An Ex-Corrections Officer Is a Bonanno Associate?

A Brooklyn judge rejected Bonanno crime family associate Ronald "Monkey Man" Filocomo’s compassionate release request, as was recently reported.

Filocomo, in above pic, was a participant in the 1981 execution of former Bonanno crime family capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano. Monkey Man pleaded guilty to racketeering and is serving a 20-year sentence.

His effort would've shaved time off the remaining four years in prison he faces. However, Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, ever wise to the way of the wiseguy, reviewed Filocomo's medical problems,determined that they were not terminal, and denied the motion.

As noted in numerous reports on this story, Filocomo can never become a full-fledged member of any Mafia family for the simple reason that he is a former corrections officer.

The Mafia doesn't induct men with law enforcement backgrounds, including ex-corrections officers. In fact, it is surprising that they'd even take one on in an associate capacity...

Unless of course the "one" is, say, the boss's brother-in-law.

"Good Lookin' Sal"
As Selwyn Raab's Five Families and Anthony DeStefano's King of the Godfathers reveal in their respective bio sketches: the prideful Salvatore "Good Lookin' Sal" Vitale, to-be acting-Bonanno boss who graduated from Grover Cleveland High School, entered the U.S. military (where he received paratrooper training) and was discharged in 1968, assumed gainful employment as a corrections officer.

He worked in Queens and reputedly handled low-level narcotic offenders. So could this have been really a secret?

Moving on, Vitale grew bored with the work after a year or so anx began working on a friend's food truck, aka "roach coach."

(Digression: I was surprised -- and not so surprised -- to learn that the "roach coach" concept is a uniquely American one that traces its roots back nearly 150 years to one man, then living in Providence, R.I. Walter Scott singlehandedly created an entire industry in 1872 when he took a small covered wagon and cut panels into the sides. He then drove and parked the modified wagon outside the office of a small local newspaper office. From within the wagon, he sold sandwiches, pies and coffee to late-shift workers, including journalists and pressmen, as the New York Times reported. “You can trace this whole industry to him,” author Richard J. S. Gutman writes in American Diner: Then & Now. )

The friend, Joseph Massino, future boss of the Bonanno crime family, eventually married Vitale's sister in 1960; he became Sal's "big brother" and did things with him like teaching him how to swim...

When Sal decided that "thug life" was available to him for the choosing, he .... chose it. Burglaries and truck hijackings paved the path to the ultimate, a no-show job as a King Caterer's food consultant.

Massino ran the storied Bonanno crime family for most of the 1980s, but Vitale still had to wait for his button, reportedly until 1984.

The fact that he spent one year of his life in a corrections officer's uniform should have barred him from ever attaining membership -- but Massino saved his ass. When the issue was raised, Joe the Boss said, "Well, 'tis only a rumor." (He likely used different words.)

Vitale actually served as acting boss of the crime family while Massino was away serving a prison stretch. He was up to the task by then, having joined Massino in a host of rackets, including the usual mainstays, loan-sharking, bookmaking, video gambling machines and the extortion of a large catering company (which also was the roach-coach supplier).

"He made me what I am," Vitale was known to tell his criminal cohorts.

He was especially generous in terms of financially looking out for Joe and his family when Massino went away in 1987; Massino also had first promoted Sal to capo. But there was more to Sal's generosity, as may be guessed. Sal owed everything to his "bro" Joe, who had buried Vitale's little secret about working as a corrections officer. ("Sal was a cop," a Bonanno source once told me. "Whatever he was, it's the same thing. Joe never should've made him.")

Good Lookin' Sal and consigliere Anthony Spero, in Brooklyn, together served as Massino's overseers.

Sal was loyal, too, when not ordering "off the record" murders. Vitale prefaced orders by saying: "This is how Joe wants it done."

Nevertheless, the ending played out long ago... Sal flipped, feeding the chain of turncoats that not only eventually toppled Massino, but caused the crime family's official boss to flip as well.

All things being equal -- and what since we warned them already about something, we think the Bonanno crime family ought to do the right thing: Filocomo proved he's a stand-up guy; when he departs prison, he more than earned a button.

And whatever comes with it....