Donald Trump was controlled by the mob because he was in the contracting industry.
It’s not true, you know? Yeah. He had to deal with us at times because of the labor union. And, , same with Frank, you know, and sometimes you had to deal with us. He did his favors, but he wasn’t all mobbed up. Like people think, is there a code among people that shook Sinatra’s hand or is that all just made up for the movies?
What do you, what do you mean by code? Well, like that, they’re an honest guy. They shook Sinatra’s hand. It means you were, you were a real dude. Like you were, you, you were trustworthy, you know, you’re an honest guy and there was a code among people that shook Sinatra’s hand. That theory before this is the first I’m hearing of that.
Oh, okay. Well, listen, you heard it from me. If you have any questions about it, just ask me about it. So I shouldn’t have told him when I was 10 years old, so yeah. Well, look, they’re honest, straightforward guys. So there we go. proved it. Okay. One more question or one more person I want to ask you about, and then we’ll move on here.
, Giuliani Giuliani came after the mob in the eighties, right? And you talked about. Was there ever a hit discussed on Giuliani because he was coming after the mob so hard? It was a hit discussed with him. And, , it was obviously never carried out and I don’t know how serious it was, you know, sometimes talk like that is bandied around a little bit, but it’s not really acted upon.
I think that’s, that’s what it was back then. I mean, everybody was upset with him. He was putting everybody away for a long period of time. But, you know, look, we didn’t do that here in the United States. You know, in, in the mafia, in Italy, they go F to everybody, but we had a certain code here. We left law enforcement people in their families alone.
And, , to my knowledge, , it was never really violated. It was never ordered. I mean, I know one or two incidents where a, you know, a law enforcement person might’ve been, you know, , hurt, but it wasn’t a sanctioned hit or anything like that. We just didn’t do that. There was another name that was discussed around that same time that people might be surprised about.
Do you know who I’m talking about? Eraldo Rivera. What is it? That, to me, that was like, w w Y. Nobody liked him. You know, he had a bad reputation back then. I told him once that I was on a show with him and, , you know, when we were off the air, I said, you know how Geraldo two people, we didn’t like that, you know, a hit was talked about, Giuliani was one and you were the other, he kind of turned white.
You know, he was like, really? He didn’t like me that much. It’s. You know, but, , yeah, he was the other guy, man. That’s interesting. And the other name that comes up when you talk about, , gambling, not necessarily mob, but just in terms of gambling, was Michael Jordan now more than ever. I think that the topic of his gambling is discussed a lot openly about how he’s just like this insane gambling addict.
I’m assuming you didn’t have any dealings with Michael Jordan, but do you know anything about his gambling debts and was, I mean, the other thing that comes up when you discuss Michael Jordan is the death of his father, because it was so. Do you have any knowledge of that? Well, you know, I worked with the NBA around that time.
I was speaking to a lot of the rookies about the dangers of gambling and relationships that they keep. So there was scuttlebutt around the time that his dad was murdered, that it had something to do with his gambling debt. And I had heard that, I think that’s been totally developed by, I think, you know, the case speaks for itself.
It had nothing to do with, with any kind of gambling thing with Michael and, you know, You know, I had won, said that Michael had a gambling problem because he gambles on everything all the time, but you know what? He said, something that really cleared it up for me. I don’t think he’s got a problem because he can, he can cover any bet that he made.
It was no big deal for him. It doesn’t change his lifestyle, nothing. He has a competition and he said it and you know what? It makes perfect sense because anything that he does, he wants to raise the stakes. And how do you raise the stakes? But again, pulling it by putting money on it. And, , I, I really, it made a lot of sense when I heard him say that he said I don’t have a gambling problem.
I have a competition problem. I just want everything to be high intensity. And, , and I think that’s true because when you have a gambling problem, you know, you’re losing money and it affects you. It doesn’t affect Michael’s lifestyle at all. He can gamble as much as he wants and, and, you know, in the next life he can gamble.
So that’s my take on it. I wasn’t going to ask you about this, but we’re referees in the NBA. Do you know? Okay, listen, man. I remember years ago, I remember watching a playoff series. It was the Lakers’ sons. And I remember it was during the Steve Nash days. And I remember there were some calls that were just like obvious, like, like they made up calls.
