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This Week in Mob History
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LAST ISSUE 5-20-02



     As many AmericanMafia.com readers know, Rick Porrello and I are co-authoring a book on the history of organized crime in the Mahoning Valley and Western Pennsylvania. In our efforts to complete this project by year-end we have found it necessary to publish the Current Mob Report every other week until the research/writing phase of the book is completed.

     During the off-weeks we will continue to publish "This Week in Mob History" and update the "Trials and Tribulations" section. In addition, if we do a two-part feature the second piece will be carried over to the off-week. However, normal feature stories and "Short Takes" will be published every other week.

     During the ten months we have been publishing the Current Mob Report we have received many favorable responses and appreciate the positive attention that has been given to this feature on all of the Forums. We hope our readers understand our decision and we look forward to getting the book completed and returning to our normal weekly format.

     AmericanMafia.com thanks everyone for their understanding and their continued support.

This Week in Mob History     ^TOP

May 26, 1999 – William "Wild Bill" Cutolo, Sr. was a high-ranking member of the Colombo Family and a member of the faction that opposed the rule of the Persicos. He was one of the main players in the Colombo War during the early 1990s in which there were three attempts made on his life. Cutolo was last seen at Shore Road and 92nd Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he was dropped off by a mechanic. He was never heard from again. Cutolo’s son became a government witness and recorded more than a hundred hours of conversations with reputed mobsters to get even for his father’s apparent murder.

May 27, 1930 – Morris Komisarow, described as an early rum-running associate of Moe Dalitz and the Cleveland Syndicate, was reported missing. On July 3 his body was found floating in Lake Erie just outside the Rocky River lagoon. An anchor, which had been tied to it, was not enough to keep the bloated corpse from rising – neither was the bullet through the head.

May 27, 1981 – Chelsais "Stevie" Bouras, the leader of a "small, loosely knit group of Greek-Americans who operated in the Philadelphia underworld," and Janette Curro, his girlfriend, were killed when a gunman entered the Meletis Restaurant and started blasting. Dining with the couple at the time was the late Raymond "Long John" Martorano.

May 27, 1981 – Roger Wheeler was a Tulsa, Oklahoma businessman and the CEO of World Jai Alai. The father of five was shot between the eyes by Boston hitman Johnny Martorano as he got into his car after a round of golf at an exclusive Tulsa country club. The murder had been ordered by Winter Hill Gang leaders James J. "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi after Wheeler realized his Florida jai alai profits were being skimmed by the mobsters.

May 27, 1992 – Anthony "Joe Batters" Accardo was the long time leader of the Chicago Outfit, despite his many attempts to retire and hand the leadership over to younger men. Accardo began as a bodyguard and driver for Al Capone and was alleged to have been a member of the hit team that killed seven rivals in the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. After the entire upper level of the Chicago Outfit was removed by the indictments from the Hollywood extortion rackets in 1943 Accardo moved into the number one spot. He served in that capacity for almost 50 years handing it off at different times to Sam Giancana, Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa and others. Accardo dealt with a number of ailments in his later years. He died at the age of 86 at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center. The cause of death was congestive heart failure, acute respiratory failure, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

May 29, 1992 – James "Jimmy Brooms" DiAddorio, according to Philadelphia mob turncoat Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi, was murdered because he was "demeaning" Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and Michael Ciancaglini in South Philadelphia by claiming he was going to take control of the mob. "Jimmy Brooms," said Scafidi, "was a drunk from the neighborhood. All we had to do was give this guy a beating and chase him away. He was harmless." The mob murdered him instead.

May 29, 1996 – Anthony Milicia, a video poker machine distributor in South Philadelphia, was wounded in an ambush allegedly ordered by Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino. When federal prosecutors released a 37-count indictment in April 2000 Merlino, George Borgesi and Frank Gambino were charged with the assault.

