Killed Oak Park, IL, June 19, 1975.
Giancana was born to parents Antonino and Antonina DeSimone Giancana, immigrants from Castelvetrano, Sicily. (They and their daughter Antonina entered the U.S. through New York City on Dec. 22, 1906, aboard the S.S. Sicilian Prince. At that time, they were heading to Chicago to stay with a brother-in-law, Nicola Sciarcota, 567 Harrison Street. Antonino became a produce peddler.) There are conflicting birthdates for Sam Giancana in various records. One birth certificate obtained by the FBI showed a birthdate of May 24, 1908, and a certificate filing date of June 30, 1908. Church Baptismal records indicate a birthdate of June 15, 1908, and a Baptism date of Dec. 15, 1908. A document filed by Giancana as an adult showed his birthdate as June 15.
Giancana grew up in the 42 Gang on Chicago's west side. He was arrested often in the late 1920s (22 times in 1928 alone). Some of those arrests were on serious criminal charges, but none of the cases made it to trial.
He did serve time in prison 1930-31 for burglary and was behind bars once again in 1939-42 after a federal alcohol tax violation. Those sentences helped earn him notice among the big-time Chicago Mafiosi.
In 1933, he became a bodyguard for Outfit bigshot Tony Accardo. In September of that year, Giancana was married to Angelina DeTolve in Chicago.
In 1948, with Accardo then the big boss, he graduated to the position of the family's primary enforcer. By 1950, he was specializing in gambling and associating with Hollywood stars. When authorities began focusing their attention on Accardo, he turned the day-to-day operations over to Giancana.
In 1959, Giancana earned the notice of the local press by throwing an extravagant wedding for his daughter Antoinette and Carmen Manno. The reception, estimated to cost $15,000, was held on the 19th floor of the LaSalle Hotel. Among the 700 invitees were Accardo, Marshall Caifano, Joey Glimco, Sam Battaglia and Phil Alderisio.
Giancana is believed to have had connections with the Kennedy family of Massachusetts and to have assisted in John F. Kennedy's Presidential election in 1960. Some sources have claimed that Giancana and Kennedy shared mistresses and passed information to each other through their women.
It appears Giancana had good reason to feel that he was betrayed by the Kennedy Administration, as Attorney General Robert Kennedy put enormous legal pressure on the Chicago crime lord. After serving a sentence for contempt of court, Giancana eventually fled the United States for Mexico in 1966 (he had traveled to Mexico repeatedly in the 1950s and early 1960s).
U.S. authorities convinced Mexico to shove Giancana back across the border in 1974. Aging and in declining health, he was ordered to appear before a Senate panel in July 1975.
Just days before his scheduled appearance, an unknown gunman ended Sam Giancana's life. An elderly caretaker at Giancana's home discovered his dead body on the floor of a basement kitchen at 11 p.m. on June 19, 1975. Police seven small-caliber bullet wounds to Giancana's head and neck. Clearly some of Giancana's associates believed he was in no condition to take a fall and do jail time at that point.
Died Sicily, c1970.
Born in the southern Sicilian community of Siculiana in 1884, he arrived in the U.S. at age 19. Much of his time in the U.S. was spent in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri. He was a trusted confidant of New York Mafiosi from the early 1900s through the Castellammarese War. He was called upon to mediate a dispute between the Morello-Lupo clan and boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila in the 1920s. He also was called upon to mediate disputes involving Chicago and Los Angeles crime bosses and underworld rivals in New York City.(1)
Gentile made a number of trips across the national criminal network and briefly served in leadership roles the Kansas City, Cleveland and Pittsburgh Mafia families. He was on intimate terms with Pittsburgh bosses Gregorio Conti and John Bazzano, and Cleveland bosses Joe Lonardo and Frank "Ciccio" Milano. He served as a capodecina and counselor in the Pittsburgh Mafia and as temporary commander of the Kansas City mob.(2)
Gentile experienced several close calls. The most dramatic occurred when he was called to the Chicago underworld coronation of Salvatore Maranzano at the conclusion of the Castellammarese War. Then Pittsburgh boss Giuseppe Siragusa had made some secret accusations against Gentile, and Gentile was summoned for a disciplinary hearing that easily could have resulted in his execution. In a face-to-face meeting with host Al Capone, Gentile denied the charges and threatened to behead any person making them. Capone, who recalled meeting Gentile in the days of Mafia boss Mike Merlo, was impressed by Gentile's courage. Siragusa backed off.(3)
In 1937, facing narcotics charges from a federal arrest in New Orleans, LA, he returned to Sicily. After World War II, when Luciano was deported to Italy, the U.S. narcotics enforcement agents believed the two men teamed up in Sicily to arrange drug smuggling into the U.S.(4)
About the time of his escape to Sicily, Gentile decided to write about his Mafia experiences. A manuscript was shared with American agents in Italy. It was translated to English and later turned over to the FBI. Gentile was advised to do no more writing. However, a 1963 book named Vita di Capomafia, he cowrote with journalist Felice Chilante, repeated and expanded upon the material in the earlier manuscript. A series of articles based on the book was run in Italian newspapers. Gentile's early manuscript, published book and articles were used by U.S. law enforcement officials as corroboration (possibly also as foundation) for the tales told by Mafia informant Joe Valachi.(5) (It is likely that bits of Gentile's work were provided to Valachi to fill the considerable gaps in his personal underworld knowledge.)
Gentile received an underworld death sentence for his violation of the Mafia's code of silence. However, his assigned killers took no action against him, allowing him to die of old age.(6) Gentile's passing was not noted by the American press.(7)
- . Gentile, Nick, Vita di Capomafia, Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1963.
- . Gentile. Gentile's leadership of an American Mafia crew is also noted in Gage, Nicholas, "Mafioso's memoirs support Valachi's testimony...," New York Times, Sunday, April 11, 1971, p. 51. His work as a traveling troubleshooter is noted in Messick, Hank, Lansky, New York: Berkley, 1971.
- . Gentile.
- . Hinton, Harold B., "Luciano rules U.S. narcotics from Sicily, senators hear," New York Times, Thursday, June 28, 1951, p. 1.
- . Gage.
- . Blickman, Tom, "The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba," Transnational Organized Crime, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997, Transnational Institute website: http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?page=archives_tblick_aruba .
- . In 1971, Gage, closed with, "Nothing has been heard about him in recent years, but he is believed to be still alive."
Died West Deer, PA, Oct. 31, 2006.
The FBI noted a family relationship between Michael Geneovese and New York Mafia boss Vito Genovese. However the Bureau did not specify the nature of the relationship. While Michael Genovese spent much of his career in western Pennsylvania, he also was linked to New York State. Social Security information indicates that Michael Genovese's Social Security Number was issued in New York before 1951. Vito Genovese is known to have had a strong, protective relationship with the Italian underworld of Pennsylvania.
Michael Genovese reportedly was born in East Liberty, Pennsylvania. As a young man, he found work in a concrete company run by LaRocca. He also began working as a runner in the LaRocca numbers racket. Genovese and LaRocca later formed a business partnership in a vending machine business.
Michael Genovese was identified as one of the attendees at the 1957 Apalachin NY Mafia convention. He refused to testify about the convention when questioned by the Senate Rackets Committee.
In the 1970s, he was jailed for refusing to to testify before a federal grand jury investigating organized crime in western Pennsylvania.
When an ailing LaRocca retired from management of the Pittsburgh criminal organization, he left a panel including Michael Genovese, Mannarino and Joseph "Jo Jo" Pecora in charge. Pecora had to drop out of the leadership group when he was sent to prison on a gambling conviction. In 1980, Mannarino died of cancer, and Genovese quietly took over as acting underworld boss in the Pittsburgh region.
Genovese's position became permanent upon LaRocca's death of natural cases in 1984.
