Allan May's book MOB STORIES
IN THIS ISSUE|
· John Gotti 1940-2002
· It’s Now or Never – Victoria!
· "Dishonest John" Connolly Trial – Re-cap
· Short Takes
· This Week in Mob History
John Gotti 1940-2002
The King is Dead
The King of the Volcano is dead, long live the King. John Gotti, the flamboyant mob boss who shot his way to the top of the Gambino Family died Monday, June 10 at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners facility in Springfield, Missouri. Death came just 13 days before the tenth anniversary of receiving his life sentence.
Read the rest of AmericanMafia.com’s obituary of the late John Gotti at the following link: http://www.americanmafia.com/News/6-10-02_John_Gottis_Obituary.html
Unless Victoria Gotti, the attractive and multi-talented daughter of the late John Gotti, steps in as "acting boss" this will be the first time since January 1986 that the Gambino Family will be without a Gotti in a leadership role.
On June 3 federal and state prosecutors announced a 68-count indictment charging 17 members and associates of the Gambino family with extortion, racketeering, gambling and loansharking. The indictments were announced by Brooklyn US Attorney Alan "I heard it through the Grape" Vinegrad, who said the charges were a culmination of a three year probe into the city’s waterfront industry.
Earlier this year members of the Genovese Family were indicted on similar charges. Authorities claim "the Gambino and Genovese families have divided up the New York City waterfront, the Gambinos taking Brooklyn and Staten Island and the Genovese Family taking Manhattan and New Jersey." In fact, the indictment reads that the Gambino Family used "threats of force, violence and fear" to take control of the Brooklyn and Staten Island chapters of the International Longshoreman’s Union.
Heading the list of those indicted was new Gambino Family boss Peter "One Eye" Gotti. That’s right! New Boss! According to the feds, Peter "secretly assumed leadership" of the Gambino Family about eight weeks ago.
John Marzulli, of the New York Daily News, reported that Peter, who received his nickname from a battle with glaucoma, "was elevated to the powerful post because of John’s worsening medical condition." Marzulli states, "There was no formal ceremony…but word has spread around mob circles that Peter…was now in charge. The decision was agreed upon by the family’s captains."
Marzulli further states that, "About three months ago, Peter was prohibited by the Bureau of Prisons from visiting his brother."
On a humorous note Marzulli claims, "Peter has none of the public flair, charisma or fashion sense that made John a mob star. At his arraignment…Peter wore a blue and black warm-up jacket and dark trousers" Hey, John M, sartorial splendor is out. If you don’t think so I have two words for you – Vincent Gigante!
Marzulli’s surprising revelations were surpassed, however, by a trio of writers from the New York Post, who claim they heard from "sources" that Peter Gotti "represented the Gambinos at a meeting of the commission of the five New York crime families." AmericanMafia.com wonders how the "five" pulled this off and who the "five" were. Didn’t the feds claim just last year that the Colombo Family was so decimated that they were no longer an entity?
Appearing as counsel for Peter Gotti at the arraignment was – you guessed it – Bruce Cutler. How effective is this guy without Sammy Gravano threatening witnesses and bribing jurors? What luck though, Sammy’s in New York City.
Has Cutler won a case in the past decade? In the indictment Peter is charged with receiving payoffs, but is not accused of committing violent crimes. Still the ineffective Cutler could not get a magistrate to release him on bail. That’s almost as embarrassing as Mickey Sherman losing the Skakel case even though the prosecution had no physical evidence or eyewitness linking Skakel to the murder of Martha Moxley. Mickey "Mouth" told reporters he would defend Skakel until his last breath. Translated that means as long as Skakel has a nickel in his pocket Sherman will have an appeal to file.
OK, enough commentary.
In addition to Peter Gotti, his brother, Richard Gotti and Richard’s son were indicted making June 3 a banner day in the Gotti family with a total of six members, and one ex-member (Carmine A.) behind bars.
Even Victoria must be shaking her head at this mess.
In addition to the Gottis, Gambino Family capo Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone was indicted. Hey, didn’t his brother William once take a shot at the Dapper Don?
Ironically, Ciccone, a former top official of ILA 1814, was banned in 1991 from participating in ILA and waterfront affairs. The investigation showed he continued to oversee Gambino Family interests despite the civil consent decree, which barred him. Part of the overseeing was helping to promote Frank "Red" Scollo into the presidency of Local 1814.