May 30, 1955 – Louis Campagna, who was as colorful as his nickname "Little New York," was a one-time bodyguard for Al Capone and rose to the highest ranks of the Chicago Outfit before his indictment in the Hollywood extortion case in 1943. After his notorious early release from Leavenworth prison, after just three and a half years of a ten-year sentence, Campagna was never again a force in the Chicago mob. During a fishing cruise off the coast of South Florida he suffered a massive heart attack while reeling in a 30-pound grouper. The 55 year-old gangster was life-flighted to Mercy Hospital in Miami where he died. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_11-29-99.html

May 31, 1930 – Gaspar Milazzo and Sam Parrino, according to Paul R. Kavieff in his book The Violent Years: Prohibition and the Detroit Mobs, were murdered during a "peace conference" that was set up by Chester LaMare who was trying to take over the Detroit Mafia after the death of Salvatore Catalanotte in February 1930. After the two men arrived at the meeting place, a fish market, gunmen ran inside and shot both of them to death. According to the late Joseph Bonanno, in his book, A Man of Honor, Joe "the Boss" Masseria was behind the murders as he was trying to manipulate members of the Castellammarese clan to turn against one another.

May 31, 1931 – Peter Coll was the older brother of infamous New York City killer Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. Peter Coll was the first victim of the Schultz / Coll War. Dutch Schultz had provided $10,000 to bail Vincent Coll out of prison on a Sullivan Law violation (carrying a concealed weapon) while Coll was still working for the Bronx Beer Baron. When the trial date arrived in the spring of 1931, Coll was a no-show forcing Schultz to forfeit the ten grand. Schultz responded by having Peter gunned down on a Harlem Street corner. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Cities/New_England-Providence.html

May 31, 1980 – Robert LaMonica was gunned down outside his Braintree, Massachusetts apartment allegedly by Frederick Weichel. Later convicted of the murder, Weichel claimed he was framed by James "Whitey" Bulger of the Winter Hill Gang, who wanted to protect the real killer because he was the son of a friend.

June 1, 1927 – Lawrence LaPresta was one of six associates of the Joe Aiello gang that were murdered by Capone’s men during the Capone / Aiello War, which culminated with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The murders followed Aiello’s attempt to bring down "Scarface" by placing a $50,000 bounty on his head.

June 1, 1998 – Joseph "J.R." Russo’s rise to prominence in the New England Mafia began after he murdered infamous hitman and turncoat Joe "the Animal" Barboza in San Francisco in 1976. Over the next 20 years Russo achieved the position of consigliere in the family as the leadership switched from Providence to Boston. An FBI crackdown on the New England Family’s rackets culminated in several RICO trials in the early 1990s. The Boston RICO trial, which included Russo, was set to get underway with jury selection on January 6, 1992. Sixteen days later, all of the defendants entered guilty pleas on the condition that they were allowed to deny they were members of the Mafia, La Cosa Nostra or the Patriarca crime family. The men were fined and sentenced on April 29. J. R. Russo fined $758,000 and sentenced to 16 years. Russo died at the US Medical Facility for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Cities/New_England-Providence.html

June 2, 1996 – Ernest Biondillo, as of this date, is the last mobster to be murdered in the Mahoning Valley. His murder, set up to look like a robbery, was carried out by four Black men as Biondillo drove to work on a Monday morning. Biondillo found himself boxed-in on a one way street. He was cut down by two men wielding shotguns. His murder was allegedly ordered by Youngstown underboss Lenine "Lenny" Strollo as Biondillo refused to take orders and was cutting deals around the area involving illegal poker machines. All the parties involved in the murder made plea bargains or were convicted during the Craig Morford led cleanup of the Valley in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Trials and Tribulations     ^TOP

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.

Due to space constraints, the complete "Trials and Tribulations" listing will only be shown on the first Monday of each month. Weekly we will show the ones that are due to occur in the next 30 days and any new additions.


May 20, 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr. and Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese go to trial for looting the city coffers of millions of dollars.

May 28, 2002 – Boston – US District Judge Robert E. Keeton will hear arguments on the April 16 conviction of Michael L. Carucci. The judge will decide whether to uphold the conviction or overturn the six convictions the jury arrived at. Carucci was found guilty of transferring money earned from the criminal activity of Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, who earlier pled guilty to the same charges.

