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INFORMER, April 2013
INFORMER, April 2013
There is a degree of discomfort associated with directing attention to the crime history works of Herbert Asbury. In our modern Information Age, Asbury would be well suited to the role of negative example. He related old underworld legends as they were presented in the sensationalized press, often refusing to challenge their truthfulness and sometimes sensationalizing them even further. While certainly not unknown today, these are unpardonable sins for the modern serious historian. However, Asbury, who died fifty years ago, did not live to see this technological age, probably never imagined it. With the touch of a few keys on computers or “smart” devices, we now are able to access archives and databases around the world, to hunt down the tiniest facts and access a vast spectrum of interpretations on those facts. For Herbert Asbury, the raw material of history was contained in file drawers of yellowing newspaper clippings (the microfilming of document archives began in his lifetime). Still, even in his day, there were other resources, and he regularly was criticized for not verifying story details, for engaging in exaggeration and occasionally for committing outright errors. Despite its weaknesses, Asbury’s work is deserving of our recognition for two major reasons. First, that work and its popularity helped to create and to define the field of true crime writing. Second, it served to entice many serious historians—those who read Asbury’s vivid accounts and needed to explore further—to enter the field. In that way, Asbury did advance the cause of factual underworld scholarship. For these reasons, it seems appropriate that we mark the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Asbury’s death with this issue’s lead feature (see Page 4). Also in this issue: Bill Feather provides a Lucchese Family Membership Chart. (Page 25). Lennert van‘t Riet, David Critchley and Steve Turner conclude their Gunmen of the Castellammarese War series with Part 5, Salvatore “Sally Shields” Shillitani (Page 29). Edmond Valin exposes two Gambino Crime Family informants (Page 54). Richard Warner looks at the evolution of Mafia studies (Page 69). Thomas Hunt reviews Mafia Summit by Gil Reavill (Page 72).
INFORMER, April 2013
An informal biography of Herbert Asbury
America’s ‘Chief Chronicler of Sin’
By Thomas Hunt
It has been fifty years Herbert Asbury, journalist, editor and author, passed from this world at the age of seventy-three, leaving behind both a collection of regional crime histories that would fill a fair-sized bookshelf and a vast army of readers hungry for more. His works, published and republished over the years, often have been derided by the academics as “popular” history. Asbury personally acknowledged the claim but clearly preferred the term “informal history.” Using newspaper archives almost exclusively as his source material, he added color and perspective and delivered the often seedy stories without blushing or apologizing. Herbert Asbury He sought not to provide a depth of understanding into the nature and causes of the American gangster but to preserve the tales of the gangsters’ “more spectacular exploits” and set them against the appropriate social and political background.1 With isolated exceptions, he did not intend to do the jobs of academic historians or sociologists. However, his research and his writing provoked theirs. Generations of “serious” investigators have found their way to the subject of crime through Asbury’s informal histories. Whether they were motivated to confirm or to refute the tales they read, Asbury had succeeded in whetting their appetite to know more about the gangsters,
New York (above) and Carleton College (below) in and Baltimore. Asbury grew up in sparsely populated Farmington.3 to Samuel and Ellen Pritchard Asbury of Farmington. Relatives insisted also that Asbury’s father was related to distinguished Massachusetts Puritan minister Cotton Mather and his mother to Providence Baptist Church founder Roger Williams.7 By 1910. 1889.Asbury attended both Baptist College tions in Philadelphia.6 The perceived attachments to religious figures and institutions would play a significant role in Asbury’s life.4 His family link to a prominent historical Methodist Episcopal (M. was well documented.) minister. Bishop Francis Asbury. wide-ranging Methodist societies in America during the Revolutionary War Era. Missouri. both located in Farmington. in February of 1963. where his father held the positions of surveyor and clerk of the Saint Francois County offices. He was the third of four children born to the couple and the second of their three boys. the New York Times obituary appropriately referred to the prolific writer as “the country’s chief chronicler of sin. Missouri. Bishop Asbury.8 .E. he and his brothers Emmet and Frederick all were employed in a local printing office. and established Farmington.”2 Background Asbury was born September 1. April 2013 5 their experiences and their influences. Asbury was educated at Carleton College and Baptist College (Farmington College). the first Methodist bishop to reach America. He preached to congrega.5 Bishop Asbury landed in Philadelphia in the autumn of 1771 and traveled extensively.INFORMER. was the half-brother of Asbury’s great -grandfather. When Asbury died.
headquarters of the Sun.6 INFORMER. before moving to New York City. Peoria. located in the lower section of the American Tract Society Building. Georgia. he had settled into a job as a reporter for the New York Sun. The American Tract Society Building.A.13 The following spring. Asbury kept in touch with his former editors at the Sun. registered for the draft. The newspaper proudly noted in June that he had been promoted to corporal. April 2013 Newspaper Row in lower Manhattan at the time of Asbury’s arrival in New York. is second from the right.14 From his post in France.12 Off to war The United States entered the Great War in April 1917. co-written with First Sergeant J.9 By the middle of the decade. a few miles north of his office11 and reportedly did his best to cure himself of the various virtues that generations of devout Christianity had instilled in him.10 He lived in an apartment on West 39th Street. 150 Nassau Street. and Asbury. Illinois. Asbury entered the field of journalism and worked at papers in Quincy. he and a number of other employees of the Sun newspaper entered military service and crossed the Atlantic to join the American Expeditionary Force in France. . One of his letters. then twenty-seven. In the early 1910s. and Atlanta. Illinois. behind the old New York Times building.
and am likely to sail most any time. April 2013 7 McKeown. The gassing reportedly occurred along the Vesle River and may have been part of the Second Battle of the Marne. for. was particularly helpful with a Sun charity that collected money to provide cigarettes to U. Not being overburdened with clothing. Now I couldn't predict that I'll be home by the Fourth of July. believe me. ask us to thank you. Eddy. he wrote once again to his Sun editors: A month ago I thought that by this time I would be roaming up and down that dear old Broadway and spinning lies about the war.15 Not long after writing that letter home. after the Government gets through extracting a dollar a day for board and other dollars for things and after the Frogs have had their whack at one a . All the boys of the company. Talk about happiness! It certainly was ours when we lighted up and puffed away at real tobacco once more.16 The poison gas attack left Asbury with lung problems that would continue through the rest of his life.S.INFORMER. and believe me.and with nothing to smoke but English cigarettes. and D Company is by far the best company in the American Army. which are very difficult for me. We went out on a hike this morning to the machine gun range and came back to camp drenched to the skin. a German offensive that took place in summer of 1918. and he was wounded in battle and disabled by a German poison gas attack. and eventually will reach the States broke but happy. it is hard to get real cigarettes in the British sector. whose name was on the card in our cartons. Doughboys: You will be glad to know that the name of the Sun is being blessed by the division. Asbury’s military rank and health both changed dramatically. Also we thank James G. I've been transferred from Base Hospital 13 at Limoges to Base 104 at Bordeaux. we wrapped ourselves in blankets and crouched rather miserably in our huts . and especially by Company D. our supply sergeant. In all our huts there was nothing but gloom and violent language when old Sarge Rittel. so there is no great demand for ours. In December. for the English as a rule think ours are as rotten as we know theirs to be. came bustling in with the announcement that the Sun Tobacco Fund had sent us six packages of cigarettes each. He was elevated from corporal to lieutenant.
the Sun published an Asbury analysis of U. Asbury quickly restarted his journalism career. aboard the troop ship Sierra. but just because he couldn’t get out of accepting them. York was an atypical hero.S. York and responded with an embarrassed “Oh shucks” when anyone suggested he do otherwise. Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. and .17 Asbury reached home January 19.18 While his first concern undoubtedly was restoring his health. the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. 1919. and so as a good soldier he did it with just as little fuss as possible. April 2013 shave tail's salary looks mighty sick. Great War hero Sergeant Alvin C. The article was lengthy and frank and full of on-the-nose personal observations about the unassuming country fellow who performed “the greatest individual feat of heroism done by any soldier of any nationality during the whole of the Great War.” York was credited with single-handedly smashing a German counterattack. Finding his niche On June 1. York.8 INFORMER. captured 132 others and destroyed thirty-five enemy machine gun positions. Alvin C. but Sergeant York accepted them all with the utmost calm. It is worth repeating that no more modest hero ever entered the portals of New York than Sergeant York. he kept the honors hidden away in his pocket rather than displayed upon his uniform Sgt. 1919. not in the sense that he seemed to think they were due him. He never went anywhere that he wasn’t recognized and cheered and called upon for a speech. The Sun announced his return in its issue the following day. Honors were paid to him that were enough to turn the head of almost any man. He had killed twenty -five German soldiers.
He recorded their names and their deeds with noticeable flair but also with a good measure of journalistic objectivity. He identified the Irish as dominant from before the Civil War to nearly the closing years of the 19th Century.. Italian and Jewish gangsters adopted Irish monikers out of respect for the “traditional prowess of the Irishman in battle. But after all gangsters such as these were the exception that proved the rule. In “Gangs and gangsters as they pass from view. Biff Ellison and Monk Eastman.” According to Asbury. Italian immigrants then rose in the underworld for a time only to be pushed aside by the rise of Jewish gangs. and the writer would go on to chronicle the lives and exploits of many similar figures. Paul Kelly. he just grinned and waved his hand and blushed until his face vied with his hair for redness. Asbury separated New York gangland history to that point into three phases. His style provided the figures with humanity and understanding that made their actions both more logical and more horrific. April 2013 9 so far the records show he never made a speech. Big Jack Zelig.INFORMER. Owney Madden and others. He also insisted that gangsters generally were cowardly. largely unexplored side of history. the hoodlums and the murderers who terrorized lower Manhattan in the previous century. he began a series of articles for the Sun that documented the legends and the history of New York’s underworld. He would become particularly attracted to such characters from the darker. the gangsters. such men as ‘Eat-’emup’ Jack McManus. defined by ethnic immigration into lower Manhattan. Monk Eastman.”20 .19 York’s combination of Bunyanesque accomplishments and matter-offact manner obviously intrigued Asbury. In July. Yet there have been a few of them.” Asbury looked back upon New York’s legendary villains. who were brave men and willing to stand toe to toe and fight with anybody. He provided a tribute to what he viewed as the last wave of gang leaders. It was his first substantial foray into a field that would become synonymous with his name. It was Asbury’s momentary view that gangland had been destroyed by political and social reform and that it would never return. “This is all true in spite of the fact that in all the periods the gangsters bore principally Irish names.. He expressed and defended the argument that such men were an inevitable and necessary outgrowth of a corrupt society.
He chronicled the June 21. 1835. aligned with the nativist American (Know-Nothing) Party. clash between the Native Americans gang.21 During this battle several gangsters. while a . eyes gouged out. ears chewed off and tongues pulled out. and the Irish immigrant O’Connell Guards. according to the old records. April 2013 The epic battles fought between 19th Century gangs seemed to fascinate Asbury like no other subject. suffered such injuries as smashed heads.10 INFORMER.
” Asbury responded to the scolding by producing a glowing obituary.” “He. with detailed descriptions of Duse’s immense fame and great public influence and of the depth of international mourning that followed her death. “Remember. Rumors grew around an obituary Asbury penned for internationally renowned actress Eleonora Duse. In 1924. When it came time for the 1920 Census. Shirt Tails and Roach Guards gangs of the Five Points area and an alliance of the Bowery Boys and Atlantic Guards. The plays were named “An Infernal Triangle.24 According to the tale. That obit was accepted by the satisfied editor and plastered across the front page of the newspaper. April 2013 11 passerby named Dr.INFORMER. but he seemed not yet ready for it. William McCaffrey was struck on the head by a brick and killed. She and It” and “The Great Safe Robbery!!!”23 The plays helped to show Asbury’s writing versatility but they did not open a viable career option.”22 Work on the gangland history provided Asbury with a glimpse of his future. religion and Hatrack Vaudeville producer Arthur Klein decided to bring three Asburyauthored one-act plays to the stage in October of 1919.” the editor instructed. Asbury still described himself as a newspaper reporter. He also noted the protracted July 1857 street war (image on front cover) between the Dead Rabbits. Only years later was it learned that Asbury had plagiarized the entire piece from an old . He described it as the “greatest free for all fight that New York ever witnessed. Asbury wrote a lengthy tribute to the actress but was rebuked by his editor. he proved that even a newspaper reporter could accomplish a legendary feat. Distractions. “you’re writing about the greatest actress who ever lived. because the pistol was a crude affair then and to use a knife was considered ungentlemanly and not giving the other fellow a fair chance. Bricks and clubs and fists were the principal weapons.
“I find no offense has been committed and I find the defendant not guilty. Jarnigan. On April 8. Mencken was arrested. J. it created a national controversy. Asbury’s former neighbors in Farmington petitioned the United States postmaster-general to prevent it from being distributed through the mails. Frank T. The result was a series of works highly critical of religion in general and Asbury’s brand of Methodism in particular.27 the controversy in Farmington was erupting. led the forces opposed to the magazine’s distribution. 1926. Mencken immediately demanded a hearing on the matter. Frank Case.” protested Jarnigan.” Parmenter stated. “I never heard such a scandalous article in all my life. Henry Louis “H.12 INFORMER.L. Farmington Mayor C. “I cannot imagine a child or any other person whom it might offend buying this expensive magazine. Mencken added to the conflict by deliberately antagonizing the Watch and Ward Society. Frank Case. Asbury was called to Boston to testify in Mencken’s trial in Municipal Court. Local residents generally agreed that Asbury’s account of the local . While refusing to support an outright ban of the magazine. American Mercury. entitled “Hatrack. acted to prevent the American Mercury’s allegedly obscene and offensive April issue from being disseminated in Boston. the local Methodist minister. On April 6. intellectual publication.”26 As Mencken was released. as reporters from around the country descended on Farmington.” Mencken purchased an Asbury article for his relatively new magazine.” was well suited to it. after the issue had been mailed. Mencken’s magazine was an irreverent. Asbury’s subject was a prostitute who worked in his old hometown of Farmington. On a complaint by J. issue. He traveled to Boston and personally sold a copy of the April issue on the Boston Commons. and Asbury’s article. Parmenter surprised many – including Mencken – when he announced that no law had been broken. the postmaster-general agreed to halt delivery. In 1926. just as he was intellectually wrestling with his family’s most prominent figure. “It was ridiculous and used very bad language. secretary of the New England Watch and Ward Society. Missouri. Bishop Francis Asbury. April 2013 obituary he found in the newspaper’s archives. Judge James P. The following day.A. Tetley (perhaps the only local man who actually read the article before taking a public position on it) felt that the article reflected badly on the community. When the article was published in the April.25 The experience stimulated Asbury’s appetite for mischief. 1926.” The Farmington Chamber of Commerce lent its weight to the effort.
there were not enough cash customers to make the scarlet career profitable. Three of her children by a previous marriage are in an orphan asylum. well -nigh impossible to convert anyone who can keep his head and retain control of his emotions. the poor girls had to meet too much competition from emotional ladies who had the professional spirit but retained their amateur standing by various technicalities. who directed the attention of their congregations to the “Dens of the Devil” in their midst: The evangelist did not know what he was talking about. Asbury applied his frank journalistic logic to the subject of small town prostitution and. Asbury begins by referring to the anti-vice sermons of preachers. in fact. It was economically impossible. The name “Hatrack” was applied to the local prostitute in Farmington.”28 A close look at the “Hatrack” article reveals that it is more a condemnation of the religious community than it is a revelation of the activities of a prostitute. He evidently has forgotten the influence of his father. and he seemed like any other young chap. Citizens who remembered her declined to give her real name. .” it was essentially true. He knew that when they were this upset they would be less likely to question his ravings – that they would be more pliable in his hands and easier to convert. and nothing is more destructive of evangelical fervor than a hearty giggle. They indicated that the woman described in the article was still living in the area: “She has been married a second time.INFORMER.” The mayor speculated that Asbury had lost his way as well as his loyalty to his hometown: “I remember Asbury as a boy here. revealed the condemned sexual activity of prostitutes was not exclusive to them: Our small towns were not overrun by harlots for the plain reason that harlotry could not flourish in a small town. April 2013 13 prostitute was not at all “ridiculous. Such a person is likely to giggle during the most solemn moments. who was honored here many years as city clerk of Farmington… I think [Asbury] must have gotten a little out of balance since he left Farmington. Also. in the process. he was simply using stock blather that he had found by experience would excite the weak-minded to both sexual and religious emotions. It is. which are very similar.
They could not afford to be seen talking to her. if he was a Catholic they went into the Masonic cemetery. April 2013 Asbury said. but not by her own choice.” Asbury wrote. No one held out a welcoming hand. No one spoke to her. …All about her were empty seats. Hatrack’s patrons paid her what they chose to pay her: . by their theory.. Hatrack turned in the evening to the men who would give her attention.” After suffering her weekly shunning in church. “As each man accosted her in turn Hatrack inquired whether he was a Protestant or a Catholic. the author observed.” “When she stood with her arms outstretched she bore a remarkable resemblance to the tall hatracks then in general use in our homes…” According to Asbury. made brothers and sisters of us all.” The most powerful moments in Asbury’s article were reserved for Hatrack’s interaction with the faithful at Sunday services. where she sat alone and prayed alone. Asbury argued. because she was a “scrawny creature.” According to Asbury. she offered her soul to the Lord and went to the devil. the woman worked six days a week cleaning house for a well -to-do family. was more desperately in need of religious support than Hatrack. if they were not empty when she got there they were soon vacated. No one prayed for her. No one in the community. where God's love. They assembled near the adjacent Masonic and Catholic cemeteries. No one asked her to come to Jesus. And no one would have been more receptive. Her day off was Sunday. when “in turn. No one offered her a hymn-book.14 INFORMER. but “from the Christians and their God she got nothing but scorn.. She appeared to pray and sing to heaven during services with absolute sincerity. even in church. “If he was a Protestant she took him into the Catholic cemetery.
