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   Allan May's book MOB STORIES
· Hanhardt Farewell
"Tommy Horsehead" – Revisited
· Short Takes
· This Week in Mob History



Hanhardt Farewell

     The long ordeal of William Hanhardt has come to an end. His illustrious career with the Chicago Police Department was over in 1986, but he will now be remembered as the highest-ranking Chicago police officer to ever be convicted of corruption.

     After retiring from the police force Hanhardt organized a crew of jewelry thieves. In his new career, it was said by Assistant US Attorney John Scully, "A good part of Mr. Hanhardt’s job was to steal and rob and to serve the interests of the Chicago mob."

     To hear Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun Times describe the operation it sounds as if Hanhardt was as much a success as a robber as he was a cop:

     "Hanhardt’s crew had a reputation for stalking jewelry salesmen for months. They generally used stealth, not strong-arm tactics, to filch their goods. They were thieves so smooth it was as if they arrived on a breeze and departed on a whisper. So smooth they weren’t the first suspects in the robberies – the victims were, while police figured the heists had to be staged. So smooth they often knew more about the victims – by compiling detailed dossiers – than the victim’s wives did.

     "Hanhardt used his police expertise to defeat detection for years, prosecutors said. He cultivated informants – to tell him about jewelry salesmen ripe for plucking. He tapped into colleagues on the force to get confidential information on victims."

     The Chicago Tribune reported, "The racketeering conspiracy spanned at least seven states, targeted 100 jewelry salesmen and snatched about $40 million in loot." The Chicago Sun Times estimated the "loot" at a measly $5 million.

     It was through the dogged efforts of another law enforcement man that the ring was brought down. FBI Agent Edward McNamara led a team that gathered information – wiretaps, receipts, documentation and information from snitches – which finally led to the group’s demise. In the end four other ring members pled guilty, while a fifth remains to be tried.

     In the 1960s Hanhardt headed the much-heralded Criminal Investigations Unit. The CIU served as the basis for the television series Crime Story, starring Dennis Farina, an ex-police officer and friend of Hanhardt. In one of the show’s episodes Hanhardt played a retired mob hitman. Hanhardt also served as a consultant for Michael Mann’s film Thief. The movie, released in 1981, starred James Caan.

     On October 25, 2001 Hanhardt pled guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy and interstate theft. In his plea he stated that the jewelry theft ring operated from 1980, while he was on his rise to police deputy superintendent, until 1996.     Days before entering the guilty plea Hanhardt tried to take the easy way out by attempting suicide. During his pre-sentence hearing, which began on April 29, US District Judge Charles Norgle, Sr. stated that Hanhardt could face a stiffer sentence because of the failed attempt. The judge’s ruling was that the suicide attempt amounted to obstruction of justice in that he "willfully impeded prosecution of his case."

     The pre-sentence hearing lasted four days and brought out a variety of issues that never made it to trial due to Hanhardt’s plea. Prosecutors contended that Hanhardt played the middleman in an attempted mob assassination. The planning involved a meeting at O’Hare International Airport with Rudy Fratto, an alleged lieutenant in the Chicago Outfit’s Elmwood Park area. Fratto is the nephew of former Des Moines, Iowa rackets kingpin Louis Fratto.

     Prosecutors also tried to tie Hanhardt to a $750,000 jewelry robbery that wasn’t a part of the original indictment. This was an attempt to prove that ring members used violence in their robberies. The diamond salesman was attacked and beaten in his hotel room before being relieved of his goods.

     On Thursday, May 2, with relatives taking up several rows in the federal courtroom, Hanhardt went before Norgle for sentencing. The 73 year-old former top-cop told the judge, "I appreciate your time, efforts and all of your wisdom…and I just want to reiterate I stand on my faith and our criminal justice system." Norgle then sentenced Hanhardt to fifteen and a half years in prison and ordered him to pay more than $5 million in restitution.

     It was the end of the road for a once proud and high-ranking police officer. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told the media, "A remarkable chapter in the history of law enforcement in this city came to an end today with the message that no one is above the law."