They eventually ejected, I think it was Stottlemyre and Nash out of the game for literally nothing. They didn’t do anything. And I remember that was the only time in my brain before I knew about all this stuff that I thought. Like this, the ref obviously had an agenda that had nothing to do with the game.
You know, that’s what was going through my brain at the time. And it was the guy who actually ended up in a prison for it. I can’t remember his name now that the one referee, you know who, I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve spoken to him. I can’t think of his name right now. I spoke to him a couple of times and he reached out to me during that whole thing, you know, look as far as gamblers, whether they’re mob related and.
Anytime we could get to anybody that can help compromise your game and change the outcome in our favor, we would go after and yes, referees at the time, you know, football, baseball, basketball, , of course you would go after them. So, you know, the, the problem is when I say this every time there’s a bad call on our roughs on the tape.
You know, that’s not the case, but, you know, just figure it out in basketball. The referee can have a tremendous, tremendous impact on the point spread. So let’s say one day, I will just give me an example. You got a referee he’s in debt, you know, and God forbid, one of his kids got sick. He has to pay for surgery.
What’s up he gets a cousin in his, you know, a lake is a favorite to win by 10 points. You said put up, put a bet on the other way. They’re not going to win by 10. You know, that a referee can call a foul every time they go down to court or he doesn’t have to call a file. Right. So what does he do? You know, we’ll go back to yesterday’s not today.
Colby Brian’s gin. He calls a couple extra files on Colby, puts him on the bench for a couple extra minutes. That greatly impacts, you know, the point spread and who’s going to do it. Nobody’s going to know if he keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t say anything, nobody’s gonna know a thing. So you gotta know that that possibility is out there and that it does happen.
No doubt about it. No doubt. Interesting stuff. Now you became incredibly wealthy and powerful back in the day. That’s a fact you were stealing money from the government. , you were in bed with the Russian mob and with all the craziness of that era that you actually lived through, besides the conviction, was there ever an incident that made you go.
Maybe I should just lay low for awhile. Like, was there ever like a singular incident where you were afraid for your life? Well, I’m afraid for my life. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So was there ever anything, was there ever an incident where you went, h ? Maybe I should just chill for a bit, you know, you know, one of the horrors of that life and, , you know, unfortunately it’s a fact, you know, you make a mistake, your best friend walks you into a room.
You don’t walk out again. And unfortunately through my 20, some odd years in that life, I experienced that, you know, different people that I knew, you know, one day hit and the next day gone and I was walked into a room one. And, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to walk out, it was in reference to money from the guest’s business.
And people said I was making more than I was turning in. You know, there were stories in the newspaper I was making billions and, and, you know, so it gets into people’s heads. And I had that journey that night. And it was, it was frightening. No doubt about it. I mean, I was scared because I knew this.
Obviously I’m here. So it worked out, but, you know, it didn’t, it, it just stuck in the back of my mind. Honestly, it didn’t make me want to leave the life or anything like that, but it just put me on real notice. Hey, you know, at any point in time, things can take a drastic turn in this life. And you really gotta be on your guard.
I knew that already, but that really intensified it for me. So, you know, but the thing that really got me is, is really in the mid eighties when Giuliani and the FBI went crazy with the Rico act and I show everybody going away for, you know, decades. And I said, I’m the youngest guy out of all of these guys.
I’m very high profile. I got a bullseye on my back. Eventually I’m going to go away forever. And that was really the thing that said, you know, I gotta try to make a break really. Cause I knew my life was in trouble. Yeah. Interesting. I, you know, you wonder about that, right? Like you’re in life. So it’s, you know, it’s kinda like the, the frog and the.
Part of water. Right? You turn up the heat slowly and before you know what he’s cooked. Right. But you always wonder if there’s a singular incident, right. That kind of makes you afraid for your life or think I need to take a step back. But I think it all came to a climax at that time.
Right? When you went through the trials and saw everybody going away for a long time were dead. Yeah. And people said to me, Michael, you had enough money. Why didn’t you stop? And I said, well, listen, you know, you, you get as much time for a billion dollars as you do for a million. I was already into it. So where was I going to stop?