April 2013 15 …And she was grateful for whatever she received. was published. Doubtless our God would have destroyed them if they had thus flaunted their sin in our faces.500 inhabitants. It was Hatrack who made the remark that was famous in our town for many years. They were entitled. and mocked us with their heathen rites. Asbury published a well-researched and carefully documented historical biography of Bishop Francis Asbury. and otherwise engaged in legitimate and profitable business enterprise. In 1927 and early in 1928.30 The intellectual wrestling continued.” The first was especially horrifying to readers of the period. A New York Times book reviewer found the factual history to be more damaging to religion institutions than Asbury’s earlier venomous work. A reviewer observed. Asbury tracked gangland events from . Up From Methodism.31 Religion was not Asbury’s only interest in this period. The book included Asbury’s tongue-in-cheek assessment of the religious climate in Farmington during his childhood: We had then some 2. entitled A Methodist Saint: The Life of Bishop Asbury. There were but two or three Jewish families in town then. but it is no story for a nervous person to read late at night. certainly not in public. but on Sunday they praised the Lord. “The story is well told and perfectly consistent. In the same year that the American Mercury controversy raged. During the week many of them put sand in the sugar and weighed their thumbs with the sausage. To a stranger who offered her a dollar she said: “You know damned well I haven’t got any change.INFORMER. especially on Sunday. “Hatrack” turned out to be just one small portion of a much larger work tackling sanctimony. Asbury’s largely autobiographical and deeply sarcastic book. the vast majority of whom were devout workers for the Protestant God. “The Devil of Pei-Ling” and “The Tick of the Clock. considered the first book to chronicle the history of New York’s underworld. In 1927. and I do not recall that they ever attempted to practice their religion.”32 Gangs of New York The year 1928 saw publication of The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld. he had two mystery novels published.”29 Perhaps to the dismay of organized religions across the country.
the rivalry of Monk Eastman and Paul Kelly. I die a true American. before the Civil War through the 1927 murder of gang leader Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen.”34 .” Poole once stated that if he ever got his hands on the Tammany tough. Along the way.” In the end. Baker got the best of the Butcher. April 2013 Authorities battle river pirates in New York harbor (Gangs of New York). Poole was an expert with bladed weapons. he examined the Five Points and Paradise Square.”33 Bill Poole was one of the more compelling characters in Asbury’s thrilling history. With his dying breath. Poole’s rival was Lew Baker. the Gophers. In the middle of the 19th Century. A butcher by trade. but needed to resort to a pistol to finish him off. “Goodbye boys. Poole lingered for fourteen days after being shot in the chest and the abdomen. the Bowery Boys and the Dead Rabbits. he gasped. The work was immediately praised as “a distinct contribution to Americana. and numerous other subjects. Bill “the Butcher” Poole and his battles with Tammany Hall thugs.16 INFORMER. the Hudson Dusters. Poole emerged as champion of the Native Americans gang that kept control of the West Side for the Know-Nothings or American Party. and the Butcher publicly promised to “settle Baker’s hash. the Know-Nothing forces continually battled with immigrant armies assembled by the Tammany Hall machine of the Democratic Party. the Roach Guards. “the remains would scarcely be worth the attention of an undertaker. Clashes often occurred on Election Day outside city polling places. After serving an apprenticeship in the Five Points. the Shirt Tails and the Plug Uglies.
quell the violence and prevent the loss of government arsenals and other facilities to the angry mob. the author was finding romance.35 As The Gangs of New York was finding its audience. Navy gunboats were moved to the East River and offshore at the Battery with orders to fire grape shot and canister if rioters appeared in major city thoroughfares. city leaders had to call in the military. In order to Draft riots during the Civil War. Asbury included a history of the dramatic July 1863 draft riots in New York City. The draft ordered by President Lincoln prompted widespread anti-government and antiAfrican American violence in lower Manhattan. sister of internationally renowned journalist Emily . were positioned around official buildings and clashed with a mass of humanity bent on destroying.INFORMER. Units of U. April 2013 17 The book also contained detailed accounts of the gang wars Asbury had described in his series of articles in the Sun. looting and murdering. infantry and marines. U.S.S. armed with howitzers. Herbert Asbury married journalist and advertising copy writer Helen Hahn.
” established Asbury’s informal underworld histories as a series.37 During the early 1930s. He even helped himself to large tracts of land. a couple of New Yorkers concluded that development had caused Manhattan to become too heavy at its southern Battery end. An author’s note for the book was written in Beverly Hills. in addition to documenting the crime legends of another important American port city and providing an etymology for the term “hoodlum. a span over the Spuyten Duyvil Creek where the island joined the Bronx.” a sequel to The Gangs of New York.40 . was published in 1929. In 1824. Asbury dedicated The Gangs of New York to Helen. A reviewer commenting on the magnified tales in Ye Olde Fire Laddies. was the apparent result of his travels. It was “All Around the Town.) Asbury insisted that the governor regularly prowled the streets at night drunk and in his wife’s clothing. in 1928. taking parcels north of Poughkeepsie and awarding them to close friends in exchange for small sums. Among the tales on its pages is the story of Edward Hyde. The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld. Though Asbury’s attention had returned to New York. April 2013 Hahn.38 The 1933 book. Helen Hahn was a dozen years younger than her new husband. his person remained in California. who served as governor of the New York colony beginning in 1702. Asbury spent considerable time on the west coast. an Asbury article on the “Flour Riot of 1837” was published by New Yorker magazine. surprising pedestrians by jumping out from behind trees and pulling on their ears. and rotated. (They were subsequently named Hyde Park in his honor. eugenics notwithstanding. Asbury sees things five times life-size.”36 In 1931. The Battery would then be anchored to the Bronx to ensure that it did not sink into the sea. Hyde reportedly borrowed money habitually from everyone he knew and stole brazenly from public funds. For Mr. A plan was reportedly devised through which Manhattan would be sawed off at Kingsbridge.39 The next volume in the series hit bookstores in 1934.18 INFORMER. Other works An Asbury-authored book about Carry Nation. The book also preserves a legendary hoax related to plans to disconnect and rearrange Manhattan island. living in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. “The horses who dragged the old masheens to the conflagrations are all. noted. This book. patent offspring of the Blue Ox. California in September of 1934. a leading figure in the pre-Prohibition temperance movement. It was followed in 1930 by a somewhat exaggerated history of firefighting.
when a fictionalized version of book. apparently unimpressed with Asbury’s most recent “saga of sin. Ann Dvorak and Alan Baxter. Starring Charles Bickford.41 Another dramatization of an Asbury work was released in 1936. A reviewer.INFORMER. Asbury had left Beverly Hills to spend his writing time in the scenic upstate New York hamlet of Canada Lake. the New Orleans history was dedicated to Asbury’s wife Helen. was an Asbury effort to outline the history of gambling. was released as a motion picture. Like The Gangs of New York. the fictional film revolves around a police plot to use a gangster lookalike to infiltrate the underworld. A movie “suggested by” Asbury’s The Gangs of New York was released by Republic Pictures in 1938. Its author’s note. April 2013 19 Asbury’s continued presence in Beverly Hills was explained in autumn of 1935. During this period. Two years following. voodoo practitioners. Gem of the Prairie: An Informal History of the Chicago Underworld was released. published two years later.43 He also maintained a residence on East 24th Street in Manhattan. The Barbary Coast. The French Quarter covered such subjects as pirates. Asbury also worked at Popular Science Monthly and as an associate editor of Collier’s magazine.42 The next volume in Asbury’s growing series of informal underworld histories was published later that year. prostitutes. It does no more . filibusters. when a play based upon the horror-mystery novel The Devil of Pei-Ling opened at the Adelphi Theatre. Joel McCrea and Miriam Hopkins.44 Sucker’s Progress. penned in May 1936. Robinson. revealed a change in address. It was The French Quarter: An Informal History of New Orleans with Particular Reference to its Colorful Iniquities. starring Edward G. and New Orleans Mafiosi.” noted blandly that the stories from before the Civil War were more interesting than the later ones.
who ran a saloon called the Lone Star on South State Street around 1900.”46 In the fall of 1942.”47 Later life In 1943.49 She left the Cairns agency the following spring to take a position with Irwin Vladimir & Company. Asbury’s The Golden Flood studied the racy history of America’s first oil-producing lands in western Pennsylvania. just forty. as Asbury reached his mid-fifties. The author’s continuing use of undocumented rumor and legend drew some mild criticism from reviewers. Cairns Company. ‘Gem of the Prairie. In the summer of that year. “It is not often that I find a mistake in your column. The Chicago newspapers about 1900 also contain a lot about Finn. reporter and book writer.45 In 1942. Asbury leased a large apartment at 220 Madison Avenue. was in trouble. “[Asbury] would not protest probably if some one told him that this is ‘popular’ history and that no prospective Ph.” writes Herbert Asbury. Gur- . You’ll find an account of the original Mickey Finn and the recipe for the knockout drink he served in my history of the Chicago underworld. The Mickey Finn (the drink) was not named for a Baltimore bartender named Michael Finnegan. and Mrs. Gurney Williams. But Helen stepped away from Young and Rubicam that autumn and briefly took a new job on the copy staff of the John A. Helen Asbury was employed at the Young and Rubicam advertising agency.51 In March of 1945 Asbury married Edith Snyder Evans. will use ‘The Golden Flood’ as a source book – although teachers of history may use it as an anecdotal source for making more savory their lectures to the still immature. she traveled to Mexico to obtain a divorce. an Associated Press reporter based in New York. April 2013 than borrow the name of Asbury’s famous work. Asbury took a moment to write to newspaper columnist Walter Winchell to correct an error and simultaneously promote his own work: “Dear Walter.’ published a few years ago by Knopf. New Jersey. He was quite troublesome. headquartered just a few blocks from the new apartment. and was witnessed by Mr. The ceremony took place in Fort Lee.D. as you reported.20 INFORMER.48 At the time.50 Later in 1944. called Mickey. It was named for a Chicago saloonkeeper named Michael Finn. but now I think I’ve got you. his marriage to Helen.
Social Security Death Index. 1926. p. 71. In 1950. Feb. What is more. 1928. author. he tackled an area in which all of his interests – religion. at University Hospital in New York City on February 24. xiii.52 Asbury continued to work as an editor at Collier’s but his book production had fallen off dramatically. hypocrisy. entitled The Great Illusion: An Informal History of Prohibition. 1942. Asbury’s most famous work. sparking widespread interest in the social and criminal history of New York City. March 30.55 Nearly four decades after his death. 11. 1963. Up from Methodism: A Memoir of a Man Gone to the Devil. 4 United States Census of 1900. New York. after all. 71.”57 Notes 1 Asbury. Alfred A. the Martin Scorsese-directed film used a number of the street toughs and 19th Century city settings described in the book. Herbert. 7 “Herbert Asbury wed. United States Census of 1910. corruption. but also introduced other characters and details and moved incidents around in time. The Asbury family home was on Cayce Street.” New York Times. temperance. author. Herbert. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio. 1963. dies. was adapted into a fictional epic motion picture. p. Knopf. 2 “Herbert Asbury.” New York Sun. That was Prohibition. criminality and gang warfare – merged. 5 “Herbert Asbury. April 2013 21 ney Williams was a cartoon editor at Collier’s magazine. NY: Garden City Publishing. 8 United States Census of 1910. Doubleday published his book. instruct and inform to some extent. Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz. It was warmly received and named to the New York Times list of Outstanding Books of the Year. 1945. Carleton College was open from 1878 to 1916. Garden City. 3 World War I civilian draft registration.53 Asbury’s second marriage ended in divorce in 1958. dies.56 While it did not remain true to its source material. 1917. The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld . World War II draft registration card.54 The nation’s “chief chronicler of sin” lived just five more years.” 6 Asbury. the movie ultimately performed the same function as Asbury’s own work.INFORMER. He died. apparently of the chronic pulmonary condition that dated back to his brief military career. 25. . A 1942 review of The Golden Flood provided a comment that applies as much to the movie as to the volumes that Asbury left to his readers: “…The purely entertaining does. The Gangs of New York. it may stimulate to more serious search for the facts of things past and for their meaning.
“Power wielded by gangsters and famous battles they waged. “Herbert Asbury wed. Up from Methodism: A Memoir of a Man Gone to the Devil. a publisher of Protestant religious literature.” New York Sun. arrive. Leonard. 1926.” New York Sun. Mencken battles order barring magazine in P.nyc. 1919. 1999 (http://www.” (“‘Hatrack’ seller fined $100. 1919. 1947. magazine dealer Felix Caragianes was arrested and fined $100 for selling 35 copies of the American Mercury’s April issue to professors and students at Harvard.pdf ). “Gangs and the gangsters as they pass from view. “Acquits Mencken in ‘Mercury’ case.. 17. 1926.” New York Sun.” Boston Globe. “I didn’t know I was doing any harm.” New York Sun.’” New York Sun. p. 2003. accessed March 1. “Mencken freed by judge today. “The Lyons den. was one of the tallest buildings in New York City when it was completed in September. 1926.” “Herbert Asbury. April 8.” New York Sun. “Hatrack’s town still seething.” 27 The release of Mencken was not the end of the controversy in the Boston area. April 9. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press. 71. 1917.” Boston Globe. father aids fund. 12.” New York Sun. .” Sheboygan WI Press. April 14. 1926.” Boston Globe. Oct. April 9. 21 It appears likely that this gang battle was the inspiration for the opening scenes in the fictional movie. The Gangs of New York. 28.” New York Sun. p. 16 “6. Herbert. York upsets old notions of a hero’s looks and conduct. 25 Lyons. 26 “Mencken arrested for selling magazine here. July 20. Asbury’s apartment was virtually in the shadow of Times Square. Oct. Jan. 20. 15 “His son wounded. “American Tract Society Building. “Mencken in court today. 1950. 30. 4.) 28 “‘Hatrack’ stirs her home town. “Sergt. 1919. H. 1919. p. 2013. impure and obscene language. 20. lost the building to foreclosure in 1914. 24 Italian actress Eleonora Duse died in April 1924 while touring the United States. 14 “‘Sun’ alumni honor comrades in war. p. “Mencken case verdict today. 13 World War I civilian draft registration. where the New York Times offices had relocated a decade earlier. 1926. vaudeville was still enormously popular and would not experience a noticeable decline for another decade. The following week. 1926. Her remains were transported to New York City. 12. p. April 7. Ex-Lieut. “Herbert Asbury. p. p. 1926. 1926.” 19 Asbury. 1919. 1919.” 17 “Gay party planned to increase fund. arrive. 1917. 1918. Though some distance from his own employer. 12 Asbury.” June 15. 20 Asbury.” Reno Evening Gazette. p. 23 “Mexico calls for ‘Apple Blossoms.” Boston Globe. many wounded. The American Tract Society.O. “Mencken is not guilty. p. 1. Cambridge Judge Arthur P. 10.” Reno NV Evening Gazette. April 7. where she lay in state for four days before being shipped to Italy for burial. The 23-story American Tract Society Building. dies. p. April 5.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/ amertractsocbldg.” New York Sun. the Sun. April 7.22 INFORMER. 1895. Herbert. 18 “6. June 22. 10 Landmarks Preservation Commission. April 2013 9 “Herbert Asbury wed. Though motion pictures had been introduced years earlier. Oct. 1918. Herbert. 21. 27.” New York Post. 22 Asbury. p.000 heroes. author. 1926. Jan. 11 World War I civilian draft registration. designed by architect R. 2.000 heroes. that was loosely based on Asbury’s writings. The Sun occupied the lower section of the building from 1914 through 1919. 23. 4. April 6. Stone convicted Caragianes of selling a magazine containing “indecent. April 12. Herbert. 1926.” New York Sun. many wounded. July 27.” The peddler told the press. June 1.” New York Sun. April 7. 1.” New York Sun. Robertson.
“A dramatic climax. 38 California State Library Biographical Index Cards. Gangs of New York. p. 71. 2002. and Charles Angoff. She was 98 years old. 31. 14. 1933. 30 Up from Methodism. 1945.” New York Times. 8. New York: Alfred A. 1930.” “Herbert Asbury. Asbury. Oct. p. p. 14. p. Knopf. 1938. 21. May 8. Garden City. 4. 40 “Odd New Yorkers.” Brooklyn Standard Union. “‘The Barbary Coast’ at the Rivoli stars Miss Hopkins. 1933.” New York Times. 26. Nov. 1928. 1943. That underworld organization reportedly existed in Baltimore. All Around the Town: Murder. 57 “Toughs and heroes of Pennsylvania’s oil fields.” New York Times. 1929. 1927.” New York Times. 1928.” New Yorker. director. 1931. 2008. “Hatrack. 98. 7.. p. dies. Oct. 25. 1942. April 3.” Boston Globe. The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld. April 29. 1934. 56 Scorsese.” New York Times. Knopf. Sept. Feb.” New York Post.” New York Times. 3. 53 “A list of 275 outstanding books of the year. p. Dec. soared to fame on hub banning. Feb. is dead. 118-171. 1944. editors. Miramax Film Corp. 1942. director. 1944.” American Mercury. Social Security Death Index.org/details/Gangs_of_New_York_1938 . 1944. at her home in Greenwich Village. Feb. p. Walter. 150-153. 35 The Gangs of New York.. Riot and Mayhem in Old New York. 1938. p. Oct. 3. 37 Asbury. 43 Asbury. 1927. Nov. 44 “In old New Orleans. Republic Pictures. March 30. p. 41 Delehanty. 85-89. 20. 1936. p. author. 4. 11. 49 “Advertising news. Garst in 1971.” New York Times. James. Asbury may have become confused by press reports showing that the Plug Uglies were involved in violence in Baltimore at about the same time that a battle between the Dead Rabbits and Bowery Boys occurred in New York City. 4. 56.” TIME. 6. 138-143. April 1926. Martin. 48 “Magazine editor rents apartment.” New York Post. Herbert.” New York Times. 45 Cruze. 52 “Herbert Asbury wed. This article is available through Spivak. Aug. 1943. Garden City. 39 “San Francisco’s gaudy and grave stories. 1935. 36 “When the fire laddies led the strenuous life. Herbert. 1963. 46 “Toughs and heroes of Pennsylvania’s oil fields. Herbert. p. 18. 55 “Herbert Asbury. NY: Country Life Press. The motion picture can be viewed online at archive.” Nevada State Journal. Herbert. Herbert. p.” New York Sun. 30. 47 Winchell. Gangs of New York. 21. Scandal. The French Quarter: An Informal History of New Orleans with Particular Reference to its Colorful Iniquities. Lawrence E. The Gangs of New York. 42 “‘The Devil of Pei-Ling’ at the Adelphi Theatre. 6.” New York Times. Asbury. 34 The Gangs of New York. NY: Garden City Publishing Co. April 26. 90-99. Nov. veteran Times reporter. 32 “New mystery stories. Asbury is criticized for including the Plug Uglies in his accounts of New York gang warfare. Sept. Dec. 1936. New York: Alfred A. Edith Evans Asbury married Robert E. She died Oct. 50 “Advertising news and notes.” . 1950.INFORMER. 33 “Blood and thunder in the history of Manhattan’s gangs.” New York Times. 54 “Edith Evans Asbury. 1933. The American Mercury Reader. “That was New York: The Flour Riot of 1837. “Winchell on Broadway. Nov. 2008.” New York Times. April 2013 23 29 Asbury. He died nine years later. Dec. 11.” New York Times. 51 “Milestones. 1. 31 “Bishop Asbury as the Devil’s Foe. Thornton.” New York Times. 20.