Though law enforcement agencies were certain of Genovese's control of the local Mafia, the wily underworld veteran managed to remain in power and to avoid racketeering convictions until his death in 2006 at the age of 87. Genovese had been ill with heart and bladder conditions for some time before dying in his sleep at the home he had owned for 50 years.
Died Springfield, MO, Feb. 14, 1969.
As a teenager, he became involved in the Neapolitan gangs in lower Manhattan and nearby New Jersey, as well as Lower East Side multi-ethnic gangs that also produced Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky. In 1917, during the height of Mafia-Camorra friction in the city, Genovese was arrested for possession of a handgun. He was convicted and sentenced April 15, 1917, to serve 60 days at the workhouse.
In the 1920s, Genovese became a Luciano partner as Charlie Lucky gradually took over the Manhattan operations of Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria. It is widely believed that Genovese was among the gunmen who assassinated Masseria in 1931, ending the Castellammarese War. Luciano named Genovese his underboss in 1931. This likely was a recognition of Genovese's strength among the non-Sicilians in the criminal organization rather than a sign of affection for Genovese.
Genovese grew in strength while Luciano battled compulsory prostitution charges, and could have taken over the Family after Luciano's 1936 conviction. However, Genovese had legal problems of his own. Law enforcement officials were attempting to connect Genovese with the 1934 murder of Ferdinand "the Shadow" Boccia. In November 1936, Genovese obtained his U.S. citizenship. The following month, he obtained a passport and subsequently sailed for Italy, where the Fascist government was in need of his financial support.
In Italy, Genovese appears to have had a good relationship with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, generally the enemy of Sicilian Mafiosi.
At the conclusion of World War II in 1945, U.S. occupying forces in Italy discovered Genovese. He assisted the Army, but was found to be engaged in the black market. Officials learned that Genovese was at that time wanted in New York as a suspect in the Boccia murder. While he was in Italy, prosecutors had tracked down a number of witnesses tying Genovese to the killing.
The Army brought Genovese back to the U.S. aboard the S.S. James Lyke, which reached New York harbor on June 1, 1946. However, due to the death in prison of corroborating witness Peter LaTempa, Genovese beat the old murder rap. Released from custody, he moved into a comfortable home at 68 West Highland Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and began taking control of Luciano's old family from then-boss Frank Costello.
Family problems brought Genovese to the attention of the authorities in 1953. His estranged second wife Anna was seeking a divorce. She apparently communicated to members of the press that Genovese had begun a relationship with the wife of a Mafia underling, Thomas Calandriello. The same Calandriello had apparently taken care of paperwork associated with the purchase of the Atlantic Highlands home.
The relationship between Costello and Genovese degenerated into a long feud. An assassination attempt on Costello in 1957 was traced to Genovese gunman Vincent Gigante. Costello anounced his retirement after that, allowing Genovese to control the organization. Genovese and Carlo Gambino likely worked together to eliminate strong Costello-ally Albert Anastasia later that year.
A new boss eager to establish himself as a big shot on the national scene, Genovese seems to have encouraged the calling of the ill-fated Mafia convention in Apalachin, N.Y., on Nov. 14, 1957. Police discovered that convention, detaining everyone in sight, and establishing for certain the existence of the nationwide criminal network.
Genovese was convicted on narcotics trafficking charges in 1959 and earned a 15-year sentence. He continued to run Family matters from behind bars (through acting bosses like Tommy Eboli) until his 1969 heart attack death while in custody.
On January 30, 1969, he was moved from Leavenworth, KS, prison to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners at Springfield, MO. He died there two weeks later.
Genovese's funeral began at the family hometown, Red Bank, New Jersey. Genovese's bronze coffin was transported from the William S. Anderson Funeral Home in Red Bank to his church. A sparsely attended funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 17 at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, location of Genovese's more recent home. Genovese was buried at St. John's Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, NY. The burial was attended only by family and close friends.
Killed Chicago, IL, May 26, 1925.
The Gennas became a close knit Marsala-based Mafia and bootlegging gang. They were closely allied with the more Americanized Spignola family of Chicago. Their gang feuded with the budding underworld organization of Alphonse Capone through the early 1920s.
The conflict was a bloody one. Angelo Genna was tried and acquitted for one murder, accused but not prosecuted in another murder. Beginning in November of 1923, he served a sentence of one year and one day in Leavenworth Prison for intimidating a witness.
Genna married Lucille Spignola, sister of his ally and business partner Peter Spignola on Jan. 10, 1923. The wedding was lavish, with three thousand guests and a two-thousand-pound wedding cake.
On May 26, 1925, Genna was shot numerous times as he drove his automobile. With serious wounds to his head and neck, he crashed the car into a lamp post at Hudson and Ogden Avenues. He was conscious as he arrived at the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital. Police urged him to tell who shot him. Genna merely shrugged. He died shortly afterward, as his brother Sam, wife and brother-in-law arrived at his bedside.
Genna was buried May 29, 1925, in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Chicago.
More of the Gennas lost their lives in the days ahead, and the remaining brothers fled Chicago. Their departure allowed the Aiello clan - originally from Bagheria, Sicily - to dominate the Sicilian underworld of the region.
Killed Kansas City, MO, April 5, 1950.
Charles "Mad Dog" Gargotta, once part of the Pendergast political machine in Kansas City, was murdered alongside local crime boss Charles Binaggio in the spring of 1950.
Gargotta was known to be a part of the local rackets from the days of boss John Lazia. He served as pallbearer for Lazia after the boss was shot down in 1934.
A veteran of the penitentiary (he served 19 months after being convicted of assault with intent to kill), Gargotta was a key man in the Binaggio criminal organization. In addition to running a gambling empire, Binaggio was also a political leader in the First Ward of Kansas City (North Side). Binaggio was closely allied to Pendergast before breaking off from that organization and openly challenging the declining political machine in 1948.
On the evening of April 5, 1950, Binaggio and Gargotta borrowed a car and drove to meet someone they trusted (Binaggio's usual bodyguard was told he did not need to come along) at the Jackson County Democratic Club on Truman Road. The two men were shot to death within the political headquarters.
A taxi driver later discovered the bodies. Both men were found with four bullet wounds to the head. Binaggio's body lay in a chair at the rear of the club. Gargotta was found sprawled on the floor near the door, where he had apparently grabbed at Venetian blinds after being shot.
The elimination of Binaggio and Gargotta was followed by an apparent return to power of the old Sicilian Mafia organization of Joseph DiGiovanni and James Balestrere.
After the murders, authorities revealed that Gargotta had been supplying the government with information on a large-scale gambling ring operating in the Kansas City area.
Died Massapequa, NY, Oct. 15, 1976.
On Dec. 1926, Gambino married Catherine Castellano (born 1907 in New York to Joseph and Concetta Cossato Castellano) in Brooklyn. Gambino's brother Paulo served as his best man. (In 1930, Paolo married Catherine Castellano, born 1912 to Frank and Providencia Guglemini Castellano. Carlo Gambino was his best man.)The couple settled in Brooklyn. Their first child, Felicia (later Phyllis Sinatra), was born in 1927 while they lived at 1692 83rd Street in Brooklyn. A son, Thomas, was born in 1929. At that time, the family lived at 8302 17th Avenue in Brooklyn.
During the Castellammarese War, the Castellano wing of the old D'Aquila organization was loyal to Al Mineo, a boss imposed on the crime family by boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria. After Mineo's November 1930 murder, Gambino and the Castellanos sided with Masseria rival Salvatore Maranzano, the ultimate victor in the war.
In 1934, alcohol tax authorities charged Gambino with possessing untaxed alcohol and with running an unlicensed wholesale and retail liquor business. The charges were later dismissed. In the same year, he was charged with stealing $1000 through a "pill game" in Brockton, Massachusetts. Gambino paid back the money, and he was not prosecuted.
