Tony Galeota: From Running Porky's, Miami's Most Notorious Strip Joint, to Rotting in a Panamanian Jail

"I brought in music and women," Galeota says. "The first month, we had $15,000 in gross sales. A year later, it was $115,000 per month."

By the mid-'90s, Galeota had turned Porky's into a one-stop shop for strippers, sex, and serious drugs. Prostitution was so common at Porky's that the club had fixed places and prices, Galeota says. Johns paid $100 to rent a VIP room downstairs. Girls charged $150 or more for sex.

Running an underworld operation in Cocaine Cowboys-era Miami wasn't an easy gig. "I used to have to patch Tony up all the time," Kristy says. The two were married in 1994 at a wedding full of mobsters. "Many times, I worried about him getting killed. Tony was a tough, muscular little shit back then. But this was Hialeah."

Over the years, Galeota saw nearly a dozen shootings at Porky's, some of them fatal. Most of them were robberies gone wrong or simple revenge. None of them ever appeared in the newspapers, but Hialeah police records confirm there were at least ten shootings at Porky's during Galeota's tenure. More detailed reports on the crimes weren't available.

"There was probably a lot more fun going on at Porky's than we even knew of," says one Hialeah police officer who asked not to be identified. "It was home to a lot of shrewd and nefarious characters."

The Porky's party nearly came to a sudden end in early 1997. By then, the club's criminal clientele and Fainberg's increasingly lavish lifestyle had raised eyebrows.

"We were doing fantastic, but Tarzan got bored and started living the life," Galeota explains.

The FBI swooped in January 21, surrounding the club and arresting Fainberg. Prosecutors accused him of providing prostitutes for his Russian friends, trafficking drugs, selling stolen cigarettes and liquor, and setting up arms deals for Russian and Colombian cocaine smugglers.

The most audacious plot — allegedly hatched in the back of Porky's — was to purchase a former Soviet submarine for $5.5 million for a Colombian drug cartel so it could ship cocaine up the coast to California. Fainberg allegedly told undercover cops he had sent coke to Russia in a shipment of frozen shrimp and had bought six $1 million Russian military helicopters for the South Americans.

"These guys were into just about everything," Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Fernandez said at the time.

Galeota also found himself in the back of an unmarked FBI car. Two agents told him that they'd been tapping his phone for months. Then they pushed play on a cassette deck.

"I just watched Luis blow a guy away," Galeota heard himself say on tape. He was talking to Fainberg about a murder he'd witnessed in Porky's parking lot. "Luis pulled out a .38 and shot the guy in the chest."

"You hear that?" the agent said. "That's obstruction of justice."

But Galeota was convinced the cops were bluffing and refused to cooperate. As Fainberg and a wealthy Cuban-American named Juan Almeida sat in the Federal Detention Center downtown, and newspapers across the country splashed the sensational story of the drug submarine scheme, Galeota focused on staying out of court. When he discovered he was about to be subpoenaed, he withdrew $2,500 from the bank and boarded a two-week Caribbean cruise.

While Galeota avoided testifying, Fainberg faced 30 counts including racketeering and conspiracy to traffic cocaine and heroin. He faced nine years in prison, but because he provided evidence against Almeida, he served just three years before being deported to his adopted homeland of Israel.

With Fainberg locked up, Porky's was Galeota's plaything. He answered only to property owner William Seidle, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee who ran a chain of car dealerships. The two ran Porky's for another decade after Fainberg's deportation.

"Bill was one of the most influential people in Miami," Galeota says. "He used to have a lot of his friends, even judges, come into Porky's for sexual favors... This is a guy that the FBI went after for years but could never get him. They tried to squeeze Fainberg to get Seidle. He was a big, big fish."

Indeed, court records show that Seidle was a target of the federal wiretapping investigation. And multiple sources close to Fainberg say he was pressured to rat out Seidle but refused. Seidle was never charged with a crime.

If anything, Galeota's life got even more out of control after Fainberg's arrest. Kristy caught Tony cheating several times, she says. But not until she discovered he'd been dating a former Porky's stripper for more than two years did she threaten to divorce him in 2009. He broke it off with the woman, but his problems were only beginning.

