“Not until I wrote our story, though, did I realize that I had not saved my father. He, in fact, saved me. I became a better man and father thanks to him — a more joyous, grateful, and grounded soul. I think Jimmy knew I’d write this story someday and it would help ease the immense heartbreak I still experience every day without him. My father was and always will be my True North.”
New York City of the 1960s until the turn of the 21st century was the world’s epicenter of organized and white color crime. For those decades, the most feared mafia chiefs, assassins, de-frocked stockbrokers, Orthodox Jewish money launderers, and Arab bankers arriving in the dead of night in their private jets, sought the counsel of one man: My father, Jimmy La Rossa, a former Kennedy-era prosecutor, who became the defense attorney of last resort in the only city that mattered.
On January 30, 2009, I snuck my infamous and mortally ill father from New York Presbyterian Hospital to a waiting Medevac jet, where we flew in secret to a place few people would look for two die-hard New Yorkers: A beach town in Southern California aptly named Manhattan Beach. In our five years in exile — The La Rossa Boys — as we became known, made our mark as a most irreverent and unrivaled father/son duo. True North, A Son’s Memoir of Love, Redemption and Indomitable Spirit, at 80,000 words framed in 19 chapters, is this true story. As a memoir, this work is more Tuesdays with Morrie than a mafia book, despite a recurring theme of lawyers, guns and money.
While I cooked Jimmy his favorite Italian dishes and kept him alive using the most advanced equipment and drugs, I documented his legendary courtroom exploits. In addition to some of the seminal legal events of a generation, this historical memoir has a unique undercurrent throughout: The love story between a father and son — a theme not often seen in American arts and letters.
As his namesake and devoted sidekick for 50-years, my father and I shared a long and storied life, relying on one another at every turn. I was lucky enough to be witness to some of what transpired. Jimmy told me the rest over the course of his last five years. This true, fantastic tale was the last of the many gifts my father bestowed on me. It is my honor to be able to share it with you.
James M. La Rossa Jr.
Manhattan Beach California
TRUE NORTH, A Son’s Memoir, is based on actual events.
This work, originally titled LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY, began as a lengthy treatment for a television series. LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY is a registered trademark of Jimmy Boy Productions LLC, Los Angeles CA., Category 041 -“Entertainment services in the nature of an ongoing historical drama.”
The La Rossa Boys, 2011
James M. La Rossa, Esq.
December 4, 1931 – October 15, 2014
New York Times – James M. La Rossa, Defender of Mob Bosses in Court, Dies at 82.