He first ran into trouble with immigration authorities when he visited Montreal, Canada, in 1935 and attempted to return to New York. He was refused a visa by the U.S. consulate in Montreal. He was permitted reentry into the U.S. at Rouses Point, NY, but a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. That warrant was later cancelled by an immigration official.
In the late 1930s, U.S. authorities discovered evidence that Gambino was engaged in large-scale stock speculation under assumed identities. He was closely affiliated with the management of the Bank of Sicily Trust Company at that time.
In 1939, he was sentenced to serve 22 months in prison for violating tax laws. He served that sentence at the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. After his release, he and his brother engaged in the theft and sale of American wartime ration stamps.
He became prominent in the Mangano Family (which had been led by D'Aquila, Al Mineo and then Frank Scalise in the years leading up to 1931 underworld reorganization) He established a residence at 2230 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn and served as a principal owner in the S.G.S. Associates labor consulting firm.
Narcotics agents felt strongly that Carlo and Paolo Gambino were smuggling illegal aliens and heroin into the U.S. from Sicily in cooperation with Sicilian underworld leader Santo Sorge.
After Vincent Mangano's disappearance in 1951. He was named underboss to Albert Anastasia in 1956. Anastasia was killed the next year, and Gambino took over family leadership. He was noted among the attendees at the Apalachin convention of the nation's Mafiosi in 1957. It is likely that his election as boss of the former Anastasia Crime Family was on the agenda of that meeting. His rival within the organization, Armand Thomas Rava, was also present. Rava subsequently disappeared. Gambino purchased the support of Rava's close friend Aniello Dellacroce by appointing him underboss.
Following the convention, the Immigration and Naturalization Service considered deporting Gambino. Agents located him in the Flower Hospital at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street in New York and were told that he was suffering from a serious heart condition.
Gambino is believed to have been at least partly responsible for inciting revolts within the conservative Mafia clans of Profaci (later known as Colombo) and Bonanno.
He was a one-time supporter and later opponent of both Joe Colombo and Joe Gallo, big names in the former Profaci Family. Colombo's assassination in 1971 was probably masterminded by Gambino. Gallo's death a year later also looks to have been his work.
In 1970, Gambino was charged with conspiracy to transport stolen property. He was granted a severance from other defendants in the case due to poor health. Gambino won release on his own recognizance, and the trial was postponed for years.
Gambino died of a heart attack Oct. 15, 1976, at his home at Massapequa, Long Island. His underboss Aniello Dellacroce had much support to take over the family but agreed instead to serve under Paul Castellano, who was a relative and an apprentice of Gambino.
Killed New York, NY, May 21, 1915.
Gallucci arrived in the United States about 1891. By 1898, American authorities already were complaining about his criminal activity and seeking to have him deported. They noted that he and his brothers, Genaro, Vincenzo and Francesco, had criminal records in Italy before they crossed the Atlantic. Giosue Gallucci's record in his native country included arrests for theft and blackmail.
With great influence over his fellow Italians in East Harlem, Gallucci established strong political and business connections. He employed Neapolitan and Sicilian street gangs as his enforcers and established successful local criminal enterprises, as well as legitimate businesses, including a coffeehouse, a bakery and a cigar factory.
Gallucci's base of operations was a building at 318 East 109th Street, which housed his living quarters in addition to his coffeehouse and bakery.
The more lucrative of Gallucci's underworld rackets included an Italian lottery and a protection fee his men extorted from sellers of produce.
Gallucci's brother Vincenzo was murdered Nov. 20, 1898, reportedly on orders from an Italian "secret society similar to the Mafia" (likely the Neapolitan Camorra). Two gunmen laid in wait for him at the corner of Canal and Mulberry Streets in Manhattan and shot him as he arrived there. Francesco D'Angelo and Luigi LaRosa were accused of the killing. They pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were given prison sentences of 20 years and 15 years, respectively.
Genaro Gallucci's activities as a collector of protection payments caught the attention of authorities, and he fled New York City for a time. When he returned in the late summer of 1909, New York Police captured him and immigration officials began efforts to deport him to Italy. On Nov. 14, 1909, Genaro Gallucci was shot to death while inside his brother's East 109th Street business.
Though Giosue Gallucci was called the "king" of the East Harlem rackets, he was also victimized by Black Hand extortionists. He was especially harassed by Neapolitan gang leader Aniello "Zopo the Gimp" Prisco, who was believed responsible for killing Genaro Gallucci.
To resolve matters, Gallucci set up a meeting with Prisco on the evening of Dec. 16, 1912. Prisco probably did not expect an ambush as the meeting was planned for a barbershop run by his allies, the DelGaudio brothers. But Gallucci took suddenly ill and could not leave the back room of his East 109th Street bake shop. He sent a messenger to find Prisco and bring him to the shop.
When "Zopo" arrived, he was promptly shot in the head by Gallucci bodyguard John Russomano. The king told the police the killing was in self-defense. He asserted that Prisco had come to rob him of $100. Russomano, he said, drew a pistol. Prisco turned to fire at Russomano, and Russomano got off the first shot. The police accepted the explanation - not surprising, considering Gallucci's political clout - but Russomano and Gallucci were marked for death by the survivors in Prisco's gang.
Gallucci's prestige began to wither in 1913, as a gang war with Prisco's old outfit stretched on, and he was scrambling to maintain control of the underworld in 1914 and 1915. Rival lotteries were springing up right under his nose. Gallucci and his son Lucca were gunned down at Lucca's coffeehouse business, 336 East 109th Street, on May 17, 1915.
The two victims were brought to Bellevue Hospital. Lucca died there the next day. Gallucci lingered until May 21 before succumbing to his injuries. His death left open the coveted position of East Harlem underworld/political boss and triggered gangland feuding. (Gallucci's story is similar to that of Chicago's "Big Jim" Colosimo, a criminal and political leader who was victimized by extortionists and apparently murdered by men he previously commanded.)
Killed New York, NY, April 7, 1972.
Gallo and his brothers, Albert and Larry, were called to testify before the McClellan Committee in 1958 and answered all questions by citing the Fifth Amendment.
Profaci's Family and that of Joe Bonanno, linked by marriage, comprised a strong conservative wing of the Mafia's ruling Commission. By 1960, the Gallo brothers had serious disagreements with Profaci - reportedly related to controversial mob killings, rewards promised but undelivered by the boss and hefty fees for crime family membership. The brothers attempted to force concessions from Profaci by kidnapping top crime family lieutenants. Profaci initially agreed to terms and then turned on the Gallos. The rebel group took their complaints to Carlo Gambino, boss of another family and leader of the Commission's so-called "liberal" wing. Gambino reportedly took the complaints to a meeting of the Commission in 1962 and called on "Old Man" Profaci to retire.
When Profaci and Bonanno objected, the Commission - faced with the prospect of a civil war throughout the mob - gave Profaci a vote of confidence. The Gallos fell in line momentarily.
When Profaci died of cancer later in 1962, his crime family split apart, probably due to meddling by Gambino and allies. (The Bonanno family also splintered as a result of Commission politics.) Joe Magliocco, Profaci's underboss, attempted to control the family, but he was ill-suited to the job. The Gallo faction grew in strength and openly broke with Magliocco.
Magliocco died of a heart attack in 1963 and was succeeded by Gambino ally Joe Colombo. Colombo, helped by Joe Gallo's imprisonment for attempting to extort money from a Manhattan cafe owner, was able to negotiate a peace and restore crime family order.
Joe Gallo was released from prison in 1971 and was the prime suspect when Colombo was assassinated in that year. (Apparently, Gambino himself had grown disgusted with Colombo's publicity-seeking behavior and decided to eliminate him.)
Killed Brooklyn, NY, July 12, 1979.
Galante certainly had designs on the boss job and looks to have meddled a bit in affairs of other Families. That earned him a number of powerful enemies.
