Matt Gryta, B.A. ’69

Inside the Mafia

Matt Gryta, B.A. ’69, has served as a gritty crime reporter for the Buffalo News for more than 40 years. During that time, he’s covered thousands of stories. One story, however, captivated Gryta so much that he decided to write a book about it.

The result is The Real Teflon Don: How an Elite Team of New York State Troopers Helped Take Down America’s Most Powerful Mafia Family, released in April by Cazenovia Books and available at Teflon Don tells the story of a decade-long war waged by an elite undercover New York State police team against Buffalo’s Magaddino crime family.

“Until the 1990s, no one in the public knew that a secret police unit had been created by New York governor William Averell Harriman back in the late 1950s to wiretap Stefano Magaddino and his top aides,” said Gryta. “A few years ago, I was talking with George Karalus—the only surviving member of that police unit—and we decided that we needed to put this story down on paper.”

Gryta spent four years interviewing Karalus and conducting extensive research on the Magaddinos. He reviewed countless wiretap transcripts and eventually amassed an initial manuscript totaling some 400 pages. Ultimately, he edited Teflon Don to under 200 pages, but he plans to use his accumulated resources to produce another two books about mob-related crime in Western New York.