Allan May's book MOB STORIES
IN THIS ISSUE|
· "Dishonest John" Finally In Stir
· "Free Pete Gotti!"
· Western-Style Shoot Out
· Beantown Mob Still Going Strong
· Short Takes
Editor’s Note:Allan May’s Current Mob Report will not appear next week as he will be away in Youngstown again working on the book. Coming in October Current Mob Report will take a look at Des Moines, Iowa and the activities of its most famous gangster Louis Fratto. The mobster’s son Johnny is working on an upcoming television program, a comedy, about him and his brothers growing up in a mob family. Johnny Fratto bills it as "The Wonder Years meets The Sopranos."
"Dishonest John" Finally In Stir
On Monday, September 16 disgraced former FBI Agent "Dishonest John" Connolly got his just deserve. After a career of high and lows the decorated agent was led off to prison to begin serving a sentence of ten years and one month. The weeks preceding the sentencing were packed with a letter writing campaign to US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro from people on both sides of the issue.
Despite the high visibility of the case and the constant barrage of letters, all presented to the public though the local media, Judge Tauro was not swayed. The term he handed down did not waver from the federal sentencing guidelines, although it was clearly at the higher end of the scale.
While AmericanMafia.com applauds the sentence, we have to admit to being mystified and disappointed at Judge Tauro’s explanation of it. Connolly driven by greed and deceit, fueled by his out of control relationship with Winter Hill mobsters James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, was responsible for the lives of at least four men – Brian Halloran, Michael Donahue, Richard Castucci and John Callahan. The once proud agent caused immeasurable pain for the families of these men.
In addition, as Assistant FBI Director Robert Jordan pointed out, "his betrayal of his fellow agents and the State Police of Massachusetts" drove a wedge regarding trust between the two agencies that will take years to repair.
Yet for all the damage "Dishonest John" created for local law enforcement and all the death, pain and sorrow he caused families, including his own, due to his greed, Judge Tauro cited Connolly’s "meddling behind the scenes" in the efforts of US District Judge Mark L. Wolf by writing a phony letter to the judge as the major factor when pronouncing his stiff sentence. Tauro stated, "These were no mere fraternity house pranks," and that the letter "attacked the very heart of what we attempt to do every day in this building – administer justice fairly."
Wow! What a slap in the face to the people who suffered real loses.
The saga of "Peter in the Hole" continues.
Last week when we left you, Brooklyn Federal Judge Frederic Block was dissatisfied with the lack of "credible information" presented by prosecutors. Led by Assistant US Attorney Andrew Genser, the government claimed that the recently indicted brother of the late "Dapper Don" was part of a Gotti "family plot" that had leveled a death threat against William Hedrick, warden of the US Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, and his family.
At 5:00pm on September 10, Block ordered Peter Gotti taken out of solitary confinement, where he had been since August 16, and placed in the general population at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn.
At 2:00pm the following day a federal judge from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals intervened and rescinded the order. While Block had no problem with the decision of the appeals court, he was miffed that his order had been disobeyed for 20 hours prior to it.
Block summoned MDC Warden Michael A. Zenk to appear in his courtroom for a Friday morning hearing with the warning that he could be found in contempt.
At the hearing prosecutors informed the judge that Zenk, after consulting the Bureau of Prisons, decided "there would be irreparable harm" done to the operations of the MDC if Gotti were allowed out of solitary.
"All I did was say put Peter Gotti back into the general population; why is that such a complicated document to read and understand?" Block demanded to know.
While he did not speak during the hearing, Zenk filed paper work with the court which prosecutors read. Zenk claimed he had not seen the order to release Gotti until 6:45am, almost 14 hours after it had been issued. Zenk’s decision seemed to be motivated by the fact that Hedrick was a "fellow warden" and he and his family had been the target of a death threat.
Although told by the FBI that the threat had been negated by its exposure, Zenk’s position was that it was "premature" to release Gotti to general population because "there are numerous other members and associates of organized crime families at the MDC who could pass messages on his behalf," which could "endanger the lives" of Hedrick and family, who were said to be under 24-hour protection.
"I would view it as a dereliction of my duties to release Peter Gotti to the general population at this time," Zenk wrote. Implying that, "running a federal prison is best left to a warden, not a judge."
