Christmas Decorations Are Mobbed Up

Shopkeepers in Portici, Italy, are banned from putting up holiday decorations. The mayor there is fighting the mafia. The Wall Street Journal reports for years an organized crime syndicate has been selling holiday decorations to shopkeepers in Portici at inflated prices.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Our last word in business today comes from Italy, and the word is Christmas crackdown.

Shopkeepers in the town Portici, near the city of Naples, are banned from putting up holiday decorations. Police will be patrolling the streets on the lookout for contraband Christmas trees, lights, reefs. This is by order of the mayor. He's not trying to be a Scrooge. He's trying to fight the mob.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

For years, an organized crime syndicate called the Camorra has been selling holiday decorations to local shopkeepers at inflated prices - "selling" -that's a quote. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Camorra has squeezed more than $4 million a year from Portici shopkeepers, much of it from this holiday racket. Despite threats, the mayor has stuck to the ban: No ornaments unless you have official permission or receipts showing the decorations were legitimately purchased.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I guess we're getting into the happy holiday season, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: Yeah.

MONTAGNE: I'm Renee Montagne.

WERTHEIMER: And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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