"Tommy Horsehead" – Revisited     ^TOP

     "I always wanted to be a gangster," said Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi, stealing a line from Ray Liota’s Henry Hill character in the movie Goodfellas. "I wanted the respect and I liked the lifestyle."

     That "lifestyle" included murders, beatings, extortion, loansharking and, of course, the new mob staple – betrayal. In his betrayal Scafidi testified in federal court against childhood friends Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, Steve Mazzone, George Borgesi and Martin Angelina.

     For someone who wanted to live the gangster life, Scafidi came from good stock. His great-grandfather, his grandfather, his uncles and one brother were all made members of the Philadelphia Family. Scafidi’s life of crime began in high school. As a 15 year-old he began working for the mob by selling football pools. His duties accelerated over the next three years to include such activities as "cleaning guns and cars used in crimes" and driving the "blocker," the automobile used to prevent the police, or anyone else, from pursuing the getaway vehicle during the commission of a crime.

     Scafidi graduated to bookmaking and gambling, the next step up the ladder, and helped his older brother, Salvatore "Tori" Scafidi, in this effort until he was directed to work for Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, the father of "Skinny Joey," and at the time the Philadelphia Family’s underboss. As a "gofer" and "runner" under Merlino, Scafidi became adept at collecting money from gambling losers and loanshark customers. In addition, he helped launder money for then boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo to the tune of some $200,000.

     After Chuckie Merlino became a government witness, people who were formerly close to him were ordered to drop contact with his family. One of those who refused was Martin Angelina. Scafidi and Nicodemo "Young Nicky" Scarfo, the boss’s son, were ordered to "take Angelina off the street." They did this by giving him a beating with aluminum baseball bats. The reason for the aluminum bats, Scafidi would later explain, was to "make sure they didn’t break."

     With the demise of the ruthless "Little Nicky" Scarfo in the late 1980s, John Stanfa was anointed boss of the Philadelphia Family. Stanfa was an unpopular choice among the many "young turks" in South Philadelphia. The reason for the high number of "young turks" was due to the elimination of so many of the old timers and middle aged mobsters during Scarfo’s murderous purging, law enforcement’s imprisoning of others, and an abundance of members and associates who became government witnesses.

     The "young turks" were not going to sit still and be ruled by someone they considered to be an old "Mustache Pete." In 1990, while serving a short prison term, Scafidi was introduced to Ralph Natale by Joey Merlino. Natale was going to help the younger members of the South Philadelphia mob take over the Family.

     As Scafidi became entrenched in Merlino’s "inner circle" he would become involved in planning some of the gang’s murders. In 1990 James "Jimmy Brooms" DiAddorio was murdered after boasting he was going to take over the Philadelphia mob. During the killing Scafidi drove the "blocker."

     When the killings in what became the Stanfa / Merlino War began in 1992 Scafidi was present and participated in the planning sessions to murder John Stanfa and his people. In March 1992 Michael Ciancaglini, who was Merlino’s closest associate, survived an assassination attempt in which shotguns were fired through his front window. During the attack Michael Ciancaglini was positive his brother Joseph, Stanfa’s underboss, was one of the shooters.

     A year later Michael got his revenge. He helped lay out the plans to kill his brother in the Wakefield Breakfast & Lunch Express diner in the Gray’s Ferry section. Scafidi would later say that he was "lured" to Michael’s home on the morning of the shooting by Merlino. Once there an angry and vengeful Michael Ciancaglini told Scafidi, "If you don’t go with us to kill him, I’m going to kill you right now!"

     Scafidi was involved in the ill-fated revenge attack in which Joseph Ciancaglini was shot in the head and left for dead – the incident was captured on FBI audio and video tape outside the diner. Joseph, incredibly, survived the brutal attack, but was left with permanent damage.

     As the warfare entered the summer of 1993 a friend of Scafidi informed him that he had been asked to set up Scafidi by Merlino and Michael Ciancaglini. Apparently Scafidi had been a little to vocal about some of the decisions the gang had been making. At this point Scafidi decided that to stay alive he would have to change sides. In July 1993 he left the Merlino camp and joined the Stanfa team.