May 2002 – New York – Joe "the German" Watts is due back in court to be retried on the money-laundering charges a jury deadlocked on last year. Jerry Capeci reported that in addition to Gambino Family turncoat Dominick "Fat Dom" Borghese, DeCavalcante Family member Anthony Capo is scheduled to testify.

June 27, 2002 – Las Vegas – The Nevada Supreme Court has scheduled arguments on the appeals of Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish the convicted murderers of Ted Binion. Alan Dershowitz will argue Murphy’s case.

July 29, 2002 – Cleveland – Richard E. Detore goes to trial on one count of conspiring to violate a federal bribery statute involving United States Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr.

September 9, 2002 – Camden – The trial of Daniel M. Daidone and James R. Mathis, Jr. is scheduled to begin. Both are charged with corruption involving disgraced mayor Milton Milan. Daidone answered to former Philadelphia mob boss Ralph Natale, who is expected to testify. The federal trial will be in the courtroom of US District Judge Joseph H. Rodriquez. (A May 20 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Mathis trial is scheduled for December 3.)

September 2002 – Hackensack, NJ – The racketeering trial of Danny Provenzano is "tentatively" scheduled to get underway. The great-nephew of Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano is charged with extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars through fear, intimidation and violence.

POSTPONED INDEFINITELY – Rochester, NYAlbert M Ranieri goes on trial for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Since his arrest on December 29, 2000, another defendant, prominent defense attorney Anthony Leonardo, Jr., has pled guilty and implicated Ranieri in the May 2000 murder of his former business partner Anthony Vaccaro. Authorities also suspect Ranieri of a 1990 armor car heist of $11 million.

STILL WAITING ON A DATE FOR THIS ONE – 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. The trial was originally scheduled for January 28.

STILL WAITING ON A DATE FOR THIS ONE – Boston – The racketeering trial of Robert Luisi, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay. Luisi at one time had a plea agreement which called for him to testify against Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino last year. On December 27, 2001 Luisi withdrew the plea.


May 17, 2002 – New York – Colombo Family underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss will be sentenced for his February 6 conviction on extortion charges.

May 23, 2002 – New York – Nicholas Gambino will get his official sentence of five years probation after copping a plea on April 17 involving the stabbing of two men outside the Metropolis nightclub in Queens. A February trial resulted in Gambino being acquitted on 9 of 12 charges after he took the stand and lied to the jury telling them he had acted in self-defense.

May 2002 – New York – Donna Curra, wife of Dominick "Little Dom" Curra, is scheduled to be sentenced for lying to the FBI after her husband fled on Christmas Eve 2001 to Costa Rica. She is looking at a 6 to 12 month stretch. Meanwhile, "Little Dom" remains in a Costa Rica jail fighting extradition.

June 2002 – Buffalo – Three former Buffalo narcotics detectives will be sentenced for their role in stealing money from an undercover FBI agent posing as a Jamaican drug dealer. The men were found guilty in March.

June 2002 – Newark – Nicodemo "Young Nicky" Scarfo will be sentenced for supervising a North Jersey gambling operation by US District Judge Joel Pisano.

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.

June 27, 2002 – Cleveland – Mahoning Valley Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr., will be sentenced after being found guilty on all ten counts in a Federal trial which ended April 11.

July 10, 2002 – Philadelphia – William Rinick will be sentenced for his April 17 assault conviction of Salvatore Abbruzzese in a South Philadelphia men’s shop. Rinick made headlines in December 2001 when narcotics investigators raided the home of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and found Rinick hiding under the bed of one of Merlino’s daughters.

July 15, 2002 – Boston – Michael Flemmi, the brother of notorious Winter Hill Gang member Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, will be sentenced for his May 3 conviction of obstruction of justice and perjury. Michael Flemmi helped hide the arsenal of the Winter Hill Gang and lied to a grand jury about it.

September 9, 2002 – Camden – Robert E. Gibson, the former Camden sewer superintendent and a 40-year employee of the city, will be sentenced for accepting illegal payments. Gibson claimed he was swept up in the corruption of disgraced mayor Milton Milan’s administration. He is looking at 18 to 24 months.

Contact: AllanMay@AmericanMafia.com


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