April 2013 .24 INFORMER.
Petrelli (1947). Notes The Mob Rel column indicates family ties: F=father. April 2013 25 Lucchese Crime Family Membership 1910s-1940s By Bill Feather The Lucchese Crime Family (New York) Mafia Membership Chart on the following pages includes information on known and suspected members who became active in the organization in the 1910s through the 1940s. * . U=uncle. N=nephew. d – Deported: A. S=son. B=brother.Documentation suggests but does not explicitly state that the individual was a member of the crime family. It is likely that some family links are not shown on the chart. . i – Died while in prison. Accardi may have been deported in the 1950s. xp – Died in conflict with police. S. Numerous family relationships exist among Mafiosi.INFORMER. xs – Death was apparent suicide.Valente (1947). C=cousin.DeCarlo (1947). x – Death was a homicide. M=related by marriage.
April 2013 .26 INFORMER.
INFORMER. April 2013 27 .
28 INFORMER. April 2013 .
1 He was the youngest of eight children.INFORMER. longer than many of his contemporaries. at least six apparently born in the United States: Ester. Shillitani’s life after the Castellammare War was one of incarceration and bending to penitentiary rules. and Giuseppe. located in the heel of the mainland Italian boot.” More than the others mentioned in the series. He completed eighth grade and attended Hoffman High School in the Bronx until the age of sixteen. arriving in New York in 1892. 1905.2 born around 1896. but one factor may have been the bad examples he received from relatives. born a year later. born March 21. the home where Salvatore was born. Saverio or Samuel. How Shillitani enrolled in such a life is unclear.3 Michele and Gaetana came to the U. Anna.S. Lorenzo. April 2013 29 Gunmen of the Castellammarese War . 1897. 1903. born August 23. better known as “Sally Shields. and Gaetana Giorgio. the son of Salvatore Shillitani Michele Scillitano (original spelling). they lived at 329 East Eleventh Street in Lower Manhattan. he was a failure.Part 5 A lifetime of tangling with the law: Salvatore ‘Sally Shields’ Shillitani By Lennert van‘t Riet. 1906.4 By 1905.5 Salvatore’s educational experience was short. In the criminal world. David Critchley and Steve Turner The fifth and final chapter of our series Gunmen of the Castellammarese War features the life of Salvatore Shillitani. Italy. Shillitani came to life in New York City on November 21. from Foggia. The only of our subjects to have been born in America. born June 9. After quitting school. he .
In the end. Oreste. also named Michele. Even after several of the witnesses who had testified against Oreste during his trial changed their statements.13 His family. said to have been a gang leader. During the first half of 1913.30 INFORMER. The sound of the shooting attracted two police officers. Oreste received the death penalty. chose a different path. who had been held on a Sullivan Law weapons violation since the shooting. Oreste – known as “Harry Shields. Oreste encountered Rizzo near a Mulberry Street saloon and shot him. hitting both twice. . did everything to have the verdict overturned. a Oreste Shillitani nation-wide manhunt started for Oreste. Yet Oreste eluded authorities for over a month. Oreste was at odds with John Rizzo. both of the Mulberry Street station. started a real estate business. He had a close relationship with a cousin. Oreste escaped.11 Following the triple-slaying. at 301 East Eleventh Street. Oreste shot at the officers.12 For the triple-murder. gained nationwide notoriety after a series of events leading to several fatalities. originally a shoemaker. helping his father in his shop a few doors down from the family home. Heaney died immediately.9 The family settled on Mulberry Street. who lived at 241 Mulberry Street. April 2013 worked as a butcher. Teare and Rizzo died soon after. where Michele. On the night of May 3.10 Oreste however.6 Oreste Shillitani Michele Scillitano had served time in prison on weapons law violations. reportedly over a borrowed pistol.7 One of this cousin’s sons. he gave himself up to gain freedom for his father. William Heaney and John Teare. Oreste’s father. Fellow gangsters knew the shooting of the policemen would cause harassment of their underworld colleagues by law enforcement. 1913. coming to America with his parents in 1895.”8 or the “Paper Box Kid” – was born in Foggia. and several witnesses came forward willing to identify him as the slayer. especially his eldest brother Giovanni or John.
But Oreste thought otherwise.16 The two Sammys Among the others were Salvatore’s brother.20 he first fell afoul of the law . When he sought shelter in nearby Ossining Hospital. which terrorized residents and shopkeepers of Thompson Street. Oreste drew his firearm. but as soon as he had opened the steel door. 1922. The two were shot on October 12. with a pistol. On the morning of June 22. he was put on trial for the robbery. Oreste asked one of two guards in the Sing Sing “death house” if he could take a walk along the corridor just outside the entrance.15 Oreste was sentenced to die in the electric chair.19 But it was “Sammy Shields. it was said. as well as Oreste’s brother with the same name. He was returned to prison and executed in the morning of June 30. apparently the result of a gang fight. With Joseph Sabatino and Vincenzo Incenzi. Saverio was in trouble again. In the confusion that followed.” Salvatore’s cousin. 1916.17 Both Saverios had criminal records. 1913. charged with violating the Sullivan law. who lived next door to Del Peppo. He was arrested and returned to prison that same day. April 2013 31 claiming the police forced them into giving false testimony. He did not get far. appeared to have experienced a nervous breakdown.14 the sentence was upheld. But he was not the only one of the family to be involved in criminal affrays. Saverio. Oreste. Next. only a few feet from where Oreste had killed Rizzo and the two police officers. Shillitani and companion Joseph Conti were hauled into court for violation of the Sullivan law. The two men were found wounded on Mulberry Street. 1916. he managed to obtain a pistol.18 Some eight years later. Born in 1899. The guard saw no harm in it. Salvatore’s brother was first arrested on May 13. Oreste escaped. with one Evario Del Peppo. he was implicated in a robbery in June 1918. authorities were notified of his whereabouts. A revolver found in Del Peppo’s home was alleged to have belonged to Saverio. 1926. His escapades had gained him and the Shillitani name national notoriety. Somehow. He was thought to have been the leader of a robbery ring called the Thompson Street or Shillitoni (sic) Gang.INFORMER. after he and three others were found sitting in a taxi on June 16. They were convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. He pleaded guilty to the charges at the end of July 1918 and received a fifteen -year prison sentence on August 2. who would become better known as Sammy Shields. who gained most notoriety of the two Saverios.
” apparently in order to shoot somebody inside the restaurant. Torti. however. had just been released after having served time for shooting “Big Jack” Zelig. On September 10. who ran a Mulberry Street restaurant in the late 1910s. after a raid on a dice game. Sammy operated within the gambling scene. How John Shillitani figured in the affair is unclear. When the policemen approached the trio. The police. brother of Harry and Sammy Shields. Larry and his three accomplices tried to flee on foot. four men operated the game. this time with a gun.22 Then on February 15. Sammy was arrested and charged with felonious assault. 1933. two police officers were walking past his restaurant. According to police.23 and died of old age in August 2000. on June 16. described as a dangerous criminal. John was arrested and charged with gambling. Charles Torti was apprehended and placed under arrest after wrestling with and being shot by one of the officers. a case that was discharged. April 2013 in May 1913. In his later years. then the underboss of the Bonanno Family. 1931. . not even a year after he and his cousin were shot. he was again arrested for felonious assault. According to John.21 After a hearing before the Children’s Court. Having crashed their car. 1923. was arrested after a wild car chase in April 1926. On August 3. Again the charges would not stick. John Shillitani among them. or Larry. he was arrested and charged with felonious assault after having wounded a certain Thomas McGrath. a notorious New York gang leader.32 INFORMER. when they heard one of three men loitering outside say: “Shoot through the window. 1917. He ran crap games with Frank Garofalo. John grabbed the weapon from McGrath and shot him. the charges again being dismissed. John also was involved in a handful of brushes with the law. accused of being among the Kenmare Gang that snatched the pocketbook of a woman.27 Lorenzo (Larry) Shillitani Lorenzo. fleeing the scene of a burglary. another of Shillitani’s brothers. he was put on probation.25 Not as notorious as his brothers26 and cousins. He was arrested once more for assault. it was self-defense: after McGrath and two others broke into his home and threatened him with a pistol.24 John Shillitani Then there was John. On February 23. believed the shooting related to a sweepstakes ticket-selling row. they fled. yet the press believed it interesting enough to name him as the proprietor of the restaurant in front of which it occurred. 1918. On another occasion.
INFORMER. Nicolena Shillitani.28 Angelina Shillitani Even some of the Shillitani women had problems staying on the right side of the law. 1927. still bearing the Shillitani name. and in September 1950 for swindling. 1925. but apparently did not divorce him. and for robbery in 1925. April 2013 33 but stopped after a police officer fired at them.32 Shillitani met Valachi while both were still “kids. On April 17. hitting Larry in the leg. together with her halfsister Rose Verzico. was convicted of selling heroin on August 16. the mother of Oreste. pleaded guilty to smuggling aliens across the Canadian border in December 1931.30 Salvatore Shillitani Yet Salvatore Shillitani would stake a special claim in the history of organized crime. Unlike his prior arrests however. Angelina Shillitani. Found guilty after trial. At the time. he organized a burglary crew. Fred and John. he gained his second parole.” Shillitani would admit years later. he was sentenced June 26 to two and a half years to ten years in prison. He was paroled from Sing Sing on October 1. 1917. married to Sammy Shields in 1927.31 Shillitani’s stay in Sing Sing intersected with the incarceration there of a number of interesting characters. as the eighteen-year-old Shillitani was becoming known as Sally or Solly Shields. She received from six months to three years in prison. Soon after Valachi’s release in June 1928. She was said to have been a one-time confidante of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. two years later she was arrested for larceny. the 1926 case resulted in a conviction and a prison sentence. Whatever the case. she was separated from Sammy. and Dominick “The Gap” Petrelli entering in December of 1926. She had been indicted with one Louis Milton. Sammy.29 Angelina’s daughter-in-law. who entered the penal establishment only days after Shillitani. It was Larry’s fourth arrest. He had been picked up for felonious assault and for burglary in 1924. 1928. on October 30.33 but it is unclear whether he met Petrelli in prison for the first time. including Joseph “Joe Cago” Valachi. the three hooked up after they were back on the streets. He then returned to prison on a parole violation on January 28. for whom she worked. Nine months later. he was arrested on assault and robbery charges. The group was known as the “minute men” due to their rapid tim- .
with Valachi.37 a member of the Gagliano team. Valachi. The arrest had been a violation of his parole. Such was the case with the burglary leading to Fiori Chicone’s death in summer of 1929. and a day after his release.35 It brought Shillitani to the center of the upcoming war.34 INFORMER. Shillitani was not involved in the shooting itself. was assassinated in February 1930. head of a Mafia organization in Manhattan and the Bronx. he was not even present when the waiting gunmen fired their salvo at the Masseria loyalists. Petrelli. Shillitani’s third arrest did not result in a conviction. recruited Shillitani. both recruited to the American Mafia fold by Valachi. The original plan . and the attempts on the lives of Joseph Rao and one Nino Corella. Salvatore was returned to prison. worked with Valachi and his crew. When Gaetano Reina. however. Among its members were Shillitani and Nicholas Paduano.36 Valachi pointed out that. 1929. First was the double-slaying of Mineo and Ferrigno in November 1930. Mineo probably would not Stefano Ferrigno* have been killed. and initiated his membership into the New York Mafia – in the former Reina Family then headed by Tommaso Gagliano – and into an alliance with Salvatore Maranzano. those of Manfredi “Al” Mineo.34 Castellammarese War role The Castellammarese War was looming. Petrelli and Shillitani. was freed from custody on October 7. and he. Yet he was involved in the preparations. According to Valachi. April 2013 ing. himself already a Mafia associate. on occasion. if it had been up to Shillitani and Joseph Rosato. Shillitani figured in a number of shootings of those allied with Maranzano’s foe “Joe the Boss” Masseria. and the attempted extortion of an ice cream dealer resulting in the arrest of Valachi. and had been among those staking out the Ferrigno apartment from where the victims were leaving when they met their death. Stefano Ferrigno and Joseph “the Baker” Catania.
Valachi would “burn” if he would “ever expose this Cosa Nostra. moreover.INFORMER. a Gagliano Family member. it had not been for Valachi’s refusal. they engaged in some practice shooting outside.” Some basic rules were explained. picked him up and with Shillitani and Paduano. but Valachi still refused. after which they gathered for a meal. Sebastiano “Buster from Chicago” Domingo and “Doc” (real name Vincent Danna) greeted and congratulated them. and the trio were officially members. as well as several Gagliano Family members also fighting Masseria. Shillitani had “made his bones. Valachi believed the most important were not to mess with a member’s wife. The Castellammarese leader held a personal grudge against Catania.” He was directed to sit next to Maranzano. Both Shillitani and Rosato demanded that Valachi obey orders. The . which Valachi understood to mean he would “live by the gun and knife and die by the gun and knife. unlike Valachi and Shillitani already a made member at this time. Valachi remembered that. He remembered several men in the room. Frank Callace. But Valachi felt that during his time in the stakeout apartment. Shillitani and Paduano were left alone in a room from where they were called into another. the trio experienced one of the most important events in their underworld careers.38 If. and Valachi was among those ordered to do the shooting. Valachi. symbolising that those in attendance would now be “brothers in blood. A piece of paper was given to Valachi and lit on fire.” Then. There was a table with a gun and a knife. one at a time. Joseph Catania was the last obstacle in the way of peace for Maranzano.40 Yet their newly acquired membership did not exclude getting their hands dirty. he had become too recognized in the neighborhood and refused to commit the killing. There were several other Maranzano underlings present. Masseria’s main adviser at that time. The same ritual was repeated with Shillitani and Paduano. First. Maranzano would not discuss ending the conflict until he was dead.” Valachi recalls that within days after Mineo and Ferrigno were gunned down. Then. April 2013 35 was to “get” Ferrigno. a drop of blood was drawn from Valachi’s trigger finger. there was still a war to be fought. Despite his absence when Mineo and Ferrigno were shot dead and his error in judgement. Maranzano supported Valachi’s decision and bawled out Rosato. who performed the initiation ceremony. Valachi was the first of the group to “made” or initiated into the American Mafia. he was taken to a farm in upstate New York. all standing next to their chairs. the Castellammarese would not have encountered Ferrigno with Mineo. when they arrived at the farm. and not to squeal.39 There.
April 2013 search for Catania indirectly resulted in Frank Scalici.” Scalici offered to kill Catania as a favor to Maranzano. being among the Maranzano delegation to go over to Scalici’s home and talk over the shift of alliance. eventually ending the war. from where they learned Catania’s daily routine. since Rao had been the . was spotted at the Pompeii Restaurant in Harlem with Dick Amato. he and Shillitani were stationed in an apartment looking out on Catania’s bail bond office in the Bronx. Shillitani would later say he saw the dust come of Catania’s coat as the bullets found their mark.36 INFORMER. of the former Mineo Family. With Shillitani were Domingo. which was performed by Domingo. Rannelli and Valachi were cruising the streets in search for Catania. To “prove he was sincere. who gave him two weeks to do so. Maranzano and Charles Luciano started to plot Masseria’s demise. but not directly in the murder itself. Shillitani had a minor role in the decision of Frank Scalici and his Mafia group to join Maranzano. Shillitani was involved in the surveillance of Catania. in which Shillitani was to be one of the gunmen.” Maranzano decided his own men would go Joseph Catania after Catania again. Armed with this information. According to Valachi. two weeks passed. Valachi disliked them both. a Masseria ally.42 Yet Shillitani’s involvement in two successful assassinations is overshadowed by the failed attempt on Joseph Rao. When taking a shot at Paolo Gambino. Maas failed to mention Shillitani’s role in connection with the Mineo and Ferrigno cases. nor does he mention Shillitani while describing Catania’s death. and several of his associates deserting to the Maranzano camp. with Shillitani watching. and “nothing happened. and Valachi. With Catania out of the way. Buster shot Catania dead in front of his office. Danna.43 Sometime in January 1931. it was the Rao shooting for which Shillitani would become best known.41 Alike to the Mineo and Ferrigno shootings. According to Valachi. recalled by author Peter Maas.44 Shillitani and Valachi were notified that Rao. So.
however. the details of the shooting match those of Corella’s. and fired several shots at Rao.”49 With the few details given by the informant. placing the event in January 1930. pulled a pistol.46 He was among the partners in the lottery operation Valachi and Santuccio ran in the 1930s. adding that both missed their target. No date or place of the shooting is given. he immediately drove to the Pompeii. Upon their arrival. he was shot to death in a gangland shooting unrelated to the Castellammarese War. Despite an inability to fulfill the Rao and Corella contracts.48 Few details are known about the last shooting Shillitani was involved in during the war.51 While Valachi did not provide a name of the victim. although he would die of old age. in the ass. not wanting to let Rao escape. came off worse. With Shillitani. Shillitani and “Nicky. and in later years. Maranzano’s September 1931 murder had few direct consequences for Shillitani. behind the wheel. Valachi was eager to follow up on the tip. his own future proved not much better. Armed with a shotgun. who like Petrelli remained in the Gagliano fold. A federal informant mentioned Shillitani as one of the assigned assassins of a certain “Corella.INFORMER. further inquiries into the time of the shooting and the identity of the intended victim proved unproductive. “I got him once. 1931. Rao.” According to Valachi. pulled alongside Rao’s car. was believed to have been a large scale narcotics trafficker.” the other being Nick Capuzzi.47 Amato. On May 28. he. Amato and a lady-friend had just stepped out of the restaurant and were about to enter Rao’s car. However.50 went after another victim. again in the company of Rao. April 2013 37 one behind Valachi’s earlier problems with Ciro Terranova. in which Shillitani was among the actual gunmen. the FBI appears to have misinterpreted Valachi’s statement on “Nicky. As Valachi likely as not was the federal informant providing the information on the Corella shooting. presenting an opportunity to shoot them.52 However. his participation in the Castellammarese War was successful. but noted is that Corella in 1962 ran a garage on East 107th Street.”45 Rao went on to become a power in the old Masseria Family. in his unpublished manuscript. but it wasn’t enough to stop him. many of his prime years were wasted . Valachi. and Dick Amato had been among those confronting him about it. Valachi. Shillitani “froze in his tracks. Valachi wrote that a day after the failed attempt on Rao. causing him to escape inside the nearest building.” and failed to discharge his weapon.” a reference to Nick Paduano. Shillitani and Paduano started shooting before their target was within good reach. and summoned Shillitani.
