IN THIS ISSUE
· Gambino Family Thoughts
· Scranton Soap Opera
· Pissed Off in Buffalo
· Stupidity Abounds
· Disaster in Boston
· Book Talk
· This Week in Mob History
Gambino Family Thoughts
Are the Gambinos looking to regain the reputation they once had for being the nation’s largest crime family? With the recent release of John "Jackie Nose" D’Amico, one third of the triumvirate that ran the family in the wake of John Gotti’s imprisonment (along with Nicholas Corozzo and "Junior" Gotti) is back. Does this mean he steps back into this position?
The recent acquittal of Michael DiLeonardo in the Atlanta Gold Club trial puts another Gambino capo back on the streets of New York City. "Mikey Scars" Di Leonardo is only 46 years old. Mob watchers are wondering what Danny Marino is up to these days and when and where he will fit into the new structure.
AmericanMafia.com wonders if the Gambino Family is ripe for an internecine war. It’s no secret that some of the current capos blame the ailing "Dapper Don" for the decline of the family because of his flamboyant style of running it. At the same time few capos have confidence in the leadership skills of "Junior."
No one doubts that father John will be in his grave by the time "Junior" is released from prison in 2004. Perhaps out of respect for the former "Teflon Don" wiser elements within the family are holding off until after John Gotti passes away before initiating any changes in the present power structure. If this should happen, normally the first person consulted is the consigliere, but God only knows who that is at this time.
Here’s hoping that current acting boss Peter Gotti is allowed to walk away and doesn’t get blown away if a change is in the works.
AmericanMafia.com has obtained a copy of lawyer David Kurtz’s federal lawsuit against Lackawanna County (Pennsylvania) Judge Michael Barrasse. In addition to some of the accusations, which appeared here two weeks ago, Kurtz also alleges Barrasse engaged in sordid sexual activities over the years. The civil RICO complaint, filed against Barrasse in August, includes 25 separate accusations of illegal activity.
In the first RICO count Kurtz contends that "Barrasse would take underage female and male students [from the Northeast Institute of Education] to public and private establishments and provide or have provided to him cocaine and alcohol to be consumed along with the minor students. On certain occasions, after having consumed alcohol and cocaine, Defendant Barrasse engaged in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts with the minor female and male students."
Another section of the complaint charges, "On several occasions from 1986 through 1989, the paid ‘Informants’ delivered cocaine and used it with the Defendant Barrasse in his office at the Lackawanna County Courthouse, sometimes being forced to perform oral sex acts on the Defendant Barrasse."
Kurtz states that sometime during the mid-1990s Barrasse conspired with Al Carpinet, Jr., the owner of several local escort services and massage parlors, to use his prostitution network to distribute drugs. While this was going on Barrasse would help "himself to drugs and women" while providing "continuous protection" to the criminal enterprise.
One of the more sensational allegations involves a female intern from the now defunct Northeast Institute of Education and her boyfriend. Kurtz claims that during the 1995-96 school year Barrasse introduced the young lady to drugs and had a sexual relationship with her. She soon became addicted to cocaine and heroin, which she shared with her boyfriend, Jake Kelly. In March 1995 she died from an overdose of "contaminated heroin."
Kelly was arrested and charged with "drug delivery resulting in death," the charges allegedly filed by Barrasse. Kelly was held at the Lackawanna County Jail unable to make bail. In April 1996 Kelly sought legal counsel from Kurtz. After several discussions Kurtz was retained by Kelly’s family to represent him. When the question of bail reduction came up Kelly informed Kurtz "that he had knowledge of drugs and certain Scranton Police officers and the District Attorney (information alleged to have come from his girlfriend), but was scared to share the information while in jail." However, the family decided Kelly was safer inside of jail than out.
Kurtz asked Barrasse to drop the charges or remove himself from the case due to his alleged relationship with the victim. Barrasse refused. Afterward, Kelly contacted Kurtz and claimed he was in fear for his life "because he started to receive threats and comments from inmates in jail who were aware of the circumstances of the case."
Kurtz met with family members and then moved for a reduction in bail, which Barrasse did not oppose. In July 1996 Kelly was released and returned home. The following day Kelly was found dead in his bedroom "poisoned by a contaminated" dose of heroin.
In his complaint Kurtz alleges that "Defendant Barrasse and a certain individual of the Scranton Police Department conspired and arranged to have Jake Kelly killed because of his knowledge of Defendant Barrasse’s illegal drug use and drug dealing. Despite demands of [Kurtz] to the Defendant Barrasse, the murder of Jake Kelly was never investigated by Lackawanna County law enforcement officials."
Next week charges that Barrasse moved to oust a local judge.