On September 17, a federal appeals court panel blocked the release of Gotti from solitary confinement. The decision came after hearing prosecutor’s claims that Gotti was still able to "coordinate criminal activity" from the general population area of the MDC.
Attorney Gerald L. Shargel told the court, "The name Gotti doesn’t incur any favor in federal prisons in the country." The New York Times said Shargel denounced "the association of his client with a plot to kill the warden" and his family.
The three-judge panel ruled that Gotti would remain in isolation lock-up until an October 4 hearing.
It wasn’t the OK Corral, but the results could have been similar.
Bizarre is the only way to describe the actions of aged former Genovese Family soldier Sam "Springfield Sam" Manarite, who was involved in a western-style shootout two weeks ago. And where better to have a western-style shoot out than out West.
Dino Boggino operates Astro Auto Sales in downtown Sin City – Las Vegas. One of his employees was Manarite’s son. At 83 years of age "Springfield Sam," whose nickname came from his hometown – Springfield, Massachusetts – had become a bit crotchety and full of anger. He would drive out to Boggino’s car lot just to argue with his son.
"Most of the time the anger was directed at his own kid," Boggino said. But at times there was a deeper, darker side to Manarite’s words. "He said sometime he would come back and shoot everyone and burn the place down. But I would just tell him to calm down. I told him every time he comes and argues with his family, it runs three people off the lot."
When he wasn’t arguing, Boggino claims, "he would tell stories, but you didn’t know what to believe." According to Boggino, "Springfield Sam" never mentioned any mob connections.
But there were!
In 1947 Manarite was convicted for assault with a deadly weapon and perjury in Connecticut. In 1984 he had a second conviction for loansharking. In between, according to Keith Paul of the Las Vegas Sun, he worked as debt collector and was once "accused of using a golf club on someone who had fallen behind in payments," and another time "threatened to use acid on another person’s face if payment wasn’t soon made."
Having relocated to Las Vegas, "Springfield Sam" found himself nominated to the infamous "Black Book" in 1993. Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons bans individuals from stepping foot into any casino in the state. Fortunately for Manarite, he was convicted for money laundering in federal court and sentenced to ten and a half years. The Nevada Gaming Control Board "didn’t think he posed a threat to the casino industry anymore."
While "Springfield Sam" didn’t pose a threat to the gaming industry, it was a different story for automobile showrooms.
On Monday afternoon, September 9, the 5-foot, 6-inch, 150 pound Manarite, allegedly upset over a car sold to his son, walked into the reception area of Astro Auto Sales – guns blazing. The targets of the old mobster were Boggino and Jack Pasqualone.
Boggino, wounded in the hand, ran into his office and returned with a gun of his own. As he and "Springfield Sam" blasted away at each other, Manarite caught a slug in the arm. The gunfight ended when "Springfield Sam" ran out of ammunition.
Jumping into his white Cadillac, Manarite sped off. Police captured him less than a half-hour later at a nearby business where he had stopped to tend to his wound. Inside the Cadillac police found a nickel-plated handgun with the serial number removed.
After being treated at University Medical Center, "Springfield Sam" was taken to the Clark County jail and booked. Three days later he appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court where he was charged with two counts of attempted murder. An-ex-felon in possession of an altered firearm meant a slim chance for bail. However, a judge later set one – in excess of a half-million dollars.
"Springfield Sam" was then taken back to jail to nurse his injury; and his ego.
Perhaps adding insult to injury was the comment of George Togliatti, a former FBI agent who headed the organized crime unit for the Las Vegas office. While admitting that Manarite "was a notable figure back in the heyday." Togliatti stated, "I didn’t know he was still alive!"
Organized crime is still alive and kicking in Boston. Just ask Timothy J. Mello, who allegedly runs the mob’s New Bedford-Fall River operations.
During the pre-dawn hours of September 17 Mello, his reputed muscleman Frank "Bruno" Moniz, and four others were rousted from their slumber by FBI agents and later that morning appeared before US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, where a 16-count indictment was read.
Mello was charged with "operating a criminal organization that was involved in extortion, shaking down drug dealers, drug trafficking, witness tampering, illegal gambling and bookmaking," according to the Boston Globe.