Within twenty-four hours of Rosato’s visit. was robbed not once but twice by the same group of “kids. Yet a week later. life within the Mafia remained one of violence and treachery. Jr. the Gagliano Family member reprimanded after trying to push Valachi into shooting Ferrigno. when a saloon belonging to “Don Abate.54 Valachi. Abate was robbed a second time.” true name Benedetto Bellini. came to seek his advice on the robbery proposal. came to him after Abate’s saloon had been robbed the first time. He became involved after Joseph Rosato. and arrangements for the deaths of the Thomas Qualles. Shoemakers were made.38 INFORMER. the Shoemakers and the “Irish kid. They went to the vicinity of a school near Paulding Avenue. So. While the Castellammarese War was over. all Gagliano Family members. 1932. or at least he thought so. in the . The slightest provocation or insult of a member could result in murder. then already a Luciano Family member. setting them up for their deaths. accompanied by “an Irish kid. 1932 conviction As a “made” Mafia member.” as Valachi called him. Nick Paduano and Frank Callace. and informed them of their mistake.” Shillitani was called upon to meet his obligations.55 Shillitani. Valachi told them to go along. along with Ettore ‘Eddie’ Coco. April 2013 inside prison – and it was his Mafia membership that sent him there. When the brothers.”53 whom Valachi described as an old-time member. Valachi learned the identity of the robbers. were to go on the supposed robbery job. was ordered to “line the kids up” for execution. On the night of January 28. were to kill the intended victims by luring them on a supposed slot machine robbery. Shillitani was obligated to kill when ordered to do so by his superiors. whom he called the “Shoemaker” brothers.
including Petrelli.. and within a short time was heavily involved himself. and placed under arrest. a court attendant.56 The sudden sound of gunshots caught the attention of Thomas Quales Jr. 1932. when French authorities sought to arrest him for collaboration with the Germans. Most of his Corsican associates remained in France. Shillitani was charged with the murder of Bellini.. Bellini was fatally shot. while Shillitani was overpowered by Thomas Sr. The Shoemakers escaped unharmed. Narcotics enterprises When Shillitani returned to the streets of New York City. he was found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree. Shillitani could not resist.57 With an unconvincing statement that Paduano had held him up and he himself was innocent. Shillitani received a twenty-year sentence. was visiting there when the shots rang out. In their flight. Paduano was shot dead by Thomas Jr. Still. father and son hurried outside. Shillitani maintained his innocence at trial but without success. the prosecution had a strong case.58 Shillitani remained in Sing Sing for little more than seven years. April 2013 39 Bronx. Shillitani became acquainted with Joseph Orsini.59 Not forty years old. Thomas Sr. he found many Mafiosi. As Shillitani was caught at the scene. Several of his fellow Gagliano group members had already been sentenced to long prison terms on narcotics charges.. fired a handgun at the fleeing Gagliano men and went in pursuit. which dominate the underworld of Paris and Marseilles. including several of his old associates. Callace and Coco. involved in narcotics trafficking. He was paroled on August 31. finding Shillitani and Paduano running away. resided at 989 Mace Avenue. In or around 1946. from where they established a major heroin pipeline. Thomas Jr. followed by his father. Callace and Coco were able to get away. In his attempted escape. Yet with the huge profits made in the racket. A French national. Without hesitation. it did not deter him from picking up his life of crime. He arrived at Sing Sing Prison a week later. On May 25. On April 28. after which he was transferred to Attica Prison. But the young robbers became suspicious of the Gagliano mobsters and tried to break away. Shillitani had already spent almost half his life behind prison bars. the Bastia-born Orsini was a high-ranking member of the Corsican Milieu. on the corner of Paulding Avenue. and his father Thomas Sr. 1946. where they met Shillitani. Thomas Jr.. Paduano.INFORMER. chauffeur to Second Deputy Commissioner Felix Muldoon.60 . He had come to the United States after World War II.
Giannini is credited with setting up contacts between the Mafiosi and the Corsicans.40 INFORMER. April 2013 With a network of chemical laboratories. Giannini gave information to FBN agents. The net was Eugene Giannini closing around Shillitani. Smuggled into America concealed in cars. the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) had watched Giannini. Giannini’s jailing caused confusion among the members of the Mafia Corsican ring. Giannini reportedly had tried to keep “all the . While they were already aware of the activities of Giannini. slowly connecting the dots. the operation was the forerunner of the now famous French Connection case. Giannini had been the main contact between the New York mobsters and the Corsicans. Apparently. the newly acquired intelligence allowed FBN agents to start an extensive investigation into the ring. His arrest in the spring of 1951 in Italy gave the FBN the break it needed. few of whom actually knew what exactly was going on. another important figure in the ring was Lucchese Family member Eugene Giannini. It was well aware of the mobster’s drug trafficking activities. which Shillitani and his fellow American mobsters were happy to take. the Corsicans and their New York mob associates. Orsini and their associates. In addition to Shillitani and Orsini.61 Joseph Orsini For some time. the Corsicans had large quantities of heroin available. Desperate for release. who with Petrelli would spend time in an Italian jail in the early 1950s.
provided by Giannini to be used in case of emergency. Arrangements were made for a sailor to take the heroin to New York. By corresponding with “Bergeret” directly. was another FBN informant. both the FBN and French authorities knew of the encounter. There the sailor was arrested by narcotics agents. Shillitani however. Shillitani showed it to one of his associates. writing a letter to Ansaldi. This came with Ansaldi’s second letter to Shillitani. operated a large heroin laboratory in Paris. unbeknownst to him. the narcotics agents found . and despite Giannini’s imprisonment.64 Shillitani on July 27. 1951. whose real name was Salvatore Caneba. stating fifteen kilos would be ready for pickup. All the identified men were detained. Sperandeo.” according to author Charles Wrighton.INFORMER. Antoine Bergeret. Giannini did leave his associates with just enough information to carry on their drug smuggling operation.63 After receiving the letter. he provided the names of Shillitani. but decided to wait for a bigger delivery. Orsini. He was in possession of Shillitani’s address. Ansaldi felt business should continue.” in which he pointed out there was an order for four kilograms of heroin that Giannini would arrange to transport. was held under $100. April 2013 41 strings in his own hands.000 bail. demanding somebody sent from New York to complete the deal.66 Mrs.62 The drug factory was the main source of supply for the Shillitani-Orsini ring. Under interrogation. He wrote Shillitani a letter under the alias of “M.65 While in prison. Jean “the White Fox” Laget and John Sperandeo. born in September 1901 in Toulon. Marius Ansaldi. Shillitani attempted to continue his drug trafficking business. 1947. whom he married on May 22. However. was a shadowy Mafia racketeer. was not fond of her husband’s activities and turned the letter over to the FBN. Florence Ashenberg Shillitani. as were five others. Marius Ansaldi When a courier was sent to France to pick up the heroin. France. who. Shillitani had given the letter to his wife. The letter never reached its intended destination.
The first charged him and thirteen others with either one or two counts of “unlawful sale of narcotics and conspiracy to sell narcotics. was the only one named in all three indictments. 1951. Laget. The third indictment. er agents by Shillitani and Anthony Martello.67 The overall investigation resulted in three separate indictments. With FBN help. as well as in the counterfeiting indictment. who despite passing along the Ansaldi letter was named in the first narcotics indictment. Eugene Giannini.000 in counterfeit currency was sold to undercovShillitani under arrest. It fell through after some $100. run simultaneously with the narcotics smuggling. who where arrested on the spot. then still in jail in Italy. Shillitani’s wife Florence. Sperandeo. With eight others. 1951. possessing and selling counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes and conspiracy to do so.42 INFORMER. and among the nine arrested on the same day as Shillitani. aware of the charges hanging over him. appears to have been run to finance their heroin business. French authorities were able to close down the Ansaldi lab. aged fifty-seven. not naming Shillitani. listed in the first narcotics indictment. two listing Shillitani.” The counterfeiting operation. he returned to the United States. was another count of conspiracy to buy and sell narcotics. Shillitani was among those arrested in the first sweep in New York City. all filed on August 21. also named in the second narcotics indictment. .68 Named in the indictments were: Shillitani. April 2013 his identity. due to lack of evidence to convict him. Orsini.” the other with four counts of “unlawfully uttering. named in the second narcotics indictment. Upon Giannini’s release in February 1952. named in the first narcotics indictment. arrested in the first sweep with Shillitani. at the time of the indictments already detained at Ellis Island as an illegal immigrant. born in 1901 in Palermo.
Spirito was a Marseilles underworld figure and had a lengthy record in France. D’Agostino. Vincent Bernardini. named in the same indictments as Shillitani. a fifty-five-year-old Queens resident. He was among the first nine to get arrested in New York. named in the first narcotics indictment. His ties in Montreal were with the Cotroni criminal organization. a Brooklyn based narcotics racketeer. which group handled the Montreal end of ring. born in 1899 in Vittoria. (Rosario) Salvatore Mezzasalma. Paris. named in the second indictment. April 2013 43 Anthony Martello. Francois Paoleschi. another of the French mobsters. Francois Spirito. Antoine D’Agostino. She was listed in the same indictments as Shillitani. a notorious French narcotics trafficker whose nephew Paolo was among the first to get arrested in New York. named in the second narcotics indictment. another of the Corsicans. New York Mafioso in close contact with the Corsicans. appearing on the first narcotics indictment. another French underworld figure. was a significant factor in the ring. said to have been a messenger for him. with a record in France and Algeria. Carmelo Sansone. the Algerian born Ignaro had two Federal narcotics convictions behind his name.INFORMER. named in both narcotics indictments. where he was born. Vincent Randazzo. aged thirty-nine. was named in the second narcotics indictment. Paul Pratricci. deported from the United States three times. Angel Abadelejo. was named in the first narcotics indictment. arrested in the first sweep in New York City. Like Orsini. Sicily. with criminal connections in Marseilles. in the 1960s identified as a Profaci Family member. alleged to be a paramour of Orsini. listed as a coconspirator on the first narcotics indictment. and another of . named in narcotics indictment number two. with a long record of arrests. listed on the second indictment. Ralph Cianchetti. a midtown restaurant owner. Ida Balocco. Rosario Tornello. as he is not listed on any of the three criminal dockets. By 1960. Mezzasalma. Marcelle Demard Ansellem. named in the second narcotics indictment and one of the Corsican gangsters. New York and Montreal. His nephew Paolo appears to have escaped arrest. Lucien Ignaro. among the first nine to get arrested in New York. through were some of the narcotics was smuggled. named in the second indictment.
Ansellem two. “All I can say is that I helped a fellow out by getting him an attorney and I am in here. Valachi learned of Dominick. I wish I knew. Shillitani was what can be described . who did not go with Pagano to France on this occasion. I don’t even know what it looks like. the prosecution had proved otherwise. I have a motion in to vacate and I am going to trial. Valachi did not know his last name. and a month passed. how or why. Two “John Does. suggesting he could accompany Shillitani to France. Valachi began suspecting Shillitani was holding out on him: “He wasn’t paying me. On December 20. including Shillitani. was a millionaire living in France. As he suspected Shillitani was not telling him the whole story. 1951. Shillitani got the stiffest: fifteen years.71 The indictments of Shillitani and company proved a success for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. and another month. and that Shillitani. one of Valachi’s protégés. Valachi. Valachi hoped to learn the details of Shillitani’s transactions.” one named in the first narcotics indictment with the alias of “Big Frank. who was among the first batch tried with Orsini and Ansellem. Valachi asserted.70 Valachi through Shillitani also had a minor involvement in the ring.” It was an informant who introduced Shillitani to the undercover agent who caused his arrest. Through Pagano.”74 Unfortunately for Shillitani. named in the first indictment. he introduced Shillitani to Pasquale Pagano.”69 Dominick. but who once lived in America.72 Orsini got ten. After Shillitani had made use of Pagano’s services. nicknamed Coucoutou. “I never had anything to do with narcotics.” Shillitani added.73 When asked for a statement upon his entering Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Many of those indicted would eventually receive long prison sentences. Shillitani was arrested. Not long afterwards. continued their narcotics dealings with Dominick. the trio received their sentences. April 2013 those arrested in the first sweep. The government informer got me in here.” and another in the second. But soon after loaning the money. as well as a Richard Roe. when he arranged for a loan to Shillitani to purchase narcotics from Dominick. eventually resulting in his own arrest on narcotics charges.44 INFORMER. with Pagano. During his time in Leavenworth. Shillitani went to France on occasion to negotiate deals with the Corsicans. and he was always telling me stories. owed Dominick money. who was only known as “Dominick.” According to Valachi. Shillitani replied he was “innocent of the whole charge.
the other being French cooking.78 But the biggest impact on Shillitani was the absence of Joseph Valachi. This was not the only setback Shillitani had to negotiate. Many old friends and associates were gone. April 2013 45 as a model prisoner. 1962. and did a good job cutting meat in the prison’s kitchen. Within a month. had fallen to gangster guns too. having been committed to Sing Sing for a parole violation. who after having followed in Shillitani’s and Petrelli’s footsteps in the narcotics trade. who took him to his Mafia initiation. a mandatory release to the New York State Parole board was given on December 17. He followed two courses. on January 16. either dead or in prison. also was not among the living. From there. one being Culinary Sanitation. 1961. Yet his good behavior did not gain him his parole in October 1956. Shillitani’s wife filed for divorce. without sparing Shillitani. he eventually told authorities all he knew about Cosa Nostra. Frank Callace. was in prison. having been assassinated on November 13. luck was on his side. but due to his good behavFrank Callace ior. In May 1954. Giannini was murdered. His prior criminal endeavors probably worked against him. and he was released on writ of habeas corpus on April 24. He was not involved in any noteworthy incidents. 1954. Yet Shillitani came back to a changed world. he was in trouble again. His name had only appeared in the major newspapers sporadically. when he was first eligible for it. although Shillitani had been around when he passed away of natural causes on February 16. 1960.INFORMER. 76 He was a free man again.79 Despite being a habitual criminal and having convictions for murder and narcotics trafficking. as was Petrelli. outside of law enforcement. 1951. It was mentioned in . Another of Shillitani’s old buddies.75 Shillitani’s next parole hearing was scheduled for January 14. the public knew little of Shillitani and the extent of his criminal activities. This time however.77 Tommaso Gagliano. his old Mafia boss.
His criminal past was outlined. Morgenthau’s efforts were aimed first at the Lucchese Family.80 Shillitani was among twenty Lucchese organization members having received a subpoena to give information before the grand jury. With the gathered intelligence. he was on the front line. Morgenthau started presenting evidence before the federal grand jury attempting to obtain indictments on charges of criminal conspiracy.46 INFORMER. From Valachi’s testimony. as he was billed as the big law enforcement catch. it was Orsini who received most attention in that case. at one point Tony Castaldi identified as Shillitani’s capodec- .S. who had quietly taken the reigns after Gagliano’s 1951 death. Shillitani. New York was no exception. April 2013 regard to the Bellini case in 1932. District Attorney for the Southern District Robert M. and although written about more frequently in the reporting of his narcotics arrest. figured prominently. televised testimony. Now Shillitani was released. Joe Rosato. Public labelling In Valachi’s October 1963. Valachi was about to change that. he believed few people would remember him. he had regained the interest of law enforcement. denoted as an underling of Thomas Lucchese. He also appeared on the charts of the structures of the New York crime families. More troubling for Shillitani. federal grand juries across the nation were returning the first indictments credited to Valachi. the American public knew Shillitani’s criminal background. In February 1964. like Girolamo “Bobby Doyle” Santuccio. with whom Shillitani had been staking out Mineo and Ferrigno back in 1930. and due to Shillitani’s prominent role in Valachi’s telling. as was his involvement in the Castellammarese War and his initiation into the New York Mafia. especially by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. his brother Joseph. extensive investigations into the various Cosa Nostra Families across the nation were launched. U. and Antonio “Tony Ducks” Corallo. Within days. Others included Lucchese. almost ten years later.
1964. he had to be given a trial with a jury before such a severe sentence could be imposed. which could be purged by answering the questions to the grand jury. Shillitani again was called to testify.INFORMER.81 Unsurprisingly. most of those called invoked the Fifth Amendment. According to Shillitani’s constitutional rights. After four years as a free man. a future Lucchese Family boss. Shillitani was the second of the Lucchese men to receive such a sentence. and that jury trials are not necessary. little was learned. All appealed their conviction. On August 24. Again. was returned to prison. FolAndimo Pappadio lowing Castaldi and Shillitani were Andimo Pappadio. who had already purged his sentence by answering the grand jury’s questions. but Shillitani appears to have ceased his criminal activities before then.” Yet the Supreme Court decided in favour of Shillitani.” and it “was an inherent power judges have to punish disobedience of their orders. preceded by Anthony Castaldi. and Carmine Tramunti. During his March 1966 hearing. but the aging Shillitani finally . The FBI kept a close watch on Shillitani until at least the mid -1970s. without a jury. April 2013 47 ina.82 Shillitani’s appeal was based on the fact he had been sentenced by a federal judge. Granted immunity from prosecution that nullified his Fifth Amendment protection. his lawyer argued. he refused to answer questions.83 It would be the last time Shillitani spent time in prison. He had his blind brother Joseph84 manage his shylocking business while he was in Leavenworth in the 1950s. He was charged with contempt. one of Dominick Petrelli’s suspected assassins. as had Castaldi and Pappadio. and granted him a new trial. Apparently. the government opposed this. but Shillitani was the only one to have his bail denied. including Shillitani. who at the time of his sentencing was awaiting trial on narcotics related charges. he received a two-year sentence. the decision came too late for Shillitani. stating “criminal contempt had never been considered a crime.
like Shillitani a member of Corallo’s crew. Of the group around Valachi. whom he had married on November 27. The place was frequently under surveillance.”88 The life-stories of these men indicate to the contrary. 1990.85 Shillitani would not completely distance himself from his former criminal associates. or received preferential treatment for their vital work in the cause of Maranzano. paying the price that status entailed. As of 1975. he was listed by the government under capo Corallo. . Their membership in Cosa Nostra proved to be the diametric opposite of a route to a securely comfortable life. but little to no activity noted. and at the same time was employed by Salvatore Avellino. With his second wife. Petrelli and Shillitani were compelled to seek opportunities in dangerous fields like narcotics. For two others Valachi knew as Castellammarese War gunmen. Florida. the decision to pursue Mafia membership was a fatal mistake.86 Carmine Tramunti Yet he was not identified with criminal activity. managing to spend the remainder of his life without any more run-ins with the law. Cressey. a noted criminologist.” they remained street-level career criminals. April 2013 seems to have had enough. but so were risks. Vatlina Rumez. He eventually moved to Miami Beach. where they occupied apartment 1H. 1962. where the rewards were high. More like “Donnie Brascos” than “Godfathers.48 INFORMER. once claimed the profits from organized crime. Sebastiano Domingo and Steve Rannelli. “are huge enough to make understandable the fact that any given member of Cosa Nostra is more likely to be a millionaire than not. where he died of natural causes on September 9.87 Conclusion None of the Castellammare War gunmen fared well following the end of the hostilities. he lived quietly at 435 West Fifty-Seventh Street. Donald R.