It was too late, already. I was on the radar and they were going to come after me at one point in time. So I just kept going until I realized it’s gone now. Got it. And to wrap this, , part of the discussion up, what’s the status of the mafia today or the Cosa Nostra today? Like what’s the state of the union, are they.
They’re alive and kicking, the five families are still going or what’s going on. Five families are still there in New York. I mean, it’s not going to disappear in my lifetime. They’re, you know, they don’t have the shame power that they had during my day. , it’s been greatly diminished and they’re kind of looking at, you know, I’ll give you an example during my era.
There wasn’t a day that went by not a day when you didn’t see a mob related story in all the media, New York post daily news, New York times today. I read the New York papers every day, maybe every 3, 4, 5 months. You’ll see one story. So, you know, guys are really laying low and, you know, again, it’ll, , you know, they’re pretty resourceful, so it’s going to stay around, but it’s not what it was before.
Got it. Okay. thanks for discussing that with us, moving on to your current and future projects you’re working on in our last discussion. In our last podcast, we talked about the last book you wrote, which is a few years old. Now I’ll make you an offer. You can’t refuse an insider. Business tips from a former mob boss.
And there are some fantastic applications to the legitimate business world that you took from the mafia and applied. So that’s fine, but, and you can’t deny the concepts in there, but there are a couple of things I do want to ask you about in the book that do relate specifically to entrepreneurship, especially sales professionals in the negotiation process.
And, one of the things you talk about is replacing business meetings with sit downs. What does that mean? Well, you know, it’s funny. Cause my publisher, after reading that chapter, they don’t have any more meetings. They have sit downs only because you know, to sit down and you get things accomplished, you know?
first of all, you know, these are formal meetings where, you know, a soldier, his competency team, or maybe even the boss can attend. People have to be very respectful for one another. There’s no raising of voice, no shouting, no calling this guy a liar or anything like that. You have to win your point with integrity and tact and know how you got to know how to negotiate and know how to present your case.
And, , at the end of the meeting at the end of the sit-down, there’s a decision and it’s final, like it or not, that’s it. And you abide by it and you go home. And, , so they’re very, you know, they’re very effective. I would say that. And, you know, I use that in my negotiation with. With somebody. And I want to get to the point I want to get over with, and I want it to be finalized when I leave that meeting.
And so I brought that with me from my former life. And it’s helped me a lot, you know, in my business today, you talk about always coming to a sit down with both barrels loaded. What does that mean? It means you got to know. You got to know what you want going in. You got to know what you’re settled for. If you can’t get everything that you want, you gotta be, you know, when you gotta, I think knowing your opponent or knowing the person you’re sitting down with the, the temperament, the mentality, the personality of them, like sitting down with John Gotti, you have to know going in.
That the only way you’re going to get what you want in the meeting is if he thinks he wants, you’re never going to get what you want, if he thinks that you want. Cause he’s not going to let you win in that regard. So you have to outsmart him basically. And that’s just knowing your opponent, knowing his temperament, his character, and knowing what you’ll settle for, to come out with.
And that’s how, that’s how I worked whenever I went in with. Yeah, you have, as you said, better chance of coming out of winter, that’s smart. it’s all in negotiation. One-on-one , you also talk about being consistent in the philosophy you go with, right. So can you break that down for us a little bit?
You talk about two different divergent philosophies, right? What are they and what does that mean? Well, you know, in mob life, , mafia Cosa, Nostra, you know, the kind of patron Saint that the mob was mocking. And when you go to prison, most of us read the book, the print. Because we wanted to know Mo Machiavelli’s ideology.
And if we really were, you know, students of Machiavelli into a great pot, we were no doubt about it. And, you know, to me, when I got out of that life, I was very attracted to Solomon in the book of Proverbs. So I think it’s the most brilliant book ever written and he has a whole different ideology. So.
You know, it’s, , you be consistent in business using one ideology or the other. And obviously I recommend the book of Proverbs and Solomon’s ideology because in the legitimate world, that’s the way that. And, you know, but there is a very big distinction. You can be successful in both, but at some point in time, I think Machiavelli is going to lead you to destruction as it did me and with Solomon, if you stay on that path, you’re going to have some success.