Primo Cassarino was another of the indicted. An enforcer in charge of collecting gambling debts for the family, the tough guy was caught on tape threatening a debtor with, "I’m going to grab your mother today."
Wait, it gets better.
We even have a touch of Hollywood here. Indicted with the others were Julius Nasso and his brother Vincent, childhood friends of movie tough guy, Steven Seagal. Julius Nasso was a longtime business partner of Seagal. After the two had a falling out Ciccone ordered Nasso to demand $150,000 for each film Seagal made and a cut of future projects.
It was reported that Seagal paid out "some cash" before going to the FBI and appearing before a Brooklyn grand jury. Nasso, who was a partner of Seagal for 22 years, recently filed a $60 million lawsuit against the 51 year-old martial arts specialist because he reneged on a four-movie deal that was pending. Seagal, who on screen has killed more people than Attila the Hun and is closing in fast on Genghis Khan, claims a Buddhist spiritual advisor warned him that he would be reincarnated as a lesser being if he appeared in the new films, one of which had him playing, ironic as it may seem, Genghis Khan. Hmmm, with Seagal’s penchant for annihilating his fellow human beings, perhaps he’ll be reincarnated as 2000’s version of the Black Plague.
With all this nonsense hitting the fan maybe it’s time for Victoria to step in. We’ve said before she was blessed with the brains and talent in the family – not to mention the looks. Now if you hardcores from the "He-man women-haters club," or in this case the "Made-man women-haters club," object, take a look back a few weeks at an event that happened in Italy.
In Naples three women associated with Camorra gangsters were killed and five others injured in a bloody shootout in the streets. Italian news agencies reported that "Women’s role in organized crime has been growing for 10 years since women rose through the ranks after their men were jailed."
If some of you think this is too far fetched let’s move closer to home. Currently a trial is going on in Chicago that involves the Cicero town president who looted the city coffers to the tune of $10 million. Does that sound like the work of a woman? Well it is. Betty Loren-Maltese, the wife of the late Frank Maltese a Chicago Outfit gambling associate, is on trial with Cicero mob boss Michael Spano.
Still further proof that American women are just a step away, if that, is a story from Michele McPhee, author of Mob Over Miami and the Daily News’ Police Bureau Chief. McPhee interviewed Barbara DePalo, the sister of disappeared-and-presumed-dead Colombo Family capo William "Wild Bill" Cutolo. DePalo was upset that her nephew, William Cutolo, Jr., decided to work with the FBI and the New York Police Department to bring down the mobsters he held responsible for his father’s disappearance.
DePalo, in mincing no words, called her nephew a "pansy" and a "rat" for his actions, which culminated with an exit into the Witness Protection Program. DePalo told McPhee, "I’m Italian. I may be born here, but I’m still from Italy and I believe in the Italian rules. If my nephew knew who did [the slaying], he should have walked up to him and did what he had to do, like my brother would have, instead of taking the easy way out and wearing a wire."
"They [her nephew and his family] are dead to me. In fact, I’d love to run into one of them. I can’t tell you what I would do, you couldn’t print it."
AmericanMafia.com is betting that when Victoria is arraigned for her first RICO indictment she won’t be wearing a nylon-jogging suit into court.
Announcement:Due to the length of this week’s articles the second installment of our look at the Castellammarese War will be published next week. We apologize for the delay. Next week AmericanMafia.com looks at Salvatore Maranzano through the recollections of Joseph Bonanno and Lucky Luciano. Are these two mob bosses talking about the same man?
On May 28, 2002 disgraced former FBI agent "Dishonest John" Connolly was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice charges in a federal courthouse in Boston. Using the reports of Boston Herald crime reporter J. M. Lawrence, below is a re-cap of the trial focusing on the daily highlights.
Thursday, May 2 – A final pre-trial conference is held, in which members of the media are barred. Attorneys then announce the trial could take several months. The whole process actually takes less than one month. US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro denied motions to release documents to the public, including Connolly’s manuscript Only the Ghost Knows. Because there is a belief that it will be difficult to seat an impartial jury it’s already been announced that opening arguments won’t begin until May 13.
Monday, May 6 – Jury selection begins. Despite the fact that two hundred potential jurors are expected to be questioned during the first two days, a panel of seven men and five women are selected on the first day. The judge orders opening arguments to begin Wednesday. On the eve of trial Connolly releases a statement claiming, "Although we knew they were major criminals, neither I nor the Bureau knew the full extent of their criminality at the time. I am horrified as anybody by some of the recent disclosures about Bulger and Flemmi. As an FBI agent, I did my best to further the goals of the bureau. I am proud of the role I played in bringing down the New England Mafia."
