IN THIS ISSUE|
· End of an Era
· Too Much Sopranos’ Watching
· Book Report
· Short Takes
· Year End Appreciation
· This Week in Mob History
· Trials and Tribulations
End of an Era
Wayne Johnson has informed AmericanMafia.com that as of January 1, 2002 he will no longer be the Chief Investigator of the Chicago Crime Commission. Wayne has resigned his position to become Vice President of Investigative Services for Securatex LTD.
Wayne, a former high-achieving detective for the Chicago Police Department, for years has put his heart and soul into the Chicago Crime Commission’s war on organized crime. It is with bittersweet feelings that Johnson leaves this position. The general feeling among the commission’s management is that organized crime in the Windy City has been held in check. Budgeting for the investigative services’ end has dwindled. While Wayne admits that some activities of the Outfit have been held in check, he believes it will take an all-out effort to keep them in check.
An example that supports both sides is as of November 20 of this year there had been only one mob related murder since 1993, the December 1999 killing of Ronald Jarrett. Then on November 21 Anthony Chiaramonti was gunned down inside the vestibule of suburban restaurant, raising suspicions that a mob war was near at hand.
Wayne’s drive, dedication and years of experience will be sorely missed by the Chicago Crime Commission. But he was made "an offer he couldn’t refuse." In his new career he will be working for a full service security firm with offices in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
In his note to AM.com, Wayne stated, "In the future, I hope to maintain my contacts, assist law enforcement and the media, while facilitating the growth of a quality security operation. AM.com will keep in touch with Wayne in his new endeavors and tap his knowledge for information on the Chicago Outfit.
Best of luck to you Wayne.
Turning into a government witness or copping a plea has become as commonplace to today’s Mafia members as the burning of Saints and the pricking of one’s trigger finger.
That being said, I couldn’t help being amused by a couple of quotes which appeared in Jerry Capeci’s This Week in Gang Land on December 20. Capeci was discussing the recently concluded Anthony "Tony Pep" Trentacosta trial in Florida in which the defendant admitted he was a Gambino Family member. Jerry reported that Trentacosta had "actually signed a stipulation about his membership that was introduced as evidence at his trial."
Veteran FBI Agent George Gabriel, who worked on the John Gotti case, testified during the Trentacosta trial and told Capeci afterwards that Tony Pep showed no concern about his actions and wasn’t afraid of the consequences of his revelation.
Gabriel stated, "It’s a slap in the face of Peter Gotti and a challenge to the entire Gambino crime family. There’s no way Peter could have given his permission to do that."
Another unidentified law enforcement official was quoted by Capeci claiming, "Pep basically told Peter, John and all the rest to go fuck themselves. They have to kill him or become a laughingstock. They have lost a lot of respect during Gotti’s reign. If this goes unpunished, they become a joke."
Have these two guys spent too much time watching the Sopranos? Do they really believe Peter Gotti is going to put a hit team together to kill Trentacosta for this grievous error of Cosa Nostra etiquette? The Gambino Family didn’t go after Sammy Gravano after his testimony sent away the Dapper Don and dozens of other New York City mobsters. Now they’re going to murder someone for breaking this protocol?
Didn’t John Gotti once issue an edict that no Gambino Family member was to accept any plea bargain or cop to any kind of deal? Tony Pep didn’t do that. But, I do seem to recall another Gambino member who did. Hmmm…who was that? Oh, yeah…the acting boss, the Dapper Don’s son John A. "Junior" Gotti. Let’s see now, that had to have been a slap in the face to Peter and a challenge to the entire family. Wow, Peter’s going to have to whack his own nephew to avoid becoming the laughingstock of the Mafia.
What makes this even more ludicrous is that it came the day before Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, the alleged "acting boss" of the Colombo Family did the exact same thing.
Judge Reena Raggi confronted Persico; "You were not some errand boy? You had a high-ranking role in the enterprise…?"
"Yes, I had," Persico replied.
