How Bonanno Boss Mikey Nose Ordered Vicious Assault, Halted Insurrection From Prison

When Bronx-based Luchese associate Michael Meldish was shot to death in front of his home on November 15, 2013, at the age of 62, he was suspected of running a protection racket in the Edenwald area of the north Bronx.

Meldish's boots were still outside the door to his apartment days after he was killed.

As per early reports, initial law enforcement suspicion was centered on that racket as a possible cause of the shooting. Meldish, however, was known to have had a steady supply of enemies going back decades.

He'd been arrested five times in the 1970s on various charges including assault and weapons possession, and he had other convictions throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He was suspected of committing as many as 10 murders as well.

Meldish lived on 2nd Avenue near 111th Street in East Harlem. According to neighbors, he lived alone, was occasionally visited by a son and grandson, and was considered affable by many who knew him in the neighborhood. One neighbor claimed that Meldish held a job in construction.

"He was always a hardworking guy," said another neighbor, who had known him since she was 8. "Very friendly with everybody, but he was always keeping himself to himself."

Police believe his younger brother Joseph carried out dozens of contract murders for the Purple Gang, which was involved in the heroin trade in the Bronx and Harlem, as well as contract killings for the Bonanno, Luchese and Genovese crime families.

“We heard of over 70 different homicides, from the Bronx to Harlem, all the way up and down the East Coast all the way to Florida,” retired Bronx Homicide Detective Kevin Tracy told a Bronx newspaper.

Tracy had arrested Joseph Meldish in 2007 for the 1999 mistaken identity murder of Joe Brown inside the now defunct Frenchie’s Bar on Bruckner Blvd. at E. Tremont Avenue. (Meldish had worn a ski mask when he entered the bar, walked to a back table, and blew Brown away. Only he thought he was killing Brown's brother, Tommy. Weeks earlier, one-time drug dealer Tommy Brown had refused to lend Joseph Meldish $20, so Meldish then burglarized his home. Tommy reported the crime, then decided against pressing charges. Still, three weeks later, Meldish sought murderous payback.)

After the case had been unsolved for eight years, Meldish and alleged prostitute Kimberly Hanzlik, who fingered the wrong Brown brother, were both arrested and convicted in 2011. (In 2015, he was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison; she to 20 to life.)

“One of the reasons we believe both brothers weren’t killed a long time ago was that they’re related to Angelo Prisco, a capo in the Genovese family,” said Tracy. “A lot of people feared Michael and Joe. If you killed one, you’d have to contend with the other.”

“The Purple Gang pretty much doesn’t exist any more,” said another police source. “They moved on to other ‘careers’ with the Lucchese and other mobs.”

Angelo Prisco

The mob rubout was the talk along tight-knit Ellsworth Avenue in the days after it happened.

“This is the safest neighborhood in the Bronx,” said one neighbor.

But another  source recalled when the area served as a “Mafia dumping ground” during the 1950s and 1960s where contract killers would often exploit the street’s low-key vibe to whack rivals.

Imprisoned Bonanno boss Michael (Mikey Nose) Mancuso (who's due out in March) and  Luchese underboss Matthew (Matty) Madonna both were furious with Meldish for more than a year prior to his murder.

Madonna and other Luchese mobsters are currently awaiting trial for the Meldish murder. Mancuso was never implicated nor charged. And the Bonanno acting capo who assaulted Meldish as per Mancuso's orders had an ironclad alibi; he was residing on Rikers Island when Meldish was gunned down.

Mikey Nose was angered by "disrespectful acts toward (him) on Meldish's part," as Manhattan prosecutors noted in July 2013. Meldish was to be "physically assaulted," Mancuso had decided.

The disrespectful acts stemmed from Meldish refusing to stop seeing Mancuso's girlfriend.

Court papers described how a "person with knowledge" of the attack had revealed that acting capo Ernest Aiello had assaulted Meldish in "upper Manhattan" in August 2012, over a year after Joseph Meldish's incarceration. Aiello was then "a rising star in the Bronx faction" of the Bonanno family, law enforcement sources had noted. Meldish was tuned up outside Rao's during the annual Pleasant Avenue Festival. Reportedly "dozens" had witnessed the assault.

Meldish, instead of taking the beating and giving up the girl, chose to get payback, which may have  signed his own death warrant. Days after the beating, law enforcement visited Madonna and warned him against retaliating against the other crime family. Madonna then warned Meldish to bite the bullet and back away from the Bonannos. Madonna and other Luchese leaders didn't seem to have the time or inclination to put much effort into resolving the assault on the Luchese associate ordered by Mikey Nose.

Meldish's revenge plot, which occurred nine months after the assault, has been highlighted as a potential contributing factor in the decision to kill Meldish.

Ignoring the Luchese boss's warning, Meldish sought payback on May 29, 2013, at First Avenue and 111th Street (one block from where Aiello had beaten Meldish). The former Purple Gang boss participated in the attempted murder of Bonanno soldier Enzo (The Baker) Stagno, who was shot and wounded while sitting in his car.

Meldish was supposed to be the wheel-man during the hit, but he reportedly drove off leaving behind the shooter, Luchese associate Terrence Caldwell, who is charged with Stagno's attempted murder. Caldwell was filmed by surveillance cameras while walking away from the crime scene.

Caldwell also is the alleged trigger-man in the Meldish shooting, which happened six months later. Caldwell  allegedly killed the man who left him high and dry at the scene of an attempted murder.

