Boston-area Editors Cite Mobster's Case While Seeking Ex-Speaker's Release

The editorial infers that Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo was a worse criminal than DeMasi, an elected speaking of the house
Five of the six Angiulo brothers in 1961. From left, Antonio, Michele, Nocolo, Gennaro, and Donato.

Do the right thing -- free Sal DiMasi, proclaimed the Lowell Sun's editorial, which was published online yesterday.

The editorial weighs Salvatore F. "Sal" DiMasi's crimes against those of legendary former Patriarca crime family underboss Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo, who operated with his brothers a highly profitable gambling and loansharking operation. The vast revenue-spawning operation formed part of the bedrock foundation of the New England mob's empire.

Based in Boston's North End on the aptly named Prince Street, the Angiulo brothers ran their empire enjoying insulation from the probing eyes of law enforcement for decades. (How? By bribing cops and elected officials.)

Enter the Boston Irish mob, aka the Winter Hill Gang run by James Whitey Bulger and Steve Flemmi, Winter Hill's true brains, as one trusted source noted.

The two informants went to work with the Angiulo brothers. But only after first agreeing to work as informants for the feds. Bulger and Flemmi shamelessly commenced snitching on the Boston Italians; FBI special agent John Connolly (now serving life in prison) was all ears.

Bulger and Flemmi provided a sketch of the layout of Angiulo’s Prince Street headquarters, so the agents knew exactly where to install the bugs. As part of the operation, Angiulo’s chief enforcer, Larry Zannino, also was bugged.

We were originally unsure about the cause of the sour taste left in our mouth after reading the Lowell Sun's editorial. It took us time to figure out that the editors don't understand how the Mafia works....

"If we can release a former Mafia boss from prison on humanitarian grounds, can't we at least do the same for a former speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives?" the Lowell Sun editorial queried.

U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf will decide the fate of Salvatore F. "Sal" DiMasi, the newspaper noted.

DiMasi, 71, the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, joined the state legislature in 1979 affiliated with the Democrat Party. He resigned fin January 2009, six months prior to an indictment charging him with various Federal counts, such as conspiracy to defraud the federal government and extortion.

DiMasi, who was found guilty on seven out of nine charges on June 15, 2011, is the third consecutive Massachusetts house speaker to be federally indicted.

His role in what the press is described as a kickback scam that included a $16,000 payment to DiMasi, in the House speaker role, for which he in turn pushed $17.5 million in state contracts to a Burlington-based software company.

DiMasi contracted tongue and prostate cancer, among associated ailments, according to his family has stated, the Lowell Sun noted. He requires a feeding tube and is in poor health.

Federal prosecutors involved in the case and even a former federal judge have combined forces to lobby for DiMasi's release, the Boston Globe reported. The request was filed last Thursday in federal court under the BOP's compassionate release program, which recently was expanded to encompass elderly inmates who served out at least half their sentence and who are seriously ill.

"DiMasi, whose scheduled release date is November 2018, meets both criteria," the paper noted.

"At this stage in his life, DiMasi has more than paid the price for his crime. We can't think of a compelling reason to reject this request," the paper said, concluding:

If Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo, a notorious New England Mafia underboss and member of the Patriarca crime family, who according to his obituary controlled the mob's racketeering in Boston from the 1960s to the mid-1980s, qualified for a compassionate release from prison, then certainly DiMasi deserves to be released as well.

Here's what we think is wrong with this: The editorial infers that Angiulo was worse than DeMasi; the argument is, basically, since the more evil sick mobster was allowed free, how is it fair to deny this former elected official that same wellspring of compassion? But the Lowell Sun's editors are missing the big picture here. The corrupt politicians allowed the Mafia to become the historical underworld empire it once was. Without the corruptible politicians, cops and other aboveboard law enforcement and political officials willing to sell their souls for an envelope, the Mafia never would've been able to amass, then wield, the considerable clout that they did.

This sounds cruel, and it doesn't please us to write this, but we say: let DeMasi die in prison.

Or at least don't use the Angiulos to make him appear "better" in newspaper editorials because that falsehood distorts factual perspective.