Mobster Sale: Quiet Little Witness-Protecting Memorial Mansion Sheds a Cool Million

The daintily decorated Bayou Woods mansion owned by a Vincent Cabella — put up for sale last year for $4 million but reduced to $3.45 million by the time Swamplot featured it in March — has been discounted again. Now come up with just $2.45 million and the cozy little 5-6 bedroom, 5 1/2-bath retreat is yours!

How could you refuse an offer like this?

Of course, this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill elephant-statues-by-the-front-yard-fountain Memorial Dr. show-off-piece. According to the New York Daily News, it’s actually the hideaway mobster Vincent Palermo — aka Vinny Ocean — retired to after he testified against some of his former underlings in New Jersey’s DeCavalcante crime family and joined the federal witness protection program. (Cabella, crime reporter Greg B. Smith explained, was the former Mafia boss’s new Houston name.)

But he’s led an active retirement:


Cabella and his son were able to spend some quality time together here, running a car wash, a Mexican restaurant, and 2 strip clubs near the corner of Westheimer and Winrock. And of course there was all that decorating to do in the new pad, which he bought in 2003:

The home went on the market not long after Smith blew Palermo’s cover in a report last fall.

15 Comment

  • WOW, another mobster-gauche house for sale. It looks like Laura Ashley projectile vomited throughout the abode. Since when are informants in the Witness Protection Program allowed to run strip clubs? And what it is about the tacky-rich and their need for bidets?

  • I guess I could go find my comment that was mistakenly posted about the other “House with a History You Won’t Find on the Seller Disclosure” and repost it here where it bleonged but suffice it to say an investigative reporter, obviously something we don’t have in Houjston, shoudl investigate and find out who financed the “retirement” and who really owns, or owned, what. Of course they may want to check with the NY Daily News reporter to “broke this story” that no one else in Houston apparently ran. Just to see if he’s still around. Or has been reported missing.

    The things people don’t know about the Justice Department. Hope they paid the “titty bar tax” on their strip clubs.

    This house, like the other one, will sell for land value. No one in their right mind would live in the house. You’d be constantlhy worried that someone might not have gotten the news that Vinnie the Ocean had moved on. And decide to just “redo” the entire house with bullet holes.

    I guess you could put up a little sign “Vinnie Doesnt Live Here Anymore” but somehow I don’t think some of these guys with the machine buns know how to read.

    I would love to know how the neighbors reacted.

  • “Machine buns,” Matt M? Nice typo!

    Actually we should put this place up against the Richelieu for a test-pattern competition, one in beige and one in colors.

  • Gus needs to add spellcheck I guess. Some of them probably have machine buns. They don’t have brains so they compensate with the body.

    At least Richelieu doesn’t leave you feeling as if Mattress Mac is about to jump out from behind a sofa screaming “I will save you money.”

  • Machine buns…heh

  • I heard that South Beach was no longer the location for Jersey Shore season two. This might be a good base for the Jersey crew and their “fist-pumpin” action.

  • A Houston koan: How can a house be decorated entirely in shades of beige, yet still be tacky?

  • Love the movie theatre! Is that a ‘Scarface’ poster in the back? Fitting…

  • I thought being in witness protection meant flying under the radar. Elephants, fountain, and a Memorial Drive address hardly qualify.

    Plus, I thought some Indian Mogul lived there.

  • Matt: “You’d be constantly worried that someone might not have gotten the news that Vinnie the Ocean had moved on. And decide to just “redo” the entire house with bullet holes.”

    Yeah. Or that Vinnie decided he didn’t get enough money after all & shake you down for more. “I’m leaving the furniture here unless you pay!”

  • “I’m leaving the furniture here unless you pay!”

    I suspect at some point the listing agent will realize the house will sell more quickly without the furniture.

    And that atrocious fountain.

  • Just compare this place to the elegant tiny Westmoreland apartment. Mind-blowing.

  • Worst part to me?

    Bose in the home theater.

    Seriously. That’s an awful thing to do to sound.

  • The story of Vinny Ocean is on CNBC tonight on “American Greed”. They are profiling the New Jersey mob family who he became an FBI informant on.

  • This house has always been the black eye of newer construction on Memorial Drive. I remember when it also had a large extremely tacky garden temple beside the home. One would think the green tile roof, overly ornate fence and enormous fountain would be enough, but this house has out done bad taste with the interior finish-out. A friend of mine informed me of the story behind the owner and everything finally made sense. Hopefully the listing agent will get a clue and advise the sellers to reduce the asking price. No one in their right mind will ever pay the current list price.