Wednesday, May 8 – Opening statements are made by special prosecutor John Durham and defense attorney Tracy A. Miner. Prosecutors are "outraged" that Judge Tauro allows Connolly to sit with his family in the gallery instead of at the defense table during opening statements. Durham talks about the money Connolly was receiving from the Winter Hill mobsters, so much that at one point "Dishonest John" has ten un-cashed paychecks in his desk drawer. "Whitey" Bulger expressed concern that Connolly was "showing too much flash" for someone on a government salary. Durham told the jury that, "The kind of arms-length, prudent involvement with people you know are involved in organized crime, that’s not the kind of relationship you’ll hear about." Miner told jurors Connolly was a talented and dedicated agent. "Mr. Connolly did not choose to associate with these people. He was told to associate with them to get information and that’s what he did."
Thursday, May 9 – One of the government’s key witnesses, former FBI supervisor John "Mercury" Morris testified about his fall from grace after getting involved with Connolly and Bulger. Weeping on the stand, the agent of 25 years spoke about receiving gifts of money from Bulger, delivered by Connolly. Blaming the powerful influence of Bulger for his problems Morris claimed he tried to rectify the situation by leaking "Whitey’s" FBI informant status to a Boston Globe reporter in 1988. Morris was suspended for talking to the Globe and later transferred to the FBI academy. While working there in October 1995 Bulger called him and demanded that he get the Globe story retracted or Morris would be exposed. "He said if he went to jail, I was going with him," Morris explained. Under cross-examination Miner taunted Morris. "You got religion after the Wolf hearings?" she asked. "I got religion in 1995 when Bulger called me. I got serious religion then. I prayed every night," Morris testified.
Friday, May 10 – Morris spent a second day on the stand getting grilled by Miner. Morris admitted to asking Connolly to get $1,000 from Bulger and Flemmi so his girlfriend, a secretary on the Boston FBI office whom he later married, could fly to Atlanta for a sexual tryst while he attended a training camp assignment. Miner also got Morris to admit to using a bomb-scare to a man’s car to frighten him into becoming a government witness. Morris added, however, that Connolly helped "brainstorm" the plan.
Monday, May 13 & Tuesday, May 14 – Winter Hill gang members, now government witnesses, John Martorano and Kevin J. Weeks take the stand. Martorano, a mob serial-killer who confessed to some 20 murders, told the jury he shot and killed Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler, the president of World Jai Alai, who suspected Bulger and Flemmi were skimming money from his operation. Martorano said he was called to a meeting in New York several weeks after the murder of would-be informant Brian Halloran. According to Martorano, Bulger and Flemmi were told by "their friend Connolly" that the Winter Hill gangsters could go to prison because the feds were targeting former Jai Alai executive John Callahan for information and it was certain "he would fold." Martorano flew to Florida and murdered Callahan in April 1982. Weeks testified to being present and participating in the murder of Brian Halloran. Weeks told the court that Bulger, wearing a disguise, shot Halloran and Michael Donahue to death with a carbine outside a restaurant on Northern Avenue.
Retired FBI agent Gerald Montanari was also on the stand. He testified that Halloran wanted entrance into the Witness Protection Program in exchange for information on Bulger and Flemmi. Montanari said, "the bureau refused to rescue the father of two with a rap sheet for murder and drug dealing because he ticked off agents by refusing a polygraph and revealing his informant status to his lawyer." With the three interrelated murders – Wheeler, Halloran and Callahan – Montanari said he questioned Connolly about the killings. According to Montanari, Connolly replied that he didn’t believe Bulger or Flemmi had anything to do with them.
Wednesday, May 15 & Thursday, May 16 – Kevin Weeks was on the stand again describing a Christmas gift of $5,000 that he gave to Connolly from Bulger. Weeks quoted Bulger as saying, "Christmas was for cops and kids." One of the people to receive money was current FBI agent John Newton. The agent was suspended the day after Weeks’ revelation. Weeks delivered devastating testimony when he claimed that on December 23, 1994, some five years after Connolly’s retirement, the former FBI agent visited him at Bulger’s South Side Liquor Mart. Inside a liquor locker Connolly said he learned through FBI agent Dennis O’Callaghan that Bulger, Flemmi and New England Family boss Francis P. "Cadillac Frank" Salemme were going to be "rounded up over the holidays." Bulger fled and is still in hiding.
