Lombardo, Antonino (1891-1928)

Born Galati, Sicily, Nov. 23, 1891.

Killed Chicago, IL, Sept. 7, 1928.

Antonino Lombardo

Lombardo, a trusted Capone adviser and perhaps his organization's consigliere, was one of the tools used by Capone in his effort to penetrate Chicago's Unione Siciliana.

In the chaos following Unione leader Mike Merlo's death in November 1924, Samuel Amatuna briefly held the presidency of the Sicilian underworld network in the Chicago area. Amatuna got in the way of some bullets five days after the first anniversary of Merlo's death, and the Unione leadership was once again vacant.

According to legend, Capone, who had taken over Johnny Torrio's operations in January of that year, used his influence to shove Lombardo into the president's chair. Reportedly many objected to the move but were too fearful of Capone's wrath to oppose it. The legend is probably inaccurate. Capone's authority within Chicago's Sicilian-Italian underworld was limited in 1925. However, it could be the case that Lombardo - a respected figure in the immigrant Sicilian community - took Capone under his wing.

Antonio Lombardo was born to Salvatore and Rosaria Lombardo on Nov. 23, 1891. Little is known for certain of his early life. It appears he entered the United States early in 1909. By the Prohibition Era, he was living in Cicero, Illinois, and running a successful wholesale grocery in Chicago.

Legend says that, by 1926, Lombardo was preparing the way for a direct takeover of the Chicago-area Unione Siciliana fraternal organization by Capone. Lombardo supposedly opened the membership of the group to non-Sicilian Italians, allowing the Neapolitan Capone to become a member. As a sign of the policy change, the organization changed its name to the Italo-American National Union. While the name change portion of this legend is accurate, the Unione fraternal organization had actually been open to non-Sicilian Italians for some time but remained closed to any who had criminal records. So, either the legend of Capone's takeover is incorrect or the name Unione Siciliana was applied at the time to more than the fraternal organization. If Unione Siciliana was a term used to refer to an underworld network in the Chicago area, it would explain Capone's long struggle to earn its recognition.

By 1927, Capone's meddling in the Unione and his aggressiveness in the Chicago rackets had forced the Aiello Brothers into an alliance with the North Side Gang against Capone. In January 1928, there were demands that Lombardo surrender the local Unione presidency to Joe Aiello. That did not happen.

The Sicilian underworld in Chicago took aim at Lombardo and blew him away in early September. He was shot in the head in front of 61 East Madison Street on Sept. 7, 1928. Lombardo's funeral was elaborate, in the gangland tradition. Mourners lined the streets, and floral decorations filled his home and spilled out onto the lawn. An enormous floral heart containing the words, "My Pal," was provided by Capone. Lombardo was buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery on Sept. 11.

After Lombardo, there followed a succession of short-lived presidents of the Chicago Unione, and the Unione itself began to diminish in importance as the Chicago Sicilian-Italian criminal societies consolidated.

Lombardo death certificate


Lolordo, Pasqualino (1885-1929)

Born Ribera, Sicily, June 28, 1887.

Died Chicago, IL, Jan. 8, 1929.


Lolordo was one of the unfortunate leaders of the Chicago Unione Siciliana of the late Prohibition Era. He stepped to the Unione presidency upon the death of Antonio Lombardo in September of 1928.

Lolordo's place of birth appears to have been Ribera, Sicily. The date of his birth was June 28, though the year is recorded differently in public records. A 1917 World War I draft registration shows his birth year as 1887. Lolordo's Cook County, Illinois, death certificate states that he was born in 1885. The later year seems the more reliable of the two. Lolordo entered the U.S. about 1907 and initially settled in New York City. He married Lena Mule. After serving time in a New York prison before Prohibition, he migrated westward to Chicago, where he became a successful merchant.

Police initially suspected Pasqualino's brother Joseph Lolordo - a Lombardo bodyguard - of performing the 1928 assassination of Lombardo. Newspapers noted that Joseph Lolordo and Al Capone had the same attorney at that time.

Pasqualino Lolordo's dreams of becoming a second Mike Merlo - and, in fact, his dreams of anything at all - stopped abruptly on Jan. 8, 1929. On that day, he was assassinated by visitors to his home. It is believed that the killing was ordered by the Aiello Mafia clan.

After Pasqualino's death, his wife Lena returned to New York City and lived with in-laws there.

Joseph "Hop Toad" Giunta, who had begun a Sicilian revolt within the Capone organization, bravely took over the Unione presidency. But he wouldn't survive to see the summer.


Licata, Nicola "Nick" (1897-1974)

Born Camporeale, Sicily, Feb. 20, 1897.

Died Santa Monica, CA, Oct, 19, 1974.


Nick Licata is remembered as the boss who presided over the dramatic decline of the Los Angeles crime family.

Licata was born in Camporeale, in the Sicilian province of Palermo. He entered the U.S. through New York on Dec. 7, 1913, settling first in Detroit. He later married there. He and his wife Josephine had two children in Highland Park, Michigan. He resettled in southern California in 1929.

First a grocer and then the owner of a Burbank cafe, Licata earned notice in the underworld through the summer 1951 murders of Kansas City Mafiosi Tony Brancato and Tony Trombino. Brancato and Trombino were moving into some of the Los Angeles rackets, apparently as part of a westward push by the Kansas City crime family. In mid-August, police rounded up Jimmy and Warren Fratianno, Sam London, and Sam Lazes, while they searched for missing Fratianno associates Charles Battaglia and Angelo Polizzi. Fratianno was considered the prime suspect in the killings, but Licata provided him with an alibi.

Licata became a front man for boss Jack Dragna during the later years of Dragna's reign. He served under Frank DeSimone for a decade after Dragna's death. After DeSimone passed in August 1967, Licata took control of a deeply divided crime family. Longtime California racketeer Joseph Dippolito served as underboss.


Law enforcement authorities had learned a great deal about the L.A. family by that time, and Licata was constantly hounded by police and federal agents. He was unable to consolidate his power. A branch of the criminal organization appears to have come under the control of Jack Dragna's son shortly after Licata ascended to the boss position.

Though he had earlier convinced Kansas City mafiosi to stay out of California, boss Licata also had to deal with incursions by the Cleveland mob family.

In July 1969, Licata was called before a grand jury to answer questions about the Jan. 10, 1969, slaying of Julius Anthony Petro of Cleveland. Known for committing bank robberies and suspected of murder in Cleveland, Petro was found shot to death in a parked car at the Los Angeles International Airport. Licata refused to testify and was ordered to prison for contempt of court. The following May, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Curtis released Licata on $2,500 bail while he appealed the contempt order. Judge Curtis said he expected Licata would never answer questions on the Petro case.

With his family and his territory in disarray, Licata retained the title of boss - though probably not the power - until his death in fall of 1974. Licata died Oct. 19, 1974, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica.

A Requiem Mass was celebrated for Licata Oct. 23 at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. About 150 people attended the services.

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Lazia, Johnny (1895-1934)

Born Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 28, 1895.

Killed Kansas City, MO, July 10, 1934.


Lazia likely started his underworld career as a thug for the Tom Pendergast political machine in Kansas City. By 1928, he had graduated to leader of the North Side Democratic Club and controlled much of the organized criminal activity in the region.

Lazia was born in Brooklyn, NY (the family name was Lazio) to immigrant parents Giuseppe and Frances. His birth year is generally recorded as 1896, which appears on his gravestone. A date of Sept. 28, 1895, appears on Lazia's World War I draft registration. The family relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, shortly after his birth and settled on Campbell Street.

Lazia was arrested in 1915. He was charged with armed robbery and with firing a weapon at a local police captain. His conviction resulted in a prison sentence of 15 years. The local political machine had an interest in Lazia, however, and he was paroled after serving just eight months behind bars.

As he matured, Lazia's underworld specialty became gambling. He operated a dog racing track and the swank Cuban Gardens club. Other business ventures included a night club and soft drink concessions. He appears to have coordinated bootlegging operations in the region during and following the Prohibition Era.

Lazia served as mentor for Charles "Mad Dog" Gargotta and Anthony Gizzo. Gargotta later allied with Lazia successor Charles Binaggio. (Gargotta and Binaggio were both killed in the Jackson County Democratic Club headquarters on April 5, 1950. Gizzo briefly served as top boss of the Kansas City Mob in the early 1950s.)

The influence of the Pendergast machine kept local law enforcement off Lazia's back. However, federal tax agents managed to nab the North Side gangster in 1930. He was tried and convicted of tax evasion. Though he was sentenced to a year in prison, he remained free during appeals.


While the appeal process dragged on, Lazia was believed to be involved in the Union Station Massacre and a gang shootout on Armour Boulevard.

Underworld rivals caught up with Lazia before the law did. Early on July 10, 1934, two men - one carrying a machine gun and the other carrying a shotgun - attacked and mortally wounded the Kansas City gang boss as he stepped from his car at his apartment house. With him at the time of the shooting were his wife and their trusted friends Mr. and Mrs. Charles Carolla. (Charlie "the Wop" Carolla served as Lazia's bodyguard.) Lazia was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital where surgery was performed. He lingered for eight hours before succumbing to his wounds.