Prosecutors are readying for the trial of five men they allege were responsible for killing Meldish: Caldwell, the alleged shooter, and Christopher Londonio, the alleged getaway driver, and their three mob superiors who are charged with ordering the Meldish hit: Madonna, Luchese underboss Steven (Stevie Wonder) Crea, and his son, capo Steven (Stevie Junior) Crea.

How exactly did Mancuso's edict make it from his cell at Danbury federal prison, where he'd been hanging his hat for more than a decade, to a Bonanno soldier in New York City? The feds previously revealed that Mikey Nose had used his nephew, Bonanno mobster Frank (Frankie Boy) Salerno, to get the word out to key Bonanno wiseguys.

Michael Nose in somewhat recent prison pic.

Salerno's relatively short  tenure as Mancuso's runner occurred in 2015, and was brief but consequential. To boost Salerno's cred with other wiseguys, and possibly to further  legitimize him, Frankie Boy allegedly was among  the dozen or so Bonanno associates formally inducted around that time.

Mancuso's Street Boss Problems
For a brief period of time, the Bonanno family was close to breaking out into internal conflict over who'd be in control. And it apparently seemed to be because one of Mancuso's acting bosses didn't want to step aside when Mikey Nose sought to elevate another to that slot.

During a diplomatic prelude, Mancuso reportedly made use of his nephew to cool down the flaring tempers of a crew of rebel wiseguys. He allegedly dispatched Salerno to deliver repeated messages to his own handpicked street boss, John Palazzolo, then 77 and a longtime mob veteran who Mikey Nose had tasked with running the crime family in his stead.

In March 2015, it was reported that "Palazzolo had recently lost influence in the organization's power structure and was about to take matters into his own hands," the Daily News reported.

The feds were concerned that Palazzolo was conspiring to take over Bonanno operations in Queens.

Palazzolo was hauled into court based on allegations of "a conspiracy to conduct a war to control the Bonanno crime family" before federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

"He's pissed," the law enforcement source told The News of Palazzolo, adding: "Once we found out, we had to stop it."

Salerno had met with Palazzolo and other wiseguys at the Trattoria Thirty Five, a restaurant in Bayside, Queens. Palazzolo also engaged in a lengthy discussion the day prior with onetime family consigliere Anthony (Fat Anthony) Rabito. The two had met in Elmhurst, in the parking lot of the Nevada Diner.

When Palazzolo was in court, it was detailed that he was being treated for a bladder condition that rendered him unable to stop urinating, though that didn’t stop his rendezvous with fellow Bonannos. He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for violating his supervised release.

"It's rather astonishing that a person in your medical condition would be engaging in meetings with persons who may be involved in organized crime activities," Judge Nicholas Garaufis told him in Brooklyn Federal Court.

"I'm astonished that you would put those interests ahead of your health," Garaufis added.

Palazzolo was in the home stretch of his three-year term of supervision after serving nearly a decade behind bars for participating in the 1991 rubout of Bonanno mobster Russell Mauro.

In 2015, Joseph Cammarano Jr. became "the top banana on the street for the beleaguered Bonanno crime family — or what’s left of it," as the Daily News reported.

Cammarano was known to be serving double duty -- he was, in addition to acting boss, also made official underboss.

In January of this year, the feds busted Cammarano Jr. on charges of murder conspiracy, extortion, drug dealing and loan-sharking. The 58-year-old godfather/navy veteran, whose underboss dad died in jail, had vowed to revive the organization.

The New York Post noted that he and his crew constantly fretted over rats in their ranks, prosecutors said, following a tide of turncoat testimony over the years, starting with Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco, and ultimately including boss Joseph Massino.

Mancuso Messenger Discovered
Reportedly, Danbury prison staff noticed that one of Mancuso's regular visitors was his nephew Frankie Boy, who made noticeably frequent trips from New York to the Federal prison in Connecticut. That observation, plus the feds identification of Salerno as having affiliations with the Bonanno family, reportedly launched a probe into the relationship between Mancuso and Salerno.

(Whether Salerno is an actual "nephew" to Mancuso is questionable. Like HBO's Tony Soprano and his "nephew" Christopher Moltisanti, Mikey Nose may have been playing fast and loose with that term.)

The feds postulated that with the help of Frank Salerno, the new boss was trying to reorganize the family, sending messages to top cohorts on the street. The Federal Bureau of Prisons transferred Mancuso to the federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, to sever his ties to New York. (He'd be transferred to the penitentiary in South Carolina before his move earlier this year to the Brooklyn halfway house.)

As for Frank Salerno, he was arrested and charged in 2017 with racketeering and drug trafficking and recently received five years for dealing cocaine to an undercover law enforcement official in a sting operation component of a larger probe of longtime John Gotti pal John Ambrosio, an acting Gambino capo who the feds say is also a close associate of Mancuso.

Salerno, who was tape-recorded dealing an ounce of coke to the undercover agent for $1250, has been behind bars since his arrest.

The mobsters in that indictment were charged with loansharking, gambling, extortion and drug dealing in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island from 2013 through last year. When they  were arrested in December 2017, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at various locations, including a storage facility in Nassau County, and recovered gambling and loan sharking records, electronic gaming machines, narcotics and narcotics paraphernalia, and numerous firearms, including an AR-15, a .38 caliber revolver and a sawed-off shotgun.

As the Feds revealed this past May, Ambrosio was the last defendant to plead guilty in a superseding indictment that charged him and Salerno and five Gambino mobsters: Thomas Anzalone, Alessandro (Sandro) Damelio, Joseph Durso, Anthony Rodolico, and Anthony Saladino.

Law enforcement agents also recovered letters addressed to Ambrosio from Mancuso -- as well as from former Gambino boss John Gotti.

Yes it's Mikey Nose not Mickey Nose.....