Luchese Boss Vic Amuso Almost Went Very Old School On Some Bronx Wiseguys

The Luchese crime family apparently learned from its past mistakes -- and avoided repeating the stretch of murderous mayhem that happened back in the 1980s-1990s when over a dozen members were killed.

Luchese boss Vic Amuso and former Colombo boss Vic Orena
From left: Amuso, Vic Orena, Michael Taccetta, Nicky Scarfo

Consequently, Brooklyn-based Luchese mobster Michael (Big Mike) DeSantis bloodlessly succeeded Bronx-based (former) powerhouse Matthew (Matty) Madonna as acting boss, precisely as imprisoned-for-life boss Vittorio (Vic) Amuso had directed.

Amuso -- who alongside his top lieutenant, Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso, was responsible for that 1980s-90s bloodbath -- had sent a message (via coded letter) from his prison cell to underboss Steven (Stevie Wonder) Crea in 2017, as reported by Jerry Capeci on Gang Land News and the New York Post, noting that the news was based on testimony delivered during the racketeering trial of Eugene Boopsie Castelle.

(Amuso in turn was responding to a letter that had been sent to him by capos disgruntled about the family's seat of power shifting away from Brooklyn and to the  Bronx.)

Amuso (whether he reads George Santayana or not) apparently wasn't taking any chances. The message included a "hit list" with the names of members of the Luchese's Bronx crew--including a capo and several others--who were to be killed in the event that Madonna refused to move aside, as per turncoat John Pennisi, who started cooperating with the feds last year.

Michael (Big Mike) DeSantis and Matthew (Matty) Madonna
Big Mike, left, Matty Madonna

“We would have killed members of The Bronx crew,” Pennisi testified at the Manhattan federal court racketeering trial. During the trial it also was revealed that there currently are seven Luchese crews: two in the Bronx, two on Long Island, one in Manhattan, one in New Jersey and Big John Castellucci’s so-called Brooklyn crew, which actually is based in Tottenville, Staten Island.

As per Capeci, Brooklyn-based Patty Red Dellorusso is the new acting underboss and Bronx-based wiseguy Andrew DeSimone is consigliere.

In September 1991, while Amuso and Casso were fugitives, DeSantis, on their behalf, showed up at an important Luchese family meeting at the Kimberly Hotel in Manhattan wearing a bulletproof vest. He also reportedly wore a pistol in his belt that would've been used to shoot then-acting boss Alfonso (Little Al) D'Arco to death.

D'Arco survived because, after he spotted the gun, Big Mike walked into the bathroom, giving D'Arco (who was very much aware of the fact that Vic and Gaspipe might be moving against him) an opportunity to exit the hotel.

As Capeci recounted, D'Arco went into witness protection program after testifying in 16 trials against four bosses, including Amuso, who were convicted.

DeSantis further bolstered his loyalty to Amuso by participating in two late-1980s mob murders for which he served 18 years in prison.

Luchese boss Vic Amuso circa 1990s
Luchese boss Vic Amuso from 1990s arrest.

Some longtime readers may recall that we've previously written about the meeting in the Kimberly hotel. Or rather, we wrote about the meeting as detailed in the book Mob Boss by Jerry Capeci and Tom Robbins. (And since we're already getting all sentimental, we might as well further note that Gaspipe was the topic that actually caused us to start Cosa Nostra News itself in the first place.)

About five years ago (Christ, time fcking flies) we described the scene about the meeting at the Kimberly in Mob Boss as "some of the best suspense writing" we've ever read....

Capeci and Robbins powerfully re-create the surrealistic scene that took place in room 29B of the Manhattan hotel the Kimberly, when Al realizes he's about to be killed.

He already knew his downfall had begun -- he had been much closer to Amuso, than Casso; when Amuso stopped looking him in the eye, Al knew he was a dead man.

The writing put us there in the room with Al, we felt the impending doom.

The meeting began at 4pm and included a long agenda. A group of Lucheses was there, including Avellino and Lastorino. Bonanno acting boss Anthony Spero was there as well, as one item on the agenda involved the Bonanno family; Spero chose to hang around, however. During idle discussion he made his now infamous remark on informants: "All the family members of those who become rats should be killed. Women, children, everything. Murder them."

Certain little details were quickly noticed by Al, who'd spent way too many years in the life to miss the signs. Two guys in the room seemed to exchange "little smiles" and pass remarks such as "Maybe things will be better soon." It was so blatant, with some of the men acting like there was some kind of "inside joke" going on there in the roo

Lastorino kept going into the bathroom in the hotel room: "Al counted five trips." Everything going on in the room became "increasingly ominous" to Al. "Every little action was magnified."

Lastorino kept reaching inside his shirt to scratch his chest."He's trying to get me used to [the motion], so I won't notice when he grabs [the gun]." Another guy started cleaning the suite, taking away empty glasses, cups and plates. Al wondered: He's boss of a crime family, not a waiter, and determined the mafioso was probably getting rid of evidence.

"Al's mind was racing... Even the discussions were no longer making any sense to him. It sounded like mindless babble. They were filling up time, he decided..."

He looked at the window and could see it was growing dark....
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