Lazia's funeral cortege stretched for several miles. A dozen motorcycle police officers served as escort. Ceremonies began at the home of his older sister Mary Antonello (she married Joseph Antonello in January 1910). They continued at Holy Rosary Church. Burial took place at St. Mary's Cemetery. Lazia was laid to rest beside his parents.

Lazia's pall bearers included his longtime friends James Balestrere, Joseph Gallucci and Charles Gargotta.

Local police rounded up more than two dozen suspects. Rumors indicated that hours before the Lazia shooting, Lazia had argued with operators of a South Side beer tavern. There was wide speculation that his murder was related to alcohol rackets.

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Lauritano, Leopoldo (1889-?)

Born Naples, Italy, Dec. 30, 1889.

Died ?, after 1942.

Lauritano was a Brooklyn-based Camorra leader who ran a coffeehouse/saloon at 113 Navy Street and also conducted a lucrative murder-for-hire business.

Born in the Naples area near the end of 1889, Lauritano reached the United States in 1906 and was naturalized an American citizen in January 1915. He lived and worked in the area of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and participated in the operation of the infamous Navy Street Gang. His brother Anthony appears to have been acquainted with if not involved with the gang.

In the 1910s, as the Sicilian Mafia and Neapolitan Camorra in the New York area cooperated to monopolize rackets, Lauritano became a sort of sergeant-at-arms for the budding syndicate. He commanded what may have been the first Brooklyn-based murder-for-hire organization.

It was to Lauritano that Bronx Mafia boss Ciro Terranova allegedly ran to contract a hit on Joe DeMarco in 1916.


Camorra bosses took offense at Morello-Terranova actions and decided to dissolve the partnership and eliminate as much of the Sicilian Mafia leadership in New York as possible. Lauritano gunmen were employed later in 1916 to perform the executions, which resulted in the deaths of Terranova's brother Nicholas and aide Charles Ubriaco.

According to testimony from hitman Johnny "Lefty" Esposito, Lauritano paid his gunmen a steady salary to keep them on retainer. (Esposito complained that Lauritano lowered his pay as a result of the accidental killing of Lauritano friend Charles Lombardi during the DeMarco hit.)

In 1918, Lauritano was arrested for his involvement in the 1916 murder of Giuseppe Verrazano at the Italian Gardens in Manhattan. While held for that crime, he was tried and convicted of manslaughter in connection with another killing. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in state prison. The 1920 Census found him at Clinton State Prison in Dannemora.

On Jan. 12, 1926, Lauritano was released from prison on parole. He had served just seven and a half years of his original 20-year sentence. He was immediately rearrested on a 1918 indictment in the Verrazano murder case. On Jan. 14, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Selah B. Strong released Lauritano on a habeas corpus writ. Strong noted that he had dismissed the murder indictment against Lauritano two and a half years earlier.

Lauritano's discharge resulted in an bitter public feud between Justice Strong and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Dodd. Strong insisted that Dodd had approved the dismissal of the murder charge in the summer of 1923. Dodd denied having any part in the dismissal.

In March of 1927, Lauritano was taken into custody as a material witness against accused Camorra assassin Anthony "Shoemaker" Paretti. He was held on $100,000 bail at the Raymond Street Jail in Brooklyn. Paretti went to trial that June. Camorra leaders Lauritano, Allessandro Vollero and Pellegrino Morano were all called to testify. All denied knowing Paretti. Lauritano further denied knowing his fellow witnesses and any members of the Navy Street Gang.
Paretti was convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison. Lauritano's testimony caused him to be tried for perjury.

The perjury trial began on Feb. 10, 1927. On the following day, Assistant District Attorney James I. Cuff confronted Lauritano with a photograph showing him at a gathering of the Navy Street Gang. Lauritano changed his plea to guilty and admitted that he lied about his associations with gang members.

On March 1, Justice James C. Cropsey of Brooklyn Supreme Court sentenced Lauritano to serve five years in Sing Sing Prison. According to reports, Lauritano narrowly avoided a more serious sentence because his perjury occurred two days before the effective date of the strict Baumes laws.

After his release, Lauritano went to live with his brother Anthony on Adelphi Street in Brooklyn. The two worked together on Navy Street. Documentation on Lauritano after the start of World War II is lacking.


Sources:
  •  "10 held when gunman exposes 23 murders," New York Tribune, Nov. 28, 1917, p. 16.
  •  "Armored car owner queried on Marlow," New York Times, July 11, 1929, p. 1.
  •  "Assassin, hired at $15 a week, admits part in 6 murders," New York Tribune, June 7, 1918, p. 16.
  •  "Convicts at trial refuse to testify," New York Times, July 1, 1926.
  •  "Dodd charges plot to Justice Strong," New York Times, Jan. 28, 1926.
  •  "'Judge, I lied,' he says," New York Times, Feb. 12, 1927.
  •  "Justice accuses Dodd of blunder," New York Times, Jan. 29, 1926.
  •  "Lauritano held in $100,000," New York Times, March 27, 1926.
  •  "Paretti witness gets five years," New York Times, March 2, 1927.
  •  "'Shoemaker,' fugitive for 10 years, surrenders on indictment for murder by Navy St. Gang," New York Times, March 17, 1926.
  •  Leopoldo Lauritano Naturalization Petition No. 12129 dated Jan. 28, 1915.
  •  Leopoldo Lauritano World War II draft registration, 1942.
  •  U.S. Census of 1920, Clinton Prison at Dannemora, Jan. 7, 1920.

Lansky, Meyer (1902-1983)

Born Grodno, Russia, July 4, 1902.

Died Miami, FL, Jan. 15, 1983.


Lansky was a long-time friend and "business" associate of Charlie Luciano, Benjamin Siegel, Frank Costello and other big-name Prohibition Era gangsters.

He was born Maier Suchowljansky in Grodno, Russia. Various dates of birth range from 1898 to 1902. Social Security death records and FBI files contain a birthdate of July 4, 1902. Some believe that his birthdate was erroneously recorded upon his entry into the U.S. and was actually Aug. 28, 1900. Lansky appears to have used the 1902 date in official papers.

The Jewish community in his native Grodno surrounded by and often assaulted by non-Jewish residents of the area. Lansky's earliest memories reportedly were of Jewish versus Gentile warfare. Lansky, his mother and his younger brother Jacob "Jake" sailed to America in 1911. They arrived in New York harbor on April 4, and were met by Lansky's father Max, who had traveled to the U.S. years earlier and was living on Lewis Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in sight of the Williamsburg Bridge. They subsequently moved a very short distance to an apartment building near the corner of Columbia and Grand Streets.

In that neighborhood, populated by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Lansky met and befriended Benjamin Siegel (known as "Bugsy"). A friendship also developed with young Salvatore Lucania - later known as Charlie Luciano - who lived nearby. Luciano, Lansky and Siegel cooperated on some minor criminal enterprises, possibly working for Arnold Rothstein on occasion, and in scuffles with the nearby Irish-dominated gangs. They joined in racketeering ventures - likely including bootlegging, narcotics smuggling and labor racketeering - with Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, and possibly had business relationships with Dutch Schultz.

On Oct. 23, 1918, a teenage Lansky was arrested for felonious assault. He was later discharged. During Prohibition, Lansky, Siegel and Luciano engaged in rum-running. Lansky and Siegel regularly served as guards for illegal liquor shipments sent from New York to Chicago by Dutch Goldberg, Charlie Kramer and Bill Heisman. The two men also may have worked at hijacking competitors' liquor shipments. In the late 1920s, Lansky was suspected of involvement in the murder of Kiddy Kolbrenner, he was arrested for felonious assault, for violation of penal law and for homicide. Each time, he was discharged.

Luciano was absorbed into the New York Mafia organization of "Joe the Boss" Masseria, and Lansky and Siegel served informally as his advisors and enforcers.

In the early 1930s, Lansky became a trusted financial adviser to the Mafia's ruling Commission. His presence in Chicago in the spring of 1932 was documented by his April 19 arrest. He began setting up gambling facilities in Miami and Cuba and stayed regularly at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana. He also initially supported Siegel's vision of a gambling and entertainment Mecca in Las Vegas. Lansky reportedly held a secret financial interest in the Flamingo for many years.


In 1939, Lansky reportedly attended a top-level meeting of racketeers which considered how best to handle the law enforcement pursuit of fugitive Lepke Buchalter. Buchalter was wanted on narcotics charges and other racketeering offenses. Prosecutors in Brooklyn also were investigating Buchalter's connections to a series of murders. At the meeting, Lansky, Doc Rosen, Longie Zwillman and others decided that Buchalter must leave the country. Buchalter remained and eventually turned himself over to the authorities.

Lansky is generally credited with serving as an early 1940s go-between for the jailed Luciano and officials with U.S. Naval Intelligence. Lansky was among the noteworthy underworld visitors to Luciano at Great meadows Prison in Comstock, NY.

After World War II, Lansky and his brother Jake ran a gambling house near Miami known as the Colonial Inn. They took part in gambling operations in Saratoga and Hollywood. Lansky is believed to have collaborated with Frank Costello and Phil Kastel in the opening of the Beverly Club just outside of New Orleans in 1946.