While Peter Gotti is upholding the Gambino Family honor – whatever is left of it – by whacking Junior Gotti and Tony Pep, perhaps he can uphold the Colombo Family honor – whatever is left of it – by taking out Allie Boy.
Come on Agent Gabriel, and the other "law enforcement official," put down the Mario Puzo books, turn off the Soprano’s reruns and get back to what you do best – putting away the bad guys.
A side note to Capeci’s story – Jerry reported that, "Trentacosta’s trial strategy was based on the premise that it is not a crime to belong to the mob. He [Pep] admitted he was a mobster, but argued that the prosecution had no proof he committed any crimes."
This unusual strategy by attorney Stephen Rosen took me by surprise. Over the summer I was contacted by an attorney involved in the case – not Rosen – to discuss the possibility of testifying as an expert witness. The testimony was to show that someone could retire from the mob and then commit crimes not associated with the crime family. Given Trentacosta’s age I certainly doubted that he was "retired," and testifying against the government when I like to consider myself a law and order kind of guy didn’t sit too well. I told the attorney I was flattered by the request, then suggested he try Capeci, Gene Mustain or former AmericanMafia.com contributor Al Guart. Apparently, the defense had a change of heart.
Back in early September I mentioned that Youngstown Charlie Moose had told me about the book Gotham Unbound: How New York City was Liberated from the Grip of Organized Crime. The book was written by James B. Jacobs, with Coleen Friel and Robert Radick, and published in 1999. Jacobs, a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University, also was the main writer of Busting the Mob: United States v. Cosa Nostra in 1994.
While this publication, almost by definition, might be considered a "scholarly" book, it doesn’t read that way. Jacobs doesn’t talk down to his audience. He does an excellent job in the first half of the book of breaking down six business activities that the five New York crime families had their claws into. The garment district; the Fulton Fish Market; John F. Kennedy Airport; the Jacob Javits Convention Center; the waste-hauling industry; and the construction industry. Jacobs begins each chapter with a chronology and then breaks down each of the activities with a brief history (Jacobs focuses strongly on activities of the past 20 years), how the mob got involved and how they continued to operate. He ends each chapter with a summary.
The second part of the book is called "The Liberation of New York City." Jacobs talks about how the government and local law enforcement helped force the mob out of these businesses.
I found this book an excellent source for explaining how the mob operated in these industries and how they made millions of dollars in these labor rackets where the end cost is picked up by us – the consumer. I‘ve read stories about the mob’s involvement in these industries, but for the first time here is an easily understandable lesson of the mob’s infiltration. In my classes on organized crime I always talk about labor racketeering being the ugly side of organized crime, that it’s not a victimless crime and how it effects all of us. This book points that all out ad more.
Gotham Unbound, like Jacob’s first book, was published by New York University Press. University presses don’t have the reputations for being promotional geniuses. This, combined with the fact that the book doesn’t get involved in personalities, has probably been the reason there wasn’t much hoopla about it when it was released. But for a guide in understanding this area of organized crime the book has no equal.
Chicago – Former Chicago Heights mob boss Albert Tocco has joined "Dapper Don" John Gotti at the Federal Medical Facility for prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. The 72-year-old Tocco, whose illness was not disclosed, had been in a federal prison in Lompoc, California since being sentenced in May 1990 for racketeering, extortion, tax fraud and shaking down local brothels and automobile salvage yards. When sentenced, US District Judge James Holderman rejected a request for leniency pointing out that Tocco was implicated in the murders of William Dauber, an alleged mobster, and his wife. Holderman told Tocco, "My purpose is not to punish you, but to rid you from society." Holderman did just that by handing down a sentence of 200 years and a $2 million fine. Tocco is patiently counting down the days until he’s eligible for release in August 2105.