Galante is believed to have been one of the masterminds of the international narcotics trade. He made frequent trips from New York to Montreal and Sicily and was known to employ fiercely loyal Sicilian immigrants ("Zips") as bodyguards. His attendance at a 1956 Mafia convention near Endicott, NY, was documented when he was caught speeding on a return trip to New York City. His presence at the Apalachin convention the following year was suspected but not documented.
Galante's Sicilian immigrant ("Zip") bodyguards proved to be of little worth on the occasion and are believed to have cooperated in the hit. Rastelli regained control of the Bonanno Family and remained boss until he was once again successfully prosecuted in 1985.
Died Bronx, NY, c1951.
Gagliano entered the U.S in spring 1905 and settled in East Harlem. He found early employment in a feed business. He was naturalized a citizen in the summer of 1915, while residing near the intersection of East 108th Street and First Avenue, and he traveled abroad in the summer of 1920.
It appears likely that Gagliano was associated with the Morello-Terranova Mafia in East Harlem. He later became a member of Reina's Bronx-based underworld organization. In the later 1920s, Reina and Terranova became rivals.
As trouble between Joe Masseria and the Brooklyn Castellammarese Mafia began in 1930, Reina's organization was divided. Reina outwardly sided with Masseria but his sympathies were with the Castellammarese. Reina's Feb. 26, 1930, assassination, probably at the hands of Masseria men, caused Gagliano, Tommy Lucchese and much of their organization to give their support to the Castellammarese.
Gagliano and Lucchese appear to have cooperated on the 1930 assassination of Joe Pinzolo, a Masseria puppet installed as Family leader after Reina's death.
Gagliano was officially recognized as boss of the old Reina group after the war ended in 1931. Lucchese served as his underboss until about 1951. Gagliano is presumed to have died of natural causes in that period. (The date of Gagliano's death is not certain.)
Killed Newark, NJ, Oct. 23, 1935.
Born in the Bronx, Schultz grew up in street gangs. He spent more than a year in prison for a burglary committed at age 17. He emerged from prison in time to join Arnold Rothstein's bootlegging operation. In that venture, he came into contact with such notables as Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Jack "Legs" Diamond.
Schultz and longtime friend Joey Noe became partners in a speakeasy and a beer distribution business and later coerced owners of other speakeasies into becoming outlets for Schultz beer. The Coll brothers were affiliated with the Schultz-Noe mob before going out on their own.
Some bad blood developed between Shultz-Noe and the Rothstein-Diamond organization. Diamond looked to be responsible for Noe's death on Oct. 15, 1928 (Noe lingered at Bellevue Hospital until finally succumbing to his injuries on Nov. 21, 1928.)
Schultz's men attempted retaliation several times, but the bullet-riddled Diamond simply refused to die until blasted in his sleep on Dec. 18, 1931.
The Schultz men appear to have had better luck pursuing revenge against Rothstein, who was gunned down in his hotel on Nov. 4, 1928, just before Noe passed away. Others were suspected of involvement in Rothstein's murder, but Schultz involvement appears likely.
Schultz had a close relationship with Harlem's Tammany boss Jimmy Hines, a useful situation as the gangster muscled in on Harlem numbers rackets and forcefully established a restaurant "union" protection racket. As a show of good faith to the American Mafia, Schultz provided Ciro Terranova, Mafia boss in Harlem, a share of his numbers business.
The relationship between Schultz and the Mafia appeared cordial as the Dutchman's old friend Luciano stepped to power in 1931. Schultz remained largely apart from the nationwide criminal Syndicate welded by Luciano and his allies. Secretly, Mafia leaders were envious of the Dutchman's operations, particularly the lucrative numbers.
New York prosecutor Thomas Dewey and the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover began pursuing Schultz at the end of the Prohibition Era. Public Enemy No. 1 Schultz couldn't be touched for his rackets and his murders, so the government went after him - as it had with Capone - for federal income tax evasion.
Schultz was surprisingly successful in his court battles. After a deadlocked jury in Syracuse and an Aug. 24, 1935, not-guilty verdict in the small town of Malone, NY, where Schultz threw some money around in advance of the trial, it appeared the gangster had the government on the ropes.
But Dewey wasn't ready to quit. He prepared to charge Schultz with state tax evasion. Schultz left the state, heading into Newark, NJ, while he worked on a strategy. The pressure was on Hines as well, so Tammany was little help to the outlaw.
Schultz approached the Mafia's ruling Commission with a plan. With Mafia help, Schultz offered to bump off Dewey. Some accounts indicate that Schultz made a personal appearance at a meeting of the Commission. Others say he sent a message through Albert Anastasia.
The Commission then acted against Schultz, using members of its enforcement arm (often referred to as "Murder Inc.") to eliminate Schultz and his gang leadership at Newark's Palace Chop House on Oct. 23, 1935. Under orders from Lepke Buchalter, salaried hitmen Mendy Weiss and Charlie "Bug" Workman did the job. Schultz clung to life at Newark County Hospital for 20 hours, speaking a prolonged stream-of-consciousness nonsense that historians are still puzzling over today.
The Luciano Mafia carved up Schultz's Bronx-area rackets.
Born Canton, OH, April 8, 1917.
Died Canton, OH, March 31, 2006.
As an adult, Ferruccio founded the Canton, Ohio-based Liberty Vending Company. He eventually turned management of the facility over to his son, but maintained an office in the headquarters building.
A key participant in Midwest gambling rackets, Ferruccio admitted in 1991 that he ran a video poker operation in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1988. Poker machines illegally designating cash payouts for winning hands were distributed through the Liberty Vending Company to nightclubs and other establishments in the three states.
He was sentenced to 30 months and a $100,000 fine through a plea bargain. (He served 27 months.) Ferruccio's son also pleaded guilty to participation in the gambling venture. He received probation and a small fine.
Angelo Lonardo of Cleveland, a mob underboss who turned government informant, aided the case against Ferruccio by identifying him as a "made" member of the LaRocca Family in Pittsburgh. Ferruccio also appeared to have a working relationship with the Cleveland Mafia family and has been considered a liaison between the two underworld clans.
Upon leaving prison, Ferruccio again had trouble with the law. He was charged with violating release terms after meeting with known Pittsburgh Mafia associate Lennie Strollo (who later became an informant). Ferruccio and Strollo allegedly shared ownership of a gambling facility in Puerto Rico. Ferruccio received two years in prison for that offense.
During that term he concurrently served a year penalty for attempting to obstruct the Indian gaming commission. Ferruccio tried to gain control of operations at the Rincon Indian Reservation Casino near San Diego, California, without divulging his criminal record.
Ferruccio died a month before his 89th birthday.
Killed Bronx, NY, Nov. 5, 1930.
Stefano "Steve" Ferrigno's underworld role is not clearly defined. Mafia historians have various ideas, ranging from bodyguard to crime boss. It seems likely that he served in an enforcement role in a crime family (later known as the Gambino Family) with extensive territory in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Ferrigno, also known as Ferrara and Fannuzzo, had personal connections to Brooklyn and the Bronx, and appears to have been involved in rackets throughout the region. He was arrested in 1927, in New York as a fugitive from justice. He was wanted in Newark, New Jersey, in connection with a grand larceny charge. He was later discharged.
Ferrigno was closely affiliated with crime boss Al Mineo (Manfré or Manfredi) within the old Salvatore D'Aquila crime organization. The two men might have conspired with Masseria to eliminate their old boss in 1928. Masseria endorsed Mineo as leader of the D'Aquila family after 1928. Ferrigno held a position of some importance within the Mineo organization.
Mineo and Ferrigno were reportedly strong allies of Masseria during the Castellammarese War, though portions of their crime family - particularly D'Aquila loyalists - defected to the Maranzano side.
