From Porky's to Panama Prison, Tony Galeota Reveals Miami's Mob-Run Prostitution Industry
|Tony Galeota, right, and Ludwig "Tarzan" Fainberg shortly before their arrest in Panama City|
Then, at the end of August, New Times received a crackly long-distance phone call from Panama. "You want to know the real story about Porky's strip club?" a man said in a thick Long Island accent. His name was Tony Galeota, he said, and he had run Porky's for 18 years before being locked up in Panama's worst prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Tony Galeota: From Running Porky's, Miami's Most Notorious Strip Joint, to Rotting in a Panamanian Jail
"This is real mafia shit," Galeota says of his life pulling strings in Miami's murderous, mob-fueled prostitution industry. "Real people, real families, real beatings, and real killings."
Galeota and I spoke many times over the phone about his high-octane, often highly-illegal life. He is the first to admit that he's no saint. He has made a lucrative career out of selling sex, starting as a teenager in New York when he would drive his friends to the West End for hookers.
"He's not going to win any character contests," says friend and former Porky's DJ Josh Weiss.
But Galeota is brutally honest, both about his own life and the cocaine-fueled, mob-connected strip clubs that have dominated Miami for decades. In fact, it was here, in the mob-infested waters of South Florida, that the fishmonger found his true calling.
Starting in 1991, Galeota turned Porky's -- a hole-in-the-wall near Miami International Airport -- into a one-stop-shop for strippers, sex, and serious drugs. The line between stripping and prostitution was as thin as the girls' g-strings.
"Someone would come to Porky's, see a girl they liked, and ask me: 'Is she good to go?'" Galeota says. "A lot of girls wouldn't usually sleep with guys. A lot of other girls would. Sometimes if you upped the ante, offered her $500, all of a sudden the girl changed her tune."
When cops raided Porky's in 2009, Galeota moved to Panama where prostitution is legal. But greed and government corruption would conspire against him.
Now he is rotting inside La Joya, one of the western hemisphere's worst jails. There, inmates kill each other over $10 and bury the bodies in the prison yard.