In 1948, as Florida began to crack down on illegal gambling, Lansky sold off Colonial Inn. Pressure by the U.S. government against organized crime increased in the late 1940s, and Lansky was called before the Kefauver Committee Oct. 11, 1950. By that time, he was invested in a number of legitimate enterprises, including alcohol distributorships, food companies and coin-operated machines.

Lansky's major gambling investment, the Riviera Hotel in Havana, was lost with a change in Cuban leadership. Tourists had been discouraged from traveling to Cuba during the revolution of Fidel Castro's force. When Castro took over the government and embraced Communism, tourism shut down completely. The hotel, which by some estimated cost $14 million to build, had not be open long enough to recover more than a third of the initial investment.

Lansky's health, already an issue while developing his casino in Cuba, suffered further upon the casino's shutdown. He dealt with ulcers and chest pains and was hospitalized after a heart attack.

U.S. federal law enforcement agencies hounded Lansky for much of the rest of his life. In the early 1970s, he attempted to retire to Israel. Under pressure from the U.S., which wanted Lansky back home to face charges of skimming from the Flamingo, the Israeli government refused his request for permanent citizenship in 1971. Late in 1972, the Israeli Supreme Court backed the decision and Lansky was forced to attempt to find refuge elsewhere.

An airplane exodus took him first to Switzerland, then to Rio, then to Buenos Aires and on to Paraguay, where he hoped to set up a quiet life for himself. But U.S. authorities headed him off, and Paraguayan officials refused to let Lansky off the plane. The aircraft continued on with stops in La Paz, Lima and Panama before returning Lansky to Miami and the waiting American officials.

Lansky avoided conviction but three other attempts to go to Israel were blocked. He died in Miami on Jan. 15, 1983.


Lamare, Cesare (1884-1931)

Born Italy, Nov. 7, 1884

Killed Detroit, MI, Feb. 7, 1931.


Cesare "Chester" Lamare led the Detroit Mafia for a brief period in 1930 at the start of the open fighting of the Castellammarese War. He became a casualty in that conflict early in 1931.

Lamare was born in Italy and traveled to the United States as a child in 1897. Lamare involved himself in bootlegging and other rackets in the Italian colonies of Wyandotte and Hamtramck in the Detroit, Michigan, area. Police arrested him often between 1915 and 1921. Lamare was believed to control gambling and narcotics rackets in the area. He was arrested and charged with a bootlegging violation in 1927. He was convicted but let off with a fine.
At about that time, he went to work for the Ford Motor Company, ensuring peace with Italian laborers at the auto plants. He was given control of an automobile dealership and organized produce sellers in the region.

In the late 1920s, Lamare became a strong ally of New York Mafia boss Giuseppe Masseria. Masseria became boss of bosses of the American Mafia by 1928 and urged Lamare to expand his underworld interests into areas controlled by those less loyal to Masseria, including Angelo Meli's Mafia and an affiliated group commanded by Castellammarese Mafioso Gaspar Milazzo.

Lamare ordered the assassination of Milazzo on May 31, 1930, at a Detroit fish market, 2739 Vernor Highway. It appears that he planned to eliminate Meli at the same time and place, but Meli did not appear. Milazzo and his companion Sam Parrino were shot to death by Lamare gunmen. Many believed that Masseria personally approved the murders, and used the incident to rally Mafiosi around the country to a growing anti-Masseria faction.

Lamare proclaimed himself leader of the Sicilian underworld in the area. Meli and his organization did not oppose Lamare at first but quietly worked against him.

Lamare eventually found himself hunted by gangsters and the police. He went into hiding, traveling as far as New York City and Louisville, Kentucky.

In February, he moved into a fortified home on Detroit's Grandville Avenue. Lamare's rivals tracked him down and had him shot him to death in that home just after midnight on Feb. 7, 1931. The assassin was probably someone known and trusted by Lamare, as the gang boss appears to have allowed him into the house.

Police, summoned to the location by Lamare's wife, found the gang leader with a bullet holes in his head. They also found a small arsenal in the place, including six revolvers, a tear gas gun, two rifles, 4,000 rounds of ammunition and some hand grenades.

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Kastel, Philip (1893-1962)

Born New York, NY, April 2, 1893.

Died New Orleans, LA, Aug. 16, 1962.


"Dandy Phil" Kastel was a mob bigshot in New Orleans following World War II. He was a close friend and business associate of New York crime boss Frank Costello and possibly had earlier connections with underworld financier Arnold Rothstein.

Born in New York City, Kastel became a stockbroker and involved himself in fraudulent stock sales through "bucket shop" rackets. In 1921, he led the brokerage firm of Dillon & Company into bankruptcy while writing numerous large checks from drained company accounts. When the company failed, it had about $3,000 in assets and debts to customers in excess of half a million dollars. An investigation followed in 1922, and Kastel disappeared. He turned up in San Francisco and was brought east to stand trial. After delays and two unsuccessful trials, Kastel was convicted April 17, 1926, of fraudulent use of the mails. He was sentenced to serve three years in federal prison but was released on $20,000 bail pending appeals.

Half a year later, he was convicted of first degree grand larceny, in connection with the stock frauds. A sentence of between three and a half and eight years in state prison was imposed for that offense. He was freed on $40,000 bail while he appealed that verdict. Kastel's federal appeal was lost in December 1927.

At the end of the Prohibition Era, Kastel reportedly served as president of a liquor distributing business. He and Frank Costello imported the King's Ransom brand of Scotch whiskey. By 1934, he also was linked with Costello in the operation of slot machines in and around New York City.

When New York City's LaGuardia administration seized slot machines from around the city and destroyed them, Kastel and Costello decided to move their gambling rackets south to Louisiana. Kastel became the point man for Costello-run casino and slot machine gambling.

In 1946, local New Orleans officials duplicated New York's anti-gambling campaign of the previous decade, forcing the Costello-Kastel operations outside the city limits.
Kastel and Costello created and ran the Beverly Club casino in Jefferson Parish, just beyond the New Orleans line. In the 1950s, the Kastel-Costello partnership also opened the Tropicana in Las Vegas (other partners in that venture reportedly included New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello and entertainer Jimmy Durante). Nevada officials delayed the 1957 opening of the Tropicana until Kastel severed his official ties with the casino.

Aging and in poor health, Kastel reportedly took his own life in 1962. Reports indicated that he had been ailing for several months and was losing his eyesight. He required the attention of a private nurse at the Claiborn Towers Apartments on Canal Street. On August 16, 1962, the nurse heard a gunshot and then found Kastel dead.

Johnson, Enoch "Nucky" (1883-1968)

Born Galloway Township, NJ, Jan. 20, 1883

Died Atlantic City, NJ, Dec. 9, 1968.

"Nucky" Johnson was lord of Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition Era. He was involved in rum-running, numbers rackets and other illicit enterprises and simultaneously served in a number of government roles.

Johnson was a big shot in southern Jersey Republican politics. He was local sheriff and Atlantic County treasurer for several terms. He had Atlantic City so under control that it was deemed safe for a peace conference of Chicago's leading gangsters in spring 1929.

The meeting, held from May 13-16 at the President Hotel (one source says it was the Breakers Hotel) is known to have included Al Capone and Frankie Rio of Chicago. Other Chicago crime bosses and Mafia leaders from the major cities of the East likely also attended, but there is no supporting evidence for their presence. (This has not prevented some authors from presenting lists of attendees, the meeting agenda and portions of meeting dialogue.)

Under Nucky Johnson, Atlantic City was one of the leading import centers for illegal booze. Johnson, along with gin merchants up and down the East Coast and in Cleveland, created a bootlegging cartel later known to authorities as the Seven Group. That association included Italian Mafiosi as well as non-Italian elements.

In the early 1940s, federal agents brought tax evasion charges against Johnson. He was convicted of non-payment of taxes owed on $124,000 of numbers racket income in 1936 and 1937. In Camden, NJ, on Aug. 1, 1941, District Court Judge Albert B. Maris sentenced him to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Nucky was unsuccessful in appeals to the Circuit Court in Philadelphia and the U.S. Supreme Court. On the eve of his sentencing, July 31, playboy Johnson got married to former showgirl Florence Osbeck in Atlantic City. The two reportedly had dated for seven years.

Johnson did his time in Lewisburg, Pa., and returned to his Atlantic City home. He died of natural causes on Monday, Dec. 9, 1968. He was 85 years old.

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Iamascia, Danny (1902-1931)

Born New York, NY, c. 1902

Killed Manhattan, NY, June 18, 1931.


Daniel J. Iamascia worked for the Bronx organizations of Ciro "The Artichoke King" Terranova and Arthur "Dutch Schultz" Flegenheimer.

Daniel Iamascia was born in New York in 1902 to parents Giuseppe and Rosina Charamia Iamascia. His parents, born in the Province of Campobasso, Italy, crossed the Atlantic in the 1890s and settled in New York. (Giuseppe was born Feb. 10, 1867, in Macchia Valfortore. Rosina was born Nov. 15, 1881, in Pietracatella.)