     There were others in the Merlino organization that were unhappy with the way Joey was running things. Kitty Caparella of the Philadelphia Daily News reported, "Scafidi wasn’t the only one to defect. The balance of power shifted from Merlino to Stanfa at the height of the 1993 mob war." Scafidi was initiated into the Stanfa Family becoming a made member of the Mafia in November 1993. The "protection" Scafidi thought he had inherited with his new status seemed tenuous.

     After the first plot to kill Scafidi sent him running to join the opposition, a second attempt was planned. On December 5, 1993, four months to the day after Michael Ciancaglini was murdered and Merlino wounded during a street attack in broad daylight, Scafidi was ambushed by two masked men after entering his automobile outside his home. "I floored it," Scafidi would later recall. "Whoever shot at me hit the door and the window shattered."

     The false sense of security Scafidi thought he owned as a made-member of the Philadelphia underworld came crashing down on March 17, 1994 when a federal indictment decimated the Stanfa Family. Scafidi knew it was just a matter of time before he too was arrested. Before the authorities could get him, the Merlino faction tried again. While on his way home on the Atlantic City Expressway a car sped alongside Scafidi’s Jeep and three masked men began blasting. Unharmed, Scafidi maneuvered the smoking vehicle off the highway before it burst into flames and exploded. When state troopers arrived they asked what happened. "It just overheated," Scafidi replied.

     In November 1994 authorities finally arrested Scafidi. He was charged with racketeering – convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. Scafidi had plenty of time to ponder his future while behind bars.

     On June 28, 1999 Merlino was arrested in Margate, New Jersey. It would take nearly two years for his trial to begin as the government built its case against Merlino. Other members of his gang would be indicted on a variety of charges. The authorities tried to strengthen their case by making deals with several mobsters to become government witnesses. In September 1999 Scafidi sought the advice of Merlino attorney Joseph Santaguida about "coming home." Scafidi was near the end of his sentence and he wanted to know if all had been forgiven. The message was meant to relay to Merlino that Scafidi was not cooperating with the authorities and that he wanted to see if he would be welcomed back into the fold.

     The answer came back, "Don’t worry about it." But Scafidi did worry about it, especially after his connections in South Philadelphia warned him that if he returned he wouldn’t last 24 hours. On October 26 an event happened that Scafidi claimed made up his mind. Caparella reported that, "One-time mob underboss Ron Turchi was found dead in a car with two bullets in his head, covered in a plastic bag." The body had been stripped apparently in an effort to discover if he was wearing a microphone.

     The first hint that Scafidi would end his Philadelphia mob career by becoming a government witness, or "mob rat" in gangland parlance, was on November 11, 1999. Caparella, in writing about federal prosecutors filing RICO charges against Joey Merlino, stated, "investigators have asked at least two Merlino associates, George Borgesi and Gaeton (sic) "Horsehead" Scafidi, to cooperate, according to law enforcement and street sources. Both men refused."

     In the early 1990s Scafidi figured Merlino owed him $300,000 from gambling money and shakedown profits he had collected. Merlino never paid. When rumors were floating around that Scafidi might cooperate Merlino tried to make good. He had George Borgesi send Scafidi a letter in prison with a money order for $100 stuffed inside. Scafidi laughed.

     Four months later, on March 30, 2000, George Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

     "A boyhood friend and former ally of reputed crime boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino has agreed to provide information to federal authorities that links Merlino and several of his top associates to a notorious 1993 South Philadelphia gangland shooting that sparked a bloody mob war…

     "Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi, 35, was scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury in Philadelphia yesterday after finalizing a cooperating agreement earlier this month…

     "Scafidi is serving an 82-month sentence after pleading guilty to racketeering charges in 1995. His decision to cooperate was described by one source yesterday as a ‘devastating blow’ to Merlino.

     "And even more important, because Scafidi would be the first member of Merlino’s so-called inner circle to cooperate, he could help authorities build a case against several top Merlino associates who have thus far avoided indictment."

