Ex-Genovese Springfield Crew Chief Discusses Big Al Bruno, Etc., In Podcast That Left Us Wanting More

Scott Bernstein of Gangster Report did the podcast, something i didn't realize....

In the mid-1990s, mob associate Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta had a drug problem and didn't even know it...

Big Al Bruno
Nigro lackey John Bologna and Big Al, who was killed in 2003.

Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno, the Genovese family capo who oversaw the crew in Springfield, Mass., had proposed Arillotta for membership.

Big Al Bruno was the Genovese family's seasoned hand in western Massachusetts. He had worked for the Scibelli brothers, including Frankie Skyball, making them fortunes, before he himself rose to become “capo” of the Springfield crew. Bruno was the consummate professional, who started his day early in the morning and ended it late in the evening.

Bingy had been Big Al’s protégé, and one can imagine Bruno’s high hopes for the young wiseguy.

But then Bingy got caught doing one of the worst things a mob associate can do: he was found to be dealing drugs on the street.

"Big Al proposed me three or four different times,” Arillotta says in Original Gangsters, a true crime talk podcast that was absorbing but left us wanting more. The focus was too frequently on hypotheticals, rather than facts.

“Then we’d get in a beef and he’d take me off the list."

"I didn’t get made because of him."

Arillotta killed Bruno and took over Springfield. Arillotta also killed Gary Westerman, a Springfield gangster (and his brother-in-law), and tried to kill at least one other individual. (None of this is directly referenced in the podcast).

Bingy came up under Big Al, but at some point --and this is the most intriguing part of the story--Arillotta apparently switched his allegiance to another: lifelong Bronx-based mobster Arthur (Little Guy) Nigro, then onetime acting boss. (Nigro once met Bruno and another at an eatery Bruno owned in Springfield, the Cara Mia restaurant on East Columbus Avenue. That’s the one and only time Nigro ventured to Springfield, Nigro's lawyer has alleged.)

Nigro was serving life in prison for the 2003 Bruno slaying, plus the attempted murder of a union boss in the Bronx—Nigro wanted Frank Dadabo, a cement union boss, whacked after the two had had a falling out over Tony Bennett concert tickets, or at least that is how Dadabo viewed it—and various extortion schemes in Greater Springfield. He died this past April 24.

You have it all in Springfield: a colorful cast of characters of varying levels of competence; murders, attempted murders, betrayals, double crossings, wire-wearing informants, etc.

Nigro lackey John Bologna—a big, beefy, bearded, indoor sunglasses-wearing thug (and decade-long FBI informant) who toted weekly tributes back to Nigro—really helped bring things to a boil in 2002-2003, entrenching himself in one murder-racketeering conspiracy after the other. In 2008 he agreed to wear a wire for the FBI on Arillotta. At the time, Bingy had just gotten out of jail after multiple gambling and loan-sharking convictions. Bologna got what the FBI needed to put the pressure on the fast-rising star.

During a meeting at a Friendly's restaurant in Lee, Mass., Bologna and Bingy talked a little turkey:

Bologna: "It's just, things gotta get cleared up a little bit."

Arillotta: "It's gotta get cleared up a lot, cuz ... Freddy's gonna beat this case, cuz that other kid ..." he said, referring to Frankie A. Roche, the local mobster recruited to kill Bruno. Roche pleaded guilty to shooting Bruno at the behest of Arillotta and others.

Arillotta: "I mean ... this kid is a liar, this kid. He had a personal beef with (Bruno) ... He even said he shot him ... that came right out in the newspaper. You understand, this kid is just one of them nuts that acted like a, an idiot, you know and um, did something stupid."

Arillotta admitted next to nothing in those discussions that Bologna recorded. But the truth of the matter is that it took very little to flip Bingy, beyond the cosmetics of the situation.

“The disclosure by the Feds that Bologna had been a longtime cooperator was enough to send Arillotta scrambling for the U.S. Witness Protection Program, where he remain(ed) in prison serving out a 99-month sentence in exchange for his testimony in the Nigro trial and a subsequent one,” as Stephanie Barrie reported on MassLive.

Nigro enjoyed such a low profile, practically nobody in Springfield knew who he was.

In a petition filed to appeal his life sentence, Nigro was portrayed by counsel as a “soldier,” at best, though also as a hard-working New York City masonry union member.

To boost that assertion and detract from what the Feds claimed was his true role, that of acting boss of the Genovese crime family, Nigro’s lawyer asserted that as per 14 secretly taped meetings of Genovese wiseguys in various New York restaurants, he was mostly an unknown soldier.

The lawyer further claimed that Bologna played a much more active role in terms of “linking” the gangsters in New York City and Springfield

Bologna, she noted, was the true insider in the Bruno conspiracy, while simultaneously filling that role as an FBI informer as well.

As per the filing, Nigro’s role as Genovese family powerhouse/Springfield overseer was known only to two people: Arillotta and Bologna.

Roche, the Bruno shooter, had even testified that he believed the murder was “green-lighted” by someone in “Port Chester.” That’s where Bologna owned a social club.

Neither Ty nor Freddy Geas ever met Nigro (or at least neither admitted they did.)

Interestingly, James Santaniello -- a nightclub mogul who grinded it out in the Springfield underworld for three decades and was an extortion victim identified in the Nigro indictment -- named dozens of organized crime figures plus associates over his years of cooperating with Massachusetts State Police and the FBI.

“Santaniello wasn’t just a government informant. As law enforcement was well aware - at least in Massachusetts - Santaniello was Bologna’s victim. He had nothing to say about Arthur Nigro,” the lawyer noted, but a single mention in the form of a meeting between Nigro, Bruno and Pasquale “Patsy” DeLuca.

To continue....