Mineo and Ferrigno were ambushed and killed in the Bronx by Castellammarese-affiliated gunmen on Nov. 5, 1930, as they left a meeting with Masseria at the Alhambra Apartments, 750-60 Pelham Parkway. Without those two key men, Masseria lost control of their vast underworld resources and was forced to sue for peace.
Died New York, NY, Aug. 28, 1973.
Some sources indicate that the Bonanno family was so demoralized after years of civil war and disgrace before the national Commission that Evola took over by default. Low-key Evola, who had significant investments in trucking and garment companies, has largely escaped the notice of history. Even Joe Bonanno's "A Man of Honor" barely mentioned him (Evola was an usher at Bonanno's wedding). Evola had close relationships with other crime families, including the Gambino and Genovese clans. Some say he was serving as a capo in the Lucchese Family when he was called upon to assume a leadership role for the Bonannos.
Sources generally agree that he cooperated with - rather than resisted - powerful underworld bosses, Vito Genovese and Carlo Gambino.
In 1957, Evola was among the crowd of Mafiosi identified as attending the Genovese-called Apalachin convention. He and other attendees were convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with their post-Apalachin statements to investigators. The convictions were later overturned.
Shortly after Apalachin, Evola was convicted along with Genovese of a conspiracy to violate narcotics laws.
The Commission meddled considerably in Bonanno family matters during the 1960s. After endorsing Gaspar DiGregorio as boss over the missing Joe Bonanno's son Salvatore "Bill," the Commission soured on DiGregorio and attempted to move Paul Sciacca into the boss position just as Joe Bonanno reappeared and decided to retake the reins. Bonanno's sudden departure from New York in the late 1960s left the clan leaderless and in chaos.
It seems Evola was unable to completely restore order to the family. If he had been installed as boss by the Commission (like DiGregorio and Sciacca), rather than through agreement of the Bonanno membership, it would explain the continued divisions in the family.
In 1971-72, investigators gained significant information on Evola's operation, as well as that of then-Lucchese-boss Carmine Tramunti, by bugging a trailer used by the bosses and their lieutenants as a meeting place. Evidence suggested that Evola was engaged in garment district labor racketeering, drug trafficking and hijacking.
Evola's health was failing by then. He died of cancer in 1973. He was reportedly unmarried and lived at the time of his death with his elderly mother at 972 Bayridge Parkway in Brooklyn.
Evola was replaced for a time by his underboss Philip "Rusty" Rastelli. Rastelli, not yet popular with the Bonanno capos, was thought to be merely keeping the seat warm. Former Bonanno underboss Carmine Galante, a genuine power in the family, was finishing a jail term for drug trafficking.
Giuseppe Esposito, also known as Giuseppe Randazzo and Vincenzo Rebello, served as lieutenant to the infamous Antonino Leone back in 1874 Sicily. He emigrated to the U.S. and briefly found underworld success in New Orleans before being captured by private detectives and deported to Italy to stand trial for murder.
Esposito and Leone are believed to have been responsible for the kidnaping of English businessman John Forester Rose. (According to legend, they sent several of his body parts back to his family with ransom demands). The two leaders were cornered by Italian police in 1875, but Esposito escaped to become the new boss of the island's most feared band of central hill-country brigands.
After some of Esposito's closest allies were captured, he turned himself in to friendly authorities in Alia, Sicily. Charged with a number of crimes, including murder and extortion, Esposito was transported to Palermo to stand trial. During the trip, he escaped. His escape appears to have been organized by Palermo Mafiosi, with whom he had at least friendly relations.
In the late 1870s, Esposito fled to New York via Marseilles, France. He quickly moved on to New Orleans. Adopting a new name, Vincenzo Rebello, Esposito married and began to settle into a life of crime. He was immediately recognized as leader by the various Mafia factions already in place in New Orleans. Esposito and his right hand man Joe Provenzano quickly controlled much of the profitable activity on the New Orleans docks and in the produce markets.
Esposito was betrayed by a New Orleans associate known only by the code name of Panesolo. Panesolo sent word to Italian authorities that Esposito was living in the Crescent City. Private detectives of the Mooney and Boland firm were hired to track him down. New Orleans Police Detectives Mike and David Hennessy (cousins) aided by arresting Esposito near the St. Louis Cathedral on July 5, 1881. Esposito was quickly transported to New York for an extradition hearing.
Overwhelming support from the Sicilian community there and from New Orleanians who traveled to testify on his behalf, coupled with Esposito's insistence that the authorities had misidentified him, delayed the proceedings until he could be positively identified in late September.
Upon his return to Italy, he was convicted of murders in Rome and jailed for life. Some of his former allies in New Orleans converted his possessions there to their own use and failed to provide for a wife and children he left behind. From his Italian jail cell, Esposito tried unsuccessfully to sue those New Orleanians.
Esposito's New Orleans crime organization split into two factions: the Stuppagghieri Mafia commanded by the Matranga family and a Giardinieri Mafia led by the Provenzano clan. The split eventually led to a number of deaths, including the 1890 assassination of New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessey.
Some historians doubt that Esposito was a proper Mafioso, insisting that he was no more than a bandit (and forgetting that the traditional, honored society of the Sicilian Mafia had largely degenerated into a collection of thieves, cut-throats and political radicals by the mid-1870s). In his History of New Orleans, author John Kendall defined the "brigand" view of Esposito:
"Esposito had terrorized the vicinity of Palermo. From boyhood he had been a criminal. In his maturity he was a mountain desperado, plundering, burning, and murdering. Captured by the Italian police after a desperate battle, in which his band of brigands was destroyed, he escaped from custody, and fled to America. The press teemed with stories of his terrible exploits in Italy, and he was sought throughout the world..."
However, the FBI later asserted that Esposito "was the first known Sicilian Mafia member to emigrate to the United States. He and six other Sicilians fled to New York after murdering eleven wealthy landowners, the chancellor and vice chancellor of a Sicilian province." The FBI account leans very strongly on the word "known," as Mafia organizations existed at least in New Orleans and New York at the time Esposito arrived.
- Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon.
Killed Brooklyn, NY, July 16, 1972.
Despite an arrest record that dated back to 1933 and included charges of gambling and disorderly conduct, Eboli served only one prison term. That was the result of assaulting a Madison Square Garden boxing referee in 1952. (Eboli was unhappy that a decision went against the fighter he was managing.)
He became an upper echelon Mafiosi in the late 1950s, as Genovese Crime Family boss Vito Genovese was charged with narcotics trafficking. When Genovese went into prison, Eboli served on a supervisory panel in the crime family. Other members of the panel reportedly included Gerardo Catena and Michele Miranda.
Eboli was reportedly disliked by the ambitious and meddlesome Carlo Gambino, boss of the Gambino Crime Family. Gambino appears to have had a role in Eboli's assassination near his girlfriend's Brooklyn home early on July 16, 1972. At one o'clock that morning, Eboli's body was found face down on the sidewalk in front of 388 Lefferts Avenue. Five bullet wounds were evident in his face and neck.
The location was far from the apartment Eboli shared with his common-law wife in the Horizon House high-rise complex in Fort Lee, New Jersey. But it was surprisingly close - within about one block - to the Empire Boulevard police station.
After Eboli's demise, the apparent leadership of the Family passed to Gambino's preferred contender Franceso "Funzi" Tieri. However, behind the scenes, the Genovese Family orders were reportedly being issued by Phil Lombardo. So began a tradition of leadership secrecy in the Genovese clan.
Died Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 23, 1956.
He was born in Corleone, Sicily, in 1891 and came to the United States with his family early in life. The family returned to Sicily in 1908, and Dragna sailed back to the U.S. for good in 1914.