     Scafidi would have to testify against his old childhood pals along with Ralph Natale, Peter "Pete the Crumb" Caprio and Ronald Previte. No family in the history of organized crime in this country has produced more government witnesses than the Philadelphia Family. When Ralph Natale agreed to "Cut and Roll" he became the first "sitting boss" to do so.

     The Merlino trial finally got underway at the end of March 2001. On April 23 it was Scafidi’s turn on the witness stand. He exposed a picture of life under Merlino far different from the one portrayed in the newspapers of him feeding the homeless and throwing Christmas parties for under privileged children.

     Scafidi, now stealing a line from Bugsy Siegel, told the jury, "We kill each other. It’s part of our life." He then apologized for his crude language explaining, "that’s just the way we talk." Scafidi stated, "Joey was no good all his life. He kept robbing people … That’s why we’re here right now." George Anastasia wrote, "Greed, treachery, and the senseless use of violence were the reasons [Scafidi] first switched his allegiance to Stanfa during the 1993 mob war and why he later decided to testify for the government…"

     Scafidi told the jury, "I didn’t want to get involved in stupid…killing people for no reason. I mean, if somebody was a threat to us, yeah, you go kill him. But not senseless stuff, for no reason." An example of the "senseless stuff," as defined by Scafidi, was the murder of "Jimmy Brooms" DiAddorio. He explained that DiAddorio was murdered because he was "demeaning" Merlino and Michael Ciancaglini in South Philadelphia by claiming he was going to take control of the mob. "Jimmy Brooms, he was a drunk from the neighborhood. All we had to do was give this guy a beating and chase him away. He was harmless." Scafidi also testified that the shooting of Nicky Scarfo, Jr. was senseless. "He might have deserved to get beat up…but he didn’t deserve to be killed."

     As far as Merlino’s management style in the mob’s betting operations was concerned, Scafidi said, "If he wins, he’s paid. And if he loses, he don’t pay." Scafidi said that speaking his mind about Merlino and Michael Ciancaglini branded him as a malcontent in the organization.

     As his direct examination came to an end, Anastasia wrote of Scafidi:

     "His voice cracking, his eyes tearing, Scafidi told the jury he knows what it’s like for the family members of defendants convicted based on the testimony of informants like himself. His brother Salvatore is serving a 40-year sentence following his conviction in a mob racketeering case built around informant testimony."

     On July 20, 2002 Merlino, while being acquitted on the more serious charges, was convicted of gambling, extortion and receiving stolen property. On December 3 he received a 14-year sentence.

     Last month it was Scafidi’s turn to be sentenced. On April 22 he stood before US District Judge Clarence Newcomer and asked for the opportunity to turn his life around. "You’re the only one who can cut me loose," Scafidi told the judge.

     Scafidi was looking at the possibility of 25 years for his role in murder of "Jimmy Brooms" DiAddorio and the maiming of Joseph Ciancaglini. Assistant US Attorney David Fritchey asked Newcomer to "send a message" to other potential cooperating witnesses by granting Scafidi a lenient sentence. Newcomer consented and gave Scafidi a 30-month term, of which 18 months have already been served. Scafidi should be released by year-end.

     Scafidi won’t be returning home or seeing his estranged wife or young son. Instead, he’s headed into the Witness Protection Program where he will be given a new identity and a new home – just like all the other South Philadelphia mobsters-turned-government-witnesses before him…and those yet to come.

Short Takes     ^TOP

Atlantic City – Our man in Eastern Pennsylvania has informed AmericanMafia.com that the link we posted to the Atlantic City casino exclusion list is outdated. Here is the new link that he provided http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ge/exclude_home.htm

Boston – The trial of Michael Flemmi, the brother of Winter Hill Gang co-leader Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, was found guilty in a trial which ended Friday, May 3. Next week AmericanMafia.com will feature a re-cap of the trial. In the meantime, opening arguments in the trial of former FBI agent "Dishonest John" Connolly were heard last Wednesday. Some are predicting that this trial could last several months.

