John-John Veasey’s Life After the Philly Mob
He was one of the most colorful characters in the history of the Philly mob — a charming killer who tangled with two MAFIA bosses, survived three gunshots to the head, and suffered Through the revenge murder of his own brother. Then he went into the Federal Witness-Protection Program — and built a new life for himself that may have been even crazier than his first one
The owner also wrote:
“Yes, I broke the rule of letting someone that worked with me become my friend. The irony is that he turned out to be one of my best friends. He exaggerates, he is a conspiracy thinker, and he absolutely wears me out at times. However, I also believe him to be one of the most trustworthy and honest people I know. I have seen John do amazing heartfelt things for co-workers, family, customers and strangers. It is almost as if he possesses a higher sense of justice.”
Veasey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor—improper touching—for the restaurant fight. However, people at the dealership who were suspicious of him went on the Internet to figure out who he really might be, and they came across the legend of John-John Veasey, Mob hit man. That forced him to find work at another dealership, where the head of security—the former FBI agent—used his agency contacts to confirm, last spring, who the Closer really was.
The feds told Veasey that with his cover blown, his life was again in danger from the Mob. They wanted Veasey back in the witness-protection program so he’d stop talking trash about them and about the program itself. The feds promised to relocate him, to give him a new identity, even to pay his bills in the interim. They also told John’s wife to quit her job.
So Veasey stayed home and waited for the feds. Meanwhile, even though he was far from broke, he had no money coming in, and the bills piled up. “My electric gets shut off today,” he says when I visit him earlier this year, along with Dave Schratwieser of Fox 29. The feds were screwing him—and Veasey is pissed off. “They told me they were gonna give me a second chance,” he says of the feds. “I believed them. I got this second chance, and I exceeded all expectations. And they don’t know how to fix it?”
His life in limbo was a long way from South Philly, where Veasey is still feared. Earlier this year, when rumors spread on Facebook that he was coming home to settle a few scores, the wives of local mobsters called the FBI to ask for protection.
They’re afraid because the one constant in John’s life was Billy, before he was murdered, and the local Mob is nervous that John could still show up at the Melrose ready for more carnage, to avenge his brother’s death. Veasey certainly doesn’t sound intimidated by the Philly Mob. He dismisses them as a “street gang” that’s so behind the times, they’re still into video poker machines and busting the heads of people who can’t fight back.
But he also doesn’t sound like he’s about to come East to rumble.
“I enjoy my life,” he says—at least, he did until his cover was blown. When I visited him after he’d lost his job, Veasey was still clad in his Rolex, $300 Rock & Republic jeans, and a $750 pair of alligator-skin cowboy boots. A billionaire friend has a fleet of private planes. “If I wanted to, I could fly to Philadelphia in under two hours, anytime I want,” Veasey says. “But why would I want to do that? Why would I want to lose all this for them knuckleheads?”
Meanwhile, “The final chapter hasn’t been written yet,” says a top official in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia.
But after waiting five months for the feds to act, John did what any self–respecting dittohead would do. He decided to take control of his own life, and accepted a new job in another city. He didn’t want a handout. Now, when the feds call, he doesn’t even answer the phone. They’re looking for him.
“Tell them I’m in Alaska with Sarah Palin,” Veasey tells me the last time he calls. He also has a parting shot for Joey Merlino and friends. The truth is, John still can’t let go—he’s still tortured by what happened to Billy 15 years ago:
“If the feds can’t find me, how the fuck can you fucking incompetent gangsters find me? The next time you think about finding me, I might be finding you. I could pop up at any time.”