7 New York State Census of 1915. Prinzess Irene. and evolved into in-depth research. arrived New York on Dec. Duca di Genova. 1910.S. 1915. In addition to Harry. 24.S. 1897. 24. list no. Shillitani Leavenworth inmate file. Duca di Genova. 1913. 13. 28. 4. list no. New York 92-2739. arrived in New York on May 27.S. May 7. NYTR. arrived New York City on Dec. 1916. Possibly. 56. awaiting death for the murder of Gaetano LoMonte. In 1910 and 1916. also figuring in the escape was Antonio Impoluzzo. * Thanks go to Rick Warner for furnishing the photo of Stefano Ferrigno. Passenger manifest of S. Other manifests give Foggia as the birthplace of Scillitano. approximately three years younger. arrived New York on May 27. 6 New York Directory. Yet census records do not list an Ester or Esther. Federal Bureau of Investigation file. but the original manifest could not be located. 1916. arrived in New York on Sept.D. Notes . leading figure in the Morello/Terranova Mafia clan when shot to death on Oct. New York City birth certificate for Giuseppe Scilitano. 1913. researching American traditional organized crime. 1910. May 8. 28. 1910. list no. 1 New York City birth certificate for Salvatore Scilitano. Passenger manifest of S. 1909. is a vice director of a small advertisement and sign company in the Netherlands. April 2013 49 Lennert van‘t Riet.S. California. Dr. there were Sally. 20. 8 The “Shield” alias was derived from the pronunciation of the first half of the Scillitano surname. list no. 30. NARA. subject Salvatore Shillitani. but only six could be located. but Rose simply could have been another sister. Passenger manifest of S. list no. 2 New York State Census of 1905. Birth certificate of Salvatore Scilitano. 4. 1903. 25. New York Tribune (hereafter NYTR). arrived New York on Sept. 13. candidate at Liverpool University. Kansas City. She is listed as a sibling of Michele and Gaetana on passenger manifests noting the family’s arrival in 1909. the names Ester and Rose refer to the same person. p. Passenger manifest of S. is a Ph. and has researched the American Mafia or Cosa Nostra as a hobby for more than ten years. 20. His interest in American organized crime started with the movie. Leavenworth Penitentiary inmate file for Salvatore Shillitani. May 4. list no. The Valachi Papers. Sammy and Joseph Shields. Passenger manifest of S. 293. May 6. Passenger manifest of S. Prinzess Irene. 10 New York Sun (hereafter NYS). David Critchley. Passenger manifest of S. arrived in New York on Dec. Madonna. 1932. 1905. 1905 (Manhattan & Bronx) Butchers. He is the author of The Origin of Organized Crime in America. 5 1905 census. as well as in 1910. the Mulberry Street address of his cousin was given by Michele Scillitano as his intended destination on shipping manifests. but do list a Rose. lives in London and works as a Site Manager for a small refurbishment company. New York City birth certificate for Lorenzo Scilitano. 4 The Ellis Island database of alien arrivals lists 1892 as the year Michele Scillitano first arrived in the US. NYS. 13.S. Madonna.S. UK. 1913.S.INFORMER. Steve Turner.S. 1909. There are some discrepancies surrounding Ester. arrived New York on May 27. Nov. 1906. Interestingly. 11 NYS. Rose also is listed as the intended destination of Michele and Gaetana on a 1916 shipping manifest. 60. 1895. The inmate file states the Shillitanis had eight children. 1913. 9 Passenger manifest of S. 3 New York City birth certificate for Saverio Scilitano. Shillitani FBI file. 3. list no. Madonna. 20.
Benjamin Traina. 3. DA. NYT. 12. but this was never proven. Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics. May 14. NYT. 1926. Re: Sam Shillitani aka Sam Shields. Oct. June 30. 26 NYTR. May 17. 1932. 1916. NYT. March 13. 1913. Mount Vernon Daily Argus (hereafter DA). 1917. 17. NYC Police Department. New York Herald (hereafter NYH). NYS. June 22. 1926. 1913. 19 NYS. Maas. 6. Congress. Shillitani FBI file. 1916. June 14. 1926. June 15. Angelina Shillitani died September 1932. 23 Kelly and Willan memorandum. May 25. 1931. Another brother of Oreste was Fred. recalled as a generous woman who had been helpful to those in need ever since her arrival in New York. Committee on Government Operations. 1916. sentenced earlier. she was known as “Mother of Charity” in Little Italy. 1916. 1844. 1926. 23. 31 Shillitani inmate file. April 13. 27 BDE. Long Island Star-Journal (hereafter LISJ). June 22. NYT. 1926. New York Times (hereafter NYT). 1915. Senate. NYS. Albany Evening News. 33 Shillitani FBI file. Kelly. Jan. 6. 12. At the time of her death. 34 Shillitani arrest record.50 INFORMER. 1916. 1950. 1913. May 21. 1915. 1913. May 13.. 24 Social Security Death Index. Aug. People against Oreste Shilitano. New York Press. BDE. Rocco Pompillo and Angelo Valentino. Hearings. Aug. Dominick Petrelli arrest record. 35 U. 1918. 29 NYS. Court of General Sessions. June 30. NYTR. 24. NYT. 1916. June 30. 1926. June 22. 1918. p. 1969. 16 NYTR. 12. 1913. 22 NYT. 1917. July 31. 1913. June 26. 23. The Valachi Papers. NYTR. NYS. Jan. Dec. 1922. April 13. Dec. 1913. 13. 1932. 1932. Aug. 1931. 24. 1958. 18 NYTR. Feb. Willan. 3. 1914. 1913. NYTR. April 2013 12 New York Evening Post (hereafter EP).S. NYT. Aug. NYTR. Salvatore Shillitani arrest record. June 15. NYT. NYC Police Department. People against Oreste Shilitano. No evidence could be found linking Fred to criminal activities. 1913. 1931. 1922. Feb. New York Press. 1945. BDE. 32 Joseph Valachi arrest record. 1918. NYT. Feb. Domenico Romano and a fifth boy who escaped police. NYT. Aug. 1919. 1913. New York City. March 7. May 21. NYTR. 11. 26. May 21. Oct. Memorandum. March 12. although he once was arrested for running down a 16 year old boy with his car. 13 Sing Sing Prison Receiving Blotter No. Nov. Apalachin Roundup. New York Herald. 1919. Interestingly. EP. DA. DA. 64301. BDE. March 28. April 14. Oct. 20 Social Security Death Index. after he was charged with felonious assault. Nov. 1913. 1926. Sammy Shield’s accomplices were Albert Scolca. Brooklyn Daily Eagle (hereafter BDE). 164. Court of General Sessions. 5. 1918. April 13. 17. Jan. 13. NYH. 1945. New York City. and Sherman W. 1914. 25 New York Evening Telegram. . 21 NYS. 1913. 1932. Aug. trial no. 93. 2101. Jan. Feb. 30 BDE. 1915. 12. May 15. 1916. trial no. 28 NYS. NYTR. 1913. Yonkers Statesman. 1915. NYTR. Nov. May 21. April 15. 27. June 15. Ontario: Bantam Books. 17 Evening Telegram. 12. p. 1926. June 24. 15 Washington Post. April 16. 14 It was suspected that John Shillitani had something to do with the sudden change of the witnesses’ statements. Peter. 1915. 88th Congress 1st Session. NYT. 25. 1918. April 14. July 31. 1963 (hereafter OCN). Arrested with Larry were Joseph Cincotta. NYTR. NYT. BDE. 1916. NYC Police Department. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. the others involved in the 1926 case were Girolamo Santuccio and Antonio Curasi. James P.
309. 303-306. Memo to Mr. 4. David. 1932. Having attended the 1957Apalachin meeting with Lucchese. and was among the earliest of his brother-in-law’s associates. Treasury Department. Maas. 1963.INFORMER.A. Rosato’s Long Island home was used as “headquarters for Maranzano. Hearings. “Don Abate” is not further identified. 180-182. OCN. The Times does mention a third man picked up for questioning. Aug. Organized Crime: 25 years after Valachi.” Valachi is referring to Nick Paduano. The charge was dismissed after Mrs. 108.S. Mafia. 101-103. Jan. 48 EP. 99. 306H 60.10. it appears to have occurred in January 1931. 29. . 308-309. New Haven 92-72. 49 Santuccio FBI file. 37 U. Shillitani arrest record. Joseph Rosato was born on Jan. In his manuscript. 1931. 101-102. With Amato were Dominick Bologna. 50 The Real Thing. While Valachi does not mention a timeframe for the Rao shooting and no newspaper reports on it could be located. NYT. this Abate hardly fits the description of an old timer by 1932. NYC Police Department. Undated Memo on Gaetano Lucchese. They had been identified by the widow of one Louis Cerasulo as her husband’s killers. 1988 . p. The Real Thing. 1932. p.” 38 Shillitani FBI file. Girolamo Santuccio FBI file. identified in 1983 and 1988 as a Lucchese Family member. but does not provide a name. 40 Valachi. Lucchese and one John Gaudio. Feb. 1931. accompanied by FBI debriefings of Joseph Valachi. 2nd Session. Newspaper reports of the murder only mention one victim. 46 OCN. Committee on Government Operations. Shillitani FBI file. May 26. 1931. MLR Entry no. Coppola’s arrest record lists a Jan. May 22. p. Rosato was considered among his closest confederates. See Critchley. in Palermo. April 2013 51 36 Shillitani FBI file. NARA RG 60. 1932. NYT. Mafia. But having been born in 1902. that Michael Coppola was arrested for shooting Rao in front of the Pompeii Restaurant. 56 Evans memo. 1932. Bureau of Narcotics. chart of Genovese Family. 188. Aug. Maas. 1932. 322-323. 53 U. Joseph Rosato arrest record. Jan. 1983. People against Salvatore Shillitani otherwise known as Salvatore Scillitano. 52 Maas.1. 44 NYT. 58 Bronx County Court. May 29. 41 The Real Thing. when he. p. Valachi only mentions Santuccio and Rannelli as Gaglianos going with Maranzano. Hearings before the Permanent Subcommittee of Investigations.309. 45 The Real Thing. 1932. Shillitani FBI file. Joseph. p. 322-323. Feb. 1904. Jan. 4. It was noted in a New York Times article of Aug. Bellino. when mentioning “Nicky. p. Capuzzi he refers to as “Nick” or by his full name. OCN. p. 42 NYT. 99. 28. 1932. NARA Record no. C. and Rao. Michael Coppola arrest record. During the Castellammarese War. 1931. Belmont. The Origin of Organized Crime in America. 57 NYT. There was a Giuseppe Abate. 1960. 54 Evans memo. 1931. 89th Congress. 55 Evans memo. Senate. p. 169-170. 15. The Real Thing. Bureau of Narcotics. 8. 2009.S. 29. Congress. 1931). 8. p. p. DA. Cerasulo retracted her testimony. 43 Maas.. 285. 29. 1st Session. p. April 28. New York: Routledge. NYT. p. He was first arrested in 1928. He married the sister of Thomas Lucchese. 39 Probably in Maranzano’s house in Wappingers Falls. 124-10220-10111. 51 The Real Thing. NYC Police Department. arrest for felonious assault with a gun. p. were picked up on a murder charge. OCN. 47 Evans. 13. NYT. also shot dead. 100th Congress. also questioned in the February 1930 Reina assassination (NYT. Organized Crime in America. p. 88-92.3.
INFORMER, April 2013
59 Shillitani arrest record; Shillitani FBI file. 60 Wighton, Charles, Dope International, London: Frederick Muller Limited, 1960, p. 152-155; Charbonneau, Jean-Pierre, The Canadian Connection, Ottawa: Optimum Publishing Company Limited, 1976, p. 62; OCN, p. 887. 61 Wighton, p. 151-153, 155-162, 169-172; Records of the Drug Enforcement Administration (Federal Bureau of Narcotics: history of organized crime and profiles of narcotics traffickers), Record Group 170, entry 9, boxes 50-53, NARA. 62 Bureau of Narcotics, Mafia. 63 Wighton, p. 154-169; Peterson, Virgil W., The Mob, 200 years of Organized Crime in New York, Ottawa Illinois: Green Hill Publishers, Inc., 1983, p. 379-382. 64 Wighton, p. 154-169; NYT, July 28, 1951; NYT, July 29, 1951; NYT, July 30, 1951; LISJ, July 28, 1951. 65 LISJ, July 28, 1951. 66 Shillitani FBI file. 67 Wighton, p. 154-169. 68 Criminal Docket No. C 136/148; Criminal Docket No. C 136/149; Criminal Docket No. C 136/150. 69 Information on those arrested comes from a wide variety of sources, including: Criminal Docket No. C 136/148; Criminal Docket No. C 136/149; Criminal Docket No. C 136/150; Bureau of Narcotics, Mafia; LISJ July 28, 1951; LISJ, July 30, 1951; LISJ, July 31, 1951; Wighton; Charbonneau. 70 OCN, p. 631. 71 OCN, p. 631. 72 NYT, Dec. 21, 1951. Shillitani actually received three sentences: two to 15 years, two to 10 years and two to five years, run concurrently. 73 Shillitani FBI file. 74 Shillitani inmate file. 75 Shillitani inmate file; Shillitani FBI file. 76 Shillitani inmate file; Shillitani FBI file. 77 BDE, Nov. 15, 1954. 78 NYT, Feb. 17, 1951. 79 OCN, op. cit.; NYT, Oct. 2, 1963. 80 NYT, Feb. 13, 1964. 81 Shillitani FBI file. Corallo was said to have been Shillitani’s capo in 1975 by an informant. This same informant advised that prior to Corallo, “Charlie the Baker” had been Shillitani’s captain. Charlie the Baker was not further identified. 82 NYT, Feb. 13, 1964; NYT, Feb. 15, 1964; NYT, July 10, 1964; NYT, Oct. 31, 1964; NYT, Dec. 3, 1964. 83 NYT, Dec. 7, 1965; NYT, March 3, 1966; NYT, June 7, 1966; NYT, Dec. 23, 1967. 84 Shillitani FBI file. During the 1940s and 1950s, Joseph lived at 27 East 14 th Street. When Shillitani and Florence Ashenberg married in 1947, the pair went to live there. Joseph was then employed as a buyer at the Jewellery Exchange. A federal informant advised that while Shillitani was serving time for his narcotics conviction, Joseph handled his shylocking business in the garment district. It is the only reference to any criminal activity on Joseph’s part. 85 Shillitani FBI file. 86 Shillitani FBI file. Corallo, who rose to the position of boss of the Lucchese Family, was among those convicted in the famous 1986 “Commission Trial.” Evidence included recorded conversations between Corallo and Salvatore Avellino, who was acting as Corallo’s driver. Avellino drove his boss in a bugged car. 87 Dade County death certificate for Salvatore Shillitani, 1990. 88 Cressey, Donald R., Theft of the Nation, New York: Harper & Row, 1969, p. 75.
INFORMER, April 2013
INFORMER, April 2013
Identifying Underworld Informants
Two Gambino informants had very different fates
By Edmond Valin
In the evening of December 5, 1968, Gambino Family member Michael Scandifia left his home and was never seen again. He was out on bail appealing a six-year prison sentence for interstate transporting of counterfeit bonds when he disappeared.1 Scandifia’s life and death are at the center of a story that began five years earlier with the murder of one Mafia informant and may have ended with the help of another.
Nipped in the bud
On July 11, 1963, two men wearing makeup disguises entered a Brooklyn florist shop and fired five bullets into its owner before escaping.2 Shot dead was forty-year-old Gambino Family soldier Alfredo “Freddie the Sidge” Santantonio.3 It didn’t take investigators long to figure out why. Nearly eighteen months earlier, Santantonio and two criminal associates were sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to sell stolen bonds.4 But unlike his accomplices, Santantonio never saw the inside of a cell.5 When Colombo Family member and informant Gregory Scarpa was asked at the time about the murder, he told the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “it was common talk in Brooklyn that [Santantonio] was killed because he was cooperating with the government.”6 The FBI appears never to have confirmed his cooperation7 even though newspapers reported that Santantonio likely was killed because he was “cooperating with investigations into narcotics and counterfeiting activities on the East Coast.”8 But declassified FBI documents clearly show9 that between December 1962 and July 1963,10 Santantonio secretly identified scores of Mafia members11 and their crime family affilia-
INFORMER, April 2013
tions,12 and provided important historical intelligence to law enforcement.13
In debriefings with federal agents, Alfredo Santantonio revealed he was inducted14 into the Gambino Family in 1953 in the presence of Albert Anastasia.15 His capodecina was Sicilian-born mobster, Charles Dongarra.16 Besides selling stolen securities, Santantonio was involved in labor racketeering in the sanitation and cartage industries, working with mobsters like Jack Parisi, Joseph Schipani and Vincent Squillante.17 Santantonio helped Anastasia by collecting bribes and beating uncooperative associates. Santantonio revealed new details18 about Anastasia’s murder that, had they not remained secret for forty years, would have dispelled some of the rumors that surrounded the underworld assassination.19 Santantonio was told by Dongarra20 that he and fellow Gambino Family members Joseph N. Gallo,21 Joseph Riccobono, Andrew Alberti and Joseph Biondo22 actually plotted the murder of the family boss after they learned Anastasia intended to have some of them killed.23 Dongarra said the actual shooters24 were Gambino Family member Stephen “Stevie Coogan” Grammauta25 and his associate Joe Cahill, heroin dealers from the Lower East Side connected to Gambino Family member Steve Armone.26 After the murder, Joseph Riccobono27 announced that he represented the group that killed Anastasia and that he wished to justify their actions before the Commission, a disciplinary panel of the top Mafia bosses in the country.28 According to Santantonio, Riccobono had to appear before an underworld “trial” held by the New York bosses at the estate of Genovese Family capodecina Richard Boiardo.29 In the end, the plotters were pardoned after Riccobono was able to persuade the bosses that the murder was done in self-defence. Because there were no representatives from other parts of the country, it was determined a second, larger meeting should be held to advise every Mafia family in the nation about why Anastasia was killed.30 This purpose was served at the Apalachin convention in 1957.31 After a short run as a confidential informant, the good intelligence supplied by Santantonio ended abruptly when he was shot dead.32 The shooters were never caught.33
A capodecina comes clean
About the same time Santantonio was killed, another Gambino Family member faced his own life and death struggles in Brooklyn. Carmine Lombardozzi34 was a rising capodecina who had attended the Apalachin
47 made him a top target of law enforcement48 and ultimately. 43 Lombardozzi found himself in hot water again when his brother and nephews attacked an FBI agent conducting surveillance at his father’s funeral in 1963.41 To appease the girl’s father who had brought a formal complaint against him and to save his own skin. Lombardozzi had made a fortune in gambling.50 The informant appears to have pro- Lombardozzi and the informant . pushed him into the arms of the FBI.37 By the 1960s. but declassified FBI documents show an informant with his profile was active by 1968. It’s unclear49 when Lombardozzi first began to secretly share confidential information. fallout from the affair and the assault probably led to his demotion from capodecina to soldier within the Gambino Family. But two missteps nearly cost Lombardozzi his life.38 labor racketeering and selling stolen securities. April 2013 meeting35 and led the largest crew36 in the Gambino Family with upwards of thirty soldiers.40 Lombardozzi was a married man and it was against the socalled mob rules to keep a female relative of another mobster as a Carmine Lombardozzi mistress. An ill-advised romance with the daughter of one of his own crew members was his first mistake.56 INFORMER.44 Although Lombardozzi wasn’t personally involved in the assault. perhaps. loan sharking.45 he was held responsible for his subordinates’ misconduct by the Mob and the FBI.) The assault led to an unwelcome increase in federal scrutiny of Gambino Family members and further soured the low-key Carlo Gambino on Lombardozzi.39 He was at the forefront of “white-collar crime” long before it became the hallmark under future Gambino Family boss Paul Castellano.42 Lombardozzi was compelled to divorce his wife and marry his young mistress.46 (It was generally understood that an honest cop doing his job was untouchable. Unfortunately for Lombardozzi.