Chicago – A week after sentencing former Chicago deputy police superintendent William Hanhardt, US District Judge Charles Norgle was at it again. This time it was Hanhardt’s "right-hand man" Joseph "Skinny Joe" Basinski. The 57 year-old Basinski, an alcoholic who has tested positive for pre-cancerous polyps and hepatitis C, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $5.1 million in restitution for the jewelry robberies he was involved with. In handing down the sentence the judge described Basinski, who is a German immigrant, as a criminal who, "led a life using aliases and other names to become almost a non-entity…Now he is going to face the effects, ultimately of deportation." Defense attorneys during the sentencing tried to convince Norgle that the jewelry heist ring had nothing to do with organized crime. Norgle, who gave Basinski the longest sentence available under the guidelines, apparently didn’t believe them.

Hackensack – It’s hard to determine which event here mob watchers are more interested in: the trial of alleged Genovese Family member Danny Provenzano; or the release of his much heralded movie, This Thing of Ours. Both events could take place simultaneously this September. George Anastasia informs us that the 38 year-old Provenzano co-wrote, directed and starred in the movie, which debuted in beautiful Hoboken, New Jersey on April 25. Veteran mob-movie actors Vincent Pastore and Frank Vincent co-star in the film, while James Caan has a cameo role. Some of the financing for the movie was supplied by Colombo Family capo John "Sonny" Franzese. As for the trial, Anastasia writes, "Provenzano also has the lead in the criminal case, in which he is accused of heading a mob crew that extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars through fear, intimidation and violence." Danny Provenzano is the great-nephew of Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, who was the prime suspect in the 1975 disappearance of James Hoffa.

Las Vegas – The re-sentencing of Los Angeles Family member Stephen Cino, scheduled for May 3, is delayed until May 14 due to medical reasons. Cino, who had a coronary bypass in February 1998, is suffering from congenital heart failure. He was found guilty of two counts of extortion and two counts of money laundering in 1999, but was acquitted of conspiring to murder Herbert "Fat Herbie" Blitzstein, who was killed in January 1997. In August 1999 Cino was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed one of the money laundering charges in September 2001. The Las Vegas Sun reported that Cino’s lawyer, David Chernoff, "was expected to ask US District Judge Philip Pro to grant Cino a lenient sentence." Why? Chernoff admits that his client had "participated in Spanish, French, creative writing and nutrition classes in prison." When he was out of prison he participated in plotting murders and running extortion and money laundering schemes. It sounds like prison is just the place Mr. Cino needs to be.

Philadelphia – William "Dust Bunny" Rinick just can’t seem to stay out of the trouble. The latest incident has him harassing a Pennsylvania Assistant US Attorney General. The state official, who handles asset forfeitures, was contacted by Rinick, who wants to retrieve items seized by state drug agents last December. When things didn’t go Rinick’s way during a telephone conversation, the "Dust Bunny" decided to stare down the lady attorney while traveling side-by-side on a highway. Kitty Caparella of the Philadelphia Daily News reported that due to Rinick’s "explosive temper" the terrified attorney "was initially guarded at her home for several days and recently moved into an undisclosed hotel…" Rinick’s attorney, Edwin "Money Grubber" Jacobs, who also represents Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, called the state official’s move "an abundance of caution." Jacobs claimed his client "just wants to get on with his life." That thought alone is frightening –

don’t you think so, Edwin? Let’s take a look at recent events in Rinick’s life. He’s the prime suspect in the October 31, 2001 murder of restaurant owner Adam Finelli; on December 7 state drug agents found Rinick in the home Deborah Merlino hiding under her daughter’s bed; on December 23 he sucker-punched Salvatore Abbruzzese causing $45,000 worth of medical bills; and all the while Rinick has been under investigation for drug trafficking. AmericanMafia.com is going out on a limb and guessing that Rinick is probably not a neighbor of Edwin – nor ever will be. Let’s hope the local authorities don’t allow Rinick "to get on with his life."

