Murder Of Gambino Boss Frank Cali Was More Romeo And Juliet Than The Godfather

Anthony Comello, 24, has been in custody in New Jersey since he was arrested yesterday morning on the Jersey Shore. As things now stand, he faces charges on Staten Island, where he will be extradited (most likely tomorrow) for the murder of Gambino acting boss Francesco (Franky Boy) Cali.

Frank Cali
Frank Cali

There's no official word about the motive for the murder, which was widely thought to be a gangland hit. However, as we reported earlier, Comello killed Cali because Cali wouldn't let him date his niece. Our sources say the young man was troubled, with drug and mental health issues.

And we report again that Comello admitted to asking President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for "permission" to shoot Cali.

The murder of Frank Cali leaves a hole at the top of the Gambino crime family, said someone who knew Frank.

"Frank (Cali) kept things stable since he took over as boss," said former Gambino capo Michael (Mikie Scars) DiLeonardo. "He made himself scarce and he didn't make enemies, as far as we're hearing."

As per a source, we believe the niece was in the house when Cali was gunned down. The NYPD is examining Comello's and the niece's cellphones, according to this source, who added that he believes they were texting one another while Comello was driving outside the house on Staten Island Wednesday night. That night Frank Cali was gunned down after the sounds of metal punching into metal pulled him away from the dinner table.

Most recently, law-enforcement authorities say that they anticipate a possible assassination attempt against Comello. There's a “general feeling is that there’s an ‘X’ on this guy’s back,” one source, a high-ranking NYPD official, told the New York Post.

“He’s going to have some issues in jail. Maybe there’s some guys who are wiseguys in jail who will show their allegiance to the Gambinos and say, ‘We’ll take care of this guy.’ ”

Sources said Cali’s gangland cronies would likely wait until Comello, 24, was serving time in an upstate prison before making an attempt on his life. But that wouldn’t prevent another inmate from taking matters into his own hands to try to score a reward or simply to boost his reputation behind bars, sources said.

Comello is locked up in New Jersey’s Ocean County Jail pending charges in Wednesday night’s fatal shooting of Cali, 53, outside his home at 25 Hilltop Terrace in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island.

Anthony Comello
Anthony Comello

It seemed like events of historical importance were happening before our very eyes -- in the process giving us, the jaded audience of Goodfellas and the Godfather, something truly baffling: the brutal killing of level-headed, fair-minded Gambino boss Frank Cali, who, we'd think, would be among the most difficult of people to kill. Cali was a boss who made it to the top with his brains, who rarely showed emotion and never betrayed a thought.

But then this story quickly degenerated into crazy town.

"It's a combination of Taxi Driver and John Lennon," as Mikie Scars quipped.

The rest of the world, both inside and outside of organized crime, is stuck with a befuddling, half-assed murder committed by a lovesick millennial with a temper who happened to fall in love with The Godfather's niece.

DiLeonardo noted that Comello will be held in isolation and he's going to get a psychiatric review so his attorney doesn't later claim that he's crazy.

As for what may happen to him in prison, DiLeonardo reminds us that "it's not just wiseguys in prison."

Mikie Scars said that Italians are usually held with Spanish and black inmates who tend to treat Italians respectfully. That is especially true "with a name like Gotti."

"There might be some Crips guys, some Bloods guys -- one of them might take a shot at this kid wherever he winds up down the road.

Comello "is in trouble in jail, that's for sure, but it doesn't have to be from the Italians. And it  wouldn't have to involve a bounty or payment.

"Comello took down an icon in the criminal world. When you're in jail, the government is the enemy. If he ever makes it out of prison in 20 years, a lot of people on the street now will either be dead or in jail themselves. Frank Cali will be long forgotten, could be. But Sicilians have long memories; they are very patient and they never forget."

As for Comello's family, his parents, say, DiLeonardo said: "I feel the family will not be held accountable for what the kid did. My opinion is that this will not be another Favara situation."