New York (1) – There were two guilty pleas late in the week preceding Christmas. Alphonse T. "Allie Boy" Persico, alleged "acting boss" of the Colombo Family, pled guilty to extortion, loansharking and money laundering. Persico was looking at the possibility of 20 years behind bars if convicted of any of the six counts against him. The terms of the agreement call for a 13 year sentence and a $1 million fine for the 47-year-old son of Carmine "the Snake" Persico. Some mob watchers suspected that if Persico went to trial he would be faced with the testimony of recent mob turncoat Chris Paciello, who, it was said, "could place him [Persico] at the top of the Colombo Family." In addition, many believe that Persico arranged the 1999 disappearance of Colombo capo William "Wild Bill" Cutolo, who opposed Allie Boy during an internecine war in the Colombo Family during the early 1990s. A search of Persico’s Fifth Avenue apartment uncovered documents and a computer disk with information about Cutolo’s crew and businesses. Persico’s lawyer Barry Levin stated, "He pleaded guilty to avoid any further pain for himself and his family. The case is over." Well, not quite. Four other indicted Colombo Family members scheduled for an early January trial, including underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss and Dominick "Black Dom" Dionisio, are expected to be offered deals before the case comes up.
Meanwhile, Joseph "Joey Flowers" Tangorra pled guilty in a package deal that involved reduced sentences for three co-defendants. Tangorra, whose case has dragged along for months, pled guilty to being the triggerman in the wounding of Henry Motta in 1992 and admitted that he had been involved in the trafficking of cocaine for 15 years. A New York Post article claimed Tangorra "allegedly helped lead the Lucchese organized-crime family’s Bensonhurst Crew in a reign of terror, using arson, threats of violence and even murder to keep control of their turf." Reaping the benefits of his plea were Lucchese Family members Eugene "Boobsie" Castelle, an alleged capo, John "Big John" Castellucci and Joseph "JoJo" Truncale. The three pled guilty during mid-December before District Judge Allyne Ross.
New York (2) – More than 20 years after the murder of Gambino associate Louis DiBono, his name has surfaced in the investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers during the September 11 terrorist attacks. In question is the fireproofing of the steel that went into the twin structures. Roger G. Morse, a fireproofing consultant, stated, "Years of inspections had revealed that whole sections of the original fireproofing had fallen away and other sections had deteriorated, leaving the steel inadequately protected." Morse claimed that DiBono’s firm had sprayed the fireproofing on rusted steel, which later caused it to fall off. John Gotti ordered DiBono’s murder when he didn’t come in for a meeting that the Dapper Don called. Ironically, DiBono’s body was found in his car in the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center on October 4, 1990. Two Gotti hitmen – Bobby Boriello and John Carneglia – took care of the recalcitrant contractor.
Newark – Why did they bother? Louis Ricco, a reputed associate of the Bonanno Family was sentenced to three years in prison on state charges of "promoting gambling" on December 19. Ricco, who is 71 years old, is serving out a federal sentence for racketeering, in Otisville, New York, and is due to be paroled next September. Ricco will spend little, if any, time in state prison after Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Falcone allowed the sentence to run concurrent with the federal one. Ricco, who suffers from diabetes, high-blood pressure and a bad back, told the judge, "It’s tough being here." Attorney Nicholas Caprio told Falcone that Ricco’s involvement in the gambling was minimal and, due to strong family support, it was "extremely unlikely he would ever again commit a similar crime." Hey Nick, what about committing crimes that aren’t similar? Perhaps the only crime committed here was wasting the tax payers money by bringing this guy to court.
I want to thank Rick Porrello for the opportunity to get back to writing for AmericanMafia.com and Thomas Basie for all his hard work in getting the column up each week. I also want to thank my good friend Charles "Youngstown Charlie the Moose" Molino for always being there when I need answers.
AmericanMafia.com would also like to thank the following for their contributions to Mob Report:
Newspaper reporters George Anastasia, Philadelphia Inquirer; Al Guart, New York Post; Larry Lebowitz, Miami Herald; Bill Malinowski, Providence Journal; and John L. Smith, Las Vegas Journal-Review. Radio commentator Benny Anthony of KCXL, attorneys David Kurtz and Mike Pinsky, and Wayne Johnson formerly of the Chicago Crime Commission. Scott Deitche, our Tampa mob expert; Louis T. Hammer of BM.com; and Russ McDermott, our mob book expert. And last, but not least, Connie my sweetie for her patience and support, not to mention her expert transcription ability.
