EXCLUSIVE: Genovese Family Annoints Low-Profile Veteran As Street Boss

The Genovese family has tapped a longtime, largely unknown veteran to "service" (or assist in various capacities) the official boss of the organization, which has been described as the most powerful Mafia family in the United States.

Chin Gigante died in December 2005.

Michael (Mickey) Ragusa, 54--a longtime confidant of boss Liborio (Barney) Bellomo, who has built an extremely low profile over the years (we found no photos of him)  -- is the Genovese family's new street boss, Cosa Nostra News has learned.

Genovese street bosses have been known to relay the boss's orders to family capos and soldiers, as well as personally divert away from the boss any incoming fire (figuratively and literally) from the likes of law enforcement, potential enemies, and the unforgiving, relentless New York City media.

Hailing from Pleasantville, Ragusa was promoted recently (though the formal appointment may have been largely ceremonial). Ragusa was already a soldier when he was nabbed along with several powerful members of the Genovese family in the big 2002 bust involving the Mafia's infiltration of the International Longshoreman's Association.

Bellomo is official boss of the crime family founded circa 1931 by Charles (Lucky) Luciano himself. As one law enforcement source said of Bellomo: He's "the reason why people from Brooklyn and the Bronx have been showing up in lower Manhattan in the last few years."

As per sources, Ragusa's elevation was prompted by and followed the death of venerable, longtime Lower East Side wiseguy Peter (Petey Red) DiChiara on March 2, 2018, from complications of diabetes. DiChiara had been a powerful Knickerbocker Village capo who reportedly spent his last years serving as street boss and consigliere for Bellomo.

One source who requested anonymity told us: "He (Ragusa) took over for Petey Red about four years ago and has been pretty low key until lately. He is extremely close to Barney and has been for many years."

The Genovese-ILA case, a continuation of a 2001 indictment, focused on the Genovese family's control of the union to extort firms operating on the piers** in the New York metro area and in Miami. The 40-page racketeering indictment had named Ernest Muscatella, then-Genovese acting boss; Charles Tuzzo, an alleged captain; Ragusa; Gigante (who was already in prison serving a 12-year stint for a 1997 conviction for racketeering, murder conspiracy, and related crimes), and Gigante’s son, Andrew Gigante, an alleged associate who served as a messenger between his father and longtime Genovese soldier Pasquale Falcetti.

A key member of the Genovese family's longtime waterfront racket, Falcetti, aka The Clubber, who was in the family's East Harlem crew (and he grew up with Sylvester Zottola, the Bonanno associate gunned down at a Bronx McDonald's drive thru), had been indicted in the same case in 2001, along with Bellomo and Thomas Cafaro, an alleged associate and the son of Vincent (Fish) Cafaro, a one-time capo in the Genovese family and protege of former acting boss Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno. (Fish became a government witness after flipping in 1986.)

According to the 2002 indictment, Ragusa allegedly worked at a mobbed-up trade association representing drywall contractors and also held a no-show job at the Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association. That organization still exists and was named in a recent AFL CIO lawsuit against the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. According to Waterfront Commission investigators, Metro, basically a trade association for New York harbor’s container repair business, was a joint enterprise of the Genovese and Gambino families, which had created the entity ostensibly to handle the container repair industry's collective bargaining with the ILA.

Ragusa was released from prison in August 2005 and apparently has been at liberty ever since.
Barney Bellomo

The 2002 case is remembered as the one that finally brought down the legendary Gigante, who the government had been targeting since the 1980s. Now-deceased onetime FBI supervisor John S. Pritchard III -- a "tenacious" investigator whose law enforcement career spanned more than three decades and six agencies in New York -- was among the first in law enforcement to focus on Chin.

Gigante died in his sleep at age 77 in December 2005 in a federal prison hospital in Springfield Missouri. (Gang Land News has noted that Chin died at the same facility where his longtime rival, John Gotti, died three years earlier.)

While facing indictment in the late 1980s, Gigante had selected Bellomo as acting boss. Gang Land News detailed his ascent, noting in 2016 "the Bronx-based college-educated wiseguy has made it to the top on his own and now rules the crime family," noting the basis for the news had been "authoritative law enforcement officials and other reliable sources."

Also noted was the role of Petey Red, who was "street boss" or acting boss for Bellomo, relaying messages to and from capos and important family soldiers.

Petey Red

The "hide the boss" strategy was practically invented by the Genovese family. Gigante, taking a cue from predecessor Benny Squint Lombardo, had outwitted the law for years with strategic use of Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno as "front" boss for the clan. That was in addition to his crazy act. (Gigante often wandered through the streets of Greenwich Village wearing a tattered bathrobe, unshaven, and seemingly in a mentally ill stupor.)

** The New York waterfront was a vast, immensely profitable domain for New York Mafiosi for much of the 20th century. The loot of the entire world--everything from auto parts to perfume, steel to furs—passes through New York harbor—and is stored in the holds of the thousands of ships that dock in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Staten Island. On the topic of the waterfront, the great Village Voice journalist Tom Robbins noted:

"He who controlled the gangs of tough men with strong backs who carried that cargo on and off the ships won not only opportunities for massive theft and pilferage. He also won power over the timetables of arrival and departure on which giant corporations depended, and on which fortunes often rested. No wonder the union that arose among the waterside workers was the roughest, and the one most dominated by organized crime."