Rochester – Law enforcement agencies have a done an excellent job in this city of keeping it clear of underworld influence. During the 1970s and 1980s this city in Western New York had more than its share of mob activity, including the A & B War or Alphabet War. Part of the continuing clean up process has been keeping an eye on imprisoned mobsters as they gain their freedom. One of these figures was former capo Thomas Marotta. In 1987, Marotta was convicted of racketeering charges and spent nearly 10 years in prison before being released in 1996. In his mid-50s, Marotta must have thought that prison life wasn’t all that bad because it didn’t take long for him to return to illegal activities. On May 2, 2002 Marotta pled guilt to the following charges as outlined by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:

  • Conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Rochester and New York City
  • Conspiracy to launder between $200,000 and $350,000 he believed were profits from illegal drug and gambling operations. Marotta said he received a portion of the money for setting up the deal.
  • Conspiracy to transport six stolen automobiles from Rochester to Cleveland. Marotta said he paid another man, now deceased, $4,000 to deliver one of the vehicles.
  • Conspiracy to use, transfer, acquire and possess between $120,000 and $200,000 in food stamps. Marotta said he bought the food stamps, which he believed were stolen, for a fraction of their face value.

     Part of the activities were carried out with convicted attorney Anthony F. Leonardo, Jr., who is currently serving a 12-year sentence. Marotta is free pending sentencing, at which time he will probably be looking at another 9 years. Marotta will be almost 70 at that time and will have spent 18 of the last 24 years in prison. Maybe by that time Marotta will have learned his lesson. Maybe not!

Scranton – "David Kurtz is not going away," according to the Scranton Times Tribune. Two days after having his racketeering and corrupt organizations lawsuit against Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse thrown out due to a technicality, Kurtz is promising to refile. But is it a case of Kurtz crying wolf? According to a Times Tribune report, Kurtz "was known as an attorney who would take on unpopular causes." The newspaper wrote that Assistant District Attorney Amie Minora "maintained Mr. Kurtz often stopped his advocacy when the spotlight dimmed." Kurtz claims he intends to re-file the suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. We’ll see.

This Week in Mob History     ^TOP

May 13, 1923 – Samuel "Nails" Morton’s death remains the most unique of all mob deaths in the past century. He was whacked out by a horse. Morton, who had been acquitted in 1921 of killing two police officers, was out for a Sunday morning ride with three companions including Dion O’Bannion and his wife. As the group headed toward Lincoln Park the horse became "unmanageable" and bolted down Clark Street. As Morton tried to gain control, the horse threw him to the ground and then kicked him in the head. The iron horseshoe caused a skull fracture and Morton died without regaining consciousness. During World War I Morton served in the 131st Infantry, where he rose to the rank of first lieutenant and received the French Croix de Guerre. A few days after Morton’s death a distraught friend, Louis "Two-Gun" Alterie, took the horse from the stable and executed it.

May 13, 1977 – Michael J. "Mickey" Spillane was a colorful figure in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City as the leader of what was then called the West Side Irish Mob. Spillane was described as a "gangster from another era." He handed out turkeys at Thanksgiving and visited the elderly. According to T. J. English, in his classic tale of The Westies, Spillane was murdered on the orders of Anthony "Fat Anthony" Salerno so the Genovese Family could "establish control over the soon-to-be-built Jacob Javits Convention Center."

May 13, 1982 – Frank John Monte, according to George Anastasia, was Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo’s consigliere and the first victim of the Riccobene/Scarfo War. On the night of the killing, Riccobene gunmen Joseph Pedulla and Victor DeLuca staked out Monte’s car, which was parked outside a Southwest Philadelphia gas station. When Monte returned to his automobile around 9:00 pm, Pedulla, with a .22 caliber rifle with a scope mounted on it, put six slugs in Monte’s head and back. He died within an hour. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_5-8-00.html

May 14, 1908 – Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach rose in the New York City underworld at the turn of the century as the chief lieutenant of Monk Eastman, an infamous labor racketeer. With Eastman in prison Zwerbach took control of the gang. Zwerbach soon ran afoul of Five Points Gang boss Paul Kelly. In a shoot out with Kelly’s men Kid Twist and his sidekick, Cyclone Louie, were shot and killed by Louie the Lump. I don’t make these names up folks.

