Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

Developing Dilemma
Does Mayor Street have a problem with the vision thing? Street At the Crossroads, second in a series.
-Daniel Brook

-Daniel Brook

The Bell Curve
City Paper's weekly gauge of Philly's Quality of Life

January 30-February 5, 2003

city beat

Blondes and Bikers

In the driverÔs seat: Mob ex-girlfriend Ruthann Seccio 

takes control of her cinematic life story.
In the driverÔs seat: Mob ex-girlfriend Ruthann Seccio takes control of her cinematic life story.

Hello Hollywood and more news from the Wheels of Soul.

Ruthie The Stah

Hollywood has sealed the deal with Ruthann Seccio, the sassy South Philly ex-gal-pal of Ralph Natale, the mob boss turned government witness.

Film director Kevin Kerslake told City Paper, "We've just signed an agreement to make a feature film about Ruthann Seccio.

"It's going to be a fascinating window into her life, her early struggles growing up, as well as her involvement with the mob world. It won't be The Sopranos. It'll be a story told from a very different perspective."

Kerslake talked to City Paper last week the way you'd expect a Hollywood movie-maker would, on his cell phone while driving through the California desert.

There is no script yet, and he is in the early stages of looking for development and option money to move Seccio's tale from story outline to silver screen. But Kerslake has high hopes that his successful track record will speed the process -- he's directed music videos for Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Rolling Stones and has done big-time TV commercial work.

Seccio said she is thrilled.

"I'm really excited," she said. "I think Kevin will do a great job with my story."

This past summer, Seccio met with several different producers in Los Angeles who were interested in the tale of her mob love and underworld violence.

"These things take a long time," Seccio said. "My life isn't going to change overnight."

The 30-something bottle-blond Seccio is not leading the movie-star existence just yet -- she's still tending bar and hanging out in South Philadelphia, taking care of her mother and being with her friends.

To some mobsters in the local underworld, Seccio was a figure of scorn when she was mob boss Ralph Natale's main squeeze. There were tales of kinky sexcapdes including boudoir photos, and a bed made out of money where Natale and Seccio supposedly romped the night away. And there were stories about loud arguments and even physical altercations between the married mob boss and the mistress.

But Seccio was also an eyewitness to the dangerous power struggle between Natale and some of the younger wiseguys, and according to Underworld sources ranging from mobsters to a Pagan biker, Seccio was targeted for beatings and even murder by the gangsters who wanted to overthrow Ralph Natale and seize control of the Philadelphia mafia.

Seccio's phone hasn't stopped ringing. Recently she heard from Nicholas Pileggi, author and producer of such mob movies as GoodFellas and Casino. Pileggi told City Paper he was contacted by a friend of Seccio's who is in jail.

Seccio's jailhouse pal told Pileggi he thought Ruth's life would make a great book and that Pileggi should call her.

Pileggi told City Paper in a phone interview last week, "I don't know enough about her life to say if it would be interesting to me or not. I've got a lot of other things I'm committed to before I could think about this. I really just called to say hello and to introduce myself, that's all."

Bikers Talk Back

Reacting to the most recent Underworld column about the Wheels of Soul taking sides in the biker war between the Pagans and the Hells Angels, two members of the Wheels motorcycle club spoke out.

Bear Claw, a high-ranking member of a Wheels of Soul club chapter in Philly, told City Paper, "The Wheels of Soul only care about the Wheels of Soul brotherhood. We have nothing to do with the conflict."

Bear Claw pointed out that his club has never accepted patches from the Warlocks, the Hells Angels or the Pagans and that the Wheels are not a criminal organization.

"We're a national club founded in West Philly in 1967. We're racially mixed, black, white, Hispanic, Asian. We're not racists and we're not drug dealers," Bear Claw said. "We're biking enthusiasts, a bunch of brothers who love the feeling of freedom when we ride our bikes."

But the vice president for the Southern California chapter of the Wheels of Soul, Dago Sumo, told City Paper in an interview last week, "We are not biking enthusiasts. The Wheels of Soul is an outlaw club. We wear the 1-percent patch. We're not weekend bikers. We're in it for the long haul."

Sumo said on the West Coast his club is friendly with Hells Angels, Mongols, Vagos, Banditos and others but "some of these clubs are looking for allies and we're not interested. We have no beef with anybody."

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