He was convicted of attempted extortion in 1915. He was freed from San Quentin Prison on appeal. After Prohibition, the L.A. Mafia was slow to take advantage of legal gambling in Las Vegas, allowing eastern Mafiosi to stake claims there. The L.A. mob was happy to operate gambling ships off the California coast instead - a practice that continued from the 1920s until summer of 1939.
While Dragna maintained control over Mafia matters within his territory, he had a great deal of trouble expanding his interests. His forces proved inept at eliminating gambling competitor Mickey Cohen in the late 1940s and early 1950s (the tax man got rid of Cohen in 1951). Las Vegas - located practically in Dragna's backyard - was gobbled up by others.
A 1932 vacation in Mexico became a problem for Dragna two decades later. In 1951, immigration authorities noted that upon reentering the U.S. Dragna falsely claimed he was an American citizen. He fought deportation efforts for some time. He was being held at the Terminal Island detention center when his wife Frances died on July 23, 1953. A subsequent appeal resulted in Dragna's release on bail.
He moved into a home at 4757 Kensington Drive in San Diego and spent some of his remaining time visiting his relatives.
Dragna was found dead Feb. 23, 1956, in the Saharan Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. He checked into the hotel on Feb. 10. His death left uncertain leadership in Los Angeles. Some say Frank DeSimone immediately stepped into the boss's job. Others insist that Simone Scozzari (also known in some circles as "DeSimone") held the position.
Giuseppe DiPrimo (the surname is sometimes written De Priema or De Primo) was a New York City counterfeiter associated with the Giuseppe Morello Mafia. DiPrimo was imprisoned at Sing Sing with Isadoro Crocevera, Giuseppe Giallombardo and Salvatore Romano in March of 1903 after being convicted of passing counterfeit currency in Yonkers, New York.
During the course of the counterfeiting investigation, Secret Service Agent William Flynn allowed DiPrimo's underworld associates to believe that DiPrimo was providing evidence against them. Flynn did this in an effort to convince the other suspects to cooperate. The ploy was unsuccessful. DiPrimo's perceived violation of the underworld code had an undesired effect. It led to the brutal Mafia slaying of his brother-in-law Benedetto Madonia (the "Barrel Murder").
Newspapers of the time, unaware of Flynn's manipulations, attributed Madonia's killing to a squabble over counterfeiting racket proceeds. In a series of articles published years later, Flynn fessed up to the divide-and-conquer effort that cast suspicion on DiPrimo and triggered the April 1903 murder of Madonia.
Secret Service surveillance of the Morello organization gave authorities information on the Barrel Murder perpetrators even before they could identify the victim. Flynn's agents had spotted Morello gangsters with a newcomer to the city on the night before a dead body matching the newcomer's description was found in a barrel on a city sidewalk. Morello and a number of his men immediately were rounded up for the homicide. The victim's identity could not be established until Flynn suggested that NYPD Detective Joseph Petrosino take a photo of the murdered man to show to DiPrimo in Sing Sing Prison. DiPrimo recognized it as his visiting brother-in-law, Madonia.
Most of the suspects were quickly released. Morello enforcer Tomasso Petto was indicted for the Madonia murder. Of those arrested, he was the only one bearing incriminating evidence - a pawn ticket for DiPrimo's watch. Identification of the defendant proved to be a problem, and the case against Petto went nowhere. He was eventually released and fled the city.
DiPrimo reportedly swore revenge against the Lupo-Morello organization for Madonia's death. It was widely believed and widely published (in stories that appeared to use NYPD Detective Sergeant Joseph Petrosino as source) that DiPrimo tracked Petto to the northeastern Pennsylvania communty of Browntown and killed him there in October 1905. William Flynn insisted, however, that the timing was wrong for DiPrimo to be the killer, as he had not yet completed his prison term at the moment Petto was shot to death. (This is a close call. Available prison records show an entry date for DiPrimo but not a release date. He could have been paroled long before the date of Petto's murder, but his earliest release with good time allowance would have been too late - around the middle of November 1905.)
DiPrimo traveled back across the Atlantic. According to legend, he later was gunned down in Italy.
- "Caught with counterfeit money," New York Tribune, Jan. 2, 1903, p. 9.
- "New counterfeit fives," New York Evening World, Jan. 3, 1903, p. 1.
- "Counterfeit $5 bills," New York Times, Jan. 4, 1903, p. 2.
- Flynn, William J., Daily Report, April 20, 29, 30, 1903, Department of the Treasury, United States Secret Service Daily Reports, R.G. No. 87, Roll 109, Vol. 9, National Archives.
- "Came from Buffalo,” Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel, Apr. 21, 1903, p. 7.
- "Mysterious murder in village of Browntown," Pittston PA Gazette, Oct. 23, 1905, p. 1.
- "Black Hand leader killed," Scranton PA Republican, Oct. 23, 1905, p. 4.
- "No clue discovered," Wilkes-Barre PA Record, Oct. 24, 1905, p. 5.
- "No clue whatever yet," Pittston PA Gazette, Oct. 24, 1905, p. 1.
- "Petto, the Ox, murder victim," New York Sun, Oct. 24, 1905, p. 5.
- "May have good clue," Pittston PA Gazette, Oct. 25, 1905, p. 1.
- "Revenge on Black Hand," Washington Post, Oct. 26, 1905, p. 1.
- "Di Primo one who hated him," New York Sun, March 14, 1909, p. 2.
- Sing Sing Prison Inmate Register, New York Department of Correctional Services, Series B0143, New York State Archives, Albany, NY, No. 54088, p. 269.
- Flynn, William J., The Barrel Mystery, New York: James A. McCann Company, 1919, p. 13-14, 16-22.
- Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markham, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 9, 14.
Died Pennsylvania, Jan. 12, 1979.
Dioguardi's first significant conviction occurred in 1937, when he pleaded guilty to working with Plumeri to extort monthly tribute payments from truck drivers. He served time in Sing Sing Prison. Upon his release, he became involved in dress manufacturing companies.
By the 1950s, Dio was one of the country's more powerful labor racketeers, and he aided Jimmy Hoffa's climb to the Teamster presidency through strongarm tactics and the creation of fraudulent "paper" locals.
The racketeer's strength was diminished after he ordered an attack on crusading journalist Victor Riesel. Sulfuric acid was thrown in Riesel's face in April of 1956, permanently blinding the newsman. The deed was tracked back to Dio, and the American press - including Riesel, who continued to crusade through the media - hounded him from that point on.
While in prison, Dioguardi was also convicted of income tax evasion in 1960. He was sentenced to four years and a $5,000 fine for that offense. White collar offenses continued to come to light.
Dio earned additional jail time and fines in 1967 for bankruptcy fraud and in 1968 for defrauding investors in a car-leasing company.
Dioguardi died in a Pennsylvania hospital while in federal custody on Jan. 12, 1979.
The DeMarcos once were allies of the Morello Mafia in East Harlem but then became a bitter rivals after 1910, as various underworld organizations struggled to dominate the rackets in lower Manhattan's Little Italy neighborhoods. James DeMarco was killed in 1913.
At least two attempted were made on Joseph DeMarco's life in 1913-1914. Both of those occurred in the vicinity of a notorious stable on East 108th Street. Joseph recovered from gunshot wounds both times.
DeMarco launched counterstrikes against the Morello leadership. In November of 1915, Nicholas Terranova (known as Nicholas Morello) was shot from behind by a sawed-off shotgun. Terranova was seriously injured but recovered.
Joseph DeMarco boldly moved into downtown rackets. He opened a restaurant at 163 West 49th Street and then opened two gambling rooms - one on Mulberry Street and another at 54 James Street. On the afternoon of July 20, 1916, police were called to the James Street room and found the lifeless bodies of Joseph DeMarco and his friend Charles "Nine-Fingered" Charlie Lombardi seated at a card table. Ten other chairs were scattered about the room. Ten hats were hung on wall hooks behind the table.
