The Pavano's are primarily based in Algonquin. The family is said to be controlled by 60 year old Mary Valvona, along with her 40-year-old ex-lover Arthur Zapulla who is the family's official consigliere. Mary Valvona and Zapulla are suspects in the murder of her former husband and boss in 1990. Joe Corrola, until his death in 2008, was in charge of the family's heroin distribution ring. Mario Venturella is the longest lasting lovers of Mary and is an Algonquin based cat-burglar. Vito Menotti, a former Pavano hitman turned states against them in 2008.
Boss Jimmy Pegorino of the Pegorino crime family looked at the Pavano family as a way of getting a seat on the Commission, so he organized a sit down with them at an old refinery, where he took hired gun Niko Bellic along to watch over the meet with a sniper rifle. Niko was recommended to Pegorino by associate Phil Bell. The sit down was a set up and the Pavanos attempted to whack Jimmy Pegorino, who was then saved by Niko. After this failed hit, the Pegorinos and the Pavanos went "to the mattresses", and the Pavano crime family later suffered for their actions when Pegorino hired Bellic again to wipe out a Pavano crew that was meeting at Auto Eroticar in Alderney City.
- Mary Valvona - 60 year old female boss (or front boss), after her husband's death (she was suspected to have poisoned him, but no one knows for sure). Most of the top-ranking members are her lovers, all at least 20 and usually even 40 years younger than her.
- Arthur Zapulla - 40-year-old, ex-lover of Mary Valvona, in the early 90s Mary paid for him to go to law school and he might have possibly been involved in the murder of Mary Valvona's former husband. Currently the family's consigliere, he could also be the unofficial boss of the family, allowing Mary to take the media attention as the front boss.
- Joe Corrola - Mary's 33-year-old former lover who was in charge of the family's heroin distribution ring.
- Mario Venturella - Mary's 21-year-old lover, a cat-burglar based in Algonquin.
- Vito "Dog Meat" Menotti - a top-ranking hitman for the Pavanos since the 1990s, who is now turning states against them.
- The Pavano family is similar to a Italian Camorra organization, which once had a female boss named Rosetta Cutolo.
- Mary Valvona, could be based on Rockstar games interpretation of Cathy Moriarty-Gentile character Patti LoPresti from the film Analyze That were she was a female Mafia Boss in New York City. No Italian-American crime families in New York City or the United States ever had any female members. Females have only stayed as associates or "Comare" (name for mafia mistress).
- The Pavano family could also be loosely based on the Genovese crime family. The Pavano's are operating in some of the same areas as the Genovese's, in Manhattan (Algonquin) neighborhoods of Harlem (North Holland), and Central Park (Middle Park) the family also maintains a strong presence in New Jersey (Alderney). The Pavano family is ranked as the second-most powerful family in GTA IV, while the Genovese crime family is ranked as America's most powerful mafia family. In a Liberty Tree article the Pavano's are mentioned to be rivals of the Gambetti's (Gambino family), similar to the real Genovese-Gambino rivalry.
- It is possible that Mary Valvona is not the real boss of the Pavano Family and is in fact just a "puppet boss" for the real (male) boss. For years the Genovese family (on which the Pavanos are likely based) used Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno as the front boss or "puppet boss" for the real boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante.
- The last names from two members of the Pavanos Valvona and Corrola might be a reference to famous Italian delicatessen "Valvona & Crolla " in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.