On August 28 the Associated Press reported that FBI agents in Buffalo "searched the desks and lockers of five police detectives as part of a corruption investigation that has already led to the arrest of five other detectives." In addition, the FBI executed search warrants at three of the officer’s homes.
The question arises, "Why the FBI?"
Isn’t that what police departments have Internal Affairs divisions for? It’s no surprise that many police departments butt heads with their counterparts in the Justice Department. Many police officials will tell you it is over the exchange of information – or lack there of – when it comes to "sharing" with the FBI.
With that in mind, incidents like this only serve to add salt to the wounds of many police departments. One Buffalo police official, wishing to remain anonymous, told AM.com, "I’m pissed off! With all the recent problems the FBI has with their own dirty laundry, it’s an insult to this department to let them walk in and do what they did; as if they were superior to us."
One mob watcher said he would like to see the tables turned on the FBI one day. "I’d love to see the Boston Police Department execute a search warrant on FBI headquarters in that town. They have a proven record of corruption there and the police should just walk in and confiscate all those records. Then maybe the next time the FBI looks down their noses at the local police they’ll begin to realize they’re all in the same boat."
Gregory DePalma increased his chances of never being a free man again. The 69 year-old DePalma is currently serving a six-year sentence after pleading guilty, from a hospital bed, to charges of gambling, extortion, labor racketeering and tax crimes associated with the Scores Club case, which also brought down John A. "Junior" Gotti.
On September 6 DePalma was charged in a murder-for-hire scheme where he hired a hitman to kill a Bronx car dealer for cheating him out of money.
DePalma’s conversation with an accomplice was recorded on a prison telephone. Pretty sharp!
DePalma, suffering from lung cancer and heart problems, is at the same Springfield medical facility that houses ailing "Dapper Don" John Gotti. If convicted, DePalma could have an additional ten years tacked on. Chances for the frail gangster to live out his current sentence are tenuous at best.
The nearly 70 year-old DePalma conspired with 66 year-old Richard Famiglietti to pull off the hit. The alleged hitman was an undercover agent for the ATF. Famiglietti is being held without bail.
AM.com wonders if DePalma received Gotti’s permission before arranging the hit. Sammy Gravano once told us that this infraction of mob protocol could result in a person getting whacked.
How bad can things get here? The latest round of accusations being hurled at the Boston FBI office came from an article in the Boston Herald on September 7. The question is now being asked whether the government knew that former FBI informant Joe Barboza was going to be the target of a mob hit on the West Coast.
According to the article by J. M. Lawrence, Barboza’s friend Theodore Sharliss, an FBI informant himself, helped set up the hit on his old pal in San Francisco. Lawrence writes, "Sixteen years later, Sharliss implicated hit man J. R. Russo as the triggerman who shot Barboza, 43, who died in a hail of bullets after having lunch with Sharliss." However, in the book Black Mass, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, the authors give us this version. "…Bulger had told him [Connolly] who set up Baron [Barboza] to be killed – a wiseguy named Jimmy Chalmas. Baron had been shot outside Chalmas’ apartment (reportedly with four shots fired from Russo’s shotgun)."
In a related story, Canadian investigators are awaiting the approval to dig for the body of Kenneth R. Conrad, and possibly others, on the farm of former "Whitey" Bulger bookmaker and loanshark, Louis R. Litif. The family of Conrad believes he is buried there based on information supplied to them by former FBI agent John J. Connolly, Jr. Conrad has been missing since 1979. In 1980 Litif was allegedly murdered by Bulger and Flemmi, or their associates.
Here’s an idea to save the taxpayers money. Give that slime-ball Connolly a shovel and make him do the digging. It might be the most useful, not to mention honest, thing he will ever do.
In yet another related story, a Congressional Committee led by Indiana Congressman Dan Burton is trying to get to the bottom of all the improprieties and corruption that has been going on inside the Boston FBI for more than 30 years. However, his efforts have been curtailed by a "new policy" at the Justice Department, which is now refusing to hand over paperwork referred to as "deliberative documents." The department is boasting a new "blanket policy against sharing with Congress internal paperwork related to any criminal investigation."
A Boston Herald article reports that Attorney General John Ashcroft will speak before Burton’s committee and defend the new policy, which was initiated by the Bush administration.
Here’s a question. If the Justice Department won’t share this information with Congress, who will they share it with to clear up this disgraceful soap opera in Beantown?
Maybe Dan Burton should send in the pissed off police officers from Buffalo to seize the records he wants.
