Tuesday, June 28, 2016

From Sausage & Peppers to Gambinos & Persicos

Cosa Nostra News Exclusive
First, the following string of comments is from a previous story; this is simply to set this story's backdrop.

Comments are highlighted in yellow to signify their pending significance. (The comments are no longer following, technically. To make the story easier to read I placed them on another page, but we'll get to that.)

Angelo Spata found the key to power and fortune marrying a Persico, which led to his induction in the Colombo crime family
Angelo Spata does a Carlo Gambino grin for media.

The comments, edited for clarity and space, offer several revelations:

1.) Former Gambino crime family captain Michael "Mikie Scars" DiLeonardo wasn't involved in that blog story or the related discussion until "several" commenters blasted him. (The quotes around several are because the various names used were actually one person; this person seemed to have a strong proclivity to defend Angelo "Little Angelo" Spata.) However, since the commenter said nothing substantial to indicate he possessed special knowledge, he may have been simply putting on an act. Regardless, we now have some intriguing information to regale you with regarding the New York Mafia

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book on Sicilian Palmeri Brothers Now on Kindle

Paul Palmeri was alleged to be a witness in the murder of Willie Moretti, New Jersey boss. The above is a reenactment of RFK's 1958 interview with John Charles Montana (former underboss or consiglieri of  Stefano Magaddino).

Today marks the Kindle debut of Louis P. DiVita's A Wiser Guy -- so readers can purchase it in whatever format they prefer: ebook, hardcover or paperback. (Be sure to check out Louis's website, where the above trailer is posted, along with additional information.)

In A Wiser Guy, DiVita -- whose grandfather was Paul Palmeri and great uncle Benedetto Angelo, aka "Buffalo Bill," Joseph DiCarlo's partner -- shares personal and colorful anecdotes about life among high-profile members of the American Mafia from around the 1920s to the present.

DiVita's forebears, originally from Sicily's Castellammare Del Golfo, first played a decades-long role in upstate New York where they were closely allied with mob bosses Stefano Magaddino and Joseph DiCarlo. The Palmeri brothers initially planted their flags in Buffalo and Niagara Falls; they had associations with major Canadian mobsters of the day, such as Rocco Perri. These relationships had ramifications that rippled upward, into both the Ndrangheta and the Cosa Nostra, both of which were established in Canada. "Buffalo Bill" had died quite young of natural causes, while Paul eventually wound up in New Jersey, where he sparked up an old partnership with a guy named Willie Moretti.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nephew of Colombo Boss Carmine Persico Dies

Danny Persico, nephew of sentenced-to-life Colombo crime family boss Carmine Persico, has died.

This is based on a seemingly exclusive report by Kenji Gallo on his Breakshot Blog.

Danny, in his early 50s, had been fighting colon cancer for the past five years
Danny Persico wasn't a violent mobster despite his last name.

While contacting sources, we learned Danny, in his early 50s, had been fighting colon cancer for around the past six years.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"A Wiser Guy" Emphasizes "Wise" in Wiseguy

 A Wiser Guy, by Louis DiVita, includes mention of a nearly unbelievably wide array of wiseguys, including Willie Moretti, Albert Anastasia, Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Vito Genovese.

Some are not as well known.

His forebears wound up in New Jersey's Mafia landscape but first played a decades-long role in upstate New York where they were closely allied with mobsters such as Stefano Magaddino and Joseph DiCarlo.

The Palmeri brothers both backed their countryman Salvatore Maranzano when the New York Mafia split into factions and used murder to finally end an ongoing feud as to who was going to be who. Afterward, the Mafia as we know it today was created.

Louis DiVita is the real deal. He's not over-hyping half-assed connections. He comes from the Sicilians who arrived in this country in the early 20th century and started up what would be formally christened in 1931 as the American Cosa Nostra, the Mafia, the crime families spread across the country.

Sicilian Background
Louis DiVita's maternal great-grandparents, Francesco and Anna Caleca Palmeri, had three sons, Benedetto Angelo, Giovanni, and the youngest, Paolo (Paul), born on Oct. 1, 1892.

Francesco was an affluent merchant, so the family enjoyed the privileges of an upper-class lifestyle in the Sicilian town of Castellammare del Golfo. ("Sea Fortress on the Gulf" is a rough English translation. The name is based on the seaside town's medieval fortress, located on the Gulf of Castellammare.)

Those familiar with early Mafia history certainly know the birthplace's significance.