Authorities concluded that DeMarco had been killed for attempting to secure for himself the position of East Harlem's top underworld and political boss, which had recently been vacated by the murder of Giosue Gallucci. They learned much later that DeMarco's death was secretly agreed upon by Sicilian Mafia and Neapolitan Camorra leaders who wished to divide the Manhattan territory between them.
DeMarco's old rival Nicholas Terranova was murdered September 7, 1916, as he made a visit to Brooklyn Camorrists he believed were his allies.
Salvatore "Toto" DeMarco disappeared following the death of his older brother. He was not seen again until days after the Terranova murder. Perhaps fearing he would be targeted by a Morello vendetta, he reportedly decided to meet with New York Police Detective Frederick Franklin on Oct. 14, 1916, and tell him all he knew about the underworld feud. Toto did not make it to the meeting. Early on Oct. 13, his mutilated corpse was found by a street cleaner on the Astoria side of the Queensboro Bridge.
Toto DeMarco's head had been cracked open with an axe-like instrument. A razor slice across the throat had nearly severed the head from the body.
Brought to the scene, Detective Franklin remarked, "He'll never tell who killed his brother now."
Died Smithtown, NY, June 11, 1970.
DiGregorio, an in-law of the Bonannos and Magaddinos, was a clothing manufacturer and a prominent member of the Bonanno Crime Family in New York City. DiGregorio reportedly served as best man in Joseph Bonanno's wedding and was godfather to Bonanno's oldest son Salvatore (Bill).
DiGregorio was a native of Trapani, Sicily. He entered the U.S. through Canada in 1921. He married the sister of Buffalo crime boss Stefano Magaddino. After her death, he remarried.
With support from Magaddino, DiGregorio seized control of the Bonanno crime Family after Joe Bonanno disappeared in the early 1960s. Joe Bonanno's son fought the takeover and the so-called Banana Wars were the result.
Joe Bonanno re-emerged in 1966 and promised to get his Family in order. The Commission, which had initially welcomed DiGregorio's takeover of the Bonanno clan (Carlo Gambino, Tommy Lucchese, Stefano Magaddino and Joe Colombo likely encouraged DiGregorio in order to destablize the Bonannos who often stood in their way), quickly withdrew their support.
DiGregorio was ousted, suffered heart attacks and became entirely unimportant in the underworld. His rebellious faction within the Bonanno Family was briefly led by Paul Sciacca.
After several years of quiet living with family on Long Island, DiGregorio succumbed to lung cancer at St. John's Hospital in Smithtown on June 11, 1970. He was buried in St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
Died Kansas City, Aug. 1971.
Once settled in Kansas City, Joseph and his brother Pietro/Peter, known as "Sugarhouse Pete," reportedly engaged in Black Hand extortion and kidnapping within the local Italian communities. An early 1900s attempt to firebomb a building in order to collect on its insurance resulted in an unexpected explosion that left Joseph permanently scarred.
Black market opportunities presented themselves during the First World War, and the DiGiovannis - who ran a wholesale grocery - took full advantage. Joseph DiGiovanni became partners with James Balestrere in a Prohibition Era bootlegging operation.
The U.S. Senate's Kefauver Committee interviewed the 62-year-old DiGiovanni in the summer of 1950. At that time, he and his brother Peter ran a wholesale liquor distributorship affiliated with the Seagram's company. DiGiovanni denied any knowledge of the Mafia. He denied ever even hearing of the word "Mafia." He insisted that he had never been arrested or questioned by police.
Peter DiGiovanni, then 64 (born June 28, 1886), also appeared before the Kefauver Committee. He acknowledged being arrested repeatedly for bootlegging during the Prohibition Era. He said he was never convicted.
The Kefauver Committee concluded that Joseph DiGiovanni and James Balestrere still served as the top men in the Kansas City underworld.
Died Los Angeles, CA, Aug. 4, 1967.
DeSimone was born in Pueblo, CO, to merchant Rosario DeSimone and his wife Rosalia. DiSimone's father was born in the farming community of Salaparuto, Sicily, far inland in the western province of Trapani. He entered the U.S. through New York in March 1905. He married Rosalia, who was an immigrant from Lucca Sicula, Sicily, in the province of Agrigento. Rosalia apparently had two children in a previous relationship in New Orleans before moving to Colorado in the mid-1900s. Frank DeSimone was the oldest of four children born to Rosario and Rosalia in Pueblo before the family's fall 1920 relocation to Downey, California, where Rosario returned to a farming life.
DeSimone interrupted his early law practice to enlist in the Army in 1942.
One of DeSimone's earliest acts as crime boss was attendance at the ill-fated 1957 Mafia convention in Apalachin, NY. Los Angeles Mafioso Simone Scozzari, with whom DeSimone is often confused, also attended that convention. Both men were included among the attendees convicted of obstructing justice by refusing to reveal the purpose of the Apalachin meeting. The convictions were later overturned.
DeSimone died of natural causes on Aug. 4, 1967, leaving the Los Angeles Family to Nicolo Licata.
In September 1973, federal investigators unearthed links between the late Frank DeSimone and the management of the United States National Bank in southern California. The New York Times noted that the bank was run by multimillionaire C. Arnholt Smith, a close personal friend of U.S. President Richard Nixon.
Died Queens, NY, Dec. 2, 1985.
Dellacroce's obituary indicated that he was born to Francesco and Antoinette Dellacroce in New York City on March 15, 1914. As a teenager in 1930, he was sentenced to two and a half years at Elmira Reformatory after a store burglary conviction. In 1937, he pleaded guilty to assault and received a sentence of four months at the workhouse.
Dellacroce later married Lucille Riccardi. He maintained two home addresses, 232 Mulberry Street in Manhattan's Little Italy and West Fingerboard Road on Staten Island.
Upon the 1957 assassination of boss Albert Anastasia, the large Brooklyn-based crime family divided into two camps. A Gambino-Castellano faction elevated Carlo Gambino to the position of boss, a move contested by a faction led by Armand Thomas Rava and Dellacroce. (Dellacroce's affection for Rava possibly influenced the naming of his son Armond, born in 1955.)
The succession dispute likely was on the agenda at the ill-fated Apalachin convention in November 1957. It eventually was resolved with Rava's disappearance in 1958 and Dellacroce's subsequent elevation to the position of underboss.
Though the Dellacroce faction seethed over Gambino's power grab and quietly plotted against the boss, there was no open conflict between Gambino and Dellacroce. Authorities believed, however, that a 1966 underworld meeting at the La Stella Restaurant in Queens, NY, was an effort to depose Gambino.
In the 1960s, Dellacroce began running his underworld ventures from the Ravenite Social Club, 247 Mulberry Street. The Ravenite Club served as the home site for the disgruntled Gambino crime family faction.
Dellacroce served prison time after a 1971 conviction for contempt of court and after a 1973 conviction for tax evasion. The tax evasion charge was related to more than $100,000 in stock he received in connection with labor racketeering on Long Island.
Upon Gambino's 1976 death, the old Anastasia faction, including a young John J. Gotti, felt Dellacroce should be elevated to Family boss. However, he quietly stepped aside for Gambino relative Paul Castellano. If there were hurt feelings, Dellacroce hardly let on. He insisted that his supporters remain loyal to Castellano.
Dellacroce was charged in the late 1970s and early 1980s with racketeering, conspiracy and tax evasion. In the mid-1980s, he was accused of being part of the Mafia's ruling Commission. He did not live long enough to be tried on those charges.
Dellacroce died of natural causes at Mary Immaculate Hospital, Queens, NY, on Dec. 2, 1985. He had been receiving treatment for cancer there under the assumed name of Timothy O'Neil. His death cleared the way for his followers to act against Castellano.