They are very fascinating. And you know what? I tell people all the time. I know it’s a biblical book, obviously, but it doesn’t matter what faith you are or if you’re no faith, His teachings, which is brilliant. And if you follow his teachings in your everyday life, you’re going to be a better person for it.
You’re going to have some success. That’s how I see it. And I, I actually, you know, I try to give a proper of a day to people that I know, and I read one or two a day every day just to keep it in my head and I’ve read it a thousand times, but it’s brilliant. It really is. He was absolutely. Why is this man who ever lived, but not the perfect man, but he was the wisest man who ever lived.
But you know, a lot of us, it’s funny because a lot of our guests, you know what, I’m going to ask you this question at the end, when you say, who would be what three people would you like to have dinner with pastor present history? The number one answer is Jesus. It’s the number one answer we get. So, I think there’s a lot more Bible readers than you think.
Interesting people are kind of going back to the, , the roots. you’ll talk about the art of delegation , do what you do best and delegate the rest. Tell me why that’s so important for entrepreneurs and business builders from your perspective. Well, you know, there is a fallacy of thinking out there that, because I had a lot of success in that life that I was a brilliant businessman, and I can tell you, and I’ll confess to it, to your audience.
I was not a brilliant, busy person. There were things in business that I didn’t like to do. I didn’t understand. I wouldn’t do it, but I had, I think, you know, two particular talents, one talent was I knew how to recognize a good. I had a pretty good sense. This is going to work. That’s not going to work. And, , so I was selective in that regard.
And secondly, I knew how to select the right people, put them in the right position and then be motivated to do the job. So you can’t micromanage. Micromanagement leads to hysteria, I think in some way, because you know, you’re all over the place all the time. You gotta trust the people you put in charge. And, , but you gotta be able to select the right people and motivate them to do the right job.
And I think I had a talent in that regard and there was a lot of people that are hired that knew a heck of a lot more than me, but sometimes I wouldn’t let them know that, you know, by keeping quiet and not saying a lot, people never know how much you really know and how much you don’t know. And, you know, I tell people that all the time, you know, sometimes you could be in a room in a negotiation.
And you’re the smartest guy in the room. And you want to keep quiet because you want to let everybody talk, everybody talk, I get everything and you can then know who’s smart and who’s not smart just by what they’re saying and what they’re doing. There are other times when you’re in the room and you’re not the smartest person in the room, but if you stay silent, people don’t know.
You know, you say one word here at the appropriate time, one word there, and then all of a sudden you got everybody, , oh, this guy knows what he’s talking about. And, you know, silence goes both ways. It can be to your benefit if you know how to use it at the right time. That’s awesome. Thanks for breaking that down for us.
Now, you’re working on a new book. Can you tell us what. That book is all about. Yeah. You know, it was funny about five years ago after I finished, you know, I’ll make you an offer. My publisher wanted me to write a political book and I said, okay. And I thought about it. And I said, you know, Machiavelli again.
I told the government, because I get this all the time, the mob should run the government. The mob would do a better job. And I tell people, no, you don’t want the mob running a government. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. But you know what, unfortunately, here in the United States, The government is so mob, like, so Machiavellian.
That I am writing a book, entitled a mafia democracy. It’s not a gimmick. It’s straight down the line, Republican Democrat. It’s just going to show how the system of government is operating so much like the mob, which is dangerous to our politics. It’s dangerous for our country. And, , I’ll, I’ll be completing the book by the end of the year.
It’ll be out early. But, you know, it’s unfortunate that there’s such reality to this book and, , you know, I see it cause obviously I have a different perspective. I live, I’ve lived both ways and it’s terrible. What’s happening? And I’m writing the book because I just want to alert people to them. I want them to understand this is not the way our government is supposed to operate and hopefully people will see it and they’ll understand it.
And we can make some changes here in the United States. What’s the title. , mafia, democracy, mafia, democracy. Got it. And speaking of the current political climate, all the unrest, the weirdness, all the scandals, what did you have to do with James Komie? Did you like you had some dealings with James Coleman?