The small town in Sicily's Trapani province is noted for being the birthplace of many luminaries in what later became the American Mafia.

Salvatore Maranzano, Stefano Magaddino and Joseph Bonanno all hailed from the town. Two loyalists (and mob heavyweights in their own right) of what later was named the Bonanno crime family also were born there: Vito Bonventre, who'd go on to boss "The Good Killers" gang, and John Tartamella.

In New York City, a violent underworld war broke out and was nicknamed for that town.

Benedetto, who arrived in America via New York City in 1906, relocated in 1912 to Buffalo,where he opened Dante Place, a tavern with an interesting name.

Palmeri met Rosaria Mistretta, a cousin of Vincenza DiCarlo. Her husband, Joseph DiCarlo, is considered the boss of Buffalo's first crime family.

The Friendship: Palmeri, DiCarlo
The couple married and within a year moved into the DiCarlo family's home, living in a separate apartment. Palmeri and DiCarlo became friendly and soon Dante Place (why not Dante's Place, I continually wonder) became a saloon that both men owned.

Palmeri later served as DiCarlo's underboss.

Angelo Palmeri, Louis's great uncle.
DiCarlo, the subject of a two-volume historical biography, was described by newspapermen in various ways: "The Al Capone of Buffalo" and western New York's "Public Enemy No. 1."

DiCarlo and his organization wasn't recognized as the rightful heir to his father's crown. Stefano Magaddino had arrived. This impacted the Palmeris, too, including Louis DiVita's grandfather, Paul.

Paul Palmeri, while only 16 years old, set sail for the United States, arriving in New York City in 1909. He moved to Lower Manhattan's then-immense and growing Little Italy section, where he clipped hair for a living. 

More than five years later he married Elena (Helen) Curti. His best man was Silvio Tagliagambe, an associate of New York-based "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila. (Tagliagambe was shot to death in 1922 on the orders of Joe "The Boss" Masseria.)

Paul Palmeri, his wife and their two children, Anna and Ernesto, moved to Niagara Falls in 1920, where he worked with his brother, mainly in bootlegging, which was poised to pave the underworld's streets with gold, minting fortunes for mobsters from sea to shining sea.

Paul and Helen Palmeri had two more children while in Niagara Falls.

The Palmeri brothers eventually worked with a larger group of bootleggers that included Canadian crime boss Rocco Perri, a major mob power who controlled the flow of illegal (but real) liquor into the U.S.

Rocco Perri, the Canadian Al Capone.

In 1922, DiCarlo died and Angelo served as temporary boss, in control of the Niagara Falls-based mob.

In 1928, Paul Palmeri was a trusted member of Magaddino's western New York crime family. Palmeri also joined with Alfred Panepinto to start a new business. Panepinto & Palmeri Funeral Home was based in Niagara Falls.

Then the Castellammarese War flared up. Both Palmeris sided with their Castellammarese associates and supported Maranzano in the war against Masseria. They'd meet with Joseph Bonanno in Brooklyn to plot Masseria's overthrow. (In his autobiography A Man of Honor, Joe Bonanno discussed his close relationship with Angelo Palmeri, whose home Bonanno visited amid his 1931 Niagara Falls honeymoon, the DiCarlo blog noted.

After the Castellammarese War, Angelo Palmeri suffered from severe ongoing health problems. On Dec. 21, 1932, at 54 years old, he suffered a stroke and died in the driver's seat while parked in his driveway. 

Paul Palmeri relocated to Passaic, New Jersey, in 1941 with his family.

He met with a former partner, Willie Moretti, a close ally to Frank Costello (mob boss of what was later called the Genovese crime family).

This is where Louis's book starts ramping up. He in fact first mentions his grandfather's death. He thanks a newspaper for including certain information in his grandfather's obituary.

He notes that: "We are grateful to the Buffalo Evening News... (which) in December 1932, in the subtitle of his obituary, wrote “Was Benefactor of Italian Colony." 

The obituary stated:

He passed out $5s and $10s to tide his lowly friends until work became more available. To the citizens of the lower west side he was their individual welfare department, a man who could and would aid them when pride kept them from appealing to the organized charities Especially grateful were the members of upwards of a score of families whose only source of food each Christmas for years had been Angelo B. Palmeri.

With his book, Louis seeks to both emulate that aspect of his grandparents' legacy, as well as honor it. To that end, he adds:

Writing this book and telling the stories would not be complete unless a portion of the proceeds were designated to helping others in need. Through the “Buffalo Bill Bountiful Table Project,” we will make a donation for every book purchased...

