Are Donald Trump's reputed decades-old ties to organized crime figures fair game in the presidential race?
A former Mafia captain who was active in the mob life during the 1970s and 1980s said the links are real but being blown out of proportion.
Michael Franzese was a mob soldier and later captain in New York's Colombo crime family, rising through the ranks at the same time Trump was making his name building and developing properties.
In those days, Franzese told Chasing News in a Skype interview, the still-powerful mob controlled a large number of the unions representing construction workers and building trades. Agreements between the Mob and construction companies the developers chose were common to ensure union peace on the job site, Franzese said.
In fact, Franzese said Trump was mentioned in mob circles, though Franzese himself never did business with the presidential candidate.
In late 1987, Franzese left the Mafia while serving time in jail. He now works as a Christian motivational speaker, telling about his rebirth as a Christian and turn to a life of serving God.
Franzese believes Trump's ties with crime figures like "Fat Tony" Salerno, who has been dead more than 20 years, are not as serious as they are being portrayed in the media and by Trump's rivals for the Republican nomination like Sen. Ted Cruz.
Though Franzese has not made an endorsement in the presidential race, who would a former mobster like to be president?