Not personally, but he did deal with mob guys back in New York, had a bad reputation and did want to visit one of the guys, a Weitzman that also worked. There was a prosecutor, a very bad guy. And I have to say it, he was, you know, did a lot of terrible things. You know, I know people may not understand this, but when guys were on the street, they were criminals.
Their job was to be criminals. People that are in government and injustice, their job is to uphold the law, not violate the law to get the bad guys. When you start doing that, then you have anarchy and you have it and it’ll go across the board. They’re not only going to use that against the mob. They’ll use it against them.
So for me, you know, I believe that the government has to abide by the law and get people the right way. They have so many tools and weapons here in the law, in the United States. If you can’t get a guy the right way, then you shouldn’t get them at all. So you claim that, , James Komie, you know, he’s crooked, he planted evidence.
You believe that? Absolutely. I think he’s a, I think he’s a bad guy. I know it, you know, and I wouldn’t say this, look, I don’t like to talk bad about people, but this is personal to me because when people are destroying people’s lives in government, you know, hypocrisy is something that is, I, I think, you know, I’m a Christian.
And if you look at the new Testament, one of the things that angered Jesus the most was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. You make them believe, you love the people, but you’re really doing this for yourself. And there’s so much hypocrisy in our government and our justice department today. And, you know, You know, you don’t care about people out there.
You’re doing this for yourself, you know, for your own benefit, your own agenda. And that really troubles me. And, you know, guys like to call me and Weitzman. you know, I had one time thought about that with Mueller, with the investigation, but after seeing Mueller testify, I don’t know. I think he just did his job and that’s, that’s what happened there.
I don’t know that he was a dishonest guy, but, , so many of them in government. It’s just dishonest a hundred percent. I don’t think anybody likes politicians these days. Do you have an election prediction? Oh, I don’t want to predict, , all I can say is the same set of circumstances. Whatever happened in 2016, all the polls were for Hillary.
And then Trump came in. This is the thing I got to tell you. The enthusiasm level for Trump is off the hook. I mean, everywhere. He goes, the crowds, you know that they had a boat. In New Jersey, liberal, liberal state, there were over 2000 boats for him. I mean, the enthusiasm is off the hook. So it’s, it’s hard to fathom that he’s going to lose.
I tend to agree with that. I don’t have a dog in the race, but, , you know, I mean, it looks that way. You’re right. I was just having this discussion this morning, like the pre election polls right now. Like you, really similar to 2016. Yeah. You know, so. Yeah, same thing. Who knows? Okay. So you’re a busy guy, Michael, , besides the new book, , what other current and future projects do you have on the go?
Now, I want to ask you about the Michael Franzese community. MichaelFranzese.com. Tell us about what you’ve done there for young and coming up entrepreneurs and business people. We know for the last 25 years, you know, I’ve devoted pretty much, you know, my life to encouraging people, telling many stories, you know, how you can come from a very bad situation and turn your life around, obviously with the help of others and accountability to the right people.
And for me, it’s a faith issue also. And I’ve been doing that for the past 25 years. This year, obviously, because of COVID I usually speak about 40 weeks out of the year on traveling somewhere and speaking, , this year as a result of COVID, everything stopped, you know, and put off till next year. So I had an opportunity to do some things that I’ve been thinking about, but never had the time to do.
And, you know, personal coach. Life coaching business, coaching leadership coaching is something that I’ve always been prompted to do, but never had the time to do it. Well, we finally did do it this year and we launched it in June of this year. And basically it’s, it’s a couple of things. We have a community; it’s a free community where people can get involved.
We provide content, you know, that shows leadership skills, life skills, business skills. You know, courses that we have written me and my team, , and, and I get personally involved in it, you know, get in touch with the team and we have well over 5,500 people that have come into that community. And the beautiful thing about it is they’re encouraging.
The dialogue has been great. The posts have been great. People are really getting a lot out of it. And then you take it a step further. And I have the inner circle where people can have personal contact with me. You know, for me, it’s more of a life skill than business because this is what I believe.
You’re going to run your business the way you’re in your life. Pretty much. You know, if you’re disorganized in your life, it’s going to be a reflection on your business and everything else that you do. So if you can get people’s life skills in order your leadership skills in order, it’s going to reflect positively on their business.