December 30, 1992 – Biagio Adornetto was a made member of the John Stanfa crime family in Philadelphia. George Anastasia described him as a "pizza maker and wannabe wiseguy whose unwanted romantic pursuit of mob boss John Stanfa’s daughter nearly got him killed." Stanfa sent hitman Rosario Bellocchi, who was engaged to Sara Stanfa, to kill Adornetto. Bellocchi, armed with a shotgun, went to the restaurant where Adornetto worked. He aimed the gun in Adornetto’s face and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire and Adornetto fled the restaurant. Adornetto became the first member of the Stanfa crime family to cooperate with the FBI, Bellocchi soon followed.
December 31, 1993 – Joseph Marmora and Antonio Pavone were murdered by Elvis Irizarry, described as a "freelance hitman" Irizarry felt threatened because they all worked for the same boss, an associate of the Lucchese Family. Marmora’s throat was slit and he was stabbed 40 times in the presence of Pavone who was then shot to death. Irizarry was sentenced to three life terms plus 85 years for these murders and three others in December 2000.
December 31, 1969 – Richard J. "Dixie" Davis was the colorful attorney for Dutch Schultz. In the late 1920s and early 1930s Davis’s clientele consisted of many of Harlem’s Black policy members. When Schultz took over the policy rackets Davis joined him. Davis was so close to the action that in 1937 Thomas E. Dewey indicted him for his role in the policy operations. Davis became a government witness and testified against Tammany big wig James J. "Jimmy" Hines. Davis was disbarred and later moved to California. He was called home one day after burglars broke into his home. Upon arriving he suffered a massive heart attack and died. See my story http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters/schultz/
January 1, 1933 – Larry Fay was one of the most flamboyant personalities on Broadway during the 1920s. It was his character that James Cagney portrayed in the movie "The Roaring Twenties." On New Year’s Day 1933, Edward Maloney, a disgruntled doorman who worked at a club Fay managed, arrived at the club around 8:30 p.m. He was drunk and angry about his hours being cut back due to the economy. After exchanging words with Fay, Maloney pulled a revolver from his coat pocket and shot Fay four times at close range, killing him instantly. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_6-14-99.html
January 1, 1997 – Sam "Wings" Carlisi earned his nickname due to "his ability to elude police cars and swiftly deliver fellow mobsters to destinations around the Chicago area." The former chauffeur to Chicago mobsters rose to the top of the Outfit before going to prison for a 13-year stretch in 1993 for racketeering, loansharking and gambling. He died in a Florida hospital of heart disease at the age of 75.
January 3, 1934 – Frank T. Joiner was a Cleveland gambler who refused to move when the Mayfield Road Mob began to push. A one-time partner of Cleveland slot machine king Nathan Weisenberg, Joiner disappeared and his body was found the following August buried head first in a lime pit in Solon, Ohio not far from property owned by Louis Rothkopf of the Cleveland Syndicate. See Rick Porrello’s book http://www.americanmafia.com/Preface_Rise_and_Fall.html
January 6, 1979 – Martin "Marty" Krugman was a bookmaker who serviced many of the employees at John F. Kennedy airport. Louis Werner, one of his customers who was in arrears, approached Frank Menna, a "runner" for Krugman, with plans for a robbery at the Lufthansa cargo terminal, where he worked, as compensation for his debt. This turned into the $5.8 million Lufthansa heist – and disaster for all involved. Krugman disappeared along with a dozen other people who were murdered or never seen again. See my story athttp://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters3/lufthansa/
January 6, 1980 – John Magda was a victim of the Mahoning Valley’s Naples / Carabbia War. Believed to be murdered by Carabbia hitman Joe DeRose, Jr., Magda’s head was found wrapped in duct tape, which caused him to suffocate. His hands and feet had been bound together with plastic restraining strips and his body thrown in a garbage dump in Struthers, Ohio.