He had a number of arrests on his record, but always got off the hook. He was arrested as a youth for assault and battery in Queens in 1918 but then released when the victim suddenly disappeared. He was apprehended on a rape charge in the Bronx in 1919 and then released. Police caught him on a burglary charge in the Bronx later that year, but again he was released.
He was finally convicted of unlawful entry in the Bronx in 1920, but his prison sentence was suspended. Two burglary cases in 1920 and 1924 and a robbery charge in 1922 never went to trial.

Iamascia was among several known criminals in attendance at a Dec. 7, 1929, banquet thrown for Magistrate Albert Vitale at the Roman Gardens in the Bronx. That banquet was held up by seven gunmen but all loot - including a police detective's handgun - was returned shortly after Vitale got on the telephone. The event proved a connection between organized crime and the courts and led to state-sponsored investigations of local New York City government. Vitale was booted off the bench, and eventually Mayor Jimmy Walker was forced to resign.

Daniel continued to reside with his family at 2313 Belmont Avenue in the Bronx. In addition to Daniel and his parents, the home also included his sisters Frances, Catherine and Theresa, his brothers Anthony and Andrew, and Anthony's wife Olga. Two other siblings, Nicholas and Maria, lived elsewhere. On April 15, 1930, Iamascia's father Giuseppe died.

When Joseph "the Baker" Catania was shot to death in the Bronx on Feb. 3, 1931, his close friends Iamascia and Daniel DeStefano were picked up by police as material witnesses. That killing, part of the New York Mafia's Castellammarese War, remained unsolved by police.

Serving as Schultz's primary bodyguard during his war with Vince "Mad Dog" Coll (a former member of the Schultz mob), Iamascia met his end on June 18, 1931. He and Schultz stepped out of a Schultz apartment building at Fifth Avenue and 102nd Street to observe two men apparently hiding in the shadows. Believing them to be Coll gunmen, Schultz and Iamascia opened fire. The shadowy figures reportedly turned out to be police detectives who shot Iamascia in front of 1212 Fifth Avenue and apprehended Schultz.
Iamascia was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital nearby with gunshot wounds to his abdomen and right arm. He quickly succumbed to his wounds.

Iamascia's years of loyal service and his death apparently at the hands of the police earned him one of the most spectacular funerals New York has ever seen. There were 125 cars of mourners and 35 cars of flowers during the procession of his silver coffin (valued by some at as much as $20,000) from his mother Rosina Iamascia's Belmont Avenue home, to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (Belmont and 187th Street) and then to St. Raymond's Cemetery. Enormous floral displays were provided by Schultz (a large wreath of lillies) and Terranova (a 15-foot-high floral gate of lillies, roses and carnations). Iamascia was temporarily interred at the private mausoleum of undertaker Daniel Scocozzo, it was reported, while his own $25,000 mausoleum was erected. Ultimately, Iamascia was laid to rest in a fairly ordinary grave in St. Raymond's.

Hoffa, James R. (1913-1975)

Born Indiana, Feb. 14, 1913.

Declared dead 1982; believed killed July 30, 1975.


"Jimmy" Hoffa, famed leader of the Teamsters union, was not a member of the Mafia but did have a number of Mafia contacts. It is believed that his underworld associates ended his life in 1975. He was declared legally dead in 1982. The details of his death and the whereabouts of his remains are unknown.

Organized crime within organized labor was targeted by Senate attorney Robert Kennedy in the 1950s, before his brother John became President and named Robert to the attorney general's post. At that time, Dave Beck was head of Teamsters International, and Hoffa was moving into national prominence as leader of the Teamsters in the Detroit area. Beck, in league with the Chicago crime Family of Sam Giancana, proved, due to his blatant criminal activity, ill-equipped to deal with the federal pressure. Giancana's group and members of New York's Lucchese Family helped Hoffa take over the International presidency on September 1957.

With John Kennedy's Presidential victory in 1960, Hoffa was in hot water. Late that year, Robert Kennedy announced that Hoffa was the primary focus of his attack on corruption in labor unions. Hoffa channeled many millions of dollars of Teamster pension funds to underworld activities in Las Vegas and other Mafia-run land development operations. Those secret loans, involving kickbacks to underworld brokers, illustrated the intimate links between various Mafia organizations and the Teamsters.

Hoffa was personally linked to Johnny "Dio" Dioguardi of the Lucchese Family. The Teamster membership records showed further links. Numerous known mobsters, including Tony Provenzano of New Jersey, were listed on the Teamster rolls.

Hoffa managed to escape a number of charges, but was finally convicted of attempting to influence a jury in 1962 and then of improperly tampering with the union pension fund in 1964. Appeals kept him out of jail until 1967, when he began a 13-year sentence. Hoffa and Tony Provenzano found themselves incarcerated in the same prison for a time. The two men, initially friendly, had disagreements and became enemies while behind bars.

Hoffa was freed by order of President Richard Nixon at the end of 1971 on the temporary condition that Hoffa not participate in union leadership. Hoffa's hand-picked successor Frank Fitzsimmons was still in control of the Teamsters and appeared unwilling to step aside for his old mentor. Hoffa's former underworld allies reportedly felt more comfortable with Fitzsimmons at the helm. As Hoffa began to plot a return to the union presidency, his relationship with Fitzsimmons and his allies soured.

On July 30, 1975, Hoffa was reportedly waiting at the Machus Red Fox restaurant outside Detroit to meet with representatives of the underworld. Witnesses said they saw him in the parking lot and making at least two telephone calls from a pay phone outside a nearby hardware store. Hoffa disappeared after that. He was declared legally dead in 1982.

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Guinta, Giuseppe (1887-1929)

Born 1887

Killed Cicero, IL, May 7, 1929.


"Hoptoad" Guinta briefly led the Chicago Unione Siciliana in 1929 and tried unsuccessfully to organize a revolt among Sicilians affiliated with Al Capone's Chicago gang.

Joe Guinta, resident of 1756 North Lockwood Avenue (he also used the home address of 1715 Adams Street), moved upward within the Unione Siciliana of Chicago as Unione bosses died or fell victim to assassination. Late in 1927, Guinta was arrested along with Unione boss Antonio Lombardo and Michael Butero. The men were all found to be carrying concealed weapons. Early the next year, the three were discharged, as Judge Joseph L. McCarthy determined that police were not justified in searching the men for weapons.

Lombardo took a conciliatory posture toward non-Sicilian gang boss Capone, and that likely cost him his life. He was shot to death in September 1928. Patsy Lolordo, brother of Lombardo's ineffective bodyguard, was Unione president briefly. Guinta took over the Unione presidency upon the murder of Pasqualino Lolordo, apparently by anti-Capone crime figures, in January 1929.

Unlike his predecessors, Guinta resisted Capone's attempts to dominate the Unione. Guinta drew John Scalisi and Albert Anselmi, believed at the time to be Capone enforcers, into a plot to eliminate their boss.

Capone learned of the conspiracy against him. According to legend, he invited the unsuspecting Guinta, Scalisi and Anselmi to a May 7, 1929, celebration at the Hawthorne Inn in Cicero. At the dinner, he had the three men suddenly bound and proceeded to beat them to death with a baseball bat. A few bullets were thrown in for good measure.

The three victims were discovered at Douglas Park in Hammond, Indiana. Scalisi's body had been tossed into a ditch. Guinta's and Anselmi's bodies were found in the rear of an abandoned automobile.

So ended Guinta's career and the Chicago rebellion. Guinta was buried in a $10,000 glass-covered bronze casket. The remains of Anselmi and Scalisi were shipped back to Sicily for burial.

The beating deaths of the three Mafiosi caused a great deal of concern among Capone's New York-area colleagues (many of whom were proudly Sicilian and strongly objected to Neapolitan Capone's abuses of their countrymen). Capone was called to a mid-May peace conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Guinta was replaced as Unione boss by Capone's greatest Sicilian rival Joe Aiello.

Gotti, John J. (1940-2002)

Born South Bronx, NY, Oct. 27, 1940

Died Springfield, MO, June 10, 2002.


Known as "Dapper Don" and "Teflon Don," Gotti was a member of a Gambino Crime Family faction intensely loyal to underboss Aniello Dellacroce. He became boss of the family after the assassination of Paul Castellano in 1985 and established a reputation for frustrating federal prosecutors.

John J. Gotti was one of 13 children born to John and Fannie Gotti. The family moved often. John J. Gotti spent his earliest years in the South Bronx. Before reaching his teens, his family had settled in East New York, Brooklyn. Young Gotti, who considered Albert Anastasia his role model, reportedly became leader of the Fulton-Rockaway Boys street gang and worked to win the favor of Mafiosi in Carmine Fatico's underworld crew. He became a close friend of Angelo Ruggiero, nephew of Aniello Dellacroce.

The Dellacroce faction had its roots in the formative years of the crime family. By the 1950s, Sicilian and non-Sicilian divisions within the clan were evident. At that time, the family was led by the Sicilian Vincent Mangano and his Calabrian underboss Albert Anastasia. Anastasia took control of the organization after the disappearance of Mangano and the murder of Mangano's brother Philip. Anastasia was assassinated in 1957, as the Sicilian Gambino-Castellano faction grabbed the reins and Carlo Gambino became boss. Gambino put down a potential rebellion by the old Anastasia wing. Faction leader Armand Rava disappeared and Rava's close friend Dellacroce agreed to become Gambino's underboss.