And so I’ve been, , you know, I have a number of people now that are in the inner circle community and we do zoom calls twice a month. , we’re benefiting from it. And now we’re even taking it to another level where I’m taking on, you know, one-on-one coaching with, with certain people. And, how does someone get involved with that?
Just go to MichaelFranzese.com And you can enter into the site and it’ll give you all the instructions from that point. Cool. Maybe we’ll do something special for the listeners here to get them to go take a look and click through. Yeah, we’ll do something there. I want to ask you this question.
Since you are training coaching, you know, more of a life coach, you know, you’ve lived this insane life now, is there, is there a commonality among successful business people that you see is there’s one common thread through all of the. Well, I do, you know, believe it or not. I mean, I see a certain amount of integrity that you can, you can see in people.
they’re, they’re aggressive. If that’s the right word. In other words, they stick with it. They’re persistent. They realize that if they fail once, you know, they’re going to come back and they’re going to learn from their failures. And, yeah, I’ve noticed those qualities. I think persistence and not giving up, you know, is really important.
And then of course, You know, there’s a certain amount of intelligence involved to, to, to do well in business. But, you know, these, these are characteristics that I see, and I appreciate, and it’s mainly that, you know, you got persistent, you know, you’re onto something. , you got a certain amount of intelligence to carry that through.
And if you fail, you’re going to just pick yourself up and go back at it and do it better than the next. Yeah. I tend to agree with that. And, you know, you touched on something that I think you can help young entrepreneurs and salespeople with more than anybody and that’s the hustle. Right? I think that the aspect of hustle and sticktoitiveness, , the persistence that’s, that’s, , that’s something that’s lacking.
I think in this next generation, you know, You know, it’s funny you say that because so many of the, , emails and inquiries, I get people telling me, can you help me and be in business? Because I have no motivation. I hear that all the time. And a lot of our young people, you know, I want to be successful, but I don’t know how I can’t motivate myself.
People are even as forthright as saying, I’m lazy and I need to get out of it. How can you help me? And you know, I’m wondering about it because it’s so many young people that are sending that. I’m wondering if a lot of it is because of the end. Because they don’t get out and do things. They shouldn’t have their house and they’re, you know, trolling all the time and it looks on the internet and, you know, in a way that that’s harmful, I believe, I think.
Couldn’t agree more. I mean, I have two teenage daughters, myself and, you know, social media, et cetera. , you know, it’s, it’s taken away a lot of the social skills that the next generation really has, you know, they don’t have to have a conversation with anybody. They just text their way through, you know, relationships.
It’s interesting, you know, but I think you can really help with that and hopefully people will go to your site. And sign up for the coaching and the community there. Cause I think it’ll, it’ll benefit them for sure. You know, you’ve already dropped some bombs for us in our listeners, just, , in terms of like, you know, your experience and what we can learn from your life as well.
moving to your personal life. Now, I always like to wrap up with things like, just some personal development, personal life. I had a question. Now you are Italian, probably like, you know, I’ve never met an Italian that doesn’t like something really good, it doesn’t take their food seriously. So did you have a go-to meal?
When you were taking care of business, did you have one? It was always pasta pasta every night, you know, back then we called it macaroni. We didn’t call it pasta, but you know, that’s, , but pasta is from Italy obviously, but, , I love pasta. I mean, I could eat it every night. I just loved food. You know, I mean, I, you know, I never had Mexican food.
My wife had Mexican food until we met. And, , I love Mexican food now. You know, when I was a kid, you know, we would either go to an Italian restaurant or a Chinese restaurant. I love Chinese food. So I mean, I, I’m a foodie. I love to eat. And you know, we go out a lot and eat, and my wife’s a great cook and my son is a chef.
And I don’t know if you know this, but I recently in the past year, got involved with a pizza franchise called slice. No, I didn’t know that. Yeah, we’re actually a franchise. It is now all over the country. We have four stores. we’re opening up another big franchise up north in California.