The indictment states that Mello bought into the Tempest Fisheries, a fish processing concern located on the New Bedford waterfront, for $50,000 in 1994. Mello then sought to gain control of the business by forcing out the owner through "threats and violence." The indictment accuses Mello, and the others, of the following:
In addition to Mello, Moniz and Eric Orman, who were all charged with racketeering and other crimes, the feds also grabbed Vincent Schieri, charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs; and Antone Almeida and Norman Yelle, both charged with illegal gambling.
Shelly Murphy of the Globe reports, "Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of at least $5 million in cash, the Hassey Street property in New Bedford where Tempest Fisheries operates, five fishing boats, and additional real estate, including homes purchased by Mello" in Fall River and Dartmouth.
Mello, described by the Boston Herald’s J. M. Lawrence as "a beefy Dartmouth ex-con known for his jogging suits and bear claw-style handshakes," last came to the public’s attention in August 1990. At the time Mello was arrested for his role in an aborted kidnapping plot to murder Providence bookmaker Blaise J. Marfeo. Mello and another hood were discovered with "fake police gear" in their automobile.
An alleged power struggle was going on in the early 1990s within the Patriarca Family and Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme had ordered the abduction of Marfeo "to send a message that he was expanding his power base." The case was later dropped when a cooperating witness became uncooperative.
Colorful defense attorney Anthony M. Cardinale, who once represented Salemme, bellyached that Mello is "a very successful businessman who put a lot of work and effort into becoming successful."
Cardinale claims the government’s accusations come from "several unsavory individuals." AM.com guesses it’s those same "unsavory individuals" that make up Anthony’s client base.
"We believe in the end we’ll be victorious," Cardinale expounded to a reporter. Of course that’s the same thing he said about his handling of the Salemme case.
AmericanMafia.com has this question for Cardinale: Will "Cadillac Frank" appear as a character witness for the defense or as a government witness for the prosecution?
Drop us a line, Anthony, and let us know.
Boston (1) – Add another $65 million to the lawsuits pending against the government in the wake of the "Disaster in Beantown." So far in September two more lawsuits have been filed bring the total to ten and the monetary total to $1,871 billion. Boston Herald reporter J. M. Lawrence reported on September 11 that the family of Louis R. Litif was suing for $15 million, the smallest of all the lawsuits filed so far. She writes, "Bulger allegedly killed Litif in 1980, after learning from Connolly that the bookie was giving the FBI information about the Winter Hill Gang, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court." Lawrence reported two days later that the family of William Bennett, one of three brothers murdered in the same year by the Boston underworld, was suing for $50 million. This lawsuit claimed that H. Paul "What do you want, Tears" Rico, "assisted, condoned, participated and caused the death of" William Bennett on December 23, 1967. So far the government has not made any move to settle with the families and continues to fight the cases in court. Below is a re-cap of the pending lawsuits to date.
$50 Million– March 7, 2001 – John McIntyre
$36 Million– March 8, 2001 – Michael J. Donahue
$375 Million– July 24, 2001 – Greco, Limone and Tameleo
$25 Million– August 3, 2001 – Brian Halloran
$860 Million– March 14, 2002 – Roger Wheeler
$120 Million- March 21, 2002 – Stephen Rakes
$40 Million– July, 2002 – Richard Castucci
$300 Million– August, 2002 – Joseph Salvati
$50 Million– September, 2002 – William Bennett
$15 Million– September, 2002 – Louis Litif
Chicago - The city of Cicero didn’t waste time replacing the recently disgraced town president, Betty Loren-Maltese. On September 10, just weeks after her conviction on charges of conspiring to loot the town coffers of some $12 million, Loren-Maltese was replaced by Ramiro Gonzalez, a Cicero town-trustee and former special events director for the city. The 35 year-old Mexican-born Gonzalez is the first Hispanic town-president of Cicero despite the fact that the city is 75% Hispanic. Loren-Maltese was recently ordered to pay $3.25 million in restitution to the government. A sentencing date has not been set, but will most likely come after the first of the year. At a town meeting announcing the new leader, Gonzalez was questioned as to whether the "town would seek to recover any funds looted from the town treasury. Gonzalez responded, "I think it will be harder to get the money from the government than it would be to get it from the defendants." That’s an understatement. Just ask the government victims in Boston.
