Genovese Wiseguy Chinky Facchiano Was Ready To Whack 'Em Well Into His 90s

True crime Mafia shows on mainstream TV usually focus on the same handful of figures: John Gotti, Al Capone, etc..... Recently we realized some could construe that we've also been focusing on mobsters with mainstream appeal, with tons of blog space devoted to two of the most high-profile mobsters in US history: John Gotti and Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano. Our coverage included publishing transcripts related to the former Gambino boss and underboss. 

Albert (Chinky) Facchiano
Albert (Chinky) Facchiano

As we've previously noted (somewhere), our motive is only to publish historical information that previously wasn't accessible online. Nevertheless, we decided to balance the scales somewhat by focusing on the following unknown wiseguy....

Before we leave the topic, the two series:
1992 Testimony of Gambino Underboss Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano
The Ravenite Transcripts: John Gotti's Secret Meetings In Mrs. Cirelli's Apartment

Real-deal wiseguys are ready to kill for their mob family 24 hours a day seven days a week, to their dying day. Some of them, despite vast odds, live exceedingly long lives. But while most mob watchers are familiar with former Colombo powerhouse John Sonny Franzese, who died in February 2020 at the age of 103, few probably know of  longtime Genovese soldier Albert (Chinky) Facchiano, who earned notoriety in the mid-2000s when, while well into his 90s, he faced two indictments that could've put him away for 30 years. In addition, the FBI revealed that the nonagenarian wiseguy had been heard to eagerly argue about his willingness to kill for the Genovese family, even at the ripe age of 90.

Also called the Old Man, Facchiano began his life of crime back in the days of Charlie (Lucky) Luciano and Bugsy Siegel. A made member of the largest and most powerful Mafia family in the US, Facchiano never rose above soldier, as far as is known.

He served eight years of a 25-year sentence on federal racketeering charges after being arrested in 1979.

According to FBI reports, in the 1990s, 10 days after Chinky's 90th birthday, longtime Genovese associate Thomas Cafaro—the son of Genovese mobster Vincent (Fish) Cafaro who flipped in 1986—said Facchiano was a "very active" mobster, noting that members of the Facchiano blood family were known for longevity. (Chinky had a brother who was 102 at the time.)

Cafaro described Chinky as abusive. Facchione also seemed to have self-esteem issues, as well, as Cafaro claimed, saying that the Old Man "thinks he should have been boss" of the family.

"Chinky couldn't shine Fat Tony or Benny Squint's shoes," Cafaro quipped.

Facchiano was not someone to be messed with, whatever his age. He "exuded a fierce and treacherous tone," said a man who witnessed a chance encounter Chinky had in the 1990s with a wheelchair-bound man at the racetrack at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.

Between races, a larger man in a wheelchair rolled around a bend and into a bathroom at the precise moment Facchiano was exiting, almost hitting him.

"I was behind the guy in the wheelchair," the witness, who was a law enforcement official at the time, said. "I could see Chinky's face, and he gave the guy in the wheelchair a ‘Watch where the f—- you're going' look. It was scary. The guy in the wheelchair was visibly shaken and stammered, ‘Sorry, excuse me' and breathed a sigh of relief as he walked away.

"If the guy had made the wrong remark, he would have been cracked. He knew it. He felt it. I felt it. This little old guy was a genuine wiseguy," the witness noted.

In 2006, at age 96, Facchiano was among six members of what the Feds called the Florida arm of the Genovese crime family. The Florida crew was run by capo Renaldi Ruggiero, who was 73 at the time, a spring chicken compared to Facchiano.

That year, Facchiano was indicted twice, in New York and then in Florida.

In New York in February, Facchiano was among the more than 30 wiseguys and associates facing a 42-count indictment that detailed wide-ranging racketeering crimes and other offenses (PDF) spanning more than a decade, including murder, labor racketeering, obstruction of justice, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and firearms trafficking. The indictment targeted "factions of the Genovese Organized Crime Family based in the Bronx, East Harlem, and Westchester," and resulted from a Federal investigation that began in 2003.

In July of that year, Facchiano was indicted in Fort Lauderdale for  supervising a loansharking and bookmaking operation in the Sunshine State. 

Ultimately, the two cases were combined for Facchiano, owing to his age and ill health.

The elderly wiseguy trying to scam judges by looking frail and infirm has become a cliché (see Greg DePalma, who told undercover FBI agent Jack Falcone all about his failed attempt to gain a female judge's sympathy during the Gambino family's Scores case: "Can you believe that bitch! I went [into the courtroom] full out! I was drooling! Lookin’ all feeble! I didn't shave for a week! I wore the full [oxygen] mask! I was even laying on a bed, they rolled me into the fcking courtroom on a fcking bed, and that bitch still gave me life in prison!").