Nicolo "Nick" DelGaudio and his brother Gaetano DelGaudio were influential members of the Manhattan Camorra during the 1910s. They apparently worked closely with Giosue Gallucci, the politically connected East Harlem crime boss, and with the remnants of the Morello-Lupo Mafia (Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo were locked up in Atlanta Federal Prison during the decade). About 1913, the old alliances broke down.
Nicolo resided at 2029 First Avenue in East Harlem. He owned a restaurant nearby at 2023 First Avenue. Authorities believed his restaurant was merely a front for illegal activities. In February 1913, he was suspected of involvement in an unsuccessful attempt on Gallucci's life that resulted in the death of Gallucci bodyguard Tony Capilongo. That spring, Nicolo left the country for a long trip to Italy. He returned in the fall of 1914.
On October 14, 1914, DelGaudio and his friend Tancredi Dellabado met at First Avenue and walked toward a garage where DelGaudio kept his automobile. As they passed a stable at 421 East 104th Street, a gunshot was heard. DelGaudio fell mortally wounded, and Dellabado ran off. Police later found a shotgun inside an upstairs front window over the stable. Along with it was a hat they traced to Francisco Ruggiero of 403 East 106th Street. Ruggiero was arrested.
Gaetano DelGaudio managed to remain alive for another two years. In the early morning hours of November 30, 1916, he was shot while working in his restaurant, 2031 First Avenue. He died a short time later in a hospital, after refusing to name his murderer.
Born Eboli, Italy, 1878.
Killed Metuchen, NJ, 1925?
In Brooklyn, Daniello became a member of a large Neapolitan Camorra organization. He participated in the feud between that gang and the Morello-Terranova Sicilian Mafia clan in New York. He performed several murders and conspired in others.
Facing murder charges, Danniello fled New York in 1917 and trusted in his Camorra associates to support him and his family. Camorra boss Pellegrino Morano was stingy, however. Daniello interpreted the lack of support as evidence that he had not long to live. Arrested in Reno, Nevada, the disheartened Daniello told his story to the police. That story included details of 23 gangland murders.
He and associate Tony Notaro testified against their former bosses as the Brooklyn Camorra leadership was tried and convicted in 1918. Camorra leader Allessandro Vollero was among those sent to prison. Daniello's own prison sentence was suspended because of his cooperation.
The following year, Daniello - then a resident of Elmhurst, NY - shot a man during a quarrel at the Coney Island elevated train station. Efforts to convince the victim to forget the incident were unsuccessful, though they reportedly included the burning of the man's New Jersey home and the poisoning of his dog. Daniello pleaded guilty to the shooting in January 1920.
Some sources indicate that in 1925, after his release from prison, Daniello was shot to death on a highway near Metuchen, New Jersey.
Died California, Sept. 18, 1952.
D'Andrea later was found to be attending the court proceedings while armed with a handgun. He was arrested as he left the courtroom on Oct. 10. At that time, the press referred to D'Andrea as "Capone's constant companion."
After Capone's imprisonment for tax evasion, D'Andrea became the president of the declining Unione Siciliana organization in Chicago.
D'Andrea was sought for questioning in connection with the April 1941 murder of Italian-language newspaper editor John F. Arena. D'Andrea was known to be part owner of a competing newspaper.
In 1943, D'Andrea and other Outfit leaders Paul Ricca, Louis Campagna and Charles Gioe were convicted of using extortion to build an empire in the Hollywood entertainment industry. They were sentenced to ten years in prison but served just three. They all were paroled on Aug. 14, 1947. The paroles did not escape notice. Federal legislators demanded all documentation on the early releases. The matter was again investigated in November 1952, after D'Andrea's death.
D'Andrea was one of the many underworld figures called before the Kefauver Committee in 1950.
He retired from the Chicago underworld and moved west to California.
Killed Chicago, IL, May 12, 1921.
He took work as a translator but supplemented his income by participating in a coin-counterfeiting racket. He and his wife were arrested for counterfeiting in 1902.
In an apparent effort to free his wife of the charge, D'Andrea pleaded guilty at arraignment. The U.S. Secret Service hoped that he would provide information against other members of the counterfeiting network apprehended in western New York, where some of D'Andrea's relatives resided, but D'Andrea said he could not identify them.
(Authorities initially suspected that the New York City "Barrel Murder" victim was D'Andrea, killed because he assisted the counterfeiting investigation. The victim was later identified as Benedetto Madonia of Buffalo.)
On April 24, 1903, D'Andrea was sentenced to a prison term of 13 months and a fine of one dollar. He reached the Illinois State Prison at Joliet on April 25, becoming Inmate no. 8292. He was discharged upon the expiration of his sentence (with good time allowance) on March 4, 1904. D'Andrea subsequently received a presidential pardon from Theodore Roosevelt, allowing him to participate in politics.
The 19th Ward on Chicago's West Side came to be dominated by D'Andrea, who also became an organizer of local Mafiosi and of union labor. Mike Merlo served as his understudy. Politics in that time and place was a violent business. Blood was spilled through bombings and assassinations.
D'Andrea was shot and mortally wounded as he returned home in the early morning hours of May 11, 1921. The gunman fired at him with a shotgun from an apartment window looking out on the front stairs of D'Andrea's building. During hospital treatment, D'Andrea refused to reveal who shot him. He succumbed to his wounds on the afternoon of May 12.
Following D'Andrea's death, Mike Merlo stepped up to the leadership of the Chicago-area Mafia.
Died New York, NY, Feb. 18, 1973.
As a youth, Costello involved himself in the Five Points Gang. He eventually was initiated into the Mafia but often worked independent criminal enterprises with non-Italian partners. He was discharged after teenage arrests for assault and robbery, but he was jailed for a year after a concealed weapon conviction in 1915.
Costello moved wholeheartedly into illegal alcohol distribution during Prohibition Days and coordinated bootlegging activities across the country. Known as the "Prime Minister of the underworld," he cultivated contacts among elected government officials and bureaucrats and could provide insurance that law enforcement would leave alone the enterprises he sponsored.
During the Castellammarese War, Costello nominally served Joe Masseria's New York organization.
He busied himself with gambling ventures in the 1930s, obtaining official government OKs to place slot machines everywhere in New York. That brought him into direct conflict with reform Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who, despite court protection of the slots, collected all the machines in 1934 and personally destroyed them with a sledge hammer.
By 1945, Genovese returned to New York. Luciano was in Italy after a compulsory prostitution conviction and deportation, and there was little, aside from the reputation of Costello's ruthless and rabidly loyal ally Albert Anastasia, to prevent a confrontation between Costello and Genovese.
Costello found hosts for his slot machines in Louisiana, where they were looked after by "Dandy Phil" Kastel. In the 1950s, Kastel and Costello opened the Beverly Club casino in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans. Costello also appears to have been interested in Las Vegas casino gambling.
It took a decade for the long-simmering Costello-Genovese feud to boil over. During that decade, Costello was hounded both by Genovese allies and by government agencies. He was called to testify before the Kefauver Committee and generated some of the more interesting moments in the televised proceedings when he insisted that cameras focus on his hands rather than his face. Costello subsequently was sent to prison for contempt of the Senate, for contempt of a New York grand jury and for tax evasion. The U.S. government also revoked Costello's citizenship and repeatedly tried to deport him to Italy.
In 1957, Costello was shot in the head by a would-be assassin's bullet. The bullet, however, only grazed the mob boss. He bled a bit but survived. Vincent Gigante was arrested for the attempted assassination, but Costello did not aid the prosecution.
Costello's close friend Anastasia was not so fortunate. He was murdered later in the year.
Costello announced his retirement from active Mafia life and turned the Luciano Family over to his rival Genovese. In later years, when Costello was serving a sentence for tax evasion and Genovese for narcotics, the two men met in Atlanta's penitentiary and reconciled.
Costello returned to a private life in New York after prison and died at his home in 1973. His wife Loretta was by his side. The couple had no children.