Biography[edit | edit source]
Michele "Feech Oogatz" La Manna was referred to as a "Moustache", Those who, at least perfunctorily are respected as "original Cosa Nostra , "made" in Sicily.
Feech came over to America in the 1950s and settled in Northern New Jersey where he became involved with the DiMeo crime family; he was one of the high ranking capos running both bookmaking and several card games then under the leadership of boss Ercole 'Eckley' DiMeo. Paulie Walnuts calls him "The King of Breadsticks" because he owns a bakery and catering company. A contemporary of Giovanni "Johnny Boy" Soprano and Corrado "Junior" Soprano, Feech had become one of the most respected and feared capos in the DiMeo family by the 1970s. However, his status did not prevent a young Jackie Aprile, Sr. and Tony Soprano from robbing his card game, and thereby solidifying their status as rising stars in the organization. Despite Feech's anger at having been robbed, Jackie's older brother, Richie Aprile, then a high-ranking earner and soldier in the family, intervened on Tony and Jackie's behalf and got them a pass. They were also helped by the fact that both Tony's father and uncle were powerful capos under DiMeo.
In 1984, Feech was convicted of several criminal charges such as promoting gambling, racketeering, and fraud, and was sentenced to twenty years in prison. In 2004, he returned to North Jersey to, in his own words, 'get back in the game'.
Feech went to see Junior Soprano and over lunch with Junior, Bobby Baccala, and Tony Soprano (the new boss of North Jersey), requested permission to get back in the action. Tony acquiesced, on the condition that Feech not step on anybody's toes. However, Feech soon got into trouble. After a power struggle with Paulie Walnuts over landscaping, Feech stole cars from Ira Fried's daughter's wedding. Previously, during a card game, Tony had made it clear that Fried was a friend and was not to be touched, but Feech went ahead with his plan anyway. Tony realized that Feech still thought of him as a kid, and did not believe that he owed him the respect of the boss. Tony, having learned from his experience with Richie Aprile, indicated to Silvio that things needed to be "nipped in the bud". Tony instructed Christopher Moltisanti and Benny Fazio to convince Feech to keep a truck of stolen plasma screen televisions in his garage. When a different parole officer suddenly appeared at his home and discovered the televisions, Feech was arrested, and ended up back in prison.
Because of Feech's old age, it is likely he will be imprisoned for the remainder of his life. Both Tony and Silvio Dante thought this was a better solution than having the well-liked and respected Feech killed. Tony also remarked that Feech's actions were "Richie Aprile all over again" meaning Feech, like Richie, only saw Tony as the wet behind the ears kid he knew before a long prison sentence. He would never truly respect him and eventually try to usurp his power like Richie had tried. They were glad they had nipped this in the bud before it mushroomed into more confrontational situations.