Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob

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9781402754432: Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob

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 In a riveting page-turner, NBA referee Bob Delaney reveals the clandestine life he led before becoming one of professional basketball’s most respected referees.
In 1975, Delaney had spent only a year and a half as a New Jersey State Trooper when his superiors approached him with a tantalizing yet dangerous undercover assignment: to infiltrate the Mob. Delaney accepted, and became Bobby Covert, the president of Alamo Trucking, a fully-operational business used by law enforcement as flypaper for snagging crooks. 
At the height of The Godfather era, Delaney wore a wire and lived among wiseguys who modeled themselves on their on-screen counterparts, quoting lines from The Movie” and boasting of how often they’d seen it. Delaney even crossed paths with Joe Pistone, the real-life Donnie Brasco (though neither knew the other was undercover), knowing all the while that a single slip could get him killed.
Ultimately gathering enough evidence to convict 30 members of the Bruno and Genovese crime families, Project Alpha was a success, but Delaney struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and traces of Stockholm syndrome after getting too close to those he investigated. Therapy helped him come to terms with all he’d endured during his three tense years undercover, and, once a college basketball star, Delaney began officiating high school and intramural games as a way to rebuild his life eventually working his way up to the NBA, where he has been a referee for more than two decades.

 

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About the Author:

Bob Delaney has been an NBA referee for the past twenty years. In the 1970's, he was a highly-decorated New Jersey State Trooper who went undercover for nearly three years to infiltrate the Mob, and was the principal undercover operative in the landmark investigation, Project Alpha.

Dave Scheiber is a nationally-recognized and award-winning sports and news features writer at the St. Petersburg Times. His work has appeared in numerous publications and, early in his career, he was a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated, which called him "one of the most talented young sportswriters in America."

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. NBA referee Delaney's fascinating account of his prior life as a New Jersey state trooper who infiltrated organized crime will be a must-read for those drawn to Joe Pistone's similar account in Donnie Brasco (or the movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp). In 1975, Delaney was a relative novice in law enforcement when he was tapped by a superior to help build cases against major Mafia families by creating and running a fake business, Alamo Trucking. With the aid of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times sportswriter Scheiber, Delaney captures perfectly the daily routine and perils of undercover work, and describes the psychological challenges he faced during the three years of Project Alpha: The granite foundation of my self-image... had given way to shifting sands of doubt and worry. While less heralded than Pistone's work, Delaney's achievements—which yielded multiple convictions of members of the Bruno and Genovese families—were significant precursors to the Feds' massive 1980s assault on La Cosa Nostra. Becoming a basketball referee after these proceedings was a return to an early passion of the high school all-state forward and captain of his college team—but the fear, he says, still comes back sometimes. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Feb. 5)
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