May 14, 1957 – Eliot Ness was one of the most celebrated lawmen of the 20th Century. Although his character was exploited by Hollywood in the Untouchables television series starring Robert Stack and the movie by the same name starring Kevin Costner, the fact remains that Ness was an incorruptible crime fighter. What is forgotten about Ness, due to his fictionalized battles against Frank Nitti and the rest of the Chicago Outfit, was that he was a top-notch police administrator who cleaned up and revamped the Cleveland Police Department. In 1947 Ness ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Cleveland. He died of a massive heart attack at the age of 54.

May 16, 1978 – Carl, Joseph and Michael Spero, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, were attacked in a Kansas City bar on the orders of Nicholas Civella, the imprisoned boss of the Kansas City Mafia Family. Civella was to be paroled, due to health problems, on June 14, 1978 after serving just ten months of a three and a half-year sentence. According to a government informant, "he ordered that all pending murder contracts be acted on before his release, to offset the public outcry over his parole." In this attack Michael Spero was killed and his brothers Carl and Joseph wounded.

May 16, 1979 – Joseph "Joe Buddha" Manri wanted to become a made member of the Mafia, changing his name from Manriquez to Manri, hoping his Hispanic looks could pass as Italian; and Robert "Frenchy" McMahon was a numbers runner from the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan who had devoted his life to crime. The two were members of Jimmy Burke’s infamous Roberts’ Lounge crew and participated in the Lufthansa heist in December 1978. Both men were found murdered in the front seat of a 1973 Buick parked on Schenectady Avenue in the Mill Basin Section of Brooklyn. Both had been shot in the back of the head. Police investigators determined that the two men knew their assailant, or assailants, who was seated in the back seat of the automobile. Because it was a two-door vehicle, police said the killer had to climb over the bodies to get out of the car. See my story at http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters3/lufthansa/

May 17, 1966 – Joseph Notaro, according to Gay Talese in Honor Thy Father, was one of Joseph Bonanno’s must trusted and loyal capos. On the day Bonanno reappeared in New York City, after having allegedly been kidnapped in October 1964, he and his men went to dinner at the La Scala restaurant, site of the infamous "Little Apalachin" meeting in September 1966, to celebrate. During the meal Notaro slumped over and died of a massive heart attack.

May 17, 1977 – John A. Nardi, was the son-in-law of Cleveland Mafia consigliere Anthony Milano, whose brother, Frank, was once the leader of the Mayfield Road Mob. With the death of long-time Cleveland boss John Scalish in May 1976, Nardi thought he would carry on the family tradition and become the new leader. The Cleveland Mafia Family, under James "Jack White" Licavoli, had other plans. The ensuing war made Cleveland the "bombing capital of America," as Nardi teamed with famed Irish mobster Danny Greene to go against the "establishment." While the Nardi/Greene forces had some early victories the Licavoli forces caught up with Nardi by planting a bomb in a car parked next to his automobile in the parking lot of Teamsters’ Local 410. James "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno revealed in his book The Last Mafioso, that Pasquale "Butchie" Cisternino was responsible for the killing. For more details read Rick Porrello’s To Kill the Irishman http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_6.html

May 18, 1987 – Frank James Burke was the son of James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke. Frank Burke drove the crash car during the infamous Lufthansa heist, although he was never charged. He was shot to death by convicted drug dealer Tito Ortiz on a Brooklyn street. See my story http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters3/lufthansa/

May 19, 1936 – Arcangela Magaddino Longo was the sister of longtime Buffalo mob boss Stefano Magaddino. Longo and her husband lived next door to Magaddino. In an ill-fated attempt to murder Magaddino a hand-grenade was thrown through the window of the wrong home and Longo was killed.

Contact: AllanMay@AmericanMafia.com


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