Earlier this year celebrity chef Natale Giunta reported to police four suspected mobsters from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia who allegedly were shaking him down for protection payments known as "pizzo," and he encourages other Palermo businesses to stand up to the extortionate bullies as reported by ANSA: "'I call on everyone to say no to extortion,' he added. 'If there are a lot of us, it will have to stop.'"
An increasing number of Sicilian businesses no longer are willing to pay protection money to Cosa Nostra clans, and have banded together through Addio Pizzo to end the extortion practice.
In a recent episode of his CNN series Parts Unknown Anthony Bourdain visited Sicily, and aptly characterized the island's Mafia as "a gigantic parasitical organization" whose members "generally speaking are a bunch of spectacularly uneducated lazy ass sociopaths who have no problem stealing from their own harder working neighbors."
Apparently the restaurant business in New York also was a prime target for the wise guys at least during Bourdain's years as a working chef, and he claims the mob tax "was built in to all your basic services": "you got taxed with every laundry order every time they took your trash away."