I just received the book Quicksilver: The Ted Binion Murder Case and I have to tell you I see a concept here that I have never seen used before. The book is a trade paperback marketed as "Photographs by Jeff Scheid, Text by John L. Smith." It is a photographic and journalistic coverage of the Binion trial. Included in the book are 250 photos. Granted most of the pictures are small black and whites and the narrative and appendixes are spread out through only 200 pages, but my first thought was wouldn’t this be a great concept for other mob trials.
I’m thinking a book written by George Anastasia about the recent Merlino trial using numerous pictures captured by Philadelphia Inquirer photographers. Same for the Gold Club trial recently completed in Atlanta. I can’t imagine these types of books being hard to spit out with the memories so fresh in reporter’s minds. Who wouldn’t have loved to have seen one of these done for the "Commission Trial" in the 1980s with either Jerry Capeci or Selwyn Raab doing the narrative.
Last week on Court TV a female reporter from the New York Daily News mentioned an upcoming book she has written called Mob Over Miami. Which leads us to ask when is Scotty’s book about the Tampa Mob going to come out.
September 17, 1923 – George Bucher and George Meeghan were part of the South Side O’Donnell Gang that helped initiate Chicago’s Beer War on September 7. The two men were headed home for supper when a touring car driven by Thomas Hoban, and containing Frank McErlane and Danny McFall pulled alongside. Suddenly guns were extended from the touring car and they blazed away killing Bucher and Meeghan instantly. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_8-28-00.html
September 17, 1981 – Debra Davis, the 26 year-old girlfriend of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang co-leader Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, was believed murdered by Flemmi and James "Whitey" Bulger when she made plans to end their seven year relationship. Her body was never found.
September 18, 1952 – Philip D’Andrea, a one-time bodyguard for Al Capone, died of an undisclosed illness in Riverside, California. He testified before the Kefauver Committee that he was the president of Chicago’s Unione Siciliana from 1934 to 1941. In 1943 he was indicted with other leaders of the Chicago Outfit in the famous Hollywood Extortion Case. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_11-13-00.html
September 18, 1969 – Mike Adamo and Frank Mari were members of the Bonanno Family who disappeared in the wake of the "Banana War." Frank Mari was credited as being the leader of the Gaspar DiGregorio backed faction during the Troutman Street ambush on January 28, 1966.
September 18, 1976 – Gerald Carusiello was found shot seven times in the back in an apartment development in Addison, Illinois. Carusiello had served as a driver for Chicago Outfit boss Joey Aiuppa. Carusiello was believed to have been one of the torture slayers involved in the execution of several burglars who had the temerity to rob the home of Anthony Accardo.
September 19, 1980 – John "Johnny Keys" Simone was one of the 19 notches of Sammy "the Bull" Gravano. Simone was a Philadelphia mobster who backed the wrong horse in that town in the wake of Angelo Bruno’s murder. In Gravano’s book he claims that Simone asked that he be able to take his shoes off as a message to his wife before Louis Milito executed him. See my story at http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters2/gravano/9.htm
September 22, 1960 – Frank Viola escaped by "casually walking away" from the Ohio Penitentiary. In March 1941 Viola and an accomplice murdered popular Warren, Ohio mobster James "Jimmy" Munsene and his nephew Felix Monfrino. Viola was captured in Tucson in December 1945 and sentenced to life in prison for the crime. Placed on the FBI’s most wanted list he was recaptured in Detroit in March 1961.
September 22, 1966 – The LaStella restaurant incident took place. Thirteen members of organized crime were arrested at an Italian restaurant in Queens, New York. The arrests appeared on the front page of the New York Times, which called the affair "Little Apalachin." While the La Stella restaurant incident generated unwanted headlines and publicity for Carlo Gambino, Santo Trafficante, and Carlos Marcello, nothing came of the arrests, no indictments were issued, and the purpose of the meeting was never explained. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_9-27-99.html
September 23, 1927 – Sam Valente a Cleveland hood who tried to cash in on a bounty offered by Joseph Aiello to murder Al Capone. Valente was found in a field near Stickney, Illinois with his head crushed with blows from a hatchet. His murder was allegedly carried out by "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn.
September 23, 1960 – Vincent "Jimmy Jerome" Squillante was involved in New York’s garbage collection rackets and allegedly bought his way into the Mafia though a money making scheme run by Albert Anastasia and Frank Scalise in the mid-1950s. In May 1957 Squillante was believed to be one of two killers who shot down Scalise at a Bronx fruit stand. The event was used as the basis for the shooting of Vito Corleone in the Godfather movie. In September 1957 Squillante allegedly cut the throat of Joseph Scalise who had sworn revenge for his brother. His body was never found. Squillante disappeared shortly after being indicted for extortion charges. In Gangland International by James Morton the author writes, "Squillante was kidnapped and tortured before his burned body was dumped in Cincinnati."
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