Friday, May 17 – Former New England Family boss Francis Salemme began his "riveting" testimony by detailing his life in the Mafia. In 1972 Connolly, than an agent in New York, arrested Salemme on the street there for the car bombing of attorney John Fitzgerald. Salemme served 16 years for the crime. Salemme testified that Connolly promised he would warn him when racketeering indictments would be coming down so he could run. Salemme also told the court that in 1993 he and Flemmi made two $5,000 payments to Connolly to protect a new gambling operation.
Monday, May 20 – For the third time during the trial, the name of William "Billy" Bulger surfaces during testimony. William is the brother of "Whitey" and is currently the president of the University of Massachusetts. This time it is during the questioning of former assistant US attorney Jonathan Chiel. He claimed that in early 1989 Connolly "badgered" him about details regarding an investigation into a downtown construction deal that reeked of influence peddling. Chiel also claimed Connolly "pumped" him for information about a pending indictment of 51 South Boston drug dealers linked to "Whitey" Bulger. US District Judge Mark L. Wolf testified that he received a letter reputedly penned by Connolly, but made to look like it was written by three Boston police officers. The letter was an attempt to discredit government wiretaps that were to be used against Bulger and Flemmi.
The prosecution rested its case. The first defense witness was former Boston FBI assistant SAC agent Dennis O’Callaghan. He emphatically denied informing Connolly about the pending indictments in late December 1994. Under cross-examination Durham got O’Callaghan to admit he was suspended for five days after interfering with a department investigation into Connolly accepting free tickets to a Red Sox game.
Tuesday, May 21 – In a trial that was estimated to last several months the defense rested its case. There was a total of just 10 days of actual testimony. "Dishonest John" did not take the stand claiming that was the advice of his counsel. Tracy Miner ended the defense’s case by showing a video of Connolly teaching FBI rookie agents how to handle criminal informants. Connolly warns the agents against sharing information about their informants with others in law enforcement. "You get a crooked cop," Connolly says, " someone then would sell that information to the wiseguys." Miner, who had planned to question 19 witnesses, called only 5. As Connolly left the courthouse he told reporters, "I trust in the jury system and I leave it in their hands
Thursday, May 23 – Final arguments are heard in Judge Tauro’s courtroom. Again Connolly was allowed to sit with his wife and children in the gallery. Miner portrayed her client as a scapegoat of the FBI system and as a vendetta victim of Martorano, Weeks and Salemme. "They hate Mr. Connolly. They all learned Mr. Connolly was able to convince their friends – Mr. Bulger and Mr. Flemmi – to inform on them. This is payback pure and simple," Miner told the jury. Prosecutor Durham worked through the government’s 14 acts of racketeering against Connolly and related each witness’s testimony to the counts. To prove the government’s case that Connolly received the bribes they claim he did, Durham went back to his opening statement, "You ask yourself, what public official, what person do you know, is able to not cash their paycheck 10 times in a row?"
Friday, May 24 – After instructions from Judge Tauro the jury begins its deliberations. At the end of the day they were dismissed for the three-day Memorial Day weekend.
Tuesday, May 28 – After just 12 hours of deliberations over two days the jury came back finding Connolly guilty of racketeering and two counts of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. "Dishonest John’s" face turned ashen as the verdicts were read at 4:30pm. He left the courthouse without commenting to the media. US Attorney Michael Sullivan told reporters, "It is always a somber moment when it becomes necessary to prosecute a member of law enforcement who has abused his authority and crossed the line from crime fighter to criminal. Today’s verdict reveals John Connolly for what he became: a Winter Hill gang operative masquerading as a law enforcement agent." Meanwhile, Miner stated, "We are pleased that the jury found that John Connolly was found not guilty of the most serious acts alleged in the indictment. None of the acts John Connolly was found guilty of resulted in any physical harm to anyone."
"Dishonest John" Connolly is facing a term of 8 to 20 years when he is sentenced on August 7.
Another ugly chapter in the continuing "Disaster in Beantown" book has come to a close. There are more trials to come and years of recovery ahead before the memories of the past 35 years will be reconciled.