Nevertheless, Chinky, who died in 2011, was a standout, with prosecutors, defense lawyers, and organized crime experts all noting that they couldn't recall any other Mafia member to be so active at such an old age.

In May 2007, Facchiano, 97, accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to six months of house arrest and an additional 18 months of probation.

Investigation into shooting of Big Al Bruno
Scene of the crime: the shooting of Springfield crew chief Big Al Bruno

The year of the indictments, the FBI revealed that Chinky didn't let age keep him down, not in the slightest. When work needed to be done, he was more than ready and willing to handle it. "Chinky offered to do ‘work (murder)' if they needed someone killed," according to a report by FBI agent Michael Campi who probed the Mafia in New York for decades and was part of the team that debriefed Alphonse (Little Al) D'Arco, the former acting Luchese boss, after he flipped. Little Al died in 2019.

On February 27, 2001, Facchiano — then 90— was dining with Salvatore (Sammy Meatballs) Aparo and Joseph Zito, among others. While  reminiscing about deceased family leaders Vincent (Chin) Gigante, Benny Squint Lombardo, and Fat Tony, the topic of whacking people came up.

Chinky eagerly volunteered to punch someone's ticket, if ever the need arose.

Zito, who was 26 years younger than Chinky, pushed back. "Zito told Chinky they are supposed to be retired at their age and the younger guys should handle the murders," Campi wrote.

Chinky, without a blink, took Zito to school. "You're never retired," Facchiano argued, noting that he was more than willing to kill someone that very day for the family.

Another wiseguy in attendance at that 2001 meeting in Florida was Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno, whose remarks during the lunch (with top Genovese wiseguys) likely helped seal his fate two years later. Specifically, the FBI holds that Bruno had voiced aggressive praise for a Genovese associate who, Bruno asserted, was so sharp, Bruno wanted "to have him released" from New York so he could make him a "made man" and put him in the Springfield crew. The problem was that the associate Bruno was lauding was Michael (Cookie) Durso, who flipped against the family, wearing a wire in his Rolex watch for three years. He helped the Feds indict and convict nearly 50 wiseguys and associates.

Bruno wasn't the only wiseguy at that table to have high hopes for the up and coming Durso. The associate's decision to start wearing a wire in 1994 caused turmoil for many in the Genovese family, including beloved, old school wiseguy Sammy Meatballs, who had taken Durso under his wing. Aparo too had a soft spot for the associate, and it cost him--as well as caused him pain akin to getting knifed in the gut. But in the end, when Aparo finally checked out in 2017 at age 87, however, the love for Sammy Meatballs outweighed the fallout caused by Durso's actions, and Genovese family members came out in force to show their final respects, choosing not to hold any grudges against Sammy Meatballs. (As for Durso, our view is that it's difficult to judge him too harshly when you understand his motivation for joining Team USA: in 1994, in a Williamsburg social club, Durso had been shot alongside his cousin at point blank range in the back of the head. Durso survived; his cousin, a wealthy loan shark who was the true target, didn't.)

Big Al Bruno had been the Genovese family's longtime, seasoned hand in western Massachusetts. Earlier in his criminal career, he had worked for the  notorious Scibelli brothers, including Frankie Skyball, making them fortunes, before rising to take the reins of the Springfield crew. Bruno was known to have been a consummate professional who started his day early in the a.m. and ended it late in the p.m.

In 2011, the contours of the Bruno hit finally became visible when it was revealed that, some time before Bruno was killed, his onetime protégé, Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta, had switched allegiances and had secretly grown close to Genovese acting boss Arthur (Little Guy) Nigro, who was based in the Bronx. Bingy and Nigro were the key figures behind the Bruno hit on the night of November 23, 2003 when the cigar-chomping Bruno was riddled with bullets while departing his weekly card game at his Springfield social club, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society.

The Bruno hit had been sanctioned by Nigro, who had complained incessantly in the run-up that the proverbial envelopes Bruno was sending to the Bronx (proceeds from the Springfield rackets) were too light. Nigro anointed Arillotta to replace Bruno.

Arillotta and Frankie Roche, a violent street thug expressly recruited to kill Bruno (which he did), both rolled and testified in exchange for leniency against Nigro and two other alleged co-conspirators (and pals) the Greek Geas brothers, Fotios and Ty. Fotios allegedly was one of the gangsters who killed Whitey Bulger in 2018, delivering a horrific beating that left the corpse of the longtime Boston mobster/informant barely recognizable in a high-security West Virginia prison.