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Family Says 'Mob Wives: Chicago' Star Is 'A Joke'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A decades-old mob murder has been making national headlines again, thanks to a reality show taping in Chicago.

John Fecarotta was gunned down in 1986, and now a relative is joining a show called Mob Wives Chicago.

Fecarotta's son spoke to CBS 2's Dave Savini to express his outrage. He said a cousin, who had little to do with his dad, is trying to cash in on a reality show that is not so real.

"My father was a victim of a crime," said James Fecarotta. "He was murdered."

James Fecarotta is talking for the first time about his father's violent death at the hands of the Chicago mob; which is known for baseball bat beatings, car bombs and other brutal murders.

Fecarotta said he does not know why his father was targeted.

"No, I don't. I really don't know why," he said.

Police sources said his father was a mob associate, who angered the wrong people, but the son said that is not true.

"My dad owned restaurants – plain and simple," Fecarotta said, adding his dad also was a business agent.

James Fecarotta said he moved his family and mother far from Chicago, to a place where the family name would not be associated with names like Lombardo, Marcello and Spilotro.

John Fecarotta was gunned down outside what used to be a Northwest Side bingo hall, and now, 26 years later, his family says a reality series is making them relive it all again, while glorifying the Chicago mob.

"She wants to capitalize on my father for a bunch of b.s.," said James Fecarotta.

He said he is angry his cousin Renee Russo changed her name to Renee Fecarotta Russo and is going to be in a new reality series called Mob Wives Chicago.

When asked what he thinks of her, Fecarotta said, "Oh you can't ask me that, because right now she's just making our family look bad with the things she says, the things she does. She's going on TV to make a quick buck."

Renee Fecarotta Russo refused to do an interview with CBS 2, but according to the show's website, she claims John Fecarotta raised her, and was her mentor and best friend, until he was gunned down by mob hitman Nick Calabrese in 1986.

"That's a joke. That's a joke," James Fecarotta said about Russo's claims of being close to his father.

He said her role in this reality show is also a joke.

"Maybe I should change my name to Savini, and I can become a newscast guy for a week," said Fecarotta.

He said what is not funny is the pain she is causing the rest of the family, including his children – who are being teased at school about their last name.

"I'll say that on national TV," said Fecarotta about Russo. "Don't bother us no more. You've been shunned from the family."

James Fecarotta said he called the production company making the show to complain, but he said he never received a call back.

The show is set to run on VH1 this summer. A show representative also refused to talk to CBS 2 about it. There have also been complaints by Italian-American organizations, about the potential for negative stereotyping.

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