and could supply those details. Baltimore – The informant was said to have spent time in Baltimore on Mafia business.57 When the informant first disclosed this information to the FBI in 1968. but it appears he cooperated irregularly. April 2013 57 vided mostly historical information and identified Mafia members.59 while Gambino and Castellano were running the crime family and were unlikely to be cooperating. Tommy Rava.63 In one document. Lombardozzi becomes the best suspect from this group. at least a decade old” and was like “starting with zero.54 Apalachin Meeting – The informant was said to have attended the Mafia gathering at Apalachin in 1957 as part of the Gambino Family delegation. Paul Castellano.62 Along with capodecina Joseph Franco (Lombardozzi’s former crew leader before he died). FBI documents from the period show Lombardozzi visited Baltimore on Family business with Joseph Franco in the 1950s. Joseph Riccobono and Carmine Lombardozzi.51 Lombardozzi and the informant match on four key points: Inducted member – The informant was said to be an inducted member of the Mafia. the informant was said to be a Gambino Family member.55 The possible suspects are limited to the five Gambino Family members56 who were known to have been there: Carlo Gambino.52 Lombardozzi was an inducted member from as early as the 1940s.67 When FBI agent Bruce Mouw took over the Gambino Family file in 1980.60 By eliminating the other attendees.65 The informant who furnished details about the activities of Lombardozzi and the Gambino Family in Baltimore was the same member who attended the Apalachin meeting.INFORMER.64 But a comparison with another FBI document on the same subject showed that Lombardozzi himself actually attended the wedding. he found the intel “was ancient history.”68 .66 Lombardozzi appears to be the only Gambino Family member who can be reliably placed in Baltimore and Apalachin.58 Riccobono was sick and inactive.61 The Gambino Family had a long-time presence there led by capodecina Frank Corbi who controlled much of the gambling and ran strip clubs in the city. the informant attended the wake of Corbi’s brother and the wedding of another member’s daughter.53 Crime family affiliation – Like Lombardozzi. The full extent of Lombardozzi’s cooperation is unknown. Rava was already dead. the informant recounted how he attended the wedding of a Gambino Family member’s daughter without mentioning any names. strongly suggesting he was the informant in the original document.
72 Even if Lombardozzi only got his dates confused. this “inquiry” into the killing of Albert Anastasia was larger than the Apalachin Meeting and included Commission members Joseph Bonanno and Vito Genovese from New York.) In his recollection of events from ten years earlier. 2. among others. Santantonio’s account of the pre-Apalachin meeting that followed Anastasia’s murder appears to be more accurate.” only that “it was decided to continue [the] meeting at another location.”69 Unlike Santantonio. the pre-Apalachin meeting (or underworld trial) that occurred after Anastasia was killed.73 At least one attempt was made to broker a truce between Albert Anastasia and Vito Genovese after Frank Costello was shot. 74 Joseph Bonanno wrote in his memoir that he and the other New York bosses attended a dinner meeting where the two men kissed and made up after hashing out a (temporary) truce. spoke at the meeting and argued the murder was justified because “[Anastasia] was using people from other families to kill people and he was killing some people should not have been killed. April 2013 Lombardozzi opens up Like Santantonio. Lombardozzi said the meeting at Richard Boiardo’s estate occurred “two months prior to the Apalachin meeting” and “was to discuss the Anastasia killing. Lombardozzi said that Carlo Gambino.”71 That would have been impossible. (Santantonio’s account makes no mention of Commission members from outside of New York attending the pre-Apalachin meeting. Although Lombardozzi claimed he attended both meetings.”70 The Apalachin meeting provided a setting for this second Mafia gathering. and 3. Steve Magaddino from Buffalo. since the murder of Anastasia took place less than three weeks before Apalachin. Joseph Ida from Philadelphia and Joseph Zerilli from Detroit.75 And a secret FBI listening device intercepted a conversation between Philadelphia mob leaders76 that revealed a meeting . a meeting that took place between Genovese and Anastasia after Frank Costello was shot in May but before Anastasia was murdered in October. it’s difficult to imagine the powerful Commission members from Philadelphia. Sam Giancana from Chicago. But according to Lombardozzi. Lombardozzi didn’t disclose whether the plotters were pardoned at the end of this “inquiry. Lombardozzi may have conflated details from three separate meetings that occurred in 1957: 1.58 INFORMER. Buffalo. Detroit and Chicago rushing to meet in New Jersey and then proceeding to Upstate New York for further discussions within the short window between Anastasia’s murder and the Apalachin Meeting. Lombardozzi told federal agents about a preApalachin meeting at the estate of Richard Boiardo. the Apalachin Meeting in November.
Sam Giancana. it cost us. And contrary to what Lombardozzi told the FBI.79 “Look. Somebody gets arrested. so the meeting had to be moved to the basement of a restaurant. Tony Accardo. April 2013 59 took place in the “last quarter of 1957” between Albert Anastasia. It’s like there’s a tax on it or some [expletive].80 Scandifia: the link between Santantonio and Lombardozzi Two weeks after Santantonio was killed in July 1963.86 but Grossman and Scandifia were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder. we have to remember what’s at stake here…because I’ll tell ya. maybe a guy we don’t wanna lose.INFORMER. which means we gotta clip another guy.78 The meeting that Lombardozzi said occurred “two months prior to the Apalachin meeting” was likely some sort of Commission-sanctioned reconciliation attempt involving Anastasia and Genovese that ultimately failed.”84 The recording revealed Scandifia wasn’t too fussy about what he wanted: “Who gives a [expletive] as long as it blows a hole in his head this big!”85 Investigators never learned exactly who was on the hit list.” .77 Details about the meeting were scant. Piney.83) Grossman was heard offering to supply Scandifia with guns and “dum-dum” bullets to kill “federal stool pigeons. the preApalachin meeting that followed Anastasia’s murder was probably as Santantonio described it – an underworld trial of Anastasia’s killers conducted strictly by the New York Commission members.89 Colombo Family informant Gregory Scarpa told the FBI at the time that his murder was part of a strategy to undermine Joseph Valachi’s up- . Or there’s a [expletive]. a police listening device hidden inside Gambino Family member Michael Scandifia’s place of business81 intercepted a conversation between him and New York City policeman Leonard Grossman.82 (The business had been bugged as part of an investigation into a jewelry heist. Investigators thought the plot was linked to Santantonio’s recent murder. but Anastasia was said to have acted “fearful” and wouldn’t go to the proposed venue at the estate of Richard Boiardo. along with Gambino Family members Peter Ferrara87 and Larry Pistone88 who were also recorded.Gambino Family boss Paul Castellano speaking to capodecina Joseph “Piney” Armone in 1983. when we sit down to clip a guy. anytime I can remember that we knocked guys out. Dominic Pollina and others.
90 The government.95 Investigators tried to get Grossman to turn on Scandifia.105 . the two men were arrested for trying to sell nearly $1.103 At the same time Scandifia was fighting the murder conspiracy charges. but he refused an offer of immunity to testify before a grand jury.97 Identified as a Gambino Family soldier at the “Valachi Hearings” in 1963. Santantonio’s death did nothing to stop Valachi from lifting the lid on the secret world of the Mafia. S. according to Scarpa. he was probably inducted during the 1950s when hundreds of mobsters joined the New York crime families. “was planning to back up Valachi’s testimony with testimony from Santantonio.98 Scandifia was a close associate of Lombardozzi99 and assumed some of his responsibilities when Lombardozzi was jailed for contempt after he refused to answer questions about the Apalachin meeting. they caught a huge break when the criminal charges against them were eventually dismissed because of a legal loophole. he was convicted at a police trial of violating department regulations in his dealing with Scandifia and he was dismissed from the New York City Police Department.93 In November 1968.100 Together with Carmine’s brother John. Bache and Company.101 In 1962.00.102 John Lombardozzi would be sentenced to six years in prison in Michael Scandifia 1965 for the crime. J.5 million in stock certificates stolen from the Wall Street firm.104 Scandifia was appealing this conviction. April 2013 coming appearance before a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime. he was convicted of transporting $410. 92 Only Grossman faced any serious legal consequences for the plot to kill informers. the Mafia hoped the government “would not be able to use Valachi now because we got rid of their corroborator.” (As it turned out.96 Scandifia and Lombardozzi: partners in crime Scandifia was a Brooklyn-born mobster who had come up under Carmine Lombardozzi and was a member of his crew. after years of legal wrangling. conspiracy and income tax evasion when he disappeared. Scandifia traded in stolen securities and jewelry.94 He forfeited five years of wages totalling $50. and was awaiting trial on other charges of extortion.” By killing Santantonio.60 INFORMER.91) Although Scandifia and the others were recorded planning the execution of informers.000.000 worth of counterfeit bonds and received a jail term of six years in 1967.
Last man standing The killing of Alfredo Santantonio set off a chain of events that ended with the murder of Michael Scandifia five years later. The hierarchy of the Gambino Family attended his wake. it appears a member informant (Lombardozzi) could have conspired to help kill a member (Scandifia) for participating in the murder of another member informant (Santantonio). April 2013 61 Mob cuts ties Right before Scandifia vanished. .114 While the murky world of the American Mafia can make an absolute understanding of events elusive. stolen and planned crimes together for years. 115 Edmond Valin writes from Toronto. Once law enforcement began to investigate the Mafia’s systematic attempt to kill federal informers. Scandifia also disappeared after leaving his home to make a late night trip to the drugstore. he went missing.111 Soon after Grossman was fired from the police department.106 Scandifia’s criminal associates may have had good reason to doubt his ability to handle the pressure from law enforcement. Witnesses that could tie the Gambino Family to the plot to kill federal informers were vanishing. Carmine Lombardozzi died of natural causes at the age 79. Neither man was seen again. How Scandifia met the profile of a potential informant wasn’t elaborated but the selection process appears to be more than guesswork109 since a great many of those same mobsters110 later appeared to have had suspicious dealings with the FBI. the FBI had warned the forty-nineyear-old mobster that there was a contract on his life. Scandifia was living on borrowed time. Perhaps no one had more incentive to silence Scandifia than Lombardozzi. If Scandifia had been persuaded to cooperate with the FBI. In 1992.112 Days later. Scandifia would have likely participated in scheme as grave as killing federal informers only if he was directed by senior members like Lombardozzi and Peter Ferrara.INFORMER.”108 He was one of the few Mafia members on the list and the only one from New York City.107 When the FBI launched an initiative in 1961 to develop confidential informants in the underworld. the two mobsters had schemed.113 Scandifia was Lombardozzi’s protégé. the secrets he could tell would have put away a lot of mobsters for a long time. Scandifia was one of twelve mobsters from across the country who the FBI believed “should be considered for development.
The New York Times referred to him as Alfred “Freddie the Kid” Sanantonio. p. 1. FBI memorandum to director FBI. Santantonio has received little notice from mob historians. Santantonio. in New York. 4 “Three sentenced in U. His abandoned car was found a week later in Bloomingburg.S. a dominant group on his home turf. It’s not clear why but maybe the FBI had not yet fully shared the intelligence supplied by Santantonio with the Justice Department by this time. bond fraud. but in this document. For some reason. 18.” Santantonio had a previous narcotics conviction. Scandifia lived in Hillsdale. the FBI had at least five active. p. 2 “Ex-convict is slain by 2 In flower shop. he is often referred to as “former NY-C-TE.S. San Jose Family member Frank Sorce also shared confidential information but he denied being a member at that time. yet he was able to identify scores of Genovese Family members from all five boroughs and New Jersey. New York Police Department mob investigator Ralph Salerno noted Santantonio’s cooperation before a U. April 2013 All NARA records are available at www. 1963. 5 “Ex-convict is slain by 2 In flower shop. of the unique names supplied by Santantonio were used by the FBI when it assembled the family charts at the Valachi Hearings in October 1963. July 12. 1962. Pagination varies between document-version.” New York Times. (Informer. 18-28. Feb. Santantonio. NY. Santantonio is identified by name. For the most part. Congressional Committee in 1979. if any.” The article failed to explain why he remained free. Flowers By Charm was located at 197 Avenue T in Brooklyn. 2. Aug. Did the FBI manipulate the intelligence to corroborate Valachi’s information?) Notes . p. 6 SAC New York.” See NARA Record Number 12410212-10393. 2. Presumably. Jan.” New York Times.” Three others involved in the scheme received suspended sentences after pleading guilty and cooperating with the government. The Social Security Death Index listed him as Santantonio.62 INFORMER. 8 “Ex-convict is slain by 2 In flower shop. 7 In comparison to other early Mafia informants like Genovese Family member Joseph Valachi.” New York Times. Santantonio identified surprisingly few Bonanno Family members. only members identified by Valachi were included on the charts. Philadelphia Family member Harry Riccobene and San Jose Family member Salvatore Costanza. (For a Brooklyn-based criminal. 11 NARA Record Number 124-10212-10393.maryferrell. Santantonio identified more than 200 New York Mafia members and their crime family affiliations (the bulk of whom had already been identified by Valachi). By 1963. few. Valachi. 3 He was born March 13. the FBI was afraid that future potential witnesses would be reluctant to cooperate if they felt in danger. p. NY. The FBI used both spelling variants of his last name. See NARA Record Number 124-10286-10374.000 worth of stolen United States Savings Bonds. 6. NJ. Edward Coppola and Anthony Campisi were convicted of “fraudulently passing $50. 5. His cooperation is never revealed by the FBI nor does he testify in court. 10 NARA Record Number 124-10212-10393.org. 2. A confidential informant like Santantonio remains at large and criminally active while secretly providing intel on his associates. 1963. In other FBI documents produced after Santantonio was murdered. An Informant identity is usually redacted or protected using a secret code. 1923. NY. April 2012 and July 2012). but Santantonio must have provided his associates with a cover story to try to throw off suspicion he might have cooperated. He was a Navy veteran. p. 9 NARA Record Number 124-10286-10374. self-declared member informants: Scarpa. 1969. 1 “Defendant linked to Mafia forfeits bail of $10. 000.
He became consigliere in the new Carlo Gambino administration.132). Peter. Anastasia was underboss of the crime family between 1930 and 1951. the plotters boldly volunteered their role to the Com- . but his younger brother. Crime Confederation (p. At various times. p. had all claimed responsibility for the killing. 18. p. as some have alleged. Santantonio stated that all Gambino Family members paid regular dues of $10 to $25. he could expect to be “hit. Dongarra. later became underboss to John Gotti. The Valachi Papers. He died in 1973. for the first time. Grammauta later replaced Joseph Armone as capodecina. 27 Born in 1894.12. If anyone questioned Carlo Gambino about these funds. p. but Santantonio wasn’t listed. Grammauta and Armone were cousins. 2001. p.” In his book. p. and boss between 1951 and 1957. Riccobono and Gallo were all connected to the Lower East Side and the heroin trade. Anastasia was a strong supporter of Genovese rival Frank Costello and he may have wanted to avenge Costello’s shooting. 23 Anastasia was allegedly betrayed by capodecina and close friend Joseph Franco. 15 NARA Record Number 124-90066-10007. 20 Why target these mobsters? Were they plotting against Anastasia first? Or did Dongarra feed Santantonio misinformation to justify the murder after the fact? It’s worth pointing out that Dongarra never said that Carlo Gambino was on Anastasia’s hit list. 26 Steve Armone died in 1960. 19 NARA Record Number 124-10297-10003. 18-28. Franco died in 1957. 7. identified Valachi as a Genovese Family member) 13 NARA Record Number 124-90066-10007. Rather than deny any involvement in the assassination. 24 In an online column dated Oct. The “1953” date may be off slightly since Santantonio seems to indicate Anastasia was the underboss at the time of his induction. 18 Maas. if informants are to be believed. the Gallo brothers and the Persico crew. 14 As more declassified FBI documents from that era are examined. it’s clear. The prevailing view has been that rival Family leaders Vito Genovese and Thomas Lucchese encouraged Carlo Gambino to kill Anastasia because they feared him. that the membership books in the New York City Mafia were not entirely closed between 1931 and 1954. Mob expert Jerry Capeci identified publicly. New York: G. April 2013 63 12 NARA Record Number 124-10212-10393. so he couldn’t offer a different version of events. 25 After a heroin-trafficking conviction in the 1960s and a number of years out of the underworld spotlight. among others. 21 Gallo later conspired in the murder of another Gambino Family boss when he allegedly approved the shooting of Paul Castellano by supporters of John Gotti in 1985.INFORMER. Putnam’s Sons. at least. p. 16 “Charley Brush” Dongarra was active in the garment and heroin trades. Did the FBI purposely deemphasize Santantonio to avoid having to explain why a federal informant was murdered? (It’s not clear if Valachi knew Santantonio. Many deceased mobsters were included on the family charts at the Valachi Hearings. 17 Parisi and Squillante were Gambino Family members while Schipani was a Genovese Family member. 1968. But according to a source [likely Carmine Lombardozzi] killers from outside the Gambino Family were always unlikely since that was one rationale put forward by the anti-Anastasia group to justify the murder. or more if another family member was in trouble. 2-11. 22 Biondo. Alberti. 248-249. the men he claimed were the actual shooters: Grammauta and his associate Arnold Wittenberg (rather than Cahill). Joseph “Piney” Armone. Grammauta resurfaced in a senior leadership position in the John Gotti administration. Ralph Salerno claimed that Joseph Profaci was the last New York boss to assess dues on Family members.P. 28 NARA Record Number 124-90066-10007. All three were suspected heroin dealers. Riccobono was the oldest member of the anti -Anastasia group and their spokesman. but Santantonio. 8-10.
