Speaking out on family values isn’t out of place in a religious setting – unless the values are those of the Columbo crime family, one of the five mafia families reputed to control organized crime in New York.

Michael Franzese was the featured speaker at the Men’s Power Lunch at First Baptist Church of Conroe Monday. He spoke of his entrance into the world of organized crime, his rise in the organization and his ultimate conversion to Christianity.

“I’ve done and been a part of some pretty terrible things in my life,” Franzese said. “But if I can see the light and make the struggle to change my ways, anyone can.”

The son of an underboss in the Columbo crime family, Franzese became a “made” man in 1975 at the age of 24. Of 115 members of the family, he quickly became an “earner” for the family.

“I had several legitimate businesses like car dealerships and a production company in California,” he said. “But it was the wholesale gasoline business that made the real money.”

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