Don’t Give In To Threats

Powerful Friends

Today's lesson is a street lesson. Something none of your fancy-pants professors in your fancy colleges ever taught you, but one you need to understand if you ever want to be a powerful man.

You need friends in high places.

Having big shots on your Rolodex is easy when you're born with a silver spoon and gold fork in your mouth. It isn't as easy when you're Joey from Staten Island and have to build your reputation from humble roots.

So, as you build yourself up, you need to have something going for yourself if you want to be worth paying attention to. If you're successful in life (and you will be if you read Momo's articles and apply them to your life) and you have some good cash flow in your wallet, you're ready for the next step up the food chain.

Being connected, being plugged into the high rollers will bring you power. Why? Because you have "access" to people that can make things happen in your favor, and against your enemies.

Let's face it; we live in a world of "who you know," not "what you know." Even Momo couldn't have made it in La Cosa Nostra without the right push, and more importantly, the right support from the right people.

We don't live on Gilligan's island over here. We can't live life isolated and expect to make it. Knowing the right people, in the right places, will not only open new doors for you and offer you new opportunities, it'll also expand your already established power base.

So you're convinced you need to know high rollers. Now how do you go about being on their Christmas card list?

Get Those Friends

Let me make something crystal clear: Don't mistake "friends" in high places, with friends you'd ask to be the godparents of your children. These friends are ones of convenience; friends whose acquaintance is based purely on a business or political relationship. It's fake, and the minute you decide to donate all your money to the Amazon rainforest, guess what? You're useless and your friendship is over.

You need to understand this because what I'm about to tell you is not exactly taken from Economics 101. It's for the strong of heart, and having these friends is "all about business, not personal."

So, here's how you can start rubbing shoulders with society's powerbrokers...

  1. Extort them

    All right, I admit, this isn't for everyone. In fact, leave this one to the professionals. I don't even like calling it extortion, I like to call it "gentle/aggressive persuasion." This involves getting your intended "friend" caught in a situation so compromising, he wouldn't risk the chance of you exposing him, even if he can step on you like the maggot you are to him.

    The favorites? Setting him up with a prostitute or taking a bribe, or anything else that would make the local priest sweat.

    Less effective but still useful is finding out if your intended target had a gambling problem in the past. No one wants any of those old demons to resurface (especially if they serve as reminders to people he still owes money to).

  2. Have something to give

    Whether it's a permanently reserved table at Malio's, the endless supply of Cuban cigars you give him, acting as a middleman in "delicate" situations, or even straight cash, you're useless to a big shot unless you have something to give him that he deems worthy enough to have you in his presence.

    If you have nothing of value to offer, you're not getting far.

  3. Let your money talk

    Whether you're the world's most generous campaign contributor or have the biggest stash of cash under your pillow, money talks and opens doors. Money buys you influence -- even if you don't use it to buy someone's friendship, your large net worth will get someone's attention. But slipping a few Ben Franklins in someone's direction will certainly help get the message across more quickly and less painfully.

  4. Have a successful legitimate front

    When you don't want your money to talk for you, let your position in society or your reputation do it for you. If you're some big shot with a corner office at an important company, or if you own an important company, or you're a well-respected figure in your community, the chances of your phone calls getting returned increase. Of course, no matter who the bigwigs you're trying to befriend are, they have to know who you are. So get your face out there -- not in the crime section of your local newspaper, but at the right events and parties.

  5. Befriend their friends

    There's nothing quite as great as when someone vouches for you, so you can take the fast lane up the food chain. If you can't get directly to the person in the high place, find out who his acquaintances and friends are, and hit them up. Having friends of friends in the right places is the second best choice to having a direct connection. But what are you going to do?

    In my business, Momo always prefers direct contact. It gives me peace of mind that my message hasn't been lost in translation and allows me to determine how friendly (or sincere) my friend in the high place is. Of course, there are situations where direct contact could compromise our relationship. In those situations, it's always better to allow a mutual friend to handle any favors being discussed.

    Just remember to return the favor. Share the wealth and influence with the friend that introduced you to the big shot or risk having your connection to the top severed.

    Create a charitable situation and go after the big boys...

  6. Start a charity

    Most charities are fronts. I know you know that, at least I hope you know that after all this time of listening to Momo, or else you're just a dumb cafone who is wasting your time and mine. You get the wife to set up some fancy dinner, invite all the local VIPs, and you use the opportunity to get close to the people you're going after.