Young Mafioso Gotti served three years in prison after being caught stealing cargo from the area of Kennedy International Airport in 1968. When he emerged from prison, he found that the Fatico crew had moved into the quarters of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens (below). When Fatico, facing loan-sharking charges, decided to retire, he named Gotti an acting capodecina.

Upon Gambino's 1976 death, Dellacroce was passed over, and Gambino relative Paul Castellano was installed as boss instead. Gotti and the rest of the Dellacroce faction was enraged, but Dellacroce kept it loyal to Castellano.

In the mid-1970s, Gotti and Ruggiero pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of James McBratney, believed responsible for kidnapping and killing a nephew of Carlo Gambino. Gotti was paroled from prison in 1977.

From the group's main headquarters at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street in Manhattan, Gotti quietly plotted against Castellano. Gotti felt free to act when Dellacroce died on Dec. 2, 1985. Gotti organized the successful hit on Castellano and his driver Thomas Bilotti outside of Sparks Steak House in Manhattan on Dec. 16, 1985. The murder has been explained as a revenge for the injustice suffered by Dellacroce, as a preemptive strike against the boss who allegedly planned to break up Gotti's crew, and as a disciplinary measure for Castellano's incautious remarks in a home bugged by federal agents.

As boss of the Gambino Family, Gotti became a publicity-seeking celebrity. He was constantly in trouble with the law. But he earned his "Teflon Don" nickname because early charges would not stick.

The early 1990s betrayal of a figure high in the Gambino Family helped prosecutors finally put Gotti behind bars. Prosecutors were also aided by Gotti's own statements overheard by FBI electronic surveillance devices in an apartment over the Ravenite Social Club. He and his close associate Frank Locascio were convicted of racketeering on April 2, 1992. Gotti was found guilty of 13 offenses, including murder, gambling, obstruction of justice and tax fraud.

While serving a life sentence in federal prison, Gotti was diagnosed with cancer of the throat in 1998. He underwent surgery and treatment, but the cancer returned. He died in a prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri, in 2002.

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Gizzo, Anthony (1902-1953)

Born Aug. 4, 1902.

Died Dallas, TX, April 1, 1953.


Anthony R. "Tony" Gizzo, a longtime ally of Kansas City political boss Charles Binaggio, is widely believed to have served as chief of the western Missouri Mafia Family during the early 1950s. Perhaps never the sole boss of the Kansas City underworld, he was a leader of gambling rackets and a strong political leader on the city's North Side.

Gizzo and Binaggio were arrested together Jan. 18, 1930, on a minor weapons charge in Denver. The arrest was seen by some as evidence that the KC Mob was attempting to stake out territory in the West. At the time, Gizzo was regarded as an enforcer for underworld leader John Lazia.

In the autumn of 1949, Gizzo was among the local underworld characters called before a federal grand jury investigating gambling rackets in Kansas City. Cigar store owner Sammy Butler, believed to be a partner in Gizzo's card and dice operations and also scheduled to testify before the grand jury, was found dead Oct. 19. He appeared to have taken his own life. Gizzo told the press that Butler was "greatly upset" at the prospect of appearing before the grand jury.

Gizzo caused a sensation at local hearings of the Kefauver Committee in 1950. He was asked how much cash he carried around with him. He pulled a stack of hundred dollar bills from his pocket and counted out twenty-five of them.

Gizzo was heir apparent to the North Side political rackets when Binaggio was slain April 6, 1950. However, some believe James Balestrere was top man in the KC underworld in the period 1950-1952. Gizzo's legitimate occupation in this period was sales agent for the Duke Sales Company, distributors of Canadian Ace beer.

Following his Kefauver testimony, Gizzo was charged with running a bookmaking operation in KC. He was specifically accused with taking wagers on five college basketball games. On May 7, 1951, Judge John F. Cooke ruled the testimony of two prosecution witnesses inadmissable and directed the jury to find Gizzo and two codefendants not guilty.

A heart attack ended Gizzo's life in spring of 1953. He was in Dallas, Texas, when he died. A short time after his death, federal tax agents filed a $59,529.97 lien against Gizzo's estate for tax evasion. The agents charged that the amount was due for unpaid income taxes in the years 1948 and 1950.

(Gizzo's son, Robert James Gizzo, employed as a piano tuner in Emporia, Kansas, was arrested in July 1966 on federal charges of illegal possession of narcotics and interstate transportation of a stolen car.)

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Gigante, Vincent "the Chin" (1928-2005)

Born Bronx, NY, March 29, 1928.

Died Springfield, MO, Dec. 19, 2005.


Genovese Crime Family boss "Vinny the Chin" Gigante evaded law enforcement for many years by playing the role of mentally ill street person. He gave up the act in an April 2003 court hearing, six years after being locked up.

Gigante died Monday, Dec. 19, 2005, at the federal prison in Springfield, Mo. He was 77 years old. Born in the Bronx in 1928, Gigante's "Chin" nickname was adapted from his given name of "Vincenzo."

He had a brief career as a prizefighter, beginning in 1946. His criminal career was considerably longer, spanning half a century. He entered the underworld as a protege of New York Mafia bigshot Vito Genovese. He first became known to the American public as the prime suspect in the May 1957 assassination attempt against Mafia leader Frank Costello. It is believed that Gigante, working under orders from Costello rival Vito Genovese (orders that were transmitted through group leader Tommy Eboli) cornered Costello in the lobby of his apartment house and shot him in the head at close range.

The bullet only grazed Costello, however. Costello's refusal to testify against Gigante, a man Costello insisted was "a friend," led to Gigante's acquittal. Costello retired as boss of the Luciano family, leaving the operation to Genovese.

Gigante was convicted of drug trafficking in 1959 and was sentenced to five years in prison. His Mafia credentials were greatly enhanced by his prison term. After his release, Gigante served in leadership roles in the Genovese family. Genovese, himself, was in prison and controlled the family through acting bosses such as Gerardo Catena and Tommy Eboli.

Gigante eventually became boss of the family, though the date of his accession is uncertain. Most likely it did not occur until the early 1980s.

Gigante screened his involvement in the Mafia clan by having Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno (who died in 1992) pass himself off as the family boss. Gigante also did his best to portray himself as a helpless paranoid schizophrenic. He wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in his pajamas, often conducted public conversations with himself and was once found hiding under an umbrella in his shower.

Prosecutors had success against Salerno but could not score a conviction against Gigante until 1997 (his feigned mental illness delayed proceedings on that matter by seven years). By then, the boss's mental illness act had earned him a new nickname, "the Oddfather."
Gigante was sentenced to a dozen years for racketeering in 1997. Additional charges were brought against him after that.

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Giancana, Sam (1908-1975)

Born Chicago, IL, June 15, 1908.

Killed Oak Park, IL, June 19, 1975.


Known as "Momo" and "Mooney," Sam Giancana became boss of the Chicago Mafia organization in 1956. After a rollercoaster career, he was assassinated in 1975.

Giancana was born to parents Antonino and Antonina DeSimone Giancana, immigrants from Castelvetrano, Sicily. (They and their daughter Antonina entered the U.S. through New York City on Dec. 22, 1906, aboard the S.S. Sicilian Prince. At that time, they were heading to Chicago to stay with a brother-in-law, Nicola Sciarcota, 567 Harrison Street. Antonino became a produce peddler.) There are conflicting birthdates for Sam Giancana in various records. One birth certificate obtained by the FBI showed a birthdate of May 24, 1908, and a certificate filing date of June 30, 1908. Church Baptismal records indicate a birthdate of June 15, 1908, and a Baptism date of Dec. 15, 1908. A document filed by Giancana as an adult showed his birthdate as June 15.

Giancana grew up in the 42 Gang on Chicago's west side. He was arrested often in the late 1920s (22 times in 1928 alone). Some of those arrests were on serious criminal charges, but none of the cases made it to trial.

He did serve time in prison 1930-31 for burglary and was behind bars once again in 1939-42 after a federal alcohol tax violation. Those sentences helped earn him notice among the big-time Chicago Mafiosi.

In 1933, he became a bodyguard for Outfit bigshot Tony Accardo. In September of that year, Giancana was married to Angelina DeTolve in Chicago.

In 1948, with Accardo then the big boss, he graduated to the position of the family's primary enforcer. By 1950, he was specializing in gambling and associating with Hollywood stars. When authorities began focusing their attention on Accardo, he turned the day-to-day operations over to Giancana.

In 1959, Giancana earned the notice of the local press by throwing an extravagant wedding for his daughter Antoinette and Carmen Manno. The reception, estimated to cost $15,000, was held on the 19th floor of the LaSalle Hotel. Among the 700 invitees were Accardo, Marshall Caifano, Joey Glimco, Sam Battaglia and Phil Alderisio.

Giancana is believed to have had connections with the Kennedy family of Massachusetts and to have assisted in John F. Kennedy's Presidential election in 1960. Some sources have claimed that Giancana and Kennedy shared mistresses and passed information to each other through their women.