John Favara was the backyard neighbor of Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, in Howard Beach, New York. On March 18, 1980, 12-year-old Frank Gotti, the youngest son of John Gotti, darted into the street on a motorized minibike and was struck by Favara's car and killed. Favara, 51, had lived a block behind the Gotti family (he also happened to be a close childhood friend of the son of Gambino crime family capo Ettore Zappi, who himself was a cousin of the crime family's progenitor Carlo Gambino). An investigation concluded that Favara was not at fault. Favara never pressed charges for threats and an assault with a baseball bat. He planned to move out of Howard Beach. Only he disappeared before that could happen on July 28, 1980, when he was shoved into a van by several men near his work.

The Gambino family has a more than worthy successor to the acting boss slot in Lorenzo Mannino, as Mikie Scars has told us. Lorenzo, he added, "is of the same mindset as Frank. He's like-minded. He has the same cold composure that Frank had."

Several recent "rare" gangland happenings gave us food for thought after we heard Frank Cali had been gunned down:

  • Carmine Perisco died this month inprison at age 85 after serving more than 32 years of a 136-year prison sentence following his conviction in the "Mafia Commission Case." For all we know his death could've set off a chain of events that culminated in Frank Cali's death. Only it didn't, as we now know.
  • Only six months ago, Gene Gotti and Johnny Carneglia -- who went away when John Gotti was the newly coronated king of the Gambinos for 29 years for drug trafficking -- got out. There's a lot of reasons we could imagine why Gene Gotti would suddenly want to step up and assert himself. His nephew told tales to the FBI; another family member was arrested a few years back for dealing drugs to undercover cops. Other family members turned the Gotti name into reality show fodder. It wouldn't take too much, we believed, for Gene Gotti to finally say, fkc this, and take out a boss the old school way, the way he and Johnny Canigs did it back in 1985 to clear a path for his brother John. Only we  know that it didn't happen that way either.

And even that stream of mob associates killed in the past year, the most recent of which happened a week ago Sunday reportedly for robbing a Gambino associate. Even that, we now know, had nothing to do with the Cali killing...

This is how it would've happened if it had been a mob hit:

There's at least two shooters per man.

"There's always two shooters," said DiLeonardo. "The smart thing to do when you plan a hit like that is have two shooters."

They definitely would've created a ruse to lure Cali out of the house, but they'd shoot him immediately. They wouldn't have a conversation, shake hands, and shoot when he turned his back to walk away.

"And where’s the crash car," DiLeonardo said. "One guy?"

Cali knew how to use his fists; he may have even practiced karate. (Scars heard Cali took lessons decades back.)

"Would they shoot him in front of his house? If they knew him, why shoot him there? You know what you are setting up? What's that expression, When you seek revenge you dig two graves.

"You just opened yourself up when you start killing people in front of families. If that's what they chose to do -- my take is, when you open that door you are taking it to a family's doorstop. If you do that, you are asking for the same treatment. Don't dole out what you don't want to take."

But most importantly, they wouldn't send one shooter -- what would happen if the gun jammed?

"You're gonna kill an acting boss and not have backup? There's always a diversion car – you block the street off so there’s no witnesses to kill later.

"Then you burn the cars - you have to make them disappear -- you have to get rid of the guns too -- throw them into the ocean or a bay, is the best thing. And sometimes in those backup cars or the crash car - some of those people have guns too. You have to get rid of them. "

"I was in a diversion, I had to use my car -- if the cops came around, I had to block the street so they couldn't get to the other cars. If you're in a stolen car they'll know it's stolen and they'll know I was part of the hit team. The guys have to get away."

As for the Cali killing, "until I hear about back up cars, switch cars, and crash cars, and backup shooters," it's not a mob hit, Scars said.

"I don’t think it was anybody involved with the mob; that's why I think it's personal, until I get more information."

"I feel really bad for Frank's family. And the Gambino family. They lost a good man and a good boss. Both families," DiLeonardo said.


Who will fill Frank Cali's shoes as Gambino acting boss? Any thoughts?  Leave a comment....