41 Maas. Scarpa told the FBI that one of Santantonio’s suspected killers was Gambino Family member Angelo Meli. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach revealed 25 federal informants involved in organized crime had been murdered between 1961 and 1965. This suggests that Vito Genovese and Thomas Lucchese were part of the plot. on the Judiciary. there were 20-25 Gambino Family crews in the 1960s. prohibition of drug dealing. New York: HarperCollins. The only New York Family without a representative specifically mentioned by Santantonio was the Profaci/Colombo Family. This gathering seems to be an unlikely venue to resolve such a dispute. In 1965. Was there a connection between Muro’s daughter’s illicit romance with Lombardozzi. 36 According to the FBI. the new acting boss. 72. According to one source. Congress. 1966. FBI Memorandum to director FBI. 2. p. rape and abduction. 74. 37 Lombardozzi probably replaced Joseph Franco as capodecina right before the Apalachin meeting. 1158. formal recognition of Genovese as new Family boss. 38 NARA Record Number 124-10348-10068. Born in 1939. Lombardozzi never mentioned it to agents. At a meeting of Gambino Family leaders in 1967. 40 His mistress. his complaint and his later exclusion? This document also serves to illustrate that Castellano. 35 Some have alleged that Lombardozzi was ordered to attend the Apalachin Meeting to defend himself against charges he mismanaged the Mob’s juke-box racket. Paul Castellano. 1st Session. (Bonanno didn’t mention this meeting in his memoir. p. 39 NARA Record Number 124-10348-10068. and disorderly conduct. Arline. 3. He was known in the Media as “The Doctor” or “The Wizard of Wall Street.S. 251-252. 42 NARA Record Number 124-10277-10308. Vito Genovese. rather than underboss Neil Dellacroce. 1913 in Brooklyn. Joseph Bonanno was likely traveling at the time and was probably not there. p. 1997. expulsion of unworthy members. Salvatore “Toddo” Aurello. p. 50. 4. Peter. NY. 299. 18. Underboss. Lombardozzi had loans worth $5 million on the street in 1962.” He had a long criminal history including arrests for vehicle homicide. she was divorced and had a child before she married Lombardozzi. He often had borrowers steal securities from an employer’s vault which he would then sell for profit. Muro himself fell out of favor with the Gambino Family for some unspecified reason. 31 The Valachi Papers. Depending on the source. 34 Lombardozzi was born Feb. 30 Valachi never mentioned this pre-Apalachin Meeting in his memoir. Senate. Jan. 32 U. April 2013 mission. 43 Lombardozzi married first in 1932. A few years later. Thomas Rava and Carmine Galante. ruled that Sabato Muro was to be “excluded” from future crime family business. was the daughter of Gambino Family soldier Sabato Muro. p. so he probably didn’t know about it.64 INFORMER. p. the marriage ended after 27 or 29 years. 89th Congress. had once been admonished by Carlo Gambino for flaunting his own mistress in public. Former Gambino Family member Salvatore Gravano recounted how his capodecina. was the natural choice to succeed Gambino after his death. 29 Attendees included Thomas Lucchese. Invasions of Privacy: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Senate Comm.) Galante’s presence indicates his high standing in the family. 33 SAC New York. He specialized in making loans to bankers on Wall Street. the main agenda items were: 1. According to Valachi. . U. and 3. and the outcome of the underworld trial was predetermined.S.
46 SAC New York. 2-5. p.INFORMER. Biondo was said to have been replaced because he withheld money that belonged to the Gambino Family. Volume IX Current Section: J. Carmine’s brother and nephew. more Gambino Family members were there. 59 NARA Record Number 124-10277-10308. Rava was likely killed on orders of Carlo Gambino as he consolidated power. John Lombardozzi (member) and Daniel Marino (associate). Gallo replaced him as acting consigliere in 1967 at the same time Neil Dellacroce replaced Biondo as underboss and Castellano became acting boss. 2-6. 51 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10244. Scarpa told agents that many mobsters believed Lombardozzi would eventually be killed by Gambino “in order to get the FBI to remove the pressure from Brooklyn. the same informant who attended the Apalachin meeting gave information about Lombardozzi’s Baltimore connection. One informant told the FBI that Toddo Aurello. informants were generally used to help build the FBI’s storehouse of Mafia intelligence. Rava had battled for top spot in the Gambino Family while Riccobono was a long-time capodecina and future consigliere. p. Lombardozzi’s old crew was split between Gennaro and James Failla in 1967. 53 By virtue of his age and his rank by 1957. 49 NARA Record Number 124-10284-10234. Gravano’s old mentor. 18-19. FBI Memorandum to director FBI. p. p.” Did the FBI leverage Lombardozzi’s fear to get him to cooperate? 47 NARA Record Number 124-10277-10308. Marino was eventually inducted into the Gambino Family and became a high-ranking member. Furthermore. 73. 3. Castellano was cousin and right-hand to Gambino. See NARA Record Number 124-10293-10240. p. were part of the assault on FBI Special Agent John Foley in 1963. 50 Although the clues used to construct the informant’s profile were compiled from different FBI documents with redacted informant codes (making it difficult to know if the informant was the same). not to make criminal cases against other mobsters. 48 He was in constant trouble with law enforcement throughout the 1960s and early 1970s facing charges including securities fraud. though unlikely. 52 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10240. In the early post-Valachi era. 1968 . Or perhaps he was there to corroborate (the late) Joseph Franco’s claim that Anastasia was plotting to kill Riccobono and the others. his own crew leader. p.strongly suggesting they’re the same individual. 1963: Feeling the Pressure. Lombardozzi was likely inducted sometime after WWII. he was a soldier again. April 25. the sources were contacted by agents on the same date – Oct. Lombardozzi may have attended as an aide-de-camp or a chauffeur. killed Rava. 2. p. . Lombardozzi may have regained his capodecina rank later but by the time John Gotti became boss in 1985. assault and parole violation. 45 Lombardozzi himself assaulted a policeman in a scuffle a few years later. A Gambino Family informant would presumably know which Gambino Family members attended the meeting. April 2013 65 44 HSCA Report. They were later sentenced to 20 months in prison. Riccobono survived a suicide attempt in the early 1960s before he died in 1975. Carmine Lombardozzi was likely demoted to soldier as punishment. 55 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10244. 58 NARA Record Number 124-10290-10437. The wording of this document suggests Lombardozzi wasn’t an informant in 1963. p. 1963. The exact date of his alleged demotion is unknown but it appears he was eventually replaced by Joseph Gennaro about 1963/4. 54 NARA Record Number 124-10297-10003. 57 Lombardozzi was the junior member of this group. 73. so it’s possible. 4 -5. p.31. 25. p. Castellano was said to have been promoted to acting boss to further insulate Carlo Gambino who was facing intense federal scrutiny at the time. 56 An unknown number of mobsters who attended Apalachin allegedly escaped detection. 12.
and 3. and Andris Kurins. 1957. 10-13 and 124-10288-10164. 168. NY: Prometheus Books. Agents often produced multiple reports on the same subject. 12. p. the Bureau had no recent photograph of long-time consigliere Joseph N. 1957. 25. The book was published a year before Lombardozzi died. p. New York: Simon & Schuster. Frank Costello. Joe. This may not have been the last time that Lombardozzi revealed confidential details about a Commission meeting. 77 Bonanno’s attendance wasn’t noted. 2. 2-3. 71. 63 Few Gambino Family members would need to visit distant Baltimore on crime family business. the “informant” could have been something else like a wiretap that the agents didn’t want to jeopardize but then why bother to disclose the source of the information at all. Gallo and was unsure where he lived. p. p. 72 Anastasia was gunned down on Oct. (Of course. A comparison can often lead to a fuller understanding of the subject and provide inadvertent clues to an informant’s identity. p. 73 Another possibility is the agent himself incorrectly recorded some details of the debriefing in his report. 79 O’Brien. 2. Mob Nemesis. 1991. p. 68 Blum. 64 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10240. Dominic Pollina had succeeded Joe Ida as Philadelphia boss by this time. 32. For instance.” Lombardozzi may have stopped cooperating because it was no longer in his interest. A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno. The secret informant even received an unusual personal thank you from the agents at the beginning of their book. 2.” Boiardo’s estate was rumoured to have been the site of many underworld killings. 76 NARA Record Number 124-10203-10430. April 2013 60 The potential damage Gambino or Castellano could have done to the Gambino Family far exceeds what the informant appears to have shared. Sam Giancana had succeeded Tony Accardo as boss of Chicago (Accardo could have been introducing Giancana to the other Commission members on this trip). two former FBI agents recounted how a tip from a well-placed informant within the Gambino Family allowed them to conduct photo surveillance of a purported Commission meeting in 1984. 1983. Anastasia was acting “fearful” which would be consistent with the loss of his mob protector. 70 NARA Record Number 124-10297-10003. 2. 62 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10240 p. Boss of Bosses. Joseph F. Amherst. p. with Don DeNevi. Retired FBI agent Joe Griffin recalled how the FBI’s Buffalo office once mishandled a valuable informant. 12.) . 1957. The meeting can be dated to “last quarter of 1957” because: 1.2 and 124-10277-10308. 61 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10240. I [Griffin] was fortunate to identify one potential informant who had been used by an agent before his retirement about two years before. 1993. he simply closed the informant file. 65 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10244. 67 Griffin. New York: Simon & Schuster. high-ranking. 78 Described by LIFE magazine as “Transylvanian traditional. p. 75 Bonanno. 71 NARA Record Number 124-10297-10003. When the agent vacated his office. with Sergio Lalli. 13. or he may have fallen through the cracks at the FBI. This acknowledgement tends to indicate the source was of long-standing. Gangland. Philadelphia capodecina Pasquale Massi was overheard telling Angelo Bruno about a meeting he attended in New Jersey involving Anastasia and some other Commission members. In their book about bringing down Paul Castellano. New York: Simon & Shuster. p. 69 NARA Record Number 124-10297-10003. “While reviewing these [organized crime] files during my first week in Buffalo. 292-295. 66 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10244. 43-48. p. This meeting could be different from the one described by Bonanno. 14. Howard. p. p. p. The Apalachin meeting raid occurred on Nov. p.66 INFORMER. 2002. Joseph. and living when the book was published.. 74 Costello was shot and wounded on May 2. 185. In 1962.
18. 1968. Anastasia and his underboss. 1968. p. 84 “Bugging of Mafia is complex. 22. a recurring theme within the American Mafia was the perception the organization had become degraded by unworthy members. Castellano and Armone discussing the ramifications of killing Gambino Family soldier Tommy Agro. 2009. Nov. 1967. tied to Mafia plot to kill informers.” New York Times. 29. Scandifia was on the radar of organized crime investigators as early as the late 1950s.” New York Times. one device led to 70 arrests. Grossman joined the police department in 1950. not other crimes. indications are that after conviction. 1963. 81 Scandifia operated a Coney Island service station. Sept.” 90 SAC New York. 98 Scandifia was one of a small number of mobsters who appeared on the family charts at the Valachi Hearings who were not identified by Valachi.” New York Times. 88 Harmon. 27. 83 “Bugging of Mafia is complex. Pistone and Scarpa later competed for the affections of the same girl. one device led to 70 arrests. 6. July 23. p. 4. Although Grossman refused to testify for fear of his life. His office was also bugged as part of the jewelry investigation.” 86 Scandifia was recorded threatening to kill an uncooperative union official. 27. 96 “Immunity offer made in slaying. also known as the Valachi Hearings after its star witness. Sandra.” New York Times. were accused of selling memberships for money.” New York Times. 24. suspended policeman asked to testify in Brooklyn. 47-48. The law was subsequently changed to close the loophole. The criminal indictment was dropped after the court ruled that the taped conversations were inadmissible because the original warrant was intended to obtain information related only to a jewelry heist.” New York Times. A large number of unrelated criminal cases in New York State were affected by the decision. Sept. 95 “Tapes on murder plot heard at police trial. Scarpa badmouths Pistone without informing agents of his romantic rivalry. Dec. the mass expulsion of members was supposed to have been an agenda item at Apalachin.” Who were these “federal stool pigeons”? Was this simply a reference to Joseph Valachi? In the 1950s and 1960s. Scandifia was still under indictment for this crime when he disappeared. Martin’s Press. 1968. According to Valachi. In particular. 91 The McClellan Hearings. 1919. Frank Scalice. Because of his close connection to Lombardozzi (and the Apalachin meeting fiasco). .000 from a Manhattan dealer. 94 “Policeman ousted. was the first time an inducted member publicly testified about his criminal activities and Mafia. New York: St. he may have answered questions before a second grand jury. Mafia Son. Did his criminal associates fear he would break? 97 “Mike Scandi” Scandifia was born March. Four months of electronic surveillance led to the arrest of Scandifia and John Lombardozzi for grand larceny in a jewelry heist. FBI Memorandum to director FBI. p. 87 “Petey Pumps” Ferrara was a Brooklyn-based capodecina. In recently disclosed FBI documents from the period. 85 “Tapes on murder plot heard at police trial. 237-238. 89 “Bugging of Mafia is complex. 82 “Tapes on murder plot heard at police trial. 1966. 93 Grossman was immediately suspended from the police department until the end of his department trial. Joseph Scandifia.” The Auburn NY CitizenAdvertiser. Scandifia was overheard arguing that all members should be reevaluated for loyalty to prevent informers from hurting the organization. Sept. 1968. Aug. It helped kick-start the public’s fascination with the Mafia and helped lay the groundwork for better federal laws to combat organized crime.INFORMER. June 22. one device led to 70 arrests. His father. also may have been a Gambino Family member. 92 “Court approves evidence found in police bugging. There is some evidence that Scandifia may have transferred to Ferrara’s crew by this time. 1968. And in a taped conversation from about the same time. April 2013 67 80 Boss of Bosses. The listening device was originally installed as part of an investigation into the theft of diamonds worth $78. 99 “Mafia figure gets 6 years in counterfeit bond case.
” Did Scandifia give signals that he might cooperate? 110 NARA Record Number 124-10220-10089. Norman Rothman and Lou Lederer all may have cooperated.” Long Island Star-Journal. in 1968. who was ordered to step aside by the U. 52. In the News U. 108 NARA Record Number 124-10220-10089. and 124-10284-10226. Frank Valente (Buffalo/Pittsburgh member). Lombardozzi was jailed seven months for contempt. 114 In fact. p. She graduated from Wesleyan University and Harvard Law School. 1. For example.S. New York Police Files on the Mafia. 11. 000.” New York Times. 111 NARA Record Number 124-10277-10308 p. 57. contract killing of federal informants was a capital crime at that time. Of course. (Bulger attorney J. 56. 7. 1968. 2012. petitioned for Judge Stearns’ removal. April 2013 100 NARA Record Number 124-90103-10093. the FBI knew that Philadelphia capodecina Pasquale Massi was arrested for sodomy in 1963 with a black man. 113 Carr. His nephew. 1969. p. District Court Judge Denise Jefferson Casper was randomly selected in March to preside over the upcoming federal racketeering trial of 83-year-old James “Whitey” Bulger. Lombardozzi was said to be one of the wealthiest mobsters in the Gambino Family by the time he died.” 105 “Defendant linked to Mafia forfeits bail of $10.) Bulger is accused of killing 19 people in the 1970s and 1980s while serving as an FBI informant. Daniel Marino. Hosehead Productions. Massachusetts (2007-2010). Oct.” New York Times. New York. Dec. John H. 3. Aladena “Jimmy the Weasel” Fratianno later became an infamous snitch. 4 April 1963.” New York Times. arguing that Stearns could not be impartial due to his link to an office that the defendant claims offered him immunity for past offenses. Did the FBI learn of this tendency earlier. She served in private practice (late 1990s).” 107 Lakeland Ledger. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit because he served as a top federal prosecutor in the 1980s.68 INFORMER. Carney. 115 Davis.S. attorney (early 2000s) and as deputy district attorney for Middlesex County. Stearns. 16. Nov. p. 8. New York: HarperCollins. Charlie. 109 NARA Record Number 124-10293-10345.W. There is no evidence that Scandifia ever cooperated. 112 “Ousted patrolman reported missing. His body was never found. as assistant U. p. Scandifia’s daughter and son-in -law Edmund Graifer entered the Witness Protection Program after he testified against the Mob in a stolen stock securities case. George Gordon. 1965. 101 NARA Record Number 124-90103-10093. and try to blackmail him? A review of other declassified FBI documents suggests that other mobsters on the list like John Battaglia (Los Angeles Family associate and brother of Bonanno member Charlie Battaglia). 1974. Jr. a few years after his disappearance. before being appointed to the federal bench in 2010. 000. Judge Casper replaces Judge Richard G. 1993. p. 103 “6 are convicted in theft of stock. with law enforcement. Lombardozzi was accused of killing two underlings who cheated him in 1955. 417-418. Agents from the FBI’s Top Hoodlum Program would first interview mobsters “to appraise their possibility as Top Echelon targets.. p. including murder. 12.. 106 “Defendant linked to Mafia forfeits bail of $10. Mafia Dynasty. reportedly took over his criminal interests after his death. p. Jan. 16. 104 “Mafia figure gets 6 years in counterfeit bond case. . shares stolen from Bache are involved in case. to some extent. 195. 102 “4 Arrested In Cemetery. Judge Casper was born in East Patchogue. However. p.S.
. Kefauver stretched the idea of organized crime too far. Norval Morris and Gordon Hawkins. What he claimed to know was often dismissed as contradictory. Warner In 1969. Hawkins followed in the footsteps of critic Daniel Bell. Valachi’s occasional use of hyperbole is treated as scientific or legal assertion. In the 1950s this was a large claim and without informants it was hard to prove such a claim. the man who prosecuted Murder Incorporated. To many in the scholarly community. It would seem that the public testimony of Joe Valachi put the lie to the skeptics. April 2013 69 The Warner Files God and the Mafia By Richard N.” The point of the article is that it takes a leap of faith to believe in organized crime. shot down the idea of a Mafia. but he was denounced as a petty criminal who knew little. Gordon Hawkins published an influential article in The Public Interest called “God and the Mafia. A disagreement over the precise number of participants at the 1957 Apalachin meeting was seen as confirming their belief that the Apalachin investigation was much ado about nothing. a similar amount of faith to what Hawkins believed is required to believe in God.INFORMER. wrote a chapter in The Honest Politician’s Guide to Crime Control called “Organized Crime and God. In 1969 many scholars had doubts in the existence of organized crime (meaning the Mafia or Cosa Nostra) just as they had doubts in the existence of God. In the work. Kefauver believed that there was a National Crime Syndicate that controlled most American organized crime. Even Burton Turkus. in The End of Ideology.” Here they dissected and deconstructed Valachi’s Senate testimony and compared it to FBI claims as a means to discredit them. who. following up on Hawkins’ earlier article. disagreed with assertions made by Estes Kefauver in the 1950s. and that the Mafia was the driving force behind the crime syndicate. since “many gangsters congregate” normally.