It appears Giancana had good reason to feel that he was betrayed by the Kennedy Administration, as Attorney General Robert Kennedy put enormous legal pressure on the Chicago crime lord. After serving a sentence for contempt of court, Giancana eventually fled the United States for Mexico in 1966 (he had traveled to Mexico repeatedly in the 1950s and early 1960s).

U.S. authorities convinced Mexico to shove Giancana back across the border in 1974. Aging and in declining health, he was ordered to appear before a Senate panel in July 1975.

Just days before his scheduled appearance, an unknown gunman ended Sam Giancana's life. An elderly caretaker at Giancana's home discovered his dead body on the floor of a basement kitchen at 11 p.m. on June 19, 1975. Police seven small-caliber bullet wounds to Giancana's head and neck. Clearly some of Giancana's associates believed he was in no condition to take a fall and do jail time at that point.

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Gentile, Nicola (1884-c1970)

Born Siculiana, Sicily, June 12, 1884

Died Sicily, c1970.


"Zu Cola" Gentile was a Sicilian Mafioso who traveled the United States as a sort of underworld handyman.

Born in the southern Sicilian community of Siculiana in 1884, he arrived in the U.S. at age 19. Much of his time in the U.S. was spent in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri. He was a trusted confidant of New York Mafiosi from the early 1900s through the Castellammarese War. He was called upon to mediate a dispute between the Morello-Lupo clan and boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila in the 1920s. He also was called upon to mediate disputes involving Chicago and Los Angeles crime bosses and underworld rivals in New York City.(1)

Gentile made a number of trips across the national criminal network and briefly served in leadership roles the Kansas City, Cleveland and Pittsburgh Mafia families. He was on intimate terms with Pittsburgh bosses Gregorio Conti and John Bazzano, and Cleveland bosses Joe Lonardo and Frank "Ciccio" Milano. He served as a capodecina and counselor in the Pittsburgh Mafia and as temporary commander of the Kansas City mob.(2)

Gentile experienced several close calls. The most dramatic occurred when he was called to the Chicago underworld coronation of Salvatore Maranzano at the conclusion of the Castellammarese War. Then Pittsburgh boss Giuseppe Siragusa had made some secret accusations against Gentile, and Gentile was summoned for a disciplinary hearing that easily could have resulted in his execution. In a face-to-face meeting with host Al Capone, Gentile denied the charges and threatened to behead any person making them. Capone, who recalled meeting Gentile in the days of Mafia boss Mike Merlo, was impressed by Gentile's courage. Siragusa backed off.(3)

In 1937, facing narcotics charges from a federal arrest in New Orleans, LA, he returned to Sicily. After World War II, when Luciano was deported to Italy, the U.S. narcotics enforcement agents believed the two men teamed up in Sicily to arrange drug smuggling into the U.S.(4)

About the time of his escape to Sicily, Gentile decided to write about his Mafia experiences. A manuscript was shared with American agents in Italy. It was translated to English and later turned over to the FBI. Gentile was advised to do no more writing. However, a 1963 book named Vita di Capomafia, he cowrote with journalist Felice Chilante, repeated and expanded upon the material in the earlier manuscript. A series of articles based on the book was run in Italian newspapers. Gentile's early manuscript, published book and articles were used by U.S. law enforcement officials as corroboration (possibly also as foundation) for the tales told by Mafia informant Joe Valachi.(5) (It is likely that bits of Gentile's work were provided to Valachi to fill the considerable gaps in his personal underworld knowledge.)

Gentile received an underworld death sentence for his violation of the Mafia's code of silence. However, his assigned killers took no action against him, allowing him to die of old age.(6) Gentile's passing was not noted by the American press.(7)

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Notes:
  1. . Gentile, Nick, Vita di Capomafia, Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1963.
  2. . Gentile. Gentile's leadership of an American Mafia crew is also noted in Gage, Nicholas, "Mafioso's memoirs support Valachi's testimony...," New York Times, Sunday, April 11, 1971, p. 51. His work as a traveling troubleshooter is noted in Messick, Hank, Lansky, New York: Berkley, 1971.
  3. . Gentile.
  4. . Hinton, Harold B., "Luciano rules U.S. narcotics from Sicily, senators hear," New York Times, Thursday, June 28, 1951, p. 1.
  5. . Gage.
  6. . Blickman, Tom, "The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba," Transnational Organized Crime, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997, Transnational Institute website: http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?page=archives_tblick_aruba .
  7. . In 1971, Gage, closed with, "Nothing has been heard about him in recent years, but he is believed to be still alive."

Genovese, Michael James (1918-2006)

Born East Liberty, PA, April 9, 1919.

Died West Deer, PA, Oct. 31, 2006.


Michael Genovese was a key member of the Pittsburgh crime family under John Sebastian LaRocca in the 1950s. He attended the 1957 underworld convention at Apalachin NY along with LaRocca and Gabriel "Kelly" Mannarino.

The FBI noted a family relationship between Michael Geneovese and New York Mafia boss Vito Genovese. However the Bureau did not specify the nature of the relationship. While Michael Genovese spent much of his career in western Pennsylvania, he also was linked to New York State. Social Security information indicates that Michael Genovese's Social Security Number was issued in New York before 1951. Vito Genovese is known to have had a strong, protective relationship with the Italian underworld of Pennsylvania.

Michael Genovese reportedly was born in East Liberty, Pennsylvania. As a young man, he found work in a concrete company run by LaRocca. He also began working as a runner in the LaRocca numbers racket. Genovese and LaRocca later formed a business partnership in a vending machine business.

Michael Genovese was identified as one of the attendees at the 1957 Apalachin NY Mafia convention. He refused to testify about the convention when questioned by the Senate Rackets Committee.

In the 1970s, he was jailed for refusing to to testify before a federal grand jury investigating organized crime in western Pennsylvania.

When an ailing LaRocca retired from management of the Pittsburgh criminal organization, he left a panel including Michael Genovese, Mannarino and Joseph "Jo Jo" Pecora in charge. Pecora had to drop out of the leadership group when he was sent to prison on a gambling conviction. In 1980, Mannarino died of cancer, and Genovese quietly took over as acting underworld boss in the Pittsburgh region.

Genovese's position became permanent upon LaRocca's death of natural cases in 1984.
Though law enforcement agencies were certain of Genovese's control of the local Mafia, the wily underworld veteran managed to remain in power and to avoid racketeering convictions until his death in 2006 at the age of 87. Genovese had been ill with heart and bladder conditions for some time before dying in his sleep at the home he had owned for 50 years.

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Genovese, Vito (1897-1969)

Born Risigliano, Italy, Nov. 21, 1897.

Died Springfield, MO, Feb. 14, 1969.


"Don Vitone" Genovese was born near Naples, Italy. Official documents show his birthdate as Nov. 21, 1897. However, some other sources - the New York Times obituary, for example - place his birth on Nov. 27. He entered the U.S. through New York City at the age of 15 on May 23, 1913.

As a teenager, he became involved in the Neapolitan gangs in lower Manhattan and nearby New Jersey, as well as Lower East Side multi-ethnic gangs that also produced Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky. In 1917, during the height of Mafia-Camorra friction in the city, Genovese was arrested for possession of a handgun. He was convicted and sentenced April 15, 1917, to serve 60 days at the workhouse.

In the 1920s, Genovese became a Luciano partner as Charlie Lucky gradually took over the Manhattan operations of Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria. It is widely believed that Genovese was among the gunmen who assassinated Masseria in 1931, ending the Castellammarese War. Luciano named Genovese his underboss in 1931. This likely was a recognition of Genovese's strength among the non-Sicilians in the criminal organization rather than a sign of affection for Genovese.

Genovese grew in strength while Luciano battled compulsory prostitution charges, and could have taken over the Family after Luciano's 1936 conviction. However, Genovese had legal problems of his own. Law enforcement officials were attempting to connect Genovese with the 1934 murder of Ferdinand "the Shadow" Boccia. In November 1936, Genovese obtained his U.S. citizenship. The following month, he obtained a passport and subsequently sailed for Italy, where the Fascist government was in need of his financial support.

In Italy, Genovese appears to have had a good relationship with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, generally the enemy of Sicilian Mafiosi.

At the conclusion of World War II in 1945, U.S. occupying forces in Italy discovered Genovese. He assisted the Army, but was found to be engaged in the black market. Officials learned that Genovese was at that time wanted in New York as a suspect in the Boccia murder. While he was in Italy, prosecutors had tracked down a number of witnesses tying Genovese to the killing.

The Army brought Genovese back to the U.S. aboard the S.S. James Lyke, which reached New York harbor on June 1, 1946. However, due to the death in prison of corroborating witness Peter LaTempa, Genovese beat the old murder rap. Released from custody, he moved into a comfortable home at 68 West Highland Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and began taking control of Luciano's old family from then-boss Frank Costello.

Family problems brought Genovese to the attention of the authorities in 1953. His estranged second wife Anna was seeking a divorce. She apparently communicated to members of the press that Genovese had begun a relationship with the wife of a Mafia underling, Thomas Calandriello. The same Calandriello had apparently taken care of paperwork associated with the purchase of the Atlantic Highlands home.