AmericanMafia.com attempts to keep its audience advised of ongoing legal matters in the world of organized crime. New entries and addition to existing information will appear in RED.
January 7, 2002 – Atlanta – Former Atlanta police officer Jack Redlinger goes on trial for allegedly fixing traffic tickets for Gold Club employees in exchange for cash. Redlinger is the last of 17 people indicted in the Gold Club case. Everyone else has either gone to trial or pled guilty.
January 8, 2002 – Buffalo – Four police detectives go on trial on charges of stealing money from an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug dealer. The four officers have been suspended, with pay, since their March 2000 arrests.
January 28 – Boston – Retired state trooper Richard J, Schneiderman goes on trial on charges that he hampered the FBI’s search for James "Whitey" Bulger by letting Bulger family members know that the FBI had requested pen registers on their telephones.
January 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr., alleged mob boss of legendary Cicero, Illinois, goes on trial for attempting to bribe a high-ranking federal official to obtain a pardon or clemency for former Chicago Outfit boss Rocco Infelice in 1998.
February 2002 – Boston – Stephen "the Rifleman" Fleming is scheduled for trial this month. The co-Winter Hill Gang leader is charged with killing ten people.
February 2002 – Miami – Genovese mobster and Trafficante Family associate John Mamone and members of the Tampa family's Miami faction go on trial for racketeering and money laundering. AM.com contributor Scott Deitche will keep us posted on this one when it comes up.
February 4, 2002 – Cleveland – Mahoning County Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr. begins his third trial. The flamboyant former sheriff is one for two in successfully representing himself.
April 2, 2002 – Providence – Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. goes to trial for his indictment in Operation Plunder Dome.
May 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr. and Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese go to trial for looting the city coffers of millions of dollars.
January 11, 2002 – Queens, NY – Ralph Romano will be sentenced for his recent conviction in the murder of John Spensieri
January 21, 2002 – New York City – John "Porky" Zancocchio, a Bonanno Family soldier will be sentenced for his October 28 guilty plea to charges of loan sharking and tax evasion.
January 23, 2002 – Boston – Four men found guilty of involvement in an armored car heist will be sentenced.
February 26, 2002 – Miami – Gambino Family members Anthony "Tony Pep" Trentacosta and Frederick Massaro and associate Ariel Hernandez will be sentenced for their December 14, 2001 convictions. The convictions ended a four-year probe into mob influence in Southern Florida.
March 1, 2002 – New York – Dominick "Little Dom" Curra will be sentenced for trying to sell fake artwork. Curra was at one time a "personal bookie" for "Dapper Don" John Gotti. He pled guilty in mid-trial on December 14, 2001.
March 22, 2002 – Trenton – Joseph V. Lo Re and four others will be sentenced for their December 17 conviction for an embezzlement conspiracy involving a Bayonne, New Jersey waterfront union.
March 27, 2002 – New York– Joseph "Joey Flowers" Tangorra will be sentenced after a plea agreement was reached on December 21. Tangorra admitted to wounding a man in 1992 over an unpaid debt and dealing in cocaine for 15 years.
April 29, 2002 – Chicago– Originally scheduled for January 31, the sentencing of the former chief of Chicago detectives William Hanhardt was delayed to allow prosecutors additional time to prepare their pre-sentence report. Hanhardt pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and interstate theft for operating a nationwide jewelry theft ring that involved members of organized crime. Hanhardt, 72 years old, has been held since an unsuccessful suicide attempt this past October.
June 13, 2002 – New York– Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico will be sentenced after pleading guilty to extortion, loansharking and money laundering. The son of jailed-for-life mobster Carmine "the Snake" Persico was the alleged "acting boss of the Colombo family.
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