New York (1) – Joseph "Joe the German" Watts pled guilty before US District Judge Edward Korman on June 4 to charges of conspiracy to launder loansharking profits. Last July Watts was on trial for money laundering and tax evasion. He was found guilty of tax evasion and was sentenced to five years in prison. The judge declared a mistrial on the money laundering charges and prosecutors decided to retry him. Watts was scheduled to go to trial in two weeks but instead accepted a government plea agreement. If convicted Watts was looking at 20 years; instead he’ll have another year added to his five-year sentence, of which he was already served 18 months. In addition, Watts, who is actually Welsh not German, will forfeit $1 million in assets. In February 2001 Watts was days from being released after serving a six-year term for his role in the murder of Thomas Spinelli (Sammy’s #17) in April 1989. Perhaps the feds will have the next indictment prepared and waiting for Joe the Welsh German when he’s released at the end of 2006. Mob watchers are disappointed they will not get to hear more lurid details from Laurene Maron, Watts’ attractive ex-wife, who is the hostess of a high-class swinger’s club.
New York (2) – The sorrowful three-year trek of Carmine Galante has come to an end. Galante, the nephew of the murdered Bonanno mob boss of the same name, pled guilty to murdering a college student at a Bay Ridge, Brooklyn bar. The trek began on April 4, 1999 when Galante received a phone call informing him that the student, 18 year-old William Manolis, was "chatting" with Carmine’s girlfriend. Galante hustled down to the Bee-Kee-Nee bar to right this horrific wrong. Galante later would claim he did not intend to kill Manolis. Apparently Galante "intended" only to wing the young man and plunged a knife through his chest and into his heart to teach him a lesson. Galante then split and was in hiding for two years before the New York Daily News ran an article in may 2001 featuring the New York Police Department’s "worst of the worst" fugitives. Galante was immediately identified and arrested at a Long Island refuge. Galante’s trial, which was scheduled for June 10, faced a certain delay after his attorney William Martin – not to be confused with William "I Ratted Out Junior Gotti" Martin, backed out of the case on May 28 due to a conflict of interest. The new appointed attorney, George Sheinberg, told the court he would let them know if he would be ready to go by June 10. Apparently attorney Sheinberg had more than enough time because his client pled guilty on June 7. AmericanMafia.com has two questions. First, how sharp is this George "the Lawyer" Martin that he couldn’t get resolved in a year what took Sheinberg seven working days to accomplish. On May 28 the Daily News said Galante was looking at 25 years if convicted of second degree murder. Sheinberg bargained for 18. Second, who wouldn’t like to see the little worm that ratted out Manolis get his just deserve? It wasn’t like Manolis, described as a popular St. John’s University student, was beating or raping the young lady – they were just talking. This rat/friend of Galante’s had to have known about the volatile temper Carmine had and that something unpleasant would surely result from the phone call. One young man is dead, two families are destroyed, and another young man won’t see freedom until the year 2020 just because this twit had to drop a dime. How tragically infantile.
New York (3) – In an unbelievable turn of events, Nicholas "Nick the Ripper" Gambino has gotten off with a sentence of five years probation for assault. After nearly disemboweling the 20 year-old son of Genovese Family capo, Anthony "Tough Tony" Federici, and seriously injuring four other young men, Gambino walked free. After reaching the plea agreement Gambino told the Federici family, "I know how hard this has been for me and my family, and I can only imagine how much harder it’s been for you." Well, imagine this Nick, a poll conducted by AmericanMafia.com several weeks ago had readers concluding that the Genovese Family was not going to give you a pass. Gambino’s lawyer, Raphael Scotto asked for "special protection" for his client. AM.com can only imagine this conversation:
Scotto: My client needs special protection.
NYPD: We could not substantiate any threats against your client.
Scotto: So what?
NYPD: So, if your client is scared, let him hire his own protection.
Nick the Ripper: But all my money went to my attorney.
NYPD: Borrow it back, your well being is his only concern.
Scotto: Where has the time gone? I have another client to see. (Flying out the door) Good luck, young Nick.