DiVita's view of "the life" was complicated from the beginning, with perceptions not properly aligning with the facts as he experienced them firsthand.

Anybody who has studied the mob lifestyle at any level thinks they can relate to the mindset of gangsters and those around them. Not so. Gangsters have difficulty distinguishing poverty versus wealth. In the movie Donnie Brasco, Lefty Ruggiero explains the honor of being a Wise Guy and brags about having 23 hits to his claim. But we see Lefty standing outside the crew’s social club, waiting to pay homage to their captain. What man of honor? Especially in light of a scene showing Lefty breaking open parking meters for spending money.

Further disparities are noted.

 Many of my own personal experiences were with made guys and associates who did everything from hustle junk cars, costume jewelry, sweaters, and the like for, as we say, “Corks.” (Corks is chump change.)
This was anything for a buck, because times were lean. The same guys trying to squeeze tens and twenties here and there were tipping bartenders 50 dollar bills. You see, sports betting, loansharking, extortion and all forms of racketeering didn’t always pay off. Kind of here today, gone tomorrow."

A Wiser Guy is one of the more unique Mafia memoirs I've read. It includes historical information, but as viewed through Louis DiVita's eyes, or filtered through the stories told to him by such primary sources as friends and family members.

As Louis writes in a Wiser Guy, "I was born into this world. These are my observations of family members and their associates, my real life experiences as a child, young adult, and fully grown man. I remember everything in great detail, from the 1950s to today."

"I will reveal my personal experiences and the experiences of my grandfather, grandmother, parents, aunts, uncles and close and distant friends. This is my story, written by me, in my own words. It took many years to get it all down on paper, but here it is.... I wrote the stories I felt I wanted to tell but by no means all the stories."

What we have here is a book of stories about wiseguys, with some wisdom that one of them accrued over the course of his life. Louis DiVita serves up a feast in A Wiser Guy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sollecito, Suffering from Cancer, Granted Bail

Leonardo Rizzuto wasn't -- but then the son of deceased Montreal Cosa Nostra boss Vito Rizzuto isn't suffering what seems to be, in Stefano's case, terminal cancer.
Leonardo Rizzuto was denied ball again, though a judge allowed it for a dying Stefano Sollecito.

Alleged Montreal Mafia leader Stefano Sollecito was granted bail, the Montreal Gazette reported.

Leonardo Rizzuto wasn't -- but then the son of deceased Montreal Cosa Nostra boss Vito Rizzuto isn't suffering what seems to be, in Stefano's case, terminal cancer.

The reported reason for Sollecito's bail: the judge agreed "he cannot adequately be treated for the cancer he is suffering from inside a provincial detention centre."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Did Chin Really Target John Gotti? Angel Replies....

Angel Gotti, John Gotti's daughter, sent me a response to a recent story about her father. (Basically, I wrote a short preamble focused on Costabile Gus Farace, then posted the New York Times obituary.)

"The Chin" and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso both tried to take Gotti out, supposedly over the "unsanctioned" hit on former Gambino boss Paul Castellano.
John Gotti in his prime.
She offered an interesting anecdote that I am publishing here. Embedded within it is a a criticism of factual information that made me dig a little further into some transcripts regarding the allegedly planned assassination of John Gotti (and his brother Gene) by the Genovese crime family.

According to mob lore, "The Chin" and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso both tried to take Gotti out, supposedly over the "unsanctioned" hit on former Gambino boss Paul Castellano.

First, Angel's response:

The story is not 100% accurate...
I don't care what anyone on this planet says, John Gotti was not afraid of anyone, not Gigante, not anyone. 
He lost his son and I will tell you this: he never feared death.

I lived down the block from my parents so I had to take my kids down every single day to see him and sometimes after reading an article in the paper about him, I would get upset and worried.

One time after something appeared in the paper I kissed him goodbye and said "Be careful."

Man, oh man, did he get mad... 
"'Be careful of what???!!!!' was his response!

Needless to say I never said that to him again.

Men like John Gotti (rare as they are) need to shield loved ones from even a hint of violence. (The very dynamic that fueled years of Sopranos episodes.) That is, if they want to ensure their loved ones' peace of mind (as well as their own).

But the truth is, Gotti was a marked man. And Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, to whom Angel referred above, likely constituted the largest threat to the Gotti reign.

Or did he?

There's a slightly different interpretation of those Genovese conversations, according to John A. Gotti, in his book Shadow of My Father.