Joe Bonanno’s autobiography was used by Rudolph Giuliani as evidence in the Commission Case. This school of academics included Joseph Albini. We have also rediscovered earlier informants. who continued to criticize the FBI and the works of authors like Fred Cook. the Sicilian people declared war on the Mafia and today the island that gave birth to the Mafia is no longer in denial. Dr. Melchiorre Allegra and Nicola Gentile. It took historian Humbert S. including some of those just mentioned. Salvatore Clemente. but it appears that much of this was a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. and now have access to material not previously available to the public. Ex-Mafiosi. Hank Messick. generally sociologists and criminologists. Albini and Smith did fine research in rightly criticizing the excesses of the popuDaniel Bell larizers. Dwight Smith and Gary Potter.70 INFORMER. Nelli to show how the subject of organized crime can be dealt with responsibly without dismissing it merely as myth. Jimmy “the Weasel” Fratianno. such as Francesco Siino. Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI files. popular writers who were prone to overgeneralization and even exaggeration. In the years since. which opened the floodgates to members deciding to testify and enter the Witness Protection Program. Ed Reid and Fredric Sondern. we have been inundated with the tales of informants and Mafia members willing to testify. Joe Massino and Phil Leonetti are just a few of the high-level members of organized crime who have forever altered our understanding of the Mafia. such as Bureau of Narcotics. April 2013 Clearly historical revision has value. but they also leaned to an extreme skepticism that bordered on outright denial. Bartolo Fontana. Angelo Lonardo. With the deaths of prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. For someone to de- . Sammy “the Bull” Gravano. even got busy writing their memoirs. Daniel Bell and Gordon Hawkins were succeeded by academics.
These days. A resident of southern California. Richard N. Warner has been studying organized crime for almost thirty years. . we’ll take a look at Religion and the Mafia. to have doubts of the existence of the Mafia is akin to having a belief in a flat earth. (For the record. asking about God and the Mafia doesn’t bring up the same skepticism experienced in the 1960s but leads instead to such issues as born-again Mafiosi.) To 21st Century readers. April 2013 71 ny the existence of the Mafia today might prompt a recommendation for therapy and psychotropic medication. That legend actually came out of a story created by Washington Irving and John William Draper’s poorly researched 19th Century work called The History of Conflict between Religion and Science. historian Jeffrey Burton Russell proved in Inventing the Flat Earth that Christopher Columbus and medieval Europeans did not believe in a flat earth. and our understanding of the history of organized crime will be accurate in a way that a previous generation could not imagine. In the meantime let’s keep a healthy skepticism handy without overdoing it.INFORMER. In the next Warner Files.
and an abundance of journalistic accounts listed there.72 INFORMER. Endnotes provide a means for exploring the details of the book. arrived not long ago. While that conforms to the literal translation of the term “bibliography” (book-writing) from Greek. I am always hopeful that a book related to Mafia history will be of longterm use. court opinions. and I have a pretty good idea of how many non-book sources exist. it is somewhat lacking in our general use of the term (and of very little use to me. I have done a bit of research into the Apalachin meeting. April 2013 Just One More Thing Review: ‘Mafia Summit’ By Thomas Hunt When a review copy of Gil Reavill’s new book. and the material in the final pages is crucial. I did subsequently note a large number of newspaper article refer- . Edgar Hoover. I immediately opened it – as is my general custom with underworld histories – to the back. Mafia Summit: J. These items are of particular value to me as a researcher. convention of Mafiosi in the fall of 1957 – I had hoped to find a significant number of government documents. dusty spaces behind. I set about the task of testing the foundation. trial transcripts. the Kennedy Brothers. New York. a bibliography and an index. The bibliography reveals the foundation of research upon which the book was assembled. as I have my own lists of books on various subjects). I happily noted that all three were present. The bibliography went on for an impressive dozen pages. Given the specific focus of the book – the Apalachin. investigative reports. I checked for endnotes. and the Meeting that Unmasked the Mob (Thomas Dunne Books). The index is a mechanism for easily utilizing the book in any future research. but examination showed that it was basically a listing of other published books that have touched on the same subject matter. That qualifies a work as a contender for placement along the visible rows of books at the front of my overfilled office bookcases – books I consult from time to time – rather than for hidden placement in the dark.
Croswell was the most important law enforcement officer connected with the Apalachin incident. Gil Reavill is an excellent writer. April 2012). April 2011) and War of the Godfathers: The Bloody Confrontation Between the Chicago and New York Families for the Control of Las Vegas by William F. Questions naturally come to mind when an author cites works such as these: Did the author truly build his book upon these sources? Did he mention these sources merely to critique and correct them? Did he not realize their credibility problems? Making matters much. Readers of this publication surely know by now what a can of worms that particular source is. and what he views as its causes and its aftermath. But those seeking a detailed. as well as through perusal of .INFORMER. but Mafia Summit is primarily about New York State Police Sergeant Edgar Croswell. so I decided that Reavill was basically being a stickler to the Greek meaning of “bibliography.” As I read the bibliography more closely. much worse. Warner in Informer. And the new material that Reavill brings to the Apalachin discussion in his book apparently was obtained through conversations with Croswell relatives and the late Sergeant Joseph Benenati. It is evident by the first pages of the prologue that a name is missing from the subtitle of Reavill’s book. And I can report with sadness that Mafia Summit fulfilled my expectations. I quickly noted a number of sources that I would not have used in Reavill’s place – a couple that I would have refused to use even at gunpoint: Young Al Capone by William and John Balsamo (reviewed by Ryan Artis in Informer. Gosch and Richard Hammer (discussed in detail by Richard N. Roemer (a sort of “what-if” book that might be best described as “historical fiction. I also noticed the presence in the bibliography of The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano by Martin A. who worked alongside Croswell. I don’t want to give the reader the impression that Mafia Summit is not well written. factual understanding of the subject matter are likely to be disappointed or misled. my expectations for the book were low. April 2013 73 ences and some references to documents from government agencies in the endnotes. By the time I was ready to begin reading Mafia Summit at Page 1. I’m sure casual readers will enjoy his handling of this important event. it disappointed me as much for what was in it as for what was not in it. In itself. that is not a problem. His book is very interesting and very easy to read and I notice it has earned its share of positive reviews.” if you softly whisper the “historical” part of the term). Hoover and the Kennedys are discussed on the pages within.
Reavill drags his erroneous Neapolitan vs. (I was far less happy when I saw him overcome his objections and quote from that book on Page 49 of Mafia Summit. however. The claim that Croswell. Sicilian theme all the way into his discussion of the 1950s. was ready to pounce when Galante was observed passing through Croswell-country thirteen years later – one year before the trooper crashed the party at Apalachin. It has been widely known since the Valachi revelations of the early 1960s that there were Sicilians and Neapolitans on both sides in the Castellammarese War. Calabrian Albert Anastasia and Neapolitan Vito Genovese. goes beyond a mere presentation of Croswell’s point-of-view and inflates Croswell into a law enforcement colossus who mentally tracked for many years various organized criminals based outside of his jurisdiction before they ever assembled at Apalachin. By Page 19. He deserves recognition. Sicily (and their allies). was able to recall the identity of a man who wasn’t even charged but only questioned in a 1943 murder elsewhere is amazing. The author insists that Croswell. Reavill. when he almost single-handedly exposed a gathering of the nation’s top Mafia leaders. were allies in a continuing opposition to . had his eye out for Carmine Galante. therefore. Croswell’s alleged certainty that Galante was Tresca’s killer borders on the supernatural. The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano. As the book opens. He admits that he may be oversimplifying things a bit. and a group of Sicilian Mafia leaders who viewed those Castellammaresi as a problem. an upstate New York trooper. Neapolitan gangsters took part in the conflict as allies of both sides. The state police sergeant took a great deal on himself in November 1957. he decides that nonSicilians. The factional struggle was between a group of Sicilian Mafia leaders united by a common origin in Castellammare del Golfo. including Calabrian Frank Costello. Of course. He states that the division essentially was Neapolitan gangsters against Sicilian gangsters. who had joined the state police in 1940. praise and perhaps even a bit of exaggeration. when actually he is merely getting them entirely wrong. I had no real trouble excusing the hero-worship directed at Croswell. Croswell. since Galante was called in for questioning after the murder of journalist Carlo Tresca in New York City in 1943. I was happy to note in the prologue that Reavill was critical of the problem source. April 2013 Croswell’s private archives.) I did have a real problem with Reavill’s lack of knowledge of earlier American Mafia history.74 INFORMER. he provides a description of a factional division in the pre-1930 Sicilian-Italian underworld that led to the 1930-31 Castellammarese War.
the disciplinary action against Pittsburgh Mafia boss John Bazzano is mischaracterized. In truth. Sicilians view of the underworld division. local gangsters. there was great friction and some open hostility between leading Calabrian and Neapolitan mobsters and deep divisions also existed among the Sicilian underworld leaders. An important underworld event of 1932. (Originally. a pro-Castellammare gun. there has been a great deal written about Domingo in recent years – much of it by Informer contributor David Critchley (see “‘Buster from Chicago’ revealed to be Sebastiano Domingo” in Informer. 2013. on the very same page.Kennedy Brothers.”) Still. Galante’s escape was apparently unaffected by the fact that Domingo had been a corpse since 1933. the tiano “Buster from Chicago” Do. According to . and the Meeting that mingo. it was perhaps the result of someone’s confusion over the somewhat similar sounding nicknames “Buster” and “Gus. without permission from Mafia higher-ups. Edgar Hoover. This also does not come off cleanly. April 2013 75 Castellammare forces that included Joseph Bonanno. Frank Garafalo and Carmine Galante. Joseph Profaci. Reavill escapes full blame for having the long-deceased Domingo acting as Galante’s wheel man because he correctly cited Dorothy Gallagher’s All the Right Enemies for that information. Stefano Magaddino. Problems continue.INFORMER. The author abruptly and conveniently drops his non-Sicilians vs. the wheel of Galante’s getaway Published by Thomas Dunne Books. Bazzano was disciplined/murdered for killing the Volpe brothers. as Reavill on Page 20 puts SebasMafia Summit: J. at Authored by Gil Reavill. January 2012) – and a simple Google search produces numerous sources indicating the date of Domingo’s violent death. to have Neapolitan Genovese and Sicilian Galante cooperate in setting up and performing a Mussolini-ordered execution of Carlo Tresca in 1943.Unmasked the Mob man from the 1930-31 conflict. car.
New Jersey. That’s not correct. (See “A Test of Resolve” in Informer. . and Santo Volpe. in May of 1929 was scheduled to coincide with Meyer Lansky’s marriage and honeymoon – Page 78. New York – Page 30. I had grown somewhat accustomed to the errors and misinterpretations.) The purpose of the Mafia’s Atlantic City convention in 1929 was to portion out underworld rackets following the Castellammarese War. mainland Italians. February 2011. and the only documented attendees of the meeting were Al Capone and underworld rivals from Chicago. I’m not at all sure how Reavill managed to escape learning that “Cheech” is a common nickname for Italians named Frank. Albert Anastasia and Louis “Lepke” Buchalter were involved in the murder of Dutch Schultz – Page 42. (For the record. April 2013 Reavill. The first-ever Mafia convention was held at Cleveland in December of 1928 – Page 78. Joseph Barbara ran a brothel in Endicott. so I know Reavill did not invent them): Charlie “Lucky” Luciano promoted Mafia involvement with illicit sex and drugs – Page 19. It hardly mattered when Reavill broke off from his narrative to momentarily explain that Bronx underworld big shot Frank “Cheech” Scalise was known as “Cheech” because of a Sicilian pronunciation of his last name. the death of the Volpe brothers was significant because they were cousins of important northeastern Pennsylvania Mafia boss Santo Volpe. Vito Genovese peddled narcotics in the 1950s through “nightclubs and gay bars” of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village – Page 71.) After the first seventy pages. Here is a collection of examples of material for which no source of any kind was provided (some have been circulated for years.76 INFORMER. there was a gangland meeting in Atlantic City at the time of Lansky’s first marriage. A Mafia convention at Atlantic City. a Sicilian. which had not yet occurred – Page 78. Albert Anastasia intruded on Santo Trafficante rackets in Cuba and moved Marseilles-processed heroin through Cuba – Page 70. No family relationship in fact existed between the Volpes of Pittsburgh. but a Lansky biographer insists that the honeymoon was in Canada. I had a much more substantial issue with what I observed as a trend in Reavill’s book to make important/controversial assertions without providing any citations for them in the endnotes. Meyer Lansky was the first gangster to consider the money-making potential of Cuban gambling – Page 69.
“The FBI has never investigated the Mafia. something akin to underworld “Pope” or “God” – Pages 79. Edgar Hoover himself. Researchers and careful readers may wish to check on these statements to see if the statements originate with reliable or questionable sources or if they may have been misinterpreted. When I spotted the quotes. nothing has even come close to doing so.” Nichols reportedly went on to say. Mafia.” That statement is attributed directly and astonishingly to J. but researchers will have no help from the endnotes provided by the author of Mafia Summit. For any Mafia researcher. “There are strong doubts as to Mafia’s existence.” and a bunch more stuff along those lines (Pages 140-141). Many have insisted for decades that Hoover long denied the existence of the Mafia.” According to Reavill. April 2013 77 Vito Genovese ordered the scheduling of the 1957 convention at Apalachin to have himself crowned boss of bosses of the U. I jumped right to the book’s endnotes. He initially links the quotes to Bureau Director Hoover by describing Nichols as “Hoover’s official flack and the man responsible for diligently preserving the Director’s sacrosanct image. There.S. Joseph Bonanno was among the attendees of the Cleveland Mafia convention in 1928 – Page 104. It reads. but clear on-therecord comments by the director to that effect are sorely lacking. The author has the murder completely solved.INFORMER. nothing has even come close to doing so. Reavill states that the Nichols comments were drawn from a newspaper article . 205. the reader finds a very similar statement entirely within quotation marks on an Apalachin-related graphic. Then. five pages into the book’s photograph section (between Pages 146 and 147). turning up such a quote would be the equivalent of locating the Holy Grail. Even more disturbing were those occasions on which Reavill did provide sources but an examination of those sources proved that they did not match the details he wrote in his book. Certainly nothing of any substance has ever been shown in this respect. Edgar Hoover’s long-term denial of the existence of the American Mafia. Nichols expressed “strong doubts as to the Mafia’s existence” and cited Hoover’s view that “certainly nothing of any substance has ever been shown in this respect. One such occasion was his description of the murder of the aforementioned Frank Scalise. But he cites as his source only a single New York Times article that contains none of that information. When describing J. Nichols. Reavill unloads a collection of quotes he attributes to FBI Assistant Director Louis B. revealing who did it and how and why (Page 72). an important theme in the book.
How could Reavill allow himself to attribute the same altered statement to Nichols AND to Hoover without the tiniest shred of evidence in the source he claimed to have used that either of those men had ever said anything like it? As these matters came up on an American Mafia online discussion group that I have moderated since 2005 (groups. . There was no note corresponding to the alleged Hoover quote in the photographs section. attributed the Hoover quote to the director. Nichols had resigned from his post at the Bureau.” Given the endnote reference and the text of the source.) This fits with the tenor of the Hoover/Nichols comments on the Mafia at the time.78 INFORMER. A check of the Binghamton newspaper article revealed that the words “strong doubts as to the Mafia’s existence” were not part of any quote in the article. Gil Reavill stopped by to offer this explanation: In my interviews with him. treated the result as a quotation and inserted it successively into the mouths of Nichols and Hoover. With this information. Kelso. but he was not at all “well-placed” at the time the article was written. but that was attributed only to an unnamed source Kelso described as “unimpeachable” and “well placed and of long standing.com/group/ americanmafia/ ). 1957. I had no choice but to assume that Reavill paraphrased the statement by reporter Kelso. the reporter. Nichols could not have been serving as “Hoover’s official flack” in any Apalachin-related interview with Kelso.” Kelso never mentioned Nichols in the article. made a statement of his own that was somewhat similar: “A check at the highest law enforcement level revealed strong doubts that there is any ‘Black Hand Society’ in the United States. almost two weeks before Apalachin occurred and almost three weeks before the Kelso article was written. a couple of questions arise: .How does Reavill know that Kelso’s source was Louis Nichols? Nichols certainly had been a long-standing official of the FBI. New York.yahoo. Sheriff Joe Benenati repeatedly referred to the Kelso article directly. in the days following the Apalachin meeting. The rest of the quote that Reavill attributed first to Nichols and later to Hoover was indeed present within quotation marks in the Kelso article. . effective November 1. April 2013 that John Kelso wrote for the Binghamton Press of Binghamton. and said the source was Nichols (“That was Nichols” were his words when I referenced the article.
100 Years Ago April 9. Vito Genovese . May 23. That the quote was spoken by more than one person – an unusual situation. 3. 1913. Someday I will have sit down and figure out a productive use for all the material stuffed back there. April 2013 79 The explanation is somewhat troubling. and complete with the ordinarily useful tools of index. 4. professionally printed and solidly bound. competently typeset. I guess there’s still a little more room in the back of the bookcase. Amadeo Buonomo. That Reavill has access to a collection of additional Hoover/ Nichols quotes that “fit with the tenor” of the one he used. energy and other resources. is shot at close range as he descends to a wine cellar at 113th Street and First Avenue. I am left with a set of unanswered questions about Reavill’s work and a corresponding set of logical answers to those questions that further undercut the credibility of Mafia Summit and its author. 2. Unfortunately this means I also am left with a book – the product of considerable time. but Reavill quickly departed the discussion group and had not returned by Informer’s press time. as it appears to indicate: 1. 1913. That the most significant source of this simultaneous quote and its dual attribution is a law enforcement officer who was not mentioned in the endnote and who recalled the specific statement and its speakers decades after it was uttered. That the cited Kelso article was not the most significant source of the quote shown in the book. at the age of 16. and we are left to wonder if it was said in unison or at different times. bibliography and endnotes – that I simply will never feel the need or the desire to open again.S. I responded to the author with another set of questions. believed to be a henchman of East Harlem gang leader Aniello “Zopo” Prisco. future New York Mafia leader Vito Genovese enters the U.INFORMER.
April 2013 .80 INFORMER.