Rizzuto's Death 'Will Trigger a lot of Upheaval' - The Globe and Mail

Rizzuto was strong enough to be a peacemaker; his successor
has savvy shoes to fill.

Montreal Mob boss Vito Rizzuto's death 'will trigger a lot of upheaval' - The Globe and Mail: Canada's most powerful Mafia boss, Vito Rizzuto, has died in a hospital, raising the spectre of further turf violence for control of the Montreal underworld.

Mr. Rizzuto died at Sacré-Cœur Hospital at 4 a.m. Monday, one of his former lawyers, Jean Salois, confirmed in an interview.

Mr. Salois said the 67-year-old Mr. Rizzuto died of natural causes. Radio-Canada, which first reported the death, said Mr. Rizzuto died of lung problems."

A spokeswoman for Quebec's coroner said her office had examined Mr. Rizzuto's death. "It is a death by natural causes, beyond any doubts. Therefore there will be no coroner’s investigation,” Geneviève Guilbault said.

“It’s news no one was expecting,” said former RCMP organized-crime analyst Pierre De Champlain.

He noted that Mr. Rizzuto was the rare crime boss who has enough power and authority to act as a peacemaker among various crime syndicates.

Vito Rizzuto doing a Vito Corleone. He was the true Godfather
of Canada, ruling Montreal after many said he was washed up.
He more than proved them wrong within a single year.
“This will trigger a lot of upheaval,” Mr. De Champlain said.

“The person who’ll succeed him will need to have the same skills as a uniter, a charismatic leader respected by the Mafia factions of Montreal and Toronto.”

Described in court documents as the godfather of the Montreal Mafia, Mr. Rizzuto has came back to Canada last year after spending five years in a U.S. penitentiary for his role in a Brooklyn triple murder.

In his absence, his father and eldest son were assassinated as various factions vied for the remains of his criminal empire.

However, within months of Mr. Rizzuto's return, several rival mobsters were murdered in Quebec and Ontario and it appeared like the old boss was firmly holding the reins of the Montreal Mafia again.

When Mr. Rizzuto left for a vacation in the Dominican Republic, crime analysts saw it as a sign that he felt safe enough to leave the country.

Even in his absence, he remained in the news because of public hearings of the Charbonneau inquiry into corruption in the construction industry in Quebec.

The inquiry heard testimony that the Rizzuto clan took a cut from millions of dollars in municipal public-works contracts.

Mr. Rizzuto had even been subpoenaed to appear before the inquiry.

“I have the feeling that the death of Vito Rizzuto is the end of a dynasty,” Mr. De Champlain said.

He said the Sicilian-born Mr. Rizzuto, a third-generation mafiosa, had been raised in the traditions of the old country’s Cosa Nostra.

“The era of the crime dynasties is over. Things are going so fast now. It’s not the same mentality. The people who want power now are not bound by traditions and protocols.”

Mr. Rizzuto was Canada’s "Teflon don," a well-tailored, charismatic figure who walked with a swagger, could speak four languages and didn’t shy away from news cameras.

The first child of Nicolo Rizzuto and Libertina Manno, he was born Feb. 21, 1946, in Cattolica Eroclea, in the Sicilian province of Agrigento. The family emigrated to Canada in 1954, where his father, Nicolo, became a captain for the Montreal Mafia, a branch of the Bonanno clan of New York.

Starting in the 1980s, Mr. Rizzuto and his father, Niccolo, grew in power, pushing aside the Calabrian faction that ran the Montreal Mafia.

The Canadian authorities repeatedly tried to convict him for drug trafficking or money laundering. Each time, underlings went to jail but the Montreal godfather walked free.

It wasn't until 2004 that he was arrested and extradited to New York on racketeering charges for taking part in a shooting of a trio of renegade mobsters of the Bonnano crime family in New York.

While nominally answering to the Bonnanos, Mr. Rizzuto's clan was powerful and autonomous, court documents and evidence allege.

“The Rizzuto crime family, sometimes referred to as the `Sixth Crime Family,’ is a violent criminal enterprise … responsible for importing and distributing tons of heroin, cocaine and marijuana in Canada, laundering hundreds of millions of dollars, lending out millions more through loansharking operations and has profited handsomely from illegal gambling, fraud and contract killings,” American prosecutors alleged in court documents filed earlier this year in New York.


  1. Rest in peace Vito. Glad you got some vengeance on some of your enemies before you passed away. You were a true mafiaso.

  2. I bet there's a few killings between now and new year's.. mark my words ;)

  3. R.I.P. Vito----one of the last of a truly dying breed.Cui cerca,trova;cui secuta,vinci.


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