When Seidle died in 2008, Porky's political protection followed the 82-year-old to the grave. State and local police launched an investigation in February 2009. Over the course of three months, undercover detectives made dozens of visits, tallying up a vivid snapshot of the club: "15 purchases of cocaine, four purchases of MDMA, one purchase of Xanax, one purchase of marijuana, 18 solicitations for prostitution, [and] 20 lewd acts."

Dancers with names like Baby Doll, Tipsie, Trixie, and Crème offered to have sex with the cops for as little as $150, court records show.

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25 comments
sampaiolaw
sampaiolaw

@MikeMillerMiami another great article.

NotRollergirl
NotRollergirl

@AndrewMaleMojo @pleasedonteatjo Ooooooh! I really could spend all day reading about glamorous gangster dodginess.

pleasedonteatjo
pleasedonteatjo

@AndrewMaleMojo Woah. Those two would get on like a house on fire. Or cocaine and a bank note.

hiwrecker
hiwrecker

What does "Manhattan's infamous West End" refer to? Is it the West End bar that used to be near Columbia University? Or West End Ave.? Anyway , it can hardly be "infamous" if I can't seem to find anything about it.

 

TararaBoumdier
TararaBoumdier

Trying to stamp out prostitution is even sillier than trying to stamp out drugs.

kutepi4791
kutepi4791

Ha ha, you get what you deal out, I'm glad you're going through this. You people talking about the place are just as disgusting as this fat pig and belong there with him. Selling human flesh and drugs, we all know what kind of a filthy life that is. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

mobstersuck
mobstersuck

Boo-hoo, the ruthless mobster lost it all. He's right where he belongs, hope he rots in there.

Pianoman
Pianoman

Tony G.is my friend.I used to bring my guitar down to Porkys and play and sing "Ruby Baby" for the dancers in the back room.They had a cute midget (little person) working there I used to like.Great ass!!

thebulldog
thebulldog

and what about the neon guy, he was awesome too!

jcalvo2378
jcalvo2378

Porkay's was our Cheers...it wasn't a stripclub, it wad a hangout. A place where everyone knew each other n just hung out. Tony n Jimmy where staples there...such as big Carl, Santi n Carlos. Those where the good ol'days!

mjorizondo
mjorizondo

Who doesn't love a fat guy in a rabbit coat?

DavidOvalle305
DavidOvalle305

@DavidOvalle305 El Centro Espanol might have been a close second in terms of notoriety

AndrewMaleMojo
AndrewMaleMojo

@NotRollergirl @pleasedonteatjo Grot-glamour. It's the proximity to shoddiness and crap taste that I love. The Kim Dotcom aesthetic.

AndrewMaleMojo
AndrewMaleMojo

@pleasedonteatjo They have just both rolled up my Instapaper icon and are attempting to snort Shazam.

freetonyg
freetonyg

@unclelukereal1 check out the @miaminewtimes article. Its crazy. Could use ur help in spreading the word on this innocent American in jail.

freetonyg
freetonyg

@unclelukereal1 it is a strip club in Hialeah..right near the airport...google it...google ludwig Fainberg and tony galeota

freetonyg
freetonyg

@DavidOvalle305 Centro was quite notorious..however they came & went very quickly. That can't be denied. #Porkys thrived for a long time.

MikeMillerMiami
MikeMillerMiami

@DavidOvalle305 You have a point, but only Porky's had a Russian-Colombian cocaine submarine plot. What a place! More to come tomorrow, too.

NotRollergirl
NotRollergirl

@AndrewMaleMojo It's that amazing idea that everyone will take you at your own estimation for a bit, no matter how demented your lies are.

NotRollergirl
NotRollergirl

@AndrewMaleMojo @pleasedonteatjo YES! Have you seen Damsels In Distress with the chick who pretends to be British?

NotRollergirl
NotRollergirl

@AndrewMaleMojo @pleasedonteatjo HAR. It took me a little while, but I was Sambola-ing in my seat at the end.

AndrewMaleMojo
AndrewMaleMojo

@NotRollergirl @pleasedonteatjo As a typical playboy-operator type I gave that film the swerve.

 
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