The relationship between Costello and Genovese degenerated into a long feud. An assassination attempt on Costello in 1957 was traced to Genovese gunman Vincent Gigante. Costello anounced his retirement after that, allowing Genovese to control the organization. Genovese and Carlo Gambino likely worked together to eliminate strong Costello-ally Albert Anastasia later that year.

A new boss eager to establish himself as a big shot on the national scene, Genovese seems to have encouraged the calling of the ill-fated Mafia convention in Apalachin, N.Y., on Nov. 14, 1957. Police discovered that convention, detaining everyone in sight, and establishing for certain the existence of the nationwide criminal network.

Genovese was convicted on narcotics trafficking charges in 1959 and earned a 15-year sentence. He continued to run Family matters from behind bars (through acting bosses like Tommy Eboli) until his 1969 heart attack death while in custody.

On January 30, 1969, he was moved from Leavenworth, KS, prison to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners at Springfield, MO. He died there two weeks later.

Genovese's funeral began at the family hometown, Red Bank, New Jersey. Genovese's bronze coffin was transported from the William S. Anderson Funeral Home in Red Bank to his church. A sparsely attended funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 17 at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, location of Genovese's more recent home. Genovese was buried at St. John's Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, NY. The burial was attended only by family and close friends.

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Genna, Angelo (1898-1925)

Born Marsala, Sicily, Feb. 3, 1898.

Killed Chicago, IL, May 26, 1925.


Angelo Genna was born Feb. 3, 1898, in Marsala, Sicily, to Antonino and Mary Sancore Genna. He and his brothers entered the U.S. through New York around 1910. Angelo arrived in New York harbor on Aug. 5, 1914, aboard the S.S. Venezia. He was on his way to meet his brother Pietro, of 870 Blue Island Avenue in Chicago.

The Gennas became a close knit Marsala-based Mafia and bootlegging gang. They were closely allied with the more Americanized Spignola family of Chicago. Their gang feuded with the budding underworld organization of Alphonse Capone through the early 1920s.

The conflict was a bloody one. Angelo Genna was tried and acquitted for one murder, accused but not prosecuted in another murder. Beginning in November of 1923, he served a sentence of one year and one day in Leavenworth Prison for intimidating a witness.

Genna married Lucille Spignola, sister of his ally and business partner Peter Spignola on Jan. 10, 1923. The wedding was lavish, with three thousand guests and a two-thousand-pound wedding cake.

On May 26, 1925, Genna was shot numerous times as he drove his automobile. With serious wounds to his head and neck, he crashed the car into a lamp post at Hudson and Ogden Avenues. He was conscious as he arrived at the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital. Police urged him to tell who shot him. Genna merely shrugged. He died shortly afterward, as his brother Sam, wife and brother-in-law arrived at his bedside.

Genna was buried May 29, 1925, in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Chicago.

More of the Gennas lost their lives in the days ahead, and the remaining brothers fled Chicago. Their departure allowed the Aiello clan - originally from Bagheria, Sicily - to dominate the Sicilian underworld of the region.

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Gargotta, Charles (c1902-1950)

Born c1902.

Killed Kansas City, MO, April 5, 1950.

Charles "Mad Dog" Gargotta, once part of the Pendergast political machine in Kansas City, was murdered alongside local crime boss Charles Binaggio in the spring of 1950.

Gargotta was known to be a part of the local rackets from the days of boss John Lazia. He served as pallbearer for Lazia after the boss was shot down in 1934.

A veteran of the penitentiary (he served 19 months after being convicted of assault with intent to kill), Gargotta was a key man in the Binaggio criminal organization. In addition to running a gambling empire, Binaggio was also a political leader in the First Ward of Kansas City (North Side). Binaggio was closely allied to Pendergast before breaking off from that organization and openly challenging the declining political machine in 1948.

On the evening of April 5, 1950, Binaggio and Gargotta borrowed a car and drove to meet someone they trusted (Binaggio's usual bodyguard was told he did not need to come along) at the Jackson County Democratic Club on Truman Road. The two men were shot to death within the political headquarters.

A taxi driver later discovered the bodies. Both men were found with four bullet wounds to the head. Binaggio's body lay in a chair at the rear of the club. Gargotta was found sprawled on the floor near the door, where he had apparently grabbed at Venetian blinds after being shot.

The elimination of Binaggio and Gargotta was followed by an apparent return to power of the old Sicilian Mafia organization of Joseph DiGiovanni and James Balestrere.

After the murders, authorities revealed that Gargotta had been supplying the government with information on a large-scale gambling ring operating in the Kansas City area.

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Gambino, Carlo (1902-1976)

Born Palermo, Sicily, Aug. 24, 1902.

Died Massapequa, NY, Oct. 15, 1976.


Gambino was born in Palermo, Sicily, to Tommasso and Felice Castellano Gambino. He is believed to have entered the United States in December 1921 through Norfolk, Virginia. U.S. officials charged that he entered the country illegally as a stowaway on the S.S. Vincent Florio. Gambino settled on East 182nd Street in the Bronx, where he worked as a butcher and associated with the D'Aquila Mafia faction dominated by his relatives the Castellanos of Brooklyn. The Castellanos also were engaged in the butcher business. Behind the scenes, Gambino ran a successful bootlegging operation.

On Dec. 1926, Gambino married Catherine Castellano (born 1907 in New York to Joseph and Concetta Cossato Castellano) in Brooklyn. Gambino's brother Paulo served as his best man. (In 1930, Paolo married Catherine Castellano, born 1912 to Frank and Providencia Guglemini Castellano. Carlo Gambino was his best man.)The couple settled in Brooklyn. Their first child, Felicia (later Phyllis Sinatra), was born in 1927 while they lived at 1692 83rd Street in Brooklyn. A son, Thomas, was born in 1929. At that time, the family lived at 8302 17th Avenue in Brooklyn.

During the Castellammarese War, the Castellano wing of the old D'Aquila organization was loyal to Al Mineo, a boss imposed on the crime family by boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria. After Mineo's November 1930 murder, Gambino and the Castellanos sided with Masseria rival Salvatore Maranzano, the ultimate victor in the war.

In 1934, alcohol tax authorities charged Gambino with possessing untaxed alcohol and with running an unlicensed wholesale and retail liquor business. The charges were later dismissed. In the same year, he was charged with stealing $1000 through a "pill game" in Brockton, Massachusetts. Gambino paid back the money, and he was not prosecuted.

He first ran into trouble with immigration authorities when he visited Montreal, Canada, in 1935 and attempted to return to New York. He was refused a visa by the U.S. consulate in Montreal. He was permitted reentry into the U.S. at Rouses Point, NY, but a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. That warrant was later cancelled by an immigration official.
In the late 1930s, U.S. authorities discovered evidence that Gambino was engaged in large-scale stock speculation under assumed identities. He was closely affiliated with the management of the Bank of Sicily Trust Company at that time.

In 1939, he was sentenced to serve 22 months in prison for violating tax laws. He served that sentence at the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. After his release, he and his brother engaged in the theft and sale of American wartime ration stamps.

He became prominent in the Mangano Family (which had been led by D'Aquila, Al Mineo and then Frank Scalise in the years leading up to 1931 underworld reorganization) He established a residence at 2230 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn and served as a principal owner in the S.G.S. Associates labor consulting firm.

Narcotics agents felt strongly that Carlo and Paolo Gambino were smuggling illegal aliens and heroin into the U.S. from Sicily in cooperation with Sicilian underworld leader Santo Sorge.

After Vincent Mangano's disappearance in 1951. He was named underboss to Albert Anastasia in 1956. Anastasia was killed the next year, and Gambino took over family leadership. He was noted among the attendees at the Apalachin convention of the nation's Mafiosi in 1957. It is likely that his election as boss of the former Anastasia Crime Family was on the agenda of that meeting. His rival within the organization, Armand Thomas Rava, was also present. Rava subsequently disappeared. Gambino purchased the support of Rava's close friend Aniello Dellacroce by appointing him underboss.

Following the convention, the Immigration and Naturalization Service considered deporting Gambino. Agents located him in the Flower Hospital at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street in New York and were told that he was suffering from a serious heart condition.

Gambino is believed to have been at least partly responsible for inciting revolts within the conservative Mafia clans of Profaci (later known as Colombo) and Bonanno.

He was a one-time supporter and later opponent of both Joe Colombo and Joe Gallo, big names in the former Profaci Family. Colombo's assassination in 1971 was probably masterminded by Gambino. Gallo's death a year later also looks to have been his work.

In 1970, Gambino was charged with conspiracy to transport stolen property. He was granted a severance from other defendants in the case due to poor health. Gambino won release on his own recognizance, and the trial was postponed for years.

Gambino died of a heart attack Oct. 15, 1976, at his home at Massapequa, Long Island. His underboss Aniello Dellacroce had much support to take over the family but agreed instead to serve under Paul Castellano, who was a relative and an apprentice of Gambino.

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Gallucci, Giosue (1864-1915)

Born Naples, Italy, Dec. 10, 1864.

Killed New York, NY, May 21, 1915.


Gallucci reigned as the king of the Italian Harlem rackets from the turn of the Twentieth Century to his assassination in 1915.

