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Madison, WI
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By Jay C. Ambler
Investigative Journalist
     Did a La Cosa Nostra branch exist within the city of Madison, WI? This is a question that has never been fully explained. One thing, however, the FBI has always kept charts denoting the structure and rank of most American Mafia “families”. They did also keep one on this mysterious and alleged Madison Family. They labeled the local crime boss as Carlo Peter Caputo.
     Carlo Peter Caputo was 16 years old when he stepped on America’s shore in 1919. Like so many before him, a native of Palermo, Sicily, Caputo was looking for gold paved streets of America. He made his way to Chicago and was believed to have cultivated ties with the powerful mob family. In 1930 records indicate that Caputo was married to a Rosemary. His whereabouts during the 1930s are unknown. Law enforcement sources indicate that he was may have been officially “made” or became a member of the La Cosa Nostra syndicate of Milwaukee.
     Sometime in 1940 Carlo Caputo was transplanted to Madison. He settled into the ethnically Italian neighborhood of Greenbush. Local sources suggest that Caputo socialized very little with his neighbors. His quietness and withdrawn nature cultivated suspicion among many locals.
     Caputo quickly gained the reputation as a savvy and cagey businessman. He purchased commercial real estate, renovated them and them rented them out. They would mainly be centered around such businesses as liquor stores, taverns, restaurants and apartment complex. Caputo actually operated both the Carlo’s Restaurant and the Atwood Steakhouse.

     In 1961 Caputo was indicted for income tax evasion. He had reported income totaling $721.56 and had actually earned $31,000. This garnered him a 30-day jail sentence and two years of probation. U.S. attorney Edmund Nix had prosecuted Caputo. Ironically, Nix had once worked in a tavern owned by Caputo and was paying his way through Wisconsin-Madison Law School as a bartender.
     In 1965 Caputo and his wife were divorced. Court records indicate that the Caputo household held real estate valued at $265,000. What is more amazing was that Caputo could not read or write English. He did, however, managed to build an impressive real estate holdings portfolio.
     On November 7, 1970 Joseph Aiello passed away from natural causes. In what law enforcement sources described as him being an underboss to Caputo, Aiello’s death attracted more controversy and questions regarding Caputo. If what law enforcement suggest is true, then the alleged Madison LCN Family was a two-man operation and has to be the smallest membership of any mob family.
     Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Caputo remained active in Madison’s local business affairs. He continued to cultivated more ties and purchase more properties. In 1983 he engaged in an interview the Madison-based newspaper The Capital Times and denied any links to organized crime. This didn’t agree with the FBI’s notion of Caputo’s true identity. They labeled him as boss or leader of the Madison LCN Family. Up until his death Caputo could still be seen local business owners would watch as Caputo strolled up and down the prominent State Street. This area is large hub for many businesses.
     Carlo Peter Caputo died of natural causes on November 9, 1993. He was 90 years old. While relatives and friends spoke very little after his funeral, they all agreed he was quiet and an intensely private man. His property holdings were passed on to his relatives and he was given much credit for developing the Madison downtown area. However, the FBI would always give him credit for being the first and last crime boss in Madison. Currently the Madison LCN Family is labeled as “inactive” or “extinct”.

by Jay C. Ambler

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