I’m opening up one in my neighborhood in the next two weeks. So in, , we’re very excited about it and the pizza’s great. I got to tell you it’s terrific. My partner has been in the restaurant business for 35 years and we came up with a great pizza and a great concept. It’s perfect for a franchise.
So. And, you know, one of the things I have to mention, cause I get asked about it all the time. Michael, it should be a movie about your life and so on and so forth. I recently made a deal with a huge production company, a very well-known production company. I can’t, I can’t say anything yet because they’re going to make an announcement when they’re ready, but it’s for a television series it’s being written right now.
I’m very excited about having a great team of brilliant writers involved. And I think you’ll be hearing about it, you know, at the end of this year, early next year, Okay. Here’s a question that makes you think, I love this question. If you could have dinner with any three people in history past or present, who would they be and why?
Well, you know, that’s a loaded question for me because I got to tell you this I’m a big sports guy, you know, and, and there’s so many athletes. You know, it’s funny. I go in to talk to coaches, you know, and talk to their teams and give them, you know, , a good lesson and they want to hear all about the mob.
And I said, okay, but first from you, I want to hear all about sports. You know, I’m a big sports guy in that regard, but so there’s a number of, of, , of athletes that I would talk to. But aside from that, in all honesty, if there were three people that I had. Obviously one would be Jesus. I’m fascinated with him.
Second would be solid. I’d want to sit with Solomon and absorb as much knowledge as I could from him. And third, , somebody that I tremendously admire would be Billy Graham. Billy’s passed on now. , he’s had a tremendous influence on me and not that I can ever duplicate what he does, because I mean, I, it was just on another level, but I had so much respect for him really.
And just watching him and listening to him. And, and how committed he was and how humble he was. You know, there’s such strength in humility, you know, and, and, , and he personified that to me. I really mean it. And, you know, I know that he was an outspoken speaker and all that, but he was really a very humble guy.
And, you know, I just want to let your audience know, you know, we have fun with these conversations, but, you know, I am extremely thankful, extremely grateful for where I am in my life today, because quite honestly, I should either be doing. Prison for the rest of my life. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, I did things on the street for 20 years.
Yeah. I went to jail, paid my price, but let’s be honest. I spent a long time in our life. And if for some reason, God had a different plan and a purpose for me. And, , I am very fortunate. Everything I have, I’m fortunate. And I mean that every day I’m thankful for just being here and being able to have the life that I have.
So those are my three. That’s awesome. Well, you know, we never get the same three people from any, you know, one, a guest, but, , it really makes you think, right? Like what’s important in your life and in prioritizing and whatnot, but yeah, Jesus is the number one answer. Believe it or not. He’s got the popular vote right now.
So, here’s another question, Michael, you’re opening a bottle of champagne one year from now celebrating something you’ve accomplished. What would the. You know, I think, , it would really be that, , we’ve reached the height of this there’s coaching is personal coaching. because I, I tell you when I get emails from people telling me that I don’t even know.
Michael. You’ve had such an influence on my life, you know, the, who am I, YouTube videos, or they’ll go on. And, and, , they, they say you’ve helped me turn my life around. And I can’t tell you how rewarding that is and how motivating that is to keep going. So I think, you know, a year from now, I mean, look, I’ve got a movie coming out.
The book could be successful, but that’s all part of business and life and all that great. You know, you want your stuff to, to succeed. But to know that this personal coaching has really been a benefit to people. And I can look back on the last year and say, you know what, we started this and it’s really worked.
And people are really benefiting from it. I’d love to be able to celebrate that. Yeah. Well, we’ll do our part too, so that’s good to hear. And when all is said and done. What do you want to be known for? Like, what does the Michael Franzese legacy look like? Good husband, good father, you know, a guy that was able to turn his life around as a follower of Jesus Christ.
You know, I put that right up there because he’s blessed me in so many ways and really that’s it, you know? And just when you look, I know there’s going to be some negative stuff when I’m gone, you know, from people on the street, but that’s okay. Life is what it is. Look, when you put yourself out there, you’ve got to have thick skin.
You gotta know it’s coming. You put yourself out there, you take to go with the bed. I got to tell you what, you know, Donald Trump. I have never seen anybody like this guy. And you gotta respect them. Just the fact that he gets barraged every minute of every day, for years and years. And he just keeps going forward.