Gallucci arrived in the United States about 1891. By 1898, American authorities already were complaining about his criminal activity and seeking to have him deported. They noted that he and his brothers, Genaro, Vincenzo and Francesco, had criminal records in Italy before they crossed the Atlantic. Giosue Gallucci's record in his native country included arrests for theft and blackmail.

With great influence over his fellow Italians in East Harlem, Gallucci established strong political and business connections. He employed Neapolitan and Sicilian street gangs as his enforcers and established successful local criminal enterprises, as well as legitimate businesses, including a coffeehouse, a bakery and a cigar factory.

Gallucci's base of operations was a building at 318 East 109th Street, which housed his living quarters in addition to his coffeehouse and bakery.

The more lucrative of Gallucci's underworld rackets included an Italian lottery and a protection fee his men extorted from sellers of produce.

Gallucci's brother Vincenzo was murdered Nov. 20, 1898, reportedly on orders from an Italian "secret society similar to the Mafia" (likely the Neapolitan Camorra). Two gunmen laid in wait for him at the corner of Canal and Mulberry Streets in Manhattan and shot him as he arrived there. Francesco D'Angelo and Luigi LaRosa were accused of the killing. They pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were given prison sentences of 20 years and 15 years, respectively.

Genaro Gallucci's activities as a collector of protection payments caught the attention of authorities, and he fled New York City for a time. When he returned in the late summer of 1909, New York Police captured him and immigration officials began efforts to deport him to Italy. On Nov. 14, 1909, Genaro Gallucci was shot to death while inside his brother's East 109th Street business.

Though Giosue Gallucci was called the "king" of the East Harlem rackets, he was also victimized by Black Hand extortionists. He was especially harassed by Neapolitan gang leader Aniello "Zopo the Gimp" Prisco, who was believed responsible for killing Genaro Gallucci.

To resolve matters, Gallucci set up a meeting with Prisco on the evening of Dec. 16, 1912. Prisco probably did not expect an ambush as the meeting was planned for a barbershop run by his allies, the DelGaudio brothers. But Gallucci took suddenly ill and could not leave the back room of his East 109th Street bake shop. He sent a messenger to find Prisco and bring him to the shop.

When "Zopo" arrived, he was promptly shot in the head by Gallucci bodyguard John Russomano. The king told the police the killing was in self-defense. He asserted that Prisco had come to rob him of $100. Russomano, he said, drew a pistol. Prisco turned to fire at Russomano, and Russomano got off the first shot. The police accepted the explanation - not surprising, considering Gallucci's political clout - but Russomano and Gallucci were marked for death by the survivors in Prisco's gang.

Gallucci's prestige began to wither in 1913, as a gang war with Prisco's old outfit stretched on, and he was scrambling to maintain control of the underworld in 1914 and 1915. Rival lotteries were springing up right under his nose. Gallucci and his son Lucca were gunned down at Lucca's coffeehouse business, 336 East 109th Street, on May 17, 1915.

The two victims were brought to Bellevue Hospital. Lucca died there the next day. Gallucci lingered until May 21 before succumbing to his injuries. His death left open the coveted position of East Harlem underworld/political boss and triggered gangland feuding. (Gallucci's story is similar to that of Chicago's "Big Jim" Colosimo, a criminal and political leader who was victimized by extortionists and apparently murdered by men he previously commanded.)

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Gallo, Joseph (1929-1972)

Born Brooklyn, NY, April 6, 1929.

Killed New York, NY, April 7, 1972.

Early in his career, Joey "Crazy Joe"/"Joe the Blond" Gallo served as an enforcer for the Brooklyn-based Joe Profaci crime family. Gallo is said to have bragged about his involvement in the 1957 assassination of Albert Anastasia.

Gallo and his brothers, Albert and Larry, were called to testify before the McClellan Committee in 1958 and answered all questions by citing the Fifth Amendment.

Profaci's Family and that of Joe Bonanno, linked by marriage, comprised a strong conservative wing of the Mafia's ruling Commission. By 1960, the Gallo brothers had serious disagreements with Profaci - reportedly related to controversial mob killings, rewards promised but undelivered by the boss and hefty fees for crime family membership. The brothers attempted to force concessions from Profaci by kidnapping top crime family lieutenants. Profaci initially agreed to terms and then turned on the Gallos. The rebel group took their complaints to Carlo Gambino, boss of another family and leader of the Commission's so-called "liberal" wing. Gambino reportedly took the complaints to a meeting of the Commission in 1962 and called on "Old Man" Profaci to retire.

When Profaci and Bonanno objected, the Commission - faced with the prospect of a civil war throughout the mob - gave Profaci a vote of confidence. The Gallos fell in line momentarily.

When Profaci died of cancer later in 1962, his crime family split apart, probably due to meddling by Gambino and allies. (The Bonanno family also splintered as a result of Commission politics.) Joe Magliocco, Profaci's underboss, attempted to control the family, but he was ill-suited to the job. The Gallo faction grew in strength and openly broke with Magliocco.

Magliocco died of a heart attack in 1963 and was succeeded by Gambino ally Joe Colombo. Colombo, helped by Joe Gallo's imprisonment for attempting to extort money from a Manhattan cafe owner, was able to negotiate a peace and restore crime family order.

Joe Gallo was released from prison in 1971 and was the prime suspect when Colombo was assassinated in that year. (Apparently, Gambino himself had grown disgusted with Colombo's publicity-seeking behavior and decided to eliminate him.)

Gallo reportedly declared that he was going straight and announced he was beginning work on his memoirs, a book the underworld did not want written. Early in the morning of April 7, 1972, continuing his birthday celebration begun on the evening of April 6, Gallo and some companions settled in for a meal at Umberto's Clam House in Manhattan's Little Italy. A gunman stepped into the building and shot Joe Gallo to death.

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Galante, Carmine (1910-1979)

Born New York, NY, Feb. 21, 1910.

Killed Brooklyn, NY, July 12, 1979.


"Lilo" Galante was regarded as one of the more ruthless of the American Mafiosi. Many believe he ascended to the leadership of the Bonanno crime Family in New York upon Philip "Rusty" Rastelli's 10-year conviction in 1974 for extortion. Some insist that Galante was never recognized as Family boss and only led a rebellious wing of the Bonanno clan.

Galante certainly had designs on the boss job and looks to have meddled a bit in affairs of other Families. That earned him a number of powerful enemies.

Galante, reportedly born in New York to Vincenzo and Vincenza Russo Galante, was arrested numerous times, beginning with a robbery and assault charge when he was just 16 years old. He was arrested for attempted robbery in 1930. He was considered a prime suspect in the 1943 murder of Carlo Tresca (the murder was committed while Galante was out of prison on parole). He invested in a number of legitimate businesses, including the Rosina Costume Company of Brooklyn, the Abco Vending Company of West New York, NJ, and the Latimer Shipping Company of Manhattan.

Galante is believed to have been one of the masterminds of the international narcotics trade. He made frequent trips from New York to Montreal and Sicily and was known to employ fiercely loyal Sicilian immigrants ("Zips") as bodyguards. His attendance at a 1956 Mafia convention near Endicott, NY, was documented when he was caught speeding on a return trip to New York City. His presence at the Apalachin convention the following year was suspected but not documented.


When Rastelli emerged from prison early, in 1979, it is believed that he and Gambino Family underboss Aniello Dellacroce set Galante up. Galante was shot to death at the conclusion of a meal in the grotto of Joe and Mary's Restaurant, 205 Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn, on July 12, 1979. He was 69 years old.

Galante's Sicilian immigrant ("Zip") bodyguards proved to be of little worth on the occasion and are believed to have cooperated in the hit. Rastelli regained control of the Bonanno Family and remained boss until he was once again successfully prosecuted in 1985.

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Gagliano, Tommaso (1884-c1951)

Born Corleone, Sicily, May 17, 1884.

Died Bronx, NY, c1951.


Tommaso "Tommy" Gagliano rose to prominence along with Tommy Lucchese in the Bronx-based Mafia family of Gaetano Reina. Like the founders of the Morello Mafia, Gagliano was born in Corleone and ostensibly worked in lathing and plastering.

Gagliano entered the U.S in spring 1905 and settled in East Harlem. He found early employment in a feed business. He was naturalized a citizen in the summer of 1915, while residing near the intersection of East 108th Street and First Avenue, and he traveled abroad in the summer of 1920.

It appears likely that Gagliano was associated with the Morello-Terranova Mafia in East Harlem. He later became a member of Reina's Bronx-based underworld organization. In the later 1920s, Reina and Terranova became rivals.

As trouble between Joe Masseria and the Brooklyn Castellammarese Mafia began in 1930, Reina's organization was divided. Reina outwardly sided with Masseria but his sympathies were with the Castellammarese. Reina's Feb. 26, 1930, assassination, probably at the hands of Masseria men, caused Gagliano, Tommy Lucchese and much of their organization to give their support to the Castellammarese.

Gagliano and Lucchese appear to have cooperated on the 1930 assassination of Joe Pinzolo, a Masseria puppet installed as Family leader after Reina's death.

Gagliano was officially recognized as boss of the old Reina group after the war ended in 1931. Lucchese served as his underboss until about 1951. Gagliano is presumed to have died of natural causes in that period. (The date of Gagliano's death is not certain.)

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