    If you don't have the big bucks to host an event yourself (which is the most successful way of controlling the charity and introductions at the party), make yourself known in the local charity scene with a large contribution. It'll increase the chances of you being invited to bigger and more important charitable fundraisers.

    Be a gentleman, wear a friggen' tuxedo, look sharp, and don't go around drinking all the champagne. These bluebloods don't like inviting the "ill-mannered" to their little parties; don't give them a reason to never invite you again.

Who You Should Go After?

So who exactly do you want in your back pocket? The one-sentence answer is anyone with any influence above and beyond the scope of the law.

What this means is, besides all those pretty little rights you have in the Constitution, your friends in high places should be people that can go beyond the written law. These people should be able to make things happen for you beyond what you're entitled to.

Here are two quick examples:

Everyone is entitled to ask for a reservation at a restaurant, but there's nothing that says you can't be seated in the corner next to the kitchen. Knowing the maitre d' changes your experience though. He'll guarantee you the reservation on the busiest night of the year, the best table, a complementary bottle of champagne, and top-notch service. Knowing him doesn't change your basic rights, but it certainly can enhance them.

If you get "pinched" for drunk driving, you're entitled to a lawyer. But only the right lawyer can take those same laws that put you behind bars in the first place, shake them up like a martini, and come out with a concoction that will set you free with a slap on the wrist and no permanent record. Everyone has the right to a lawyer, but the right lawyer with the right friends makes the difference between jail time and a criminal record, and enjoying a pina colada in Acapulco.

So who are the powerbrokers you should aim for?

City hall officials

Whether it's for lucrative city contracts, getting a parking ticket canceled or speeding up the rezoning of some real estate you own, city hall is much more powerful than you think and can get a lot of things done for you, if you know the right people. Red tape disappears faster than a kid unwrapping his Christmas presents, when these pencil pushers get greased.

Police chiefs or lieutenants

Nothing like being a good friend of the sheriff's office to get you out of "sticky" situations. When things go wrong, you want a friendly face at your local precinct. If the chief is too high up for you to reach, there are plenty of other fish at all levels of law enforcement you should befriend. Send them a nice bottle of Scotch every year and don't waste your time with beat cops.

Bank managers, editors, and CEOs are the big boys you want in your back pocket...

A bank manager

Whether you need to "clean" some funds, make a few transfers to Switzerland or get a loan on a risky investment, having access to someone who controls the purse strings of a large financial institution will come in handy one day.

Newspaper editors

Whether it's doing the 19th profile of your business to generate business, highlighting your great deeds in the community, trashing your enemies, or pushing your political agenda, having the right people in the right papers writing the right stories for you is a huge feather in your cap. Here's a tip: these guys can be had easily with a few drinks, a few poker nights, and a few hookers.

Local union chiefs

When you need to get things done and the local unions are blocking your way, having their boss in your pocket will miraculously cure any "problems" they may have. I'm going to leave the rest of this one to your imagination.

Radio Show hosts

Its always good to be on a #1 rated radio show like "Ron & Ian". You can spread your influence and sway public opinion by showing just how big your testicoli is by being a celebrity on the radio. It helps to keep a public face and become endeared to both influential people and "ham-n-eggers" (listeners) who are tuned in to a top-rated radio show. The Feds will "think long and hard" before pinching someone who's beloved by so many. Plus, you can get a lot of free crap.

CEOs of companies

Nothing like having rich friends. Big companies command a lot of respect, a lot of influence and a lot of power. Knowing the head honchos of corporations with clout is a huge accomplishment. They'll help you with your business, your career, controlling your competitors, and introducing you to other friends in high places. You have no idea how many important government contracts (easy money) land on the laps of these guys before going public. They're often too busy to handle all the money the government throws their way. Be there to pick up the leftovers, among many other advantages of being their friends.

Momo's Lesson

Look, if you're 18 years old and reading this, this lesson won't apply to you. If you're ambitious, you'll say, "Not yet," but let's be realistic. You need to be a somebody to even be in a position to acquire these valuable, if phony, relationships.

Trying to do any of these things I just wrote about when you're not established in life will bring you nothing. So do what you have to do, build your base of power and money, then go after the big boys. Capisce?

Watch your backs and keep your noses clean. And remember..."think long and hard" my friends!