Bonventre Declined Promotion. So What, Feds Say....

Bonventre declined a promotion, according
to Asaro, caught secretly on tape.

In a Daily News Exclusive: Bonanno acting capo Jack Bonventre, arrested last January in what was then considered a major bust related to the storied 1970s Lufthansa heist, turned down an offer to move up in the crime family, according to his lawyer.

But the feds aren't impressed, saying the mere offer of the promotion evidenced Bonventre's power and stature within the crime family.

Evidence that the promotion was offered apparently was caught on a wiretap. Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro, who was recorded extensively insulting street boss Thomas DiFiore, among other things, told an associate on March 8, 2013: “[Bonventre] turned it down, he didn’t want it... Jack didn’t want no part of this no more.”

Asaro was arrested with Bonventre, as were street boss Thomas “Tommy D” DiFiore of Commack, who'd been the highest-ranking Bonanno family member not behind bars; soldier John “Bazoo” Ragano and Asaro's son, Jerome. (See original indictment here.)

Bonventre is facing 21 to 27 months in prison when he’s sentenced this month for collecting a loanshark debt. His lawyer, Gordon Mehler, advocates in filings that mention of the promotion shouldn't be held against his client and that the feds and trying to spotlight the relevance of the offer.

The News quoted some of Mehler's argument to Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross:

“Assuming that this is even true, traditional organized crime families in New York are now weaker than 20 or 30 years ago and the Bonanno family in particular has been largely decimated by arrests and defections. Being considered for consigliere does not have the same meaning as it once did."

Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito allegedly holds the consiglieri position. Still, the family's mere floating of the offer proclaims Bonventre holds a powerful position in the crime family, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Argentieri and Alicyn Cooley.

According to his lawyer in sentencing papers, Bonventre, 46, is a hardworking owner of an auto body shop in upstate Orange County. His good deeds, including the donation of fuel to St. Helen, his former parish in Howard Beach, Queens, were noted in submitted letters from two Catholic priests.
Rabito was recently observed by NYPD detectives  meeting "suspiciously" with the family’s Bronx street boss John Palazzolo in the parking lot of a Queens diner. (One of our sources swears "JP" is a Queens guy, however.)

Supposedly a panel is running the Bonanno crime family -- the composition of which has been in flux due to arrests. The panel is viewed as a temporary measure until official boss Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso finishes his 15-year sentence.

Most stories about the gangsters arrested in this indictment no longer mention the Lufthansa heist, deemed the biggest score in American history when it occurred. James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke (July 5, 1931 – April 13, 1996), an Irish-American gangster with ties to the Luchese family through his association with Luchese capo Paul Vario, is considered the mastermind of the caper, which took place on December 11, 1978, and netted about $5 million in cash and another million in jewels. 

Burke murdered or orchestrated the murders of nearly all those directly involved in heist, beginning the purge less than a week after the crime was committed.