Nick the Ripper: Mr. Scotto…wait, please…Mr. Scotto…
Warren – Aye, me maties! Can you believe Warren, Ohio is in the news again? The Tribune Chronicle reported, "Like a pirate who buries his loot off some tropical shore," former Trumbull County crime boss Joseph "Black Beard" Perfette stashed $455,000 in the home of his brother and sister in the hopes it would never be discovered. The stash, which had been a secret for at least 12 years, was uncovered by the FBI after an informant told investigators about the money. Special Agent John "Raising" Kane of the FBI’s Youngstown office said no charges would be filed against Perfette, who walked the plank before pleading guilty to operating an illegal gambling business and filing a false tax return in 1990. Perfette was keelhauled in US District Court and sent to prison. His siblings claimed they never knew the money was there. The cash, bundled in large denominations in aluminum foil, smelled of mildew and was in such tender shape that investigators couldn’t use counting machines for fear of destroying it.
Youngstown – In the wake of Congressman Traficant’s conviction one of the local television stations, WKBN Channel 27 in Youngstown, ran a four-week series called "Mobsters in the Valley." The series, which originally ran for two weeks several years ago, was updated with all the convictions following Lenny Strollo’s "cut and roll" deal with the government and runs through Traficant’s recent trial. The series, hosted by local news anchor Tom Holden, begins in the late 1940s with the Jungle Inn and the law enforcement efforts of Edward J. Allen and the "Smash Rackets Rule" cleanup campaign. NewsTrax, Inc. of Buffalo, New York has spliced together all these segments, which ran in five-minute intervals each newscast, and the video is available for purchase. The name of the video is "Mobsters in the Valley" and can be ordered by phone at 1-800-442-2547 outside of Buffalo, 716-875-3135 in Buffalo. Fax 716-875-0275. The e-mail address is email@example.com and the mailing address is NewsTrax, Inc., 255 Great Arrow Avenue, Unit 2, Buffalo, NY 14207. I believe the price was around $30.
June 17, 1926 – Luigi "Louis" Nobile lost his life in a mid-1920s bootleg war in Cleveland. Nobile was shot eight times in the neck and head and was left in the street. Police received an anonymous phone call about the body. Eight months later his brother Salvatore "Sam" Nobile would meet a similar end.
June 17, 1957 – Frank "Don Cheech" Scalise was at one time considered to be the leader of what became the Gambino Family as early as November 1930 following the murder of Al Mineo. Scalise, a close associate of Albert Anastasia for years, became his underboss after the Mangano brothers were murdered in1951. It was alleged he was involved with the "Mad Hatter" in selling Mafia memberships. Some believe Anastasia used Scalise as the scapegoat in this episode. Scalise was gunned down outside a Bronx fruit store. His murder was believed to be the scenario used in the shooting of Vito Corleone in The Godfather.
June 17, 1959 – Joseph M. Barbara’s home was the site of the ill-fated Apalachin Summit on November 14, 1957. Barbara was the head of what became the Bufalino Family, which oversaw activities in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Pittston section of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He was involved in legitimate businesses in Upstate New York. Barbara, who had a history of heart problems died of a heart attack at the age of 54.
June 18, 1931 – Danny Iamascia, like Vincent Drucci, was one of the few gangsters to die at the hands of police. Iamascia and his close friend and associate, Dutch Schultz, found themselves under surveillance by police. When they went to investigate one of the officers identified himself as a policeman and pulled his gun. Iamascia, perhaps not believing the officer, pulled his own and was shot in the abdomen. He died the following day. See my story at http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters/schultz/
June 18, 1932 – Vannie Higgins was known as Brooklyn’s last Irish mob boss. Higgins was a bootlegger and rumrunner and over the years was aligned at different times with William "Big Bill" Dwyer, Jack "Legs" Diamond, Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, Dutch Schultz and Anthony Carfano, better known as "Little Augie Pisano." Higgins, described as a family man, was leaving his daughter’s tap dance recital. As Higgins reached his automobile a dark sedan came slowly toward him. From twenty feet away a gunman began firing. Higgins’ daughter Jean was hit first suffering a wound to her ear lobe. Vannie pushed the girl down on the running board and, in a selfless manner, ran out into the open, unarmed, to draw the gunfire away from his family. Vannie ran wildly down the street with shooters from two cars now firing at him. Higgins was hit several times and died at to Methodist Episcopal Hospital fifteen hours after the shooting. See my story at http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_9-20-99.html
June 18, 1954 – Albert Patterson was a school teacher-turned lawyer-turned politician in Alabama. Shortly after being elected as the Democratic nominee for state attorney general Patterson was murdered on the streets of Phenix City, the longtime corrupt town he tried so hard to clean up. Patterson’s murder resulted in the governor of Alabama declaring marshal law in the city and ordering in state troops to seize control. Patterson’s death was the basis for the book Phenix City: The Wickedest City in America.