You know, if you, even, if you don’t like him, you gotta say, what is with this guy? You know, he’s gotta be one of the most resilient dudes on the planet. One of the things they underestimated about Trump was his resilience. Like him, they came after him with scandal. After scandal, after scandal, you just kept doing this.
He doesn’t care. He’s so resilient. They didn’t, I don’t think they banked on that. I thought they maybe wanted them to go away or whatever it was. I’ll be honest with you know, I knew a little bit about his character, but I didn’t even, I mean, this caught me by surprise for guidance to continuously take a barrage like that.
It’s been motivating to. I’d be honest with you in that way. I mean, there’s things he does that drives you crazy. Let’s be honest reading and all that stuff, but the fact that he’s able to endure all of this and keep going is, is a Testament to his, his resilience. You’re right. He reminds me a little bit of my dad, like in that, you know, you get to a certain point in a certain age and you’ve done a lot, been a lot, you know, all this type of stuff and you just don’t care.
It sure. You know, to a degree too. Well, you know, I passed away. He was 103. He’s had a very tough life for the past 50 years. No doubt spent 40 of it in prison. You know, his whole family was destroyed in many ways, but he was a very resilient guy too. And, , you know, right up until his last breath, he was a fighter.
And, , you know, you’ve got to have respect for people like that. You know, they just don’t care. They don’t give in. Yeah, my dad passed away recently, but, that generation, I think your dad is, you know, slightly older than my dad, but they were incredibly tough dudes, you know, incredibly resilient and, , it’s not the same, you know, generation is not the same now.
No, we’re not as tough as we are. It’s a softer generation, no doubt about it, but I’m glad that, you know, I’m able to, you know, be with my dad and see his resilience and hopefully, you know, emulate as much as I can. And, and like I said, you see a guy like Trump and you say, wow, you know, if he can do it, you know, I gotta keep going.
That’s it? Yeah. We’ll see what happens. And I think three weeks, I think it’s three weeks. Yeah. You know, my wife and I would talk. You know, we wonder about the conversations between Melania and Trump. And I doubt she, she must be saying to him, Donna, what do we need this for? Let’s, let’s go back to our life. And, you know, and, and all these things that we can do and cause that for a woman too, I mean, she gets it too.
And she’s, you know, she’s a classy lady. She’s got dignity, but she sees her husband getting barraged every day. Like, what do we need this for? Let’s go through our lives. Yeah, listen, man. Like he’s one of the most fascinating, I think looking back Donald Trump will be one of the most fascinating figures in political history, for sure.
Maybe even ever, like there’ll be books, movies written about this guy. It’s going to be crazy. I totally agree. Did you ever meet. You know, I met him, you know, briefly, , Roy Cohen had represented him for awhile and I knew Roy well, he was going to represent the MIT Giuliani. As a matter of fact, we’re calling the attorney.
He’s the, he was the mafia. Exactly. Well, yeah, he, he represented guys, so I knew him and I met them in a private club. One day I went up to see Roy and he was sitting with Donald and we shook hands and said, hello and goodbye. And it was nothing more than that. How was that? Was 35, 40 years ago. Yeah, Trump was, , Mr.
New York. That’s where my dad was from too. Right. You know, they loved them there. They loved them there. He was a Queen’s guy though. Yeah. You know, before he became president, he was a well-liked guy. You had to show the apprentice. Hey, it lasted 10 seasons. That’s pretty good on television. Let’s face it.
That was my favorite show. I love that. You know, he was a darling of Hollywood. People liked him in New York. He was well liked. And then all of a sudden it turned this way. Cause you know why he doesn’t play the political game and people don’t like that. They don’t like it.
Fascinating story. Michael was awesome to get to know you better and talk about your life experiences, lessons learned and how we can apply them in our everyday business life. But. The most compelling part of this discussion for me in a way is the redemption, right? You paid the price and now you’re able to help others learn from your personal experience.
Really appreciate you being Frank with us and our listeners and telling your story. Thank you very much, Michael. Really appreciate it. Well, thanks for having me and you’ve been great. I appreciate it too.