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· More to Boston than Baked Beans
Traficant Re-Arraigned
· Godfather 4 Begins?
· This Week in Mob History

LAST ISSUE 11-12-01


As Americans come to grips with the September 11 tragedies, life for most of us is getting back to normal in the world…and, in the underworld.

There’s More to Boston than Baked Beans

     It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Beantown. On November 9 investigators went to the home of John "Jack" Bulger, the little brother of James "Whitley" Bulger, and hauled the recently retired clerk of Boston juvenile courts into federal court handcuffed.

     The embarrassed Boston FBI office is beginning to play hardball in its efforts to apprehend Whitey Bulger, who has been a fugitive since January 1995. John Bulger was charged in a four-count indictment of lying to, not one but, two federal grand juries about the whereabouts of his scumbag brother.

     John Bulger is charged with lying to the grand juries about receiving messages from his brother and knowledge of Whitey’s bank accounts. Shelly Murphy of the Boston Globe reported that investigators hoped the indictment would put pressure on Whitey to surrender. Who are they kidding? If the FBI took John and his prominent brother Billy, president of the University of Massachusetts, and skinned them alive at Faneuil Hall, Whitey would care less.

     The papers keep reporting that Whitey is in the company of Catherine Greig. Since it’s easier to look for two than one, AmericanMafia.com is of the opinion that Miss Greig is in a hole and the 72 year-old Whitey is cooling his heels somewhere alone figuring he is never going to serve one day in prison for his many crimes.

     John Bulger lawyer, George Gormley told reporters, "This changes nothing. John Bulger always has loved his brother and will continue to love his brother." AM.com wonders whether it was Whitey that John loves or the notoriety he brought the Bulger family.

     In Hopkinton, Massachusetts searchers are looking behind a target range for the bodies of Walter and Edward "Wimpy" Bennett, who were allegedly murdered by Whitey Bulger sidekick Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi. The two brothers vanished in 1967 and their family has waited for years for knowledge of the whereabouts of their bodies. When a third brother, William, vowed to avenge his brothers’ deaths he was murdered and deposited on a Dorchester street.

     Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, in prison serving an eleven-year term, is trying to reduce his sentence by revealing "where the bodies are buried."

     In 1968 Louis Greco went to prison for the murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan based on the tainted testimony of Joseph "the Animal" Barboza. Several times during Greco’s 28-year imprisonment he came up for parole only to have the process reach an end at the governor’s desk. Each time former governors Michael Dukakis and William Weld declined the request based on Greco’s history as an organized crime member, even though Greco’s only conviction was for a charge of adultery back in 1952.

     With the revelations over the past year, Greco’s longtime lawyer, John Cavicchi, is seeking a pardon that will clear his client’s name. Greco, who served during World War II, received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars for his service in the Pacific theatre. "A pardon won’t heal the wounds Greco’s wife and two sons suffered after losing him for 28 years but the family still deserves the gesture," claimed Cavicchi.

     The estates of Greco and Henry Tameleo along with the family of Pete Limone are suing the state of Massachusetts for $375 million.

Traficant Re-Arraigned     ^TOP

     Mahoning Valley Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr. was arraigned in federal court in Cleveland on November 9. The superceding indictments add new racketeering charges against the nine-time elected congressman in that he accepted $2,400 from Youngstown area businessman James R. Sabatine.

     Traficant, in true fashion had many comments for the media.

     Stopping traffic in downtown Cleveland Traficant told reporters, "The case isn’t here yet. As an old football player, I’ll wait to see what I’m going to face before I prepare for it."

     In responding to the indictment the congressman said, "I have to wait to see what happens here. I think they have a pretty good strategy this time. They put 30 counts on the board and all they need is one [conviction]. It’s not going to be easy. I’ll have to tackle each {count} as if it was an individual trial."

     Traficant went before US Magistrate William H. Baughman, who tried to convince the ex-Mahoning County sheriff to seek the service of an attorney. Traficant, as in past trials is representing himself. "I’m better off representing myself. I do not need an attorney by any stretch of the imagination. If I had a lawyer who would beat the shit out of them, it would be worth it."

     When pressed by Baughman to seek counsel, Traficant angrily stated, "I am quite concerned why the court seeks to impose an attorney. I voluntarily and knowingly waive the right to counsel."

     Prior to the proceedings getting underway, Traficant suggested to assistant US attorney Craig Morford that suit jackets be removed during the hearing. "You’re not afraid of showing your svelte body?" asked the congressman.

     "I like my jacket," replied Morford.