But let's first play the tape (or, let's publish some transcripts of wiretap recordings).

The following dialog, said the Feds, shows that Gotti's life was in danger.

Plots against Gotti Or Conspiracy Theories?
Louis "Bobby" Manna's base of operations was in New Jersey in Casella’s Restaurant. From there, he managed gambling, loansharking, labor racketeering, corruption and pier thefts in the region. Based on investigative findings, Manna also controlled portions of Hudson County once believed to be under John DiGilio's purview.

Authorities said the plot to kill the Gottis surfaced in 1987 during a joint FBI-New Jersey State Police investigation into Manna's Mafia activities. Dozens of secretly recorded conversations were obtained after the FBI placed a listening device in Casella's Restaurant. The taped conversations occurred between August 1987 and January 1988.

What sounds like the starkest threat against Gotti was a conversation between Manna and James Napoli, in which Manna said: ''Gene Gotti's dead.''

''When are you gonna hit him?'' Napoli asked.

''Gene Gotti's dead,'' Manna repeated.

''We're gonna be paying for this, you know, for the rest of our lives,'' Napoli said.

Sounds pretty cut and dried.

Now, John A. Gotti's Shadow of My Father:

"Vincent “Chin” Gigante, was a man who was used to being in control. With a whispered voice, and a point to his chin to signal that orders came from him, Gigante ruled over the Genovese family." 
... Gigante’s method of command contrasted from that of my father. My father was up front and out there with his people. He was accessible... Gigante, enshrouded in his bathrobe, played the part of the crazy man. 

John A. Gotti goes on to acknowledge that "there was a belief, in 1987, that a move by the Genovese Family was in the works to kill my father. Gigante’s New Jersey faction, based in Newark, according to reports, was given the go ahead to eliminate my father and my Uncle Gene."

Having listened to the Manna recordings, Bruce Mouw and other FBI agents paid Gotti a visit to warn him, officially.

 Gotti "responded with a noncommittal shrug, wished the agents a nice day, and closed the door to them."

A sitdown was arranged between my father and Gigante, with security being arranged by my Uncle Gene for my father, and I was told that Gigante’s security was arranged by Quiet Dom Cirillo.  
At the meeting, Gigante denied any knowledge of any plot against my father, and said, if it were true, he would kill Louis “Bobby” Manna, the head of his Jersey faction, for attempting such a plot.  
Gigante explained that tape recordings regarding my father and my uncle being dead, did not refer to any hit attempt, but referenced the strong likelihood of their conviction at the trial they were facing in 1987.  
With Gigante’s word, an agreement was made and all parties left satisfied. My father, ever the wise strategic thinker, investigated the facts behind Gigante’s explanation. He issued instructions to his Newark, New Jersey captain Bobby “Cabert” Bisaccia, to monitor the actions of Genovese’s capo, Manna, and his crew. 

The investigation was short circuited when Manna was convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Shadow further notes that according to Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, "Gigante did at times lend support to the aims of Casso and Vic Amuso."

Casso had made claims that he had a sort of fifth column within the Gambino Family in the personages of Jimmy Brown Failla and Danny Marino...  
With DeCicco dead, and should my father get a life bid, and should there be a further elimination of loyalists, then it could be Failla and Marino who could control the Family, in alliance with Casso’s people. This Machiavellian maze of treachery was to continue in existence into the nineties..."

Thoughts, anyone?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mob Boss John Gotti Died This Weekend in 2002

John Gotti

John J. Gotti, who took control of the Gambino crime family in one of the most storied gangland coups in modern times, died on June 10, 2002, at age 61.

He's been described as one of the 20th century's most popular Cosa Nostra bosses, usually in the same breath as Al Capone of 1920s Chicago.

The closest the American Mafia has had to a "boss of bosses" since Carlo Gambino, Gotti breathed fire into New York wiseguys tired and nearly decimated by a stream of major RICO indictments, including the Commission Trial and Concrete and Windows cases.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

BlackBerry Texts Depict More Details of Montagna Murder

The RCMP launched a 16-month surveillance operation against Raynald Desjardins and seven associates one day after the murder of Salvatore Montagna, the former Bonanno crime family street boss.
Undated photo of Desjardins.

The RCMP launched a 16-month surveillance operation against Raynald Desjardins and seven associates one day after the murder of Salvatore Montagna, the former Bonanno crime family street boss.