June 18, 1956 – Girolomo "Momo" Adamo, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was the underboss of the Los Angeles Family. He committed suicide in San Diego after critically wounding his wife over an affair she was allegedly having with Frank DeSimone, the boss of the Los Angeles Family
June 19, 1953 – Steve Franse was a onetime partner of Vito Genovese in the nightclub business. One of Franse’s jobs was to keep an eye on Vito’s wife while he was laying low in Italy during mid-1940s. Genovese ordered Franse’s murder through Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo. It was carried out by Valachi, Pat Pagano and Fiore Siano. Franse was found strangled in the back seat of his car on East 137th Street.
June 19, 1975 – Christopher Cardi was Victim #10 of Chicago Outfit killer Harry Aleman. Cardi, a former police officer, made high interest loans to gamblers. Cardi was gunned down in front of his family as they sat in a Melrose Park restaurant. The 43-year-old Cardi was shot eight times in the back and once in the face.
June 19, 1975 – Sam "Momo" Giancana was the ruthless boss of the Chicago Outfit appointed by Anthony Accardo during the 1950s. Giancana drew the attention of the FBI in general and agent William Roemer in particular during the early 1960s. Under mounting pressure from the government Giancana abdicated his underworld throne and moved to Mexico. Shortly after returning to Chicago he was subpoenaed to appear before a government investigating committee. While cooking a late night meal Giancana was shot seven times in the face and head by someone he trusted enough to let into his basement apartment.
June 19, 1980 – William "Billy" Bostic was a childhood friend of Carmen Zagaria, a Cleveland West Side drug dealer, and involved in a gambling house that Zagaria had opened in October 1979. The house was soon raided by the police and closed, but not before Zagaria and his associates realized that Bostic had been ripping them off. Zagaria came to his pet store one afternoon to find Bostic lying face down with two .38 slugs in the back of his head, put there by Kevin McTaggert. Hans Graewe chopped off Bostic’s head and hands and placed them in a bucket. The rest of the body was carried to a van and driven by Hans to a wooded area on the East Side and buried. The bucket containing the head and hands was dropped in a swamp some distance away.
June 19, 2000 – Harry "the Hunchback" Riccobene was a 4 foot 11 inch mobster who was a longtime associate of Philadelphia Family leader Angelo Bruno. After Bruno’s death the Riccobene faction got into a war with Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo. Riccobene was convicted of the murder of consigliere Frank Monte and sentenced to life in prison. He died in the state prison hospital in Dallas, Pennsylvania at the age of 89. See my story at http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_5-8-00.html
June 20, 1947 – Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was one of the most recognized gangsters in American history. Handsome and possessing a charismatic personality he could turn deadly as quickly as any mob killer could. Credited with establishing Las Vegas as a cash cow for the mob, Siegel was murdered in the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend Virginia Hill when his East Coast associates thought he was ripping them off. His murder was one of the most sensational mob killings in Los Angeles.
June 21, 1921 – Clemento Basile was a friend and political supporter of Anthony D’Andrea until his murder in May 1921. Even after D’Andrea’s death the Bloody 19th Ward War continued. Basile, a father of three, was sitting outside a candy and fruit store when two men shot him to death. The newspapers reported that when the killers struck there were, "Hundreds of children playing in the Ghetto streets," near the store. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_10-2-00.html
June 21, 1968 – Pierino "Pete" DiGravio was a popular Cleveland loanshark who was put out of business when the government changed lending laws in 1968. Known as the "Mayor of Little Italy" some believe DiGravio tried to maintain his "short term" loan business and fought the Cleveland mob’s efforts to muscle in. In a Cleveland Press interview he told a reporter, "We need the Mafia like we need cancer." Within weeks DiGravio was murdered as he teed off on the 16th hole at Orchard Hills Country Club, gunned down by a sniper hiding in the bushes. On his way to visit DiGravio that day was former heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano, a close friend. Upon hearing the news Marciano immediately left town.
June 22, 1962 – John Joseph Saupp was the unfortunate inmate that Joseph Valachi mistook for mob killer Joseph "Joe Beck" DiPalermo in the Atlanta Penitentiary. Thinking that Saupp, who was in for mail robbery and forgery, was after him, Valachi used a pipe to bludgeon him to death. Faced with the possibility of being murdered Valachi then became a government witness.
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