New York – Former AmericanMafia.com contributor Al Guart of the New York Post revealed in a September 15 article that the government was planning to use taped conversations from phone calls made by Vincent "The Chin" Gigante on September 11, 2001 in their case against him. Gigante called family members to check on their safety that day in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York City. Guart writes, "Prosecutors say the Sept. 11 tapes show Gigante was coherent enough last year to be on top of the news. The taped conversations show he called his relatives before they knew the Twin Towers had been hit by planes – and was sane enough to ask about their well-being." The Genovese Family boss, who earned the nick-name the "Odd Father" due to his excursions around Greenwich Village in a bathrobe, was recorded on the phone asking, "How many people died? Were there any children inside? Oh, my God. I’ll pray for them." Gigante’s lawyers still insist he suffers from dementia. Commenting on the tapes lawyers claim, "that when he is lucid, Gigante is a simple, religious man." AM.com suggests that the next time America comes under attack, God forbid, that perhaps Gigante should take his umbrella and climb back into the shower instead of worrying about the welfare of others.
Tampa – AmericanMafia.com’s man is Florida, Scott Deitche, posted this eye-popping article a couple of weeks ago. John Mamone, who became a government witness after an October 2000 indictment, in which 18 mobsters were nabbed, was sentenced to just short of ten years on September 10. Mamone pled guilty to loan-sharking, bookmaking and money laundering for the Trafficante Family in Tampa. Steve Raffa, a capo in the family, committed suicide rather than face prison time several weeks after his arrest. Mamone’s attorneys described the ordeal their client and his family suffered due to his decision to cooperate with prosecutors. "Mamone’s wife and children had to flee their home when Mamone’s cooperation was revealed in a March 21 article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The solitary confinement for protected witnesses in prison has caused ‘extraordinary psychological damage.’ He paced his jail cell in prison-issued shoes without soles, scarring and callusing the bottom of his feet while he paced his tiny cell in claustrophobic terror." In addition to the prison time, Mamone must perform 700 hours of community service and is liable for $4.5 million in restitution, which won’t be decided until November. Mamone gave information regarding a stock-fraud operation involving some Florida members of the Bonanno Family. It remains to be seen if he will be called to testify. The 10-year sentence in view of the charges is pretty shocking considering that there have been some government witnesses who have been set free under the same circumstances. Obvious comparison comes to mind of Sammy Gravano, who did just five years for his participation in 19 murders. If this is going to be a new trend in sentencing government witnesses AM.com doesn’t have a problem with it – as long as it’s applied everywhere. Are you listing New York?
Youngstown – Disgraced former congressman James A. Traficant, Jr. has launched a campaign to be re-elected to the House of Representatives in the newly redistricted 17th Congressional District in Ohio. If the jailed convict is re-elected Congress would have to vote on whether to seat him – technically speaking, not physically. Jimbo is counting down the years in his Allenwood prison cell in Pennsylvania, where he landed shortly after his July 30 sentence. The people running Traficant’s new campaign have little, if any, experience. But that isn’t a good reason not to have them on board. His new campaign manager is a substitute teacher and his campaign treasurer, Robert E. Burnett, is a retired pipe fitter. Burnett has known Jimbo for more than 30 years. While that in itself doesn’t prove experience, it does show endurance. In taking over the treasurer’s job, at Traficant’s request, Burnett said in his acceptance speech, "I don’t disown my friends like some people do." (Perhaps he was referring to the way Jimbo dumped Charlie O’Nesti when his former chief of staff was indicted.) "I have a lot of friends, and I don’t hang around with anybody who’s perfect." (That’s surely a reference to the ex-congressman.) "Just because somebody gets in trouble, everyone disowns him." (Not everyone Bob, just intelligent people.) Burnett, who has no prior congressional campaign finance experience, once ran a lemonade stand as a kid, which makes him perfect for the job. Barrett did not disclose what salary he was offered, should the Infidel be re-elected – or what portion of it he would have to kickback. Burnett can be reached at Jimbo’s horse farm where he’s probably hard at work with a shovel – a definite requirement of the position.
Copyright © 1998 - 2002 PLR International