"The Iron Worker" had been shot three times, allegedly by elderly gangster Jack Simpson with whom Montagna was meeting, and died on a snowswept river bank outside Montreal.

At the time of the murder, Desjardins was warmly ensconced in his alibi, eating breakfast with his daughter.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Did The Godfather Whack the Mafia?

Goodfellas was a direct descendant of The Godfather, which elevated the gangster film to its highest artistic levels.

This article was first published in the Den of Geek NYCC Special Edition Magazine; you can find the online version here
It's written by Tony Sokol, the admitted "Gangster Geek" at Den of Geek, for which he writes. Tony is a quite talented writer, in fact (in addition to being a playwright and musician). Aside from writing for Den of Geek, he also writes for The Chiseler, KpopStarz.com, and hypnocloud.com. Previously, he wrote for Altvariety, Coed.com, Daily Offbeat, Dark Media Press, Wicked Mystic and other magazines. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera “AssassiNation: We Killed JFK.” He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe and Britain’s “The Girlie Show.”

Goodfellas is a classic movie in the gangster genre. It tells the story of a crew of working criminals from the working class section of East New York, Brooklyn. These wise guys pulled off the biggest haul of the Twentieth Century, the $6 million Lufthansa heist. Martin Scorsese rewrote the way the mob had been handled in film by concentrating on the button men instead of the mob patriarchs. Goodfellas was a direct descendant of The Godfather, which elevated the gangster film to its highest artistic levels. Like the younger generation, it was faster, brasher and louder. All the gangsters got louder after The Godfather, they got so loud the feds had to shut them up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Montagna's Epic Potential to Be Montreal Godfather

In the fall of 2011 at around 3:30 p.m. a black BMW X5 pulled into the Tim Hortons' parking lot on Montreal's Lafontaine Boulevard.

A black-and-grey Ford Flex was seen nosing its way into the parking lot a short time later. The SA Sûreté du Québec -- the Quebec Provincial Police -- had put a surveillance team there specifically to watch whoever participated in the meeting, called following an attempt on Raynald Desjadins' life.

Montagna could sit back and grow wealthy and prosperous, with the Ndrangheta and some pretty violent Mexican Cartels backing him.
Montagna dared to make a huge power play.

The tempers of many violent members of a once-solid Mafia faction were inflamed after an alliance was torn asunder; the result weakened a syndicate formed solely to mount a hostile takeover of the Montreal Mafia from loyalists of Vito Rizzuto, who was absent from the milieu to serve a prison sentence for his role in a brutal triple homicide that set the course for New York's Bonanno crime family.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Luchese Bust Latest in Costa Rican Gambling Crackdown

Six members and associates of the Luchese crime family were arrested this past May 26 for running an illegal online gambling operation that allegedly generated $13 million from September 2015 to March 2016.

"Boopsie" allegedly ran Luchese gambling operation.
The six, who hail from Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, face various charges in a 37-count indictment for running the racket, which enabled bettors to place wages on various professional and collegiate sporting events. All payments were wired to an off-shore location.

"These defendants are charged with running a lucrative gambling ring that took in millions of dollars in bets and stretched all the way to Costa Rica," Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said. "We’ve now shut down this illegal enterprise that was controlled by organized crime and will fully prosecute those who have been indicted.”

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Reputed New Montreal Mob Boss Says His Life Is Not in Danger

Francesco "Chit" Del Balso, 46, wrote that "he feels his life is not in danger even though his close friend, and fellow leader in the Rizzuto organization, Lorenzo "Skunk" Giordano, 52, was fatally shot on March 1.
"Chit" wants out of prison -- he's certain that no assassins are going to kill him.
The parole board decided to agree with him.

One of the last surviving members of an exclusive group of Rizzuto loyalists -- that very same group that someone seems to be systematically killing, apparently thinks he has nothing to fear but fear itself -- and wants out of prison posthaste.

Francesco "Chit" Del Balso, 46, wrote to the Parole Board of Canada last week, informing them that "he feels his life is not in danger even though his close friend, and fellow leader in the Rizzuto organization, Lorenzo "Skunk" Giordano, 52, was fatally shot in Laval on March 1," the National Post reported. (It was recently revealed that Giordano's wife was sitting in the car next to him when he was shot to death.)

Giordano and Del Balso both recently reached their statutory release dates following their Project Colisée prison time. (Project Colisée, a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation, was a years-long probe, running from 2003-2006, into the Montreal Mafia led by Vito Rizzuto.)

Blog Archive