Godfather 4 Begins?     ^TOP

     In the Bergen County Courthouse in New Jersey, Daniel "Danny" Provenzano, son of deceased labor racketeer Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, was named in a 44-count indictment, charging him and eight others with a racketeering scam which bilked victims of more than $1 million.

     Attending the hearing were mob movie perennials Vincent Pastore, late of the Sopranos and Frank Vincent.

     Danny Provenzano, a movie director among whose credits include "Vampire Vixens from Venus," was said to be a wanna be "Next Big Thing on the Hollywood directing circuit."

     Provenzano failed in his bid to have the racket indictment charges dismissed.

     One court observer told a reporter, "The place looked like they were making ‘Godfather 4,’"

This Week in Mob History     ^TOP

November 20, 1925 – Abraham Goldstein was one of the muscle men, along with Eddie Zion, used by "Samoots" Amatuna when he took control of the Unione Siciliana in Chicago. A week after Amatuna’s death and three days after Zion’s murder, Goldstein was shot twice in the head while waiting in a drug store and died instantly. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_3-8-99.html

November 20, 1933 – Albert Silverman was a small time criminal and bootlegger. Believed to be a victim of Murder, Inc., Silverman’s naked body was found in Somers, Connecticut, stabbed, straggled and wrapped in a blanket. Police theorized that he might have been silenced due to his brother’s connection to harboring Kansas City Massacre triggerman Verne Miller. Dr. Irwin Silvers, an Orange, New Jersey optometrist, allegedly at the request of Abner "Longy" Zwillman, supplied Miller with optical supplies to make him look like a salesman. Silvers was arrested by the FBI a week before his brother’s murder.

November 21, 1928 – Joey Noe was Dutch Schultz’s first and only partner during his colorful career. Noe first employed Schultz in one of his speakeasies. After he saw the Dutchman’s penchant for violence he took him on as a partner. The two built a vast beer empire in the Bronx, but when they expanded into Manhattan they caught the attention of the Jack "Legs" Diamond gang. At seven o’clock on the morning of October 15, 1928, Diamond’s men ambushed Joey Noe outside the Chateau Madrid nightclub on West 54th Street. Although Noe was wearing a bulletproof vest, slugs ripped through his chest and lower spine. Noe apparently got off a number of shots in return. Witnesses reported seeing a blue Cadillac bounce off a parked car and losing one of its doors before speeding away. When police found the car an hour later, they discovered the body of Diamond gunman Louis Weinberg (no relation to Bo and George) dead in the back seat. Noe was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Despite a valiant effort by the hospital’s staff, Noe slowly faded away. By the time he died, three weeks after the shooting, he weighed a mere ninety pounds. http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters/schultz/index.htm

November 22, 1974 – Ralph "Bottles" Capone was the second oldest of the seven Capone brothers. He was Al’s closest confidante. After Al’s conviction for income tax evasion, Ralph’s importance to the Chicago mob quickly declined. Ralph ran a dance hall in Stickney and had an interest in a bottling company and a cigarette-vending firm. After an appearance before the Kefauver Committee in 1950, the remainder of his life was spent in relative obscurity. Capone died of a heart attack in Mercer, Wisconsin where he spent his final years. He was 80 years old. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_11-8-99.html

Don’t ask me why, but the date of November 23 has had more mob related deaths than any other day of the calendar, including February 14.

November 23, 1939 – Harry "Big Greenie" Greenberg, who had grown up with Louis "Lepke" Buchalter and Jake "Gurrah" Shapiro on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was an intimate member of their labor rackets. When Thomas E. Dewey began his "get Lepke" crusade, Greenberg was on his list of people to squeeze. Lepke sent Greenberg to Montreal, but he soon ran out of money there and pressured for more. Lepke sent Murder, Inc. hitman Allie "Tick-Tock" Tannenbaum to silence him. After a cross-country chase Greenberg was discovered in Los Angeles by Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. Asked by his friends back East to help Tannenbaum out, Siegel allegedly pulled the trigger himself, killing Greenberg in a car outside of his apartment hideout. Future mob fight promoter, Frankie Carbo, was one of the drivers who participated in the hit.

November 23, 1961 – Albert Agueci arrived in Canada from Sicily with his brother Vito. While working under Buffalo Mafia boss Stefano Magaddino, they developed a successful narcotics operation in Western New York, Toronto, and the Ohio Valley area. When the brothers were arrested in New York City in July 1961 they expected help from Magaddino. It didn’t come. Albert made the mistake of swearing vengeance. The result was one of the most heinous murders in mob history. Agueci was found in a cornfield outside Rochester, New York. James Morton describes the killing in Gangland International:

"Thirty pounds of flesh had been cut from him while alive, but, before that happened a blow-torch had been applied to his face, blinding him. He had been tied to a tree with barbed wire and the blowtorch applied to his genitals, which had then been placed in his burned mouth. It appears his torment lasted for several days before he was strangled."

November 23, 1962 – Charles "Cadillac Charlie" and Thomas Cavallaro made national headlines when they were killed in a car bombing the day after Thanksgiving. Cavallaro was a Youngstown mob leader. Thomas was his 11 year-old son. Cavallaro was driving Tommy and his 12 year-old brother Charles, Jr. to a football practice. As he began to back out of his garage a bomb exploded ripping Cavallaro in half, killing Tommy and maiming young Charles for life. It was after this incident that John Kobler wrote his famous article for the Saturday Evening Post that would forever mark Youngstown as "Crimetown" and "Murdertown USA."

November 23, 1965 – Llewellen "Murray the Camel" Humphreys was a longtime and influential member of the Chicago Outfit. Welsh by birth, Humphreys was one of several non-Italians in Al Capone’s criminal empire who rose to a position of leadership. On the day he died, Humphreys had been arrested by FBI agents for lying to a grand jury. Agents broke down his apartment door after the 66 year-old mobster refused to let them in. He was aiming a gun at them when they crashed through, but he was quickly disarmed. Several hours after returning to his 51st floor apartment he had a heart attack.

November 23, 1975 – Vincent "Jimmie the Hammer" Massaro, not to be confused with BM.com’s "Louie the Hammer," was described as a "button man" and arsonist for hire for the Rochester Mafia. After a change in leadership Massaro complained to the wrong people about not being compensated fairly. The new regime ordered his death. The investigation into his murder resulted in the convictions of almost the entire leadership of the Rochester Family and their imprisonment in January 1977. However, one year later, they were all released after information came forward that the Monroe County Sheriff’s office fabricated evidence against the mobsters by faking surveillance notes and heating them in an oven to make them look old. The death of Massaro, his murder investigation and the ensuing convictions were the subject of The Hammer Conspiracies, a book by Frank A. Aloi. See my piece on the Rochester Family http://www.americanmafia.com/Cities/Rochester.html

November 23, 1985 – James T. "Jack White" Licavoli was the rolling stone of the Mafia. His long criminal career took him from St. Louis to Cleveland, with stops in between at Detroit, Toledo and Youngstown. Licavoli was a prime suspect in the February 1945 murder of Cleveland slot machine baron Nate Weisenberg. "Blackie," as some friends referred to him, appeared before the Kefauver Committee in 1951. His testimony, or lack there of, resulted in a contempt of Congress charge. In 1976 he became the reluctant boss of the Cleveland Mafia family, which within a year and a half was on its way to disintegrating. In 1982 Licavoli received a 17-year prison sentence after a federal RICO trial stemming from the 1977 murder of Danny Greene. Licavoli died of a heart attack in a Wisconsin hospital near the Oxford Correctional Institute. See Rick Porrello’s story http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_6.html

November 23, 1988 – George Bravos was a veteran bookmaker, loan shark and associate of the Chicago Outfit. At age 77, Bravos, a Greek, was one of the oldest syndicate figures in the Windy City. He died at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center after a short illness.

November 23, 1988 – Philip Goodman was a bookie and odds maker with ties to both Chicago and Las Vegas. In the early 1980s he served under Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro in Las Vegas. Goodman, who was living in Las Vegas, had traveled back to Chicago and checked into the Admiral Oasis Hotel on Waukegan Road. There he was found brutally beaten to death. Police surmised that the death of the 73 year-old Goodman resulted from the belief that he may have leaked information that led to the arrest of North Side gambling boss Lenny Patrick a few days earlier.

November 24, 1996 – Robert Nogueira was a driver and an enforcer for Boston mobster Vincent Michael "Gigi Portalla" Marino. A victim of the Boston Mob War in the mid-1990s, Nogueira was shot ten times in the parking lot of a Comfort Inn hotel in Saugus, where he was staying. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_9-18-00.html

November 25, 1933 – Alexander "Red" Alpert was a "low-level thug" who had the misfortune, or perhaps the ignorance, to piss off two of the deadliest killers of Murder, Inc. –"Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss and Abe "Kid Twist" Reles. Alpert came across some uncut stones during a robbery and thought he was going to make a killing. When both Strauss and Reles offered him only $700 for the stones, Alpert told them where to go. Reles, Martin "Buggsy" Goldstein and Dukey Maffetore righted the offense by murdering the 19 year-old Alpert. It was Alpert’s death that six years later would unravel the Murder, Inc